The Riches of Giving

September 29, 2017

2 Corinthians 9:7

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

The Riches of Giving

Have you ever observed the principle that the more some people hold on to what they have, the less they have, while others give and yet always seem to have abundance?  It is as 2 Corinthians 8:15 says, “As it is written, He that [had gathered] much had nothing over; and he that [had gathered] little had no lack.”  I can see the principle at work even in my own life.  I tend to be rather frugal, saving up and tucking back money when I have it and yet I never seem to have any abundance.  On the other hand, Sharon saves her money, but she still spends it freely and blesses others and seems to experience no lack.  Often we don’t give because we fear our lack or we give begrudgingly out of guilt or obligation, but we can see where that is not faith at work.  This is an area that I personally want to grow in because I can see where our giving is like the planting for a harvest.  If we only have a vision of what we can eat today, we’ll never have the foresight to plant for what we will eat tomorrow.  God has placed a principle of multiplication within a seed.  By itself it only remains as one, but if it is planted and dies to itself it will bring forth in multiplication after its own kind.  Our lives are no different; we are likewise a seed.  We are God’s seed.  If we live only unto ourselves then our seed only abides alone and profits no one but us.  If we become like Jesus and are willing that our seed should be planted and die to itself, then we will eventually see a harvest that is much greater than we could ever be alone.  It all starts with that principle of giving. 

While the principle is sound and true, the sad thing that we observe is that this truth as been used and exploited over and over by Christian leaders to manipulate and raise money.  Many have become personally rich in the process.  Anyway, God will judge all of that.  The important thing is that we be wise and discerning, but not that we withhold from God our giving in every aspect of our lives.  It is not just our finances that we can give; we can give our love, our time and our talents as well.  I pray that I might be a man that will always give more than I take.  If I withhold good from whom it is do when it is in my power to give it then who is really robbed, them or me? 

God doesn’t want us to give because we are compelled, pressured, manipulated or guilted into it.  There is no blessing in that kind of giving.  Giving to God and even to others in His name is an act of faith by which we are trusting God and an act of worship by which we give a portion of His blessing to us back in order that others might be blessed.  He is honored in a joyful and giving heart. 

May all of us experience the riches of giving, because only in the giving do we find the richest part of life.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Setting your Mind

September 28, 2017

Setting your Mind

Colossians 3:2

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Once there was a little girl who at young age was taken to piano concert at Carnegie Hall where she listened and watched in awe as the master pianist brought the keys alive and made music like she had never heard before.  As she went home the music continued to play in her head and as she closed her eyes she could visualize it all over again.  That day marked a turning point in the direction and the purpose for which that little girl lived.  The next day she announced to her parents that she had decided to be a concert pianist.  Her parents listened with a patient, encouraging and yet skeptical ear.  A lot of kids are impressed with something for a while, but then they grow bored or tired of it and move on to the next thing that impresses them.  This was not the case with this little girl.  She convinced her parents to get her a used piano and give her music lessons.  It became apparent early on that she was passionate in her pursuit and committed to her practice.  Day after day they would see her, without being told or prodded, spend her spare time practicing.  Even when she was not at the piano she was going through the notes in her mind, thinking upon how to better perfect a piece. That day at the concert she had made a commitment and promise to herself that she would one-day play in Carnegie Hall and in other great places around the world.  She held fast to that promise and commitment.  Through much diligence, hard work and practice she began to excel in her music ability and proficiency.  As she grew older she never wavered from her dream.  Along the way she experienced some hurts and setbacks, but it was the disappointments that drove her the harder to be the better.  Finally came the day when her dream was realized and she began to be invited to play at greater and greater venues as her fame and reputation grew.  Then one day, she realized her greatest dream of all when she was invited to play at Carnegie Hall.  No doubt her tenacity, desire and faith inspired other children that they also could strive and position their lives for greatness.

When we read through the Bible and as we commit our lives to Christ may we be inspired as we behold the hand of the Master and His handiwork, as we read the words of Jesus and behold His life.  He is our inspiration and our call to commit all that we are unto Him and begin to practice His presence.  Our goal in Christ will never be obtained through looking at our inability, our sin or our failure.  We set our eyes upon Jesus and commit our hearts to Him knowing that as He has come to live in us, He is also able to live through us in greater and greater ways, as we are able to give over who we were, into what He is.  Like the little girl, everyday means practice.  Every day we learn to walk closer to Jesus and more in tune with the Holy Spirit as we practice being in His presence and living out of His life.  He is the foremost on our minds; He is the motivation and the inspiration behind all that we do.  To be like Him, to be conformed to His image and nature, to give our all for Him as He gave His all for us, that is our dream and that is why we set our affections upon things above and not on things of earth.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Companionships and Friends

September 27, 2017

1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Companionships and Friends

As you go through life choose your friends and companionships among the people you most want to be like and who represent the highest standard.  Among them you will always be challenged to come up higher and to be more.  From that foundation of godly friends, you can help influence others that need a higher vision and that struggle with baser issues. 

