Kindness

March 31, 2016

 

Kindness

Colosians 3:12-13

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

Kindness, an obvious word with an obvious application, it is often descriptive of one of the attributes of the fruit of the Spirit.  Kindness is so obvious and so simple and yet so missing among so many of us.  It is simply goodness and favor toward another person.  Many families and relationships are missing this little social grace from their words and actions.  Even in our every day encounters with strangers and people that we interact with, we fail at this little thing called kindness.  Oh yes, we feign kindness through superficial words and platitudes, but is it an issue of our heart?  True kindness pities, it empathizes, sympathizes and identifies with another’s need.  Kindness puts itself in the place of its neighbor and then responds appropriately according to how it would want to be treated.   Kindness isn’t a social mask that we put on to give the illusion of our graciousness; it is something that issues out of the foundation of who we are in Christ.  Kindness genuinely cares for another and will not hesitate to go out of its way to minister or help another.  Kindness overlooks the opportunity to be right when it is at the expense of another.  It compliments the rest of the attributes of the Spirit and it chooses the high road even at its own expense.  Kindness is what covers another with grace and favor even when they may not deserve it.  Kindness is slow to be offended and it returns good for evil.  True kindness is often the brunt of abuse and is commonly taken for granted.  Yet, it is the kindness working in us that causes our Father to smile and reminds Him of Himself.  

Today and each day of your life, develop the habit of random acts of kindness, not just on the deserving but on the undeserving as well.  Practice that kindness on the ones you say you love and yet always rub you the wrong way.  While others may not always appreciate it and it may be abused by some, you will never regret the warmth it leaves inside and the smile it puts on the face of God. 

Blessings,

#kent

Matthew 14:6-12

On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much 7that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10and had John beheaded in the prison. 11His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.

Jazabel and the Spirit of Elijah

Herodias represents a spirit that is often found around men of power and influence.  It is a spirit of Jezebel.  It controls, manipulates, seduces and influences for personal gain and promotion of wickedness.  It is interesting that it was Jazebel that lived and controlled in the time of Elijah.  She had such influence over Ahab the king, that she slew God’s prophets, implemented baal worship and sought the life of Elijah.  She was unable to kill Elijah, but here this same spirit manages to have John the Baptist, who represented the spirit of Elijah, beheaded.  Malachi 4:5 says, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.”  In Matthew 17:10-12 it tells us who this modern day Elijah was. ” The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

11Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.”  Herodias manifests this same spirit that was seen that was seen in Jezebel and her intent was the same; to destroy the servants of the Spirit of God that called this spirit of Jazabel into accountability, that proclaimed and exposed her wickedness.  

Here it would seem that Herodias has accomplished what Jazabel didn’t, to kill this spirit of Elijah.  John the Baptist was the forerunner and the preparation for the Messiah.  He tells his disciple concerning Jesus in  John 3:30, “He must increase, but I [must] decrease.”  We are like that John the Baptist ministry and that spirit of Elijah ministry in this day declaring what he declared, “He said, I [am] the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. (John 1:23)” It is like what was, what is and what is to come.   We are that declaration of Christ’s coming and presence in this hour and there will be that Jazabel spirit that will arise to again slay and behead the prophet(s) of the Lord.  

What happens when we lose our head?  Then we exchange it for the headship of Christ.  When this spirit of Jazabel thinks she is destroying the prophet and the Word of the Lord she is in reality opening the door for it to be fulfilled.  ‘He (Jesus, the Christ) must increase, we must decrease.’  

Whatever satan does to destroy God’s people and to annul His Word, will simply bring into being and give place for God’s Word to be fulfilled.  Don’t fear or cower before this religious and manipulative spirit, because it is a spirit of antichrist.  It must manifest itself so that it might be destroyed.  Maintain your calling and proclaim the Word God has put in your mouth, for you are to be that voice in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias (Elijah).”   The King is coming and his kingdom, in earth as it is in heaven.  Let us each one prepare our hearts before Him and encourage others to do so.  John’s ministry just prepared and then gave way for Christ to come forth.  Don’t let us fear losing our head, because when we lose it, Christ simply becomes our head and we his body.  

