The House of God

February 28, 2018

 

The House of God

 

Ephesians 2:19-22

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

 

The house of God, as most of us know, is not a structure of wood and stone.  It is not a religion or an organization, but it is a living organism structured, designed, and formed by the Spirit of God for His Holy Habitation.   It is like a house within a house.  You and I are individually the temples and dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, but at the same time we are being formed corporately into the temple and dwelling of the Most High.

What comes to mind is a honeycomb of fitted individual cells all joined together into a hive.  It is there that you find the honey, the anointing, the sweet out-flowing of the Holy One.  All of its members work in one accord and unto one end, to perpetuate the life of that hive.  Each member has their own functions and abilities and as each one is faithful to function in their gifting and calling, the hive will prosper.

Before we knew Christ we had no real home, no real purpose and we were strangers to God.  It was His grace that led us unto repentance and salvation that He might join us unto His own where we now have purpose and true meaning in our lives.

It says we have been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.  These were the stones through which God’s Word came forth and established what we now read as our Bible.  They gave the tenants and blueprints of God’s design so that we could continue to be built with continuity from generation to generation, not wavering from the original design and purpose of our Master Architect and Builder, who is Himself the chief cornerstone, the primary support and anchor of God’s temple as well as the capstone and crown of glory that completes and finishes it.

Ephesians 4:11-16 says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”  From this scripture has come the terminology of what we call the five fold ministry.  A brother shared with us a good analogy the other day as we were having fellowship.  He said he saw the five fold ministry much like the forms in construction that are assembled with reinforcements placed within them and then filled with concrete.  The forms are not the actual structure or building, but are there to give shape, dimension, and form to the structure, but once the concrete has set up and taken the shape it was designed for the forms are stripped away.  The fivefold ministry is not an end in itself, but they are the materials and tools to build the house into God’s design.  The end purpose is to have a unified structure that is an organism that functions in the fullness of Christ, whose head is Christ.  Each member works together with the other and no one member works for their own good, but for the good of the whole.  Much of our mindset today is “what’s in it for me.”  In the true body of Christ, me doesn’t exist, it is all about Him.  That is the house of God.

Blessings,

#kent

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From a Place of True Humility

February 27, 2018

Romans 12:14-16

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

 

From a Place of True Humility

 

One of the ways you recognize a truly spiritual person is not in what they know, not their spiritual positioning, not their title, not all of the revelations or spiritual experiences they may have had; you will recognize them because of their true love and humility.

Philippians 2:2-11 shows this clearly in the example of Jesus.  “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. 4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  If anyone could have ministered from a place of power, authority or exaltation it was Jesus.  He certainly had the right and authority to do so, but he modeled before us a different example.  It was the example of ministering from the place of a servant rather than a lord.  It was learning not to talk down to people of lesser experience, maturity and stature, but rather getting under them and lifting them up, edifying them in the love of Christ.  Many of us, without even realizing it, carry a religious spirit that does just the opposite.  What we perceive as ministering life, rather ministers death and alienates us from the very ones we desire to minister too.  What we perceive as truth and enlightenment is received by them as condescending and condemnation.  It may have to do with the position our spirit is coming from.  Are we talking down to them or are we getting under them and lifting them up, meeting them where they are at rather than where we think we are.  In ministry it is never about us.  It’s all about how we carry and communicate Christ.  That is not always with words.  Often our actions speak much louder than our words.  Our actions should be the confirmation of our words that attest to the truths we seek to communicate.  Like the old adage goes, “People don’t care how much you know, till they know how much you care.”

Paul communicates a very important truth to those of us that think we are spiritual here in Philippians 2:3-5, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. 4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”  Jesus didn’t manifest himself to men from a high position, but from a posture of true humility and love.  He communicated God’s love and truth in a way that even the least of men could perceive and receive.

We read in John 12:23-26, “Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”  Jesus was that kernel of wheat that was willing to die so that He could be reproduced in others.  He lost Himself so that we might live.  That same DNA of humility and servanthood has to reside in us, so that we also must be willing to lay down our lives, so that others may live.

One minister I recalled shared it this way, “Jesus had to go to hell before He went to heaven.  The way up is the way down.  You have to be willing to die that you may truly live and reproduce Christ’s life in others.”

“True Christianity isn’t about us always being right, that comes from religion”, as our pastor has said, “True Christianity comes from righteousness, not ours, but God’s.”  His righteousness reveals itself in humility and love.  It’s not about me being right, it is about loving others into His righteousness through pure humility and love.

Blessings,

#kent

The Loving Hand of Correction

February 26, 2018

The Loving Hand of Correction

Hebrew 12:5-8

 

5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.  6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  8 )  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

 

Most of us would rather run away from discipline and correction.  Especially when things are going well the last thing we want is someone to rock our boat, especially heavenly Father.  Every motive and action of God is birthed in love, for He is love.  For God to leave us to our own devices and ways would not be very loving on His part since we are His children and His responsibility is to raise us as such.  While many of us say we love God we can be just as stubborn and rebellious about spiritual things as we can about natural things.  Out of God’s great love for us, because we are His children, He corrects and disciplines us in many different ways.  Even though that goes against the grain of our flesh, what is the greatest hindrance to our spiritual walk if it is not the old natural ways of living and thinking?  The trials and tribulations that touch our lives are exercising our true faith, spiritual obedience and substance.  I find I can think I’m pretty a good egg until the Lord allows me to tested in an area and what comes out of me or how I respond is often a pretty good indicator that a definite work of grace and correction is needed in that area of my life.  Unfortunately for most of us God has to keep taking us around and around some of the mountains in our life, because we still can’t seem to get it right.  How often have we read about the Israelites of the Old Testament and shook our heads at the fact we saw a continual cycle of rebellion and disobedience to God, His warnings and exhortation to turn from sin, their continued path of disobedience, God’s rod of discipline and correction, the repentance and turning again to God.  Then it would start all over again.  1 Corinthians 10: 11 says, “Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”  Here we have 20/20 hindsight, but do we make any better choices and demonstrate a greater measure of obedience and submission to the Lord than our Israelite predecessors?