Many times we are drawn into friendships with those we want to help, encourage and bring up higher, but the Word warns us that it can have the opposite effect.  We tend to become like the people we hang out with.  The Word asks us, “what fellowship has light with darkness”.  We can’t bring our light to them by partaking of their darkness.  When we are operating out of a place where our strong friendships are with strong believers then we strengthen each other to minister into those places of darkness where our love longs to help those who are still bound by sin’s cords.  We can never take for granted that we are beyond temptation.  With like-minded companions and a body of believers we can stand together in the power of prayer, the Word and the unity of our faith to bring others up into the light. 

I used an illustration with my children one time.   I put two of them on the stairs with the one up higher trying to pull the lower one up, but when the one on the lower step pulled back, they could easily see that it was easier to pull someone down than it is to pull them up.  I used this to illustrate to them about the friendships they choose.  Our heart and intention can be good, that doesn’t mean we can’t be pulled down. 

When Jesus sent the disciples out, He didn’t send them alone they went in pairs.  In Acts when the apostles went on their missions, they didn’t go alone.  When we want to bring our light into the realms of darkness, it is better that we don’t go alone, but they we take another strong believer or believers.  Together we have each other’s back and can see things that one of us alone may not see. 

Let the company that is in darkness be the ones you reach out to in love, but love doesn’t become a part of their darkness.  It calls others up higher, but doesn’t dwell where they are.  It only identifies with where they are, so that it can bring them into the identity Father wants them to have. 

 

blessings,

#kent

Purpose

September 26, 2017

Hbr 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. 

Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Purpose

My purpose and your purpose in life is not to do our will.  At least not if we have surrendered that will by asking Christ to be the Lord of our lives.  Some might say, ” Why on earth would you want to give up your will, your identity, your right to be whatever it is you want to be?”  Yet many that pursue their own purposes and plans never come to know what their real purpose is for.  At the end of life, by the measure of this world’s standards they may be affluent or successful, but they are left empty, hollow, void of joy and true fulfillment.  All that they have accumulated or succeeded in has failed to satisfy the inner question of their spirit, “what is my purpose in being?”

Those who have found a true relationship in Christ, have found the answer to this question.  Hebrews 13:14 prior to this verse says, “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”

Here, being this world and this earthly manner of life.  If we never see beyond this natural life we have missed the whole reason for our existence. 

The believer in Christ comes to realize that their purpose and existence is only found in the Creator and His purpose.  That great purpose can only be found as I surrender my purpose, my will to His.  While you and I may do many things in our lives, our purpose is in being conformed to the image and nature of our Creator.  That is shown forth as He perfects us in every good work to do His will.  Through Christ Jesus He is perfecting in us everything that is well pleasing in His sight.  God’s Son, living in us and through us by His Spirit is His will and purpose for us.  It can reveal itself in many different forms, different actions or occupations, but in the end it is producing what is well pleasing in His sight.  Only in God’s purpose and will do we find our true purpose and reason for being.  Only as I fade and die out to my will am I released to live in His.  His purpose and will is eternal and infinitely great and wonderful.  My will is temporary and meaningless out side of Him.  What is your purpose?

X 9/26/17

 

Blessings,

#kent

Stellar

September 25, 2017

Stellar

Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Stars are made up of bodies of matter filled with gas and ablaze with glory.  God has filled the heavens with them and they speak in type of His people that will be as the stars of heaven.  When God spoke to Abraham, He gave Him a promise and He compared it with the stars.  Genesis 15:5 says, “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”  God is still making stars. 

The word “stellar” came to me this morning and when I looked it up it said, “1. Of, relating to, or consisting of stars.  2. Of or relating to a star performer. b. Outstanding; principal.”  I believe there is a correlation in these two definitions as seen in the people of God.  You see stars are nothing but burned out matter if they not filled with gases and set ablaze in glory.  Are we any different?  What are we if we are not filled with the Spirit and set ablaze with the glory of God?  That is what makes a spiritual star.  It is the life in the spirit that translates us from the terrestrial to the celestial.  God’s people are not only the redeemed of the Lord, but they are redeemed to be the outshining of His glory. 