Blessings,

#kent

Time to Get Back to Work

March 29, 2016

Time to Get Back to Work

1 Kings 19:9-18

And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” 

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 

14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”

The scripture today is an account of where Elijah’s state of being is at after his showdown with the prophets of Baal and the great victory that was won when the Lord showed up and manifested Himself to be God.  The wicked queen Jezebel has threatened to take Elijah’s life and suddenly he has turned from being this mighty representative of the power of God to a scared and fleeing man.  Even though fear has gripped him the Lord has not forsaken him and continues to sustain him as he flees the retribution of Jezebel.  This is where we find Elijah.  Elijah has so despaired and become discouraged that He has even ask the Lord to take his life.  The Lord gives him food and water by the hand of His angel, which sustains him for forty days and forty nights while he travels and comes to the mountain of God on Mount Horeb.  This is where we find him now as the Lord begins to speak and deal with him.  Here we find Elijah having a bit of a pity party as he tells God how he is the only one left that is serving God and now they are trying to kill him also.   At this point God is about to teach Elijah a lesson as He tells Elijah to go and stand on the mountain for the Lord is about to pass by.  We then read the account of how three powerful manifestations of wind, earthquake and fire come, but the Lord is not in any of these powerful demonstrations and after these came a gentle whisper, a still small voice.  What did the voice say to Elijah?  “What are you doing here Elijah?”  Of course Elijah proceeds to tell the Lord how he is the only good guy left and how now they are trying to kill him too.

The Lord doesn’t even address Elijah’s concerns at first, instead He gives him his next three job assignments and then He lets Elijah know that there are still seven thousand that have not bowed to Baal.  

There are a number of lessons to be gleaned from this. The one that I think is closest to all of us is that no matter how close we are walking with God and experiencing His power and presence sometimes we fall back into the trap of identifying with our natural man rather than who we are in Christ.  In Galatians 2:20 the apostle Paul reminds us of who we now are, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  This is who Elijah was, but fear entered in and faith left him because he lost sight of who he was and his identity in God.  We can easily look at Elijah’s life in hindsight and see that no one was going to take Elijah’s life unless God allowed them too.  We can see that for Elijah, but we struggle with believing that for ourselves.  We get so caught up with all of our woes that we get off track with our purpose and destiny.  

I believe what God was showing Elijah through those powerful manifestations was that these are not the essence of who He is.  We may see great and mighty miracles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that God is in them.  Where was God?  He was in the still small voice in Elijah’s spirit.  That is where He is in us.  It wasn’t Elijah’s concern, nor is it ours to question the power that God demonstrates through us, or His provision or His protection.  Our primary concern is, are we walking in who we are in Christ?  Are we identified with Him rather than this old man?  Are we carrying out the tasks that He has given each one of us to do?  We don’t need to worry about us being the only one, because God will always preserve a remnant for Himself, no matter how outwardly bad things get.  

Fear had driven Elijah to the mountain, but by God giving Elijah his assignments He was saying to Elijah, “don’t fear what man can do to you, you are not through until I say that you are through.”  God has a purpose for each one of us in Christ and I don’t believe we are through until God says we are through.  

Now it is time to get back to work with the Father’s business and don’t forget who you are.  “You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus”.  ‘You can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth you,’ “because as he isso are we in this world.”   “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Blessings,

#kent

Psalms 63:1-4

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 

The Lovingkindness of the Lord

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.  His mercies never come to an end.  They are new every morning. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD” (Lamentations 3:22-26).  In both of these passages there is both an acknowledgement of the lovingkindness and the faithfulness of the Lord, but there is also travail of soul.  While we wait upon the Lord our underlying desire and longing is to see the power and the glory of God revealed.  While we saw remarkable manifestations of God’s power and miracles through the ages it wasn’t until the coming of Jesus that we saw the full manifestation of the lovingkindness of the Father.  In Christ Jesus we saw the power and the glory revealed in acts of lovingkindness and compassion.  He could have as easily have come to destroy and devastate the armies of Rome and of His natural fleshly enemies.  He could have set up His kingdom in the earth as many expected Him to do, but the foe that He conquered was the prince of darkness when He led captivity captive, conquered death and the grave and gave gifts unto men.  He laid the foundation and the groundwork for a holy nation to rise up in Him, His church, His body and His bride.  We who have a foretaste of our inheritance and of the lovingkindness of our Lord are in much the same place as these Old Testament writers.  We have seen the faithfulness of our God.  We have seen His mighty acts upon the earth and toward His people.  We have seen His face in the life of Jesus Christ and we have received the divine promises as 2 Peter 1:3-4 declares, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  

We, like the saints of old, behold the magnificence of our God and the greatness of His love for us.  We flourish in that love and in that love and the promises of His Word we live in hope and expectancy to see the fullness of our salvation revealed when Christ is come to fully manifest Himself in us.  

Romans 8:15-25 teaches us, “For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! 16The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. 17And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory. 18[But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and  for us and conferred on us! 19For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship]. 20For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it–[yet] with the hope 21That nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22We know that the whole creation [of irrational creatures] has been moaning together in the pains of labor until now.23And not only the creation, but we ourselves too, who have and enjoy the firstfruits of the [Holy] Spirit [a foretaste of the blissful things to come] groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies [from sensuality and the grave, which will reveal] our adoption (our manifestation as God’s sons). 24For in [this] hope we were saved. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he already sees? 25But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure.”

 The cry of the hearts of God’s people today is for Sonship.  It is to see the glory of Christ revealed in us so that all of creation might be set free.  We have so longed experienced the dry and thirsty land of religion, where there is no water.  We have gone through all of the rituals and followed the traditions of men, but the reality isn’t in those things, it is in the lovingkindness of God when He is revealed in us through Christ Jesus.  2 Thessalonians 1:7-12 speaks of this coming glory and power, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. 11Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is what we long for, hope for and rest in the lovingkindness of our God to bring to pass. This is what we live for and press into that His kingdom come and His will be done on earth, as it is heaven.

Blessings,

#kent

 

2 Timothy 4:1-2 (New Life Version)

These words are from my heart to you. I say this before God and Jesus Christ. Some day He will judge those who are living and those who are dead. It will be when Christ comes to bring His holy nation. 2 Preach the Word of God. Preach it when it is easy and people want to listen and when it is hard and people do not want to listen. Preach it all the time. Use the Word of God to show people they are wrong. Use the Word of God to help them do right. You must be willing to wait for people to understand what you teach as you teach them. 

Be Ready and Speak the Word

We have a fairly extensive yard that we use a lot in our business.  We have a gardener that comes in and plants certain flowers, grasses and plants.  After she plants these she is always telling us that we need to water them every day for a least ten days.  The water helps them to become established and rooted so they can begin to sustain themselves more on their own.  The Lord was reminding me of the spiritual application of this.   So many times, when we do witness and win people to Christ, we stop there and that is really where we need to begin.  It is one thing to plant, but it is another to establish that which has been planted.  How many people have fallen away from the faith because they made a commitment to Christ, but no one took the time to disciple and establish them in their faith?  

We find that we have to hand water a lot in our yard.  Just the regular watering isn’t enough.  Young Christians are like that, they need to be hand watered and established in their faith.  We need to actually water one another with the Word and with spiritual encouragement.  We all need to be challenged, corrected and built up in our faith and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  We need it and we need to do be doing it for others.  The body of Christ is not a building, but a living organism in which each part serves the other and works together for the good of the whole.  Disease happens when something is destroying healthy cells or when cells go out of control and start reproducing themselves outside the order and proper function of the body.  We help to maintain health in the body of Christ by first, maintaining our proper role and obedience to Christ, but by also taking care of those in our sphere of influence.  Always be ready, be instant in season and out to speak the Word of life and faith.  Encourage others in Christ and especially care for those who are new in their walk with Lord.  The life that we live and the words that we speak are often the most a lot of people will know about Christ.  It is the water of life.  Be ready to speak the Word.

Blessings,

#kent

Lord of the Storm

March 24, 2016

 

Matthew 8:23-27

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 

26He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 

27The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Lord of the Storm

Waves are crashing, wind, lightning, thunder,

At any time it looks like we will go down under,

Desperate measures to save our ship, 

As the storm blows, tosses, tears and rips.

One sleeps peacefully in the hull,

Nothing seems to bother Him at all,

“Lord don’t you care that we all can perish,”

We are about to loose all that we value and cherish.

“Why are you fearful, oh ye of little faith?”

“When will you come to know your place?”