Our objective is not to get all mystical, but to draw the correlation between the natural and the spiritual much as Paul did.  In 1 Corinthians 15:41-49 he teaches, “[There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another.  [There is] one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for [one] star differeth from [another] star in glory. So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual  The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven.  As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly.  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”  Are we getting a glimpse that God is out to change our state of being? 

In the book of Daniel this point is brought out again concerning the “wise ones” of God.  Daniel 12:3 prophesies, ” And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”  What do these stars do?  They are wise in the things of the Spirit and their purpose is to turn many to righteousness.  What must we be as stellar Christians and men and women of God?  By definition we must be “star performers of spiritual truth and outstanding; principals of righteousness.”  Paul tells us in his discourse that not all bodies of glory are the same; even among the stars, “one star differs from another star in glory.”  While we all may be stars there are different intensities of glory and manifest outshining.  There is something to be said for manifesting the heavenly while in the earth.  Psalm 136:8-9 says, ” The sun to rule by day: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.  The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.”  The earth is in a state of spiritual darkness, ignorance and sin.  It is we as the body of Christ and His ministers to be the moon and the stars that rule the night.  We cannot rule that which rules us.  Without the light that God wants to manifest through us, the world would perish in sin and darkness.  We show the way of the Lord before men.  Isaiah 6:3 says, ” Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.”  We must be His stellar performers of righteousness and truth, outstanding and principaled in godliness.  It is only in the putting off of the terrestrial that we step into the celestial; it is only as we put off corruption that we put on incorruption.  Yes, the day of the Lord will fully declare it, but it will be the declaration of what is taking place in you and me right now.  We are His stars, his heavenly ones, and his diadems.  Let us declare His glory throughout the earth with lives that are stellar with His presence. 

 

Blessings,

#kent

Acts 4:36-37

And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, [and] of the country of Cyprus Having land, sold [it], and brought the money, and laid [it] at the apostles’ feet.

Barnabas, Son of Encouragement and Consolation

Barnabas is a rich example of a tremendous man of faith and godliness.  Barnabas is one of those ministries that was not at the forefront and limelight, but he was the backbone of those who were.  God used Barnabas tremendously in helping Paul to gain acceptance as an apostle and come into the ministry and office that God had for him.   Barnabas served as a co-missionary with Paul in the outreach to many of the gentiles.  We see him as a very dignified man of wisdom, generosity and encouragement.  Barnabas was the type of man and ministry that would see the gift of God in others and bring it out of them.  Even when Paul and Barnabas took John Mark with them and he failed the first time; Barnabas didn’t give up on him.  He and Paul had strong words and disagreement later on when Barnabas wanted to take him again.  It was to the point that they went their separate ways, but Barnabas saw the ministry gift that was inside of John Mark and his ministry was to develop it and bring it out.  John Mark goes on to write the gospel of Mark and even Paul later admits that John Mark is of use to him. 

Many of us are not ministers that are seen or acknowledged by position, office or gifts of oration.  Many of us may not be missionaries, pastor, evangelist, teacher, prophets or apostles, but we may be the means by which others may come into the fullness of their ministry and gifting.  Each one of us in the body of Christ is essential for the success and development of others in the body of Christ.  It may come through encouraging words, helps, financial support or mentoring.  There are many ways that we can make a difference even though what we do is not seen or even acknowledged. 

I love Barnabas because he brought out the best in others without seeking attention or recognition for himself.  His office and calling was really much higher than many give him credit for.  Your office and calling may be much higher than you actually realize.  When we allow God to work through us in whatever means He chooses too, we become the instruments and distribution of His blessing.  If we always deny that we are anything and are never willing to give ourselves to whatever it is that God would have us to do, we not only rob ourselves, we rob the body of Christ.  We deny it the talent and gift that God has given us to give.  ‘The greatest in the kingdom of God are the servants of all.’  They are simple people who just offered themselves to God’s service and purpose.  Be careful not to neglect the calling and election that you possess.  God has fashioned you for a purpose and He will reveal it as you seek Him and serve the body of Christ.  People of the lowest stations in life can often be the greatest in the eyes of God.  Don’t let who or what you are prevent you from being and doing what God has created you for.  It is not about us or our strength or ability.  We are simply the emptied glass that God can fill with the water of His life and be given for others to drink.  Fulfill your calling and come into the fullness of what He has for you.  In the process help others to do the same.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Everything We Need

September 21, 2017

Everything We Need

2 Peter 1:3-4

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

It goes without saying that we as people and as children of God specifically, all struggle with our problems and issues.  They can come in many shapes, sizes, colors and varieties.  As many and varied as they can be, God’s has an answer for them.  When you meditate upon our scripture today, the power and potential of what is said here is almost unimaginable. 