He rebuked the winds and there came a calm,

Mighty is He that rights the wrongs.

“What manner of man is this within our hull?”

“In Him there are no limitations at all.”

“He speaks and the winds obey,

What will He do if we believe when we pray?”

The storms of life are tossing us to and fro.

Evil reports are found wherever we go.

Will we not believe the Lord’s report?

Shall we in time of need not find the Lord’s support?

Know Him who calms the seas!

Know Him who has the power to make you free!

Know Him who hears you when you call!

Know Him within you, who is your all!

Kent Stuck

Blessings,

#kent

 

Romans 6:1-6

Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. 

4So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Intimacy that Produces Life

In our former marriage we were under the law.  Under the law we struggled to maintain the written codes and the letter of the law.  Yet we were so often unfaithful as temptation used the Law to entice the weakness of our flesh.  We are always enticed to do what we are forbidden to do.  Because our passions ruled us and the law condemned us the fruit of this relationship was death, because it produced sin, which leads to death.  

When we came to Christ we died to the law.  That means that the former husband that we were obligated too died to us.  We were set free from the covenant of the law to enter into the covenant of grace.  The Law could be seen as an arranged marriage.  One we were subjected to and obligated to without choice.  Such is not the case with our marriage unto Christ.  It is a marriage by choice and by choice we give our hearts to Him.  This marriage involves an intimacy that few really knew under the law.  It is not a harsh and critical taskmaster as we viewed the law, but a person that we know to be loving, compassionate, full of grace and mercy.  It is not that we go in a different direction than the law was taking us, for the law was righteousness, but it was weak through the sinfulness of our flesh.  This same righteousness is present in our relationship with the Lord Jesus, but now He has become the object of our love and our desire is no longer for sin, but for deeper intimacy with Him.  When we find that place of intimacy, we find the joy and the love of His presence.  He lifts us up, edifies us and ministers to the deepest needs and longings of our heart.  In that place of intimacy the seed of His life is made one in us, so that the fruit of our lives is producing what He is.  His grace has released us from the power of sin, but sin is no longer the object of our desire, He is.  When you truly love someone with all of your heart isn’t it your desire to please them, to give to them in all the ways that you can? Our bodies become instruments of righteousness, because He is that righteousness within us.  We have entered into a covenant that is both life giving and life changing.  As it changes our life it will in turn change the lives of those around us, because the fruit of our lips and actions should speak forth the life of who He is.  Through the transformation in us others are drawn to His light and truth.  Intimacy is all about what pleases and meets the needs of your partner.  When we are the object of one another’s desire both parties are not taking but giving themselves to one another in all of the ways that are pleasing, edifying, fulfilling and life giving.  We can never out-give Jesus.  We can never love Him more or give more of ourselves to Him than He has and will continue to give to us.  When Christ truly becomes our husband, sin and the passions of the flesh are no longer our desire, but He is.  The way to come away from sin is to become deeply intimate with your Lord.  When we find the true joy of His presence and love, there is nothing on earth more precious and rewarding. 

Blessings,

#kent

 

Romans 11:29

For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

Gift and Callings Unchangeable

What God gives and imparts to us He does not take back.  With those gifts and callings there needs to be worked in us a continual humility and responsibility to use and exercise what He has given us to His glory and not our own.  Many have been the man or woman that came from humble beginnings.  Like king David, they were like the little shepherd caring for the sheep in the back pastures.  The only one that really heard them or saw their hearts was God.  Those early years of our obscurity are perhaps the most important and formative of all.  It is in those years that the objective of our love and ministry is the Lord Himself.  It is in that time of separation and often desolation that we learn and develop our relationship with the Lord.  It is there we find what pleases Him and there that He gives us a revelation of Himself.  It is often a time of discipline, faithfulness, learning and practicing obedience.  It is where we learn to discern His voice and direction.  It is where we learn to praise Him, worship Him and come before His throne.  I can only imagine that the Father delighted in David as he composed and sang His psalms unto Him in praise, adoration and appreciation.  In that place God found the tender heart of a child that was moldable and useable.  He took this little backwoods nobody and through the years of testing and trials raised him up, exalting him above all his fellows.  Now David was a precious man of God, full of the Spirit and anointed of God in leadership, war and worship.  While David was a good and faithful king, God doesn’t hide his humanity and frailty from us.  His godly attributes as well as His fleshly ones are written in the Book for all to see. 

One of greatest subtle dangers of power, fame, recognition, and of being wonderfully used of the Lord is pride.  People always want to put their eyes upon man and we all have an ego that wants to feed upon that when it happens to be us.  How many great men of God have we seen that were prominent in the public eye and greatly respected for the gifts and calling of God that was plainly seen in them, only to see them fall.  With every man there are weaknesses that accompany his strengths.  The strengths we want to show forth while the weaknesses we want to hide in the closet.  The most important thing we can be with God or with others is just real.  Even with our gifts and calling we are really no more than another is, we just may have a greater responsibility and accountability for what the Lord has imparted to us.  

There are those who have been entrusted with great things from the Lord and I feel like God wants to speak to someone’s heart in particular.  God has greatly blessed and used you, but you blew it.  You have sinned; you have failed God, others and yourself.  In that place it is hard to receive that God still loves you and has not cast you off.  You know that you don’t deserve His love or forgiveness, but that, like His gifts and callings, are without repentance.  He doesn’t take them back.  Your life might be a train wreck, but God is in the business of cleaning up wrecked lives.  The good thing about falling is it humbles us and takes us back to our beginnings.  It wipes away all of the pride and pretense that had corrupted our lives.  It brings us back to the foundational principles of repentance from dead works and God’s love and forgiveness.  Sometimes the broken vessel is the more useable one, because it becomes more real through the breaking.  It can no longer boast in itself, but only in the Potter that created it.  

Be faithful to use and exercise what God has given you, but be careful to always retain a genuine humility and total acknowledgement that all that you have and all that you are is the gift and calling of God and to Him alone belongs all of the glory. 

Blessings,

#kent

Gifted to Give

March 21, 2016

 

Ephesians 4:7-10 (Amplified)

Yet grace (God’s unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and bounteous] gift. 

8Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men. 

9[But He ascended?] Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from [the heights of] heaven into [the depths], the lower parts of the earth? 

10He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).

Gifted to Give

Our God is such a giving God.  What He has given us in the riches of His grace through Christ Jesus I don’t think any of us have fully assimilated and processed what we have in Him.  It is implied here that as Christ ascended back into heaven all of the those gifts, attributes and the anointing that rested upon Him from the Father was distributed throughout His body.  No one person was given the whole, but we were all given the parts that by coming together and operating as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, we the many, might become one in Him.  

Jesus says in John 14:10-14, “10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  Jesus Himself has commissioned through His body a greater works ministry operating out of the power of His name and led by the Holy Spirit.  Even as the Father expressed Himself through His Son, He is in turn the expression of the Father through His body that truly believe and dare to step out into this place of faith, having confidence in His promise.  We are like children who are learning to swim.  At first we are fearful.  We thrash at the water.  We spit and sputter and often get into a panic.  What we have to learn to do is to work with the water and not against it.  Slowly we come to find that if we can truly rest then the water will actually support our bodies and we can float.  We learn that with minimal effort we can maintain our buoyancy.  Eventually we learn to move quickly through the water and the water becomes our friend instead of this body of fluid that we once might have been dreadfully fearful of.  This is the way the Holy Spirit is in our lives.  The more familiar we become with Him the more at home we feel in His presence and operating out of His directive.  

Jesus not only imparted unto us gifts, but also He took those strong men, those oppressive spirits that once held us captive and He led them into captivity.  The door of your prison is unlocked.  All you have to do is have the faith to open it and walk out.  There is nothing that can hold you or separate you from the love of God.  You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus.  Christ gave us the richest gift that any man could ask for.  He gave us Himself.  He literally imparted Himself into us.   What we see in a foretaste and measure is to become the whole and likeness of Him.  Right now it is all of us working in the unity of the faith and operating by faith in the giftings that He has imparted into each one of us.  If you don’t know what your calling and giftings are, begin to operate within a body that has body ministry and you will most likely find your gifts coming to the surface.  In so many assemblies the body has been dumbed down to think and believe that it is only the missionaries, teachers, ministers or pastors that are ordained to operate in the gifts of the Spirit.  This is contrary to what this passage in Ephesians speaks about.  Their responsibility is to bring the rest of the body into their purpose and calling in Christ Jesus and to allow the giftings of Christ to abound to the edification and the building up of the body.  Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” 