I have to admit that far too many times I am an expert at seeing my glass half empty.  I can see all of the reasons why something won’t work or why I can’t accomplish it, but that is a pessimistic point of view.  We can look at our lives and problems much the same way and determine this is just the cross I have to bear or we can begin to lay hold of the potential powerhouse of the God that has given us all that we need for life and godliness and that Christ has already hung the cross for us to provide us with the very great and precious promises that are ours in Him.

How do we lay hold of that “all that we need”?  It says it is “through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness”.  In order for us to truly comprehend and lay hold of who we are and what we have, we have to have knowledge (precise and correct knowledge of those things ethical and divine) of Him. 

You get a flat tire going down the road, you are in the middle of nowhere and no one else is around.  Now if you don’t know that you have a jack and spare tire, then you are stuck where you are at.  And even if you know that you have it, but you don’t have the slightest idea of how to use it, then you are really no better off.  We have heard that we all have these things that pertain to life and godliness and yet many of us have little clue as to how we can lay hold of them and apply them to our life situations.  As a result we get stuck in our ruts and our problems never get resolved.  How many of us are setting along the roadside of life with flat tires?  The thing is, we have the resources to fix the problem, but we need the knowledge of how to do it.  We have the Holy Spirit of God inside of us and within the short reach of most of us there is a Holy Bible, the instruction manual of God’s Word.  If I don’t know how to change a tire, but I have an owners manual that will walk me through it and give me examples and illustrations, then I’m pretty much a fool if I don’t attempt to try to put that knowledge into practice and resolve my problem.  On the other hand I may say, “I don’t understand that stuff”, besides that, “it’s not really even my car, it’s my husband’s car, “besides that “I have my good clothes on” and besides that, “I’ll just pray and ask God to send somebody else to do it for me.”  In affect, isn’t that how we approach a good many of our problems in life?  If we don’t want to solve our problems, God says it isn’t because I haven’t given you the resources; they are all yours, but you have to Know Me to know how to put them into affect.  Along with that knowledge we need the “will and do” of His good desire for us.  The more we know the Lord, not only are we going to know what we have, but who we are.   What does this knowledge of Him empower us to do and be?  4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”  He is saying that He has given you and I the power to put on Christ, the divine nature, and put off sin, the corruption of the world caused by evil desires.  The basics of being a successful Christian is in knowing who you are and what you have.  That comes through knowledge, gained through intimate relationship and understanding, both mentally and spiritually of who you are in Christ.  The biggest reason we are broken down beside the road is because we still haven’t really traded that old Junker in for the vehicle that God wants to put us in.  His vehicle runs on a whole different set of laws and dynamics than the old one and you need to “know Him” to understand how they work.  We have all that we need, we just need to know and learn how to use it.

 

Blessings,

#kent

John 4:1-3

The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

The Journey is as Important as the Destination

Here is a scripture that we often read right over and don’t really think about as being significant.  There are events that happen in life that cause us to go from destination to destination.  Often, especially as men, we become only focused upon the destination and not the journey.  As Christians our ultimate destination is heaven and eternal life in Christ Jesus.  If that is all that we see then we will miss the importance of the journey that takes us there.

In John 4 it as Jesus is traveling to the destination of Galilee, He passes through Samaria and encounters the woman at the well.  That encounter was a life changing moment for this woman and for her entire town.  Most all of the miracles and works that Jesus did were while He was on His way from one place to another.  It is important for us to not only focus on our destination, but to be open to the Holy Spirit’s work and movement through us as we journey to our destination.  The journey is where we grow in experience and exercise of where we are going too.  Divine providence often accompanies us upon our journeys and it is important that we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit when He brings people into our lives that may just seem an inconvenience and annoyance to us.  The Lord has just brought to mind a story I recently read that illustrates this very thing.  I believe it is His purpose today to share this with you.

HAIRBRUSH EXPERIENCE OF BETH MOORE AT THE AIRPORT

      For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters.