This brings us to the “why” of what Christ has imparted the gifts and the riches of His grace toward us for.  He gives to us so that we in turn might give to others.  This is the law and economy of His kingdom.  He doesn’t give to us to hold on to what He gives us, but to in turn impart it into others.   His giftings are so that we might be givers, blessings and the increase of the Lord upon the lives of those around us, both Christian and non-Christian alike.  We are the pipeline, the conduits and the sprinkler heads of God’s grace and goodness that we wants to dispense to mankind through so many avenues and in so many ways.  We have been blessed to be the blessing of Abraham and through us all of the nations will be blessed in the knowledge and the goodness of God.  

You have a gift and a talent.  You may not see in yourself any good thing, but God sees it, because He put it there.  Learn to work with the water of His Holy Spirit so that by the Spirit it may become manifest and minister the blessing He has imparted into you.  You have been gifted to give.

Blessings,

#kent

Orders from Above

March 18, 2016

 

1 John 3:21-24(Amplified)

And, beloved, if our consciences (our hearts) do not accuse us [if they do not make us feel guilty and condemn us], we have confidence (complete assurance and boldness) before God, 22And we receive from Him whatever we ask, because we [watchfully] obey His orders [observe His suggestions and injunctions, follow His plan for us] and [habitually] practice what is pleasing to Him. 23And this is His order (His command, His injunction): that we should believe in (put our faith and trust in and adhere to and rely on) the name of His Son Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and that we should love one another, just as He has commanded us. 24All who keep His commandments [who obey His orders and follow His plan, live and continue to live, to stay and] abide in Him, and He in them. [They let Christ be a home to them and they are the home of Christ.] And by this we know and understand and have the proof that He [really] lives and makes His home in us: by the [Holy] Spirit Whom He has given us.

Orders from Above

Fear, doubt, unbelief, sin, condemnation, hatred, unforgiveness and self love are all attributes that work counter-productive to all that our lives should be in Christ.  Do we all have a clear conscience, full assurance and peace in Christ?  We should have that.  That is what God’s will and plan for us is in Christ.  We as Christians should have no fear of the judgement o f God, because we are in a place of love, obedience and relationship with Him.  Sure we all miss it, we fail and we sin, but where is our heart?  Where our heart is, is the key to our peace and assurance in Christ.  If we say that we believe one thing but then live another, then we are a liar, to ourselves and to God.  We know in our hearts that things aren’t right, because we don’t have the peace of God.  Our hearts and conscience will accuse us.  We may make all kinds of justifications, but that is all smoke and mirrors.  The only one we may fool is ourselves.  

If we live and abide in our orders from above then we will have peace and assurance toward God.  We will have the joy because we are living out of the love of Christ in us.  Christ is our home.  He is where we abide and live.  He fills our thoughts and is the motivation that should drive all that we do and all that we are.  We are not separate from Him.  Many have a perception that because we think of Christ and God as in heaven that they’re up there and we are down here.  That thinking is anti-Christ in its nature.  Yes, while in this body we are separated from physical presence with the Lord, but in our spirit He abides with us and we with Him.  It is there, in our spirit, that we have union and communion with Him.  As we abide with Him, we abide in obedience to Him, because we operate out of His love and His nature.  

It is when we allow sin, selfishness and the mind of the flesh to have place that we break that fellowship with the Spirit.  Disruptive thoughts, attitudes, temptations and conflicts are thrown at us continually to disrupt our peace and fellowship in the Spirit.  Instead of allowing these things to push our buttons, we must continually filter our world through God’s Spirit within us responding out of Christ –like love and action, not reaction.  When we learn to abide in this secret place of the Most High, we have a peace, because we are finding that reality that it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me.  We are all maturing and growing in this place, but seek to continually abide in your orders from above.  Abide in a continual fellowship and obedience to Christ and operate out of His love in your response to Him and to the world around you.  When we find this place, the world will make sense and we will experience that place of peace and well being that all of the world is searching for.  It is as close to you as your heart.  Allow your faith and trust to take you there.  Allow your fellowship and communion in Christ to transform you into the expression of His love.  These are His orders from above, Love Him with everything that you are and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Blessings,

#kent

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