This is one of her experiences:

April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane. I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I’d had a marvelous morning with the Lord.  I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least

of which is your ego.

  I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight.  Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier.  His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair

hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back.  His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man. I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face.  As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I’d just had a Howard Hughes sighting.  Then, I remembered that he was dead.  So this man in the airport… An impersonator maybe?  Was a camera on somewhere?  There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served up on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let’s admit it.  Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern,and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.

I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall.I’ve learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my

spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. ‘Oh, no, God, please,no.’ I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, ‘Don’t make me witness to this man.  Not right here and now.  Please.  I’ll do anything.  Put me on the same plane, but don’t make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience.  Please, Lord!’ There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, ‘Please don’t make me witness to this man.  Not now.  I’ll do it on the plane.’Then I heard it….’I don’t want you to witness to him.  I want you to brush his hair.’

The words were so clear, my heart leap into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top.  Do I witness to the man or brush his hair?  No-brainier.  I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, ‘God,as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I’m on this Lord.  I’m your girl!  You’ve never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life.  What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed?  I am going to witness to this man.’

Again as clearly as I’ve ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. ‘That is not what I said,Beth.  I don’t want you to witness to him.  I want you to go brush his hair.’

I looked up at God and quipped, ‘I don’t have a hairbrush.  It’s in my suitcase on the plane.  How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?’  God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God’s word: ‘I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.’ (2 Timothy 3:17)

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies.  I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, ‘Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’

He looked back at me and said, ‘What did you say?’

‘May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’ To which he responded in volume ten, ‘Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you’re going to have to talk louder than that’

At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, ‘SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?’  At which point every eye in the place darted right at me.  I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Long Locks.  Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, ‘If you really want to.’

Are you kidding? Of course I didn’t want to.  But God didn’t seem interested in my personal preference right about then.  He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, ‘Yes, sir, I would be pleased.  But I have one little problem.  I don’t have a hairbrush.’

‘I have one in my bag,’ he responded.

I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger’s old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing.  I stood up and started brushing the old man’s hair.  It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted.  I don’t do many things well, but must admit I’ve had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls.  Like I’d done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands,remembering to take my time not to pull.  A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man’s hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared.  There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me.  I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair.  I know this soun ds so strange, but I’ve never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life.  I believe with all my heart, I – for that few minutes – felt a portion of the very

love of God.  That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while.

The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God’s.  His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant’s. I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him.  I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knee and said,’Sir, do you know my Jesus?’

He said, ‘Yes, I do’

Well, that figures, I thought.

He explained, ‘I’ve known Him since I married my bride.  She

wouldn’t marry me until I got to know the Savior.’  He said, ‘You see, the problem is, I haven’t seen my bride in months.  I’ve had open-heart surgery, and she’s been too ill to come see me.  I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.’

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we’re completely unaware of the significance.  This, on the other hand,was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known.  It was a God moment, and I’ll never forget it.

Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane.  I was deeply ashamed of how I’d acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.

I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks.  She said, ‘That old man’s sitting on the plane, sobbing.  Why did you do that?  What made you do that?’

I said, ‘Do you know Jesus?  He can be the bossiest thing!’

And we got to share.

I learned something about God that day.  He knows if you’re exhausted,you’re hungry, you’re serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge.  He knows if you’re hurting or feeling rejected.  He knows if you’re sick or drowning under a wave of temptation.  Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed.  He sees you as an individual.  Tell Him your need!

I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way … all because I didn’t want people to think I was strange.  God didn’t send me to that old man.  He sent that old man to me.

John 1:14 ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father,full of grace and truth’

Life shouldn’t be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting,’Wow!  What a ride!  Thank You, Lord!’

Blessings,

#kent

Overcoming Temptation

September 19, 2017

1 Peter 5:8

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Overcoming Temptation

If you have an enemy or an opponent that you are up against what is it that you must do to defeat them?  Obviously you won’t assault them in their strengths; you will look for their weaknesses and vulnerabilities.  This is how satan stalks us, looking for our weaknesses and vulnerabilities where he might find entrance and gain ground to ultimately defeat and destroy us.  Jesus is very clear about the purpose of the enemy and His purpose in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”  Satan’s purpose and mission is to take us out.  Knowing this the Word exhorts us to be self-controlled and alert.  I took the time to look up the root meaning of the Greek words that were used here and basically it is telling us to not get caught up in our passions and  feelings, but to always be looking at ourselves objectively and with introspection.  In other words let the spirit man judge your intent, actions and life.  Be prudent and wise in all of the decisions and choices that you make.  Consider the consequences of all that you do.   How many of us have wanted to do something so bad that we just shut out the voices of reason and restraint and just did it anyway.  It was great for the moment, but then at some point the consequences of our actions caught up with us and we may have later greatly regretted that action or decision, but we can’t ever take it back.  The enemy is always out to ensnare and entrap you.  Jesus says, “be wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.”  You have to understand the mind and intent of your adversary and guard your heart, so that you don’t stumble into the temptations that are placed before you. 

There are those times we find ourselves head to head with our adversary. There is a wrestling and a battle going on.  This is where we must resist and oppose the strong urges of temptation and sin.  James 4:7 exhorts us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  2 Timothy 2:22-23 exhorts us, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

This is our strategy for opposing our adversary.  We don’t sit and reason with him, we oppose him and flee from his temptations.  If we start to reason and rationalize our mind will justify our actions.  The enemy is like that prostitute that wants to woo us into sin.  Proverbs 7 describes her very well and the end of her ways is the grave and the pathway to hell.   

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:11-12)”

 

Blessings,

#kent

Bridge over Troubled Waters

September 18, 2017

Bridge over Troubled Waters

John 14:1

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Our hearts are often burdened and troubled with many things, our children, our marriage, our loved ones, our finances, our health and the list goes on.  Jesus tells us this is a part of this earthly life.  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)” It is true to the selfless nature of Christ that in the last hours before His apprehension and subsequent crucifixion Jesus is not trying to find comfort for Himself, He is instead comforting and reassuring His disciples, preparing them for what is to come.  In our lives we will come to these crossroads of great tribulation when our world will get turned upside down.  It will be hard to make sense out of the devastation that we feel and heartache we may incur, but Jesus wants us to know that He has not forsaken us in these times.  The Holy Spirit has been given to us to be our comforter, our peace, our reassurance that God has not left us or forsaken us.  Our Father doesn’t rescue us from all of the tragedies of life.  We are destined to walk through them and the consequences that sin has had in the earth.  The peace we have is that our Christ lives in us.  He is the source and the resource of our ability to walk through the fires and trials of life and not have the smell of smoke upon us.  Invariably our first inclination is to begin reasoning and fighting in the power of our flesh, but our salvation is not in us, it is in Him.  It is entering into the rest of our God and knowing ‘He is working all things to the good of them that love Him and that are called according to His purpose.’  Our peace comes only as we enter into that place of faith and trust.  We know that we serve a great God, who is sovereign over all the earth and the affairs of men and while God doesn’t always change the course of history or events for our particular circumstances, that doesn’t mean He isn’t at work in them.  We get so nervous when we are not in the driver’s seat, but God is well able to guide and direct our situation far better than we are.  When Job was met with the tremendous tragedies that took his children, his wealth and his health, was he effected emotionally?  You bet that he was  What made the difference with Job is that he knew life was not about the things of this earth, it was about his relationship with the Father.  Job 1:20-22,”20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. [c] The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”  How different from so many today who face trials only to blame God and turn away from him because He let these bad things happen to seemingly good people.  Even as the second set of trials were laid upon Job with the afflictions of his flesh, his response bore out his rest and full relinquishment of his life to God.  Job 2:7-10, “7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish  woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” 

Our peace in the midst of our tribulation comes from not being devastated by what is happening without, but by turning within.  It is by worshipping our God in the midst of trials, by placing ourselves fully within His hands to perform whatever it is He would work out through what we may only see as evil.  He is our ark of safety, our fortress, our high tower, our shield and buckler.  The Overcomer dwells within us.  He has conquered death and the grave; He ever lives to make intercession our behalf.  If our eyes and our heart are upon Him, then we are already looking at our victory regardless of what is happening without. 

Is your heart troubled today?  We have become anxious about many things.  Perhaps we are angry with others because they are not doing something to help us.  Martha was upset with Mary, her sister, because she was setting at the feet of Jesus feeding off of His words, rather than helping with the natural food preparation.  Complaining to Jesus, He tells her, ““Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” Instead of being anxious, we also need to choose the one thing that is needed, which is feeding off of the Word of God and sitting in His presence.  If you need that peace today, you will find it there in His presence as you rest in Him.  He is that bridge over troubled waters.

Blessings,

 

#kent

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