Those who have trusted God for their salvation are at the heart of God’s love.  Even Jesus is our example, for it says, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered (Hebrew 5:8).” Let us not take the discipline of the Lord as a sign of His displeasure or anger toward us.  Though our discipline is not pleasant while we are going through it the Lord does it for our profit and good.  The end result is that it works the peaceable fruits of righteousness in us when we have been exercised by it.  Like the loving Father that He is, He is not allowing us to grow up spiritually being the self-willed, self- serving children we would be inclined to be, but the children that are being conformed to image of the Father by His loving hand and correction.

Let’s thank God He loves us the way we are but loves us too much to let us stay that way.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Patience in the Midst of Tribulation

 

Romans 5:3-5

And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And patience, experience; and experience, hope And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

 

There is not one of us who has always seen an immediate answer to our prayers and need.  Many of us may have been trusting the Lord for years for certain things, maybe a healing, a loved one’s salvation or a deliverance from some weakness in our lives.  Perhaps we have become discouraged in the way and have wanted to give up.  Maybe we have.  Isaiah 59:1 says, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” In many cases the Lord says it is our iniquities and sin that has made a separation between us and our God, but that is not the only thing that hinders or delays our answers to prayer.

If you had two boys very similar in most ways, but you took one of them and everything he wanted or asked for he received immediately.  There was nothing denied him, nor did he have to wait for that which he asked for.  On the other hand the other boy was taught that not everything is given just because you ask for it or want it.  In some cases the answer was “no”.  While the boy’s needs were met and he didn’t go hungry some things came after a time of patiently waiting.  Some things were gained through diligence and hard work.  While not everything came to him right away, he discovered that through obedience and trust in his benefactor and provider, most things did come to him in due time.  As the boys grew to be adults who do you think grew to be the most responsible, appreciative, humble, patient, related best with others and had the best work ethic?

Some of us may have a concept of God as a celestial Santa Claus.  Whatever we ask or believe for should automatically appear.  God is not a Santa Claus.  He is a loving heavenly Father who loves his children dearly.  Hebrews 12:2-29 is a great account concerning the discipline of the heavenly Father.  Please read it if you can.  It tells us that because our Father loves us He chastens, disciplines and corrects us.  If you are not experiencing this, then maybe it is because you don’t belong to Him and are not His child.  It is this discipline through our trials and tribulations that trains us up in His character and likeness.  It teaches us to trust Him, based not on our sense realm, but on faith in His Word.

Which makes the best stew, one in which all of the ingredients are just added to water, or one in which it is then put upon the stove brought to a boil and then simmered for a good length of time and seasoned just right?

What some of us may have considered God’s unfaithfulness or lack of response, may be the test of our faithfulness to Him.  Job’s response to God when satan took all that he had and counted dear to him, leaving him desolate, childless and in pain and misery was:  “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Job 1; 20-22).”  In Job 5:17 the statement is made, “Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:”

What we learn in our walk with God is that He is God and we are not.  He sets the conditions and the standards according to His Word.  We have to be willing to count Him faithful even when God doesn’t come through on our terms or way of thinking.  He is the Creator and we are the created.  Will the pot say to the potter, “Why did you make me this way?”  We are being fashioned after the image of His likeness.  He showed us the way in the life of Jesus.  Ultimately that way is leading us to the same end through the cross that we may in turn experience the power of His resurrection life.  In Acts 14:22 it says that Paul was “Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God”.

We are a blessed people.  We serve a great and wonderful Lord.  We have all no doubt tasted of the richness of His goodness and mercy.  While we hear much ministry today about prosperity and blessings which is certainly a part of our inheritance, we must remember also James 1:2-4 which exhorts us, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

It may be that we are looking for the prosperity and blessings, instead are finding ourselves in the midst of tribulation and trials.  There are seasons for all things, but know this: Romans 8:28-31 encourages us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.   Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?”  Have Patience…

Blessings,

#kent

Fountain and Cistern

February 22, 2018

Fountain and Cistern

 

Jeremiah 2:13

For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

 

As believers in Christ we understand that we have spirits that are in some form of relationship with God.  There are different levels and places of relationship and where we are, is motivated by our desire to be in relationship with our Father.  We can easily grasp that He is the fountain and out-flowing of blessing and life.  We, His people, are His pots, His well springs, and means of Him expressing His life in the earth.

There are some of us today that are broken cisterns, like Jeremiah describes here.  They hear the Word of God, but they don’t retain it.  They turn right around and live there own life in the world and immediately forget whom they are supposed to be in Christ or they fabricate and believe in false truths and vanities that can hold no water.  They have head knowledge of Him, but no heart knowledge and intimacy with Him.  Often, these are the most deceived.  They have a religion, but it is void of relationship.  Yet, mentally, they may be thinking they have covered the bases.  They have given God His due.  Maybe they went to church or did their religious duty, but it is not their lifestyle.  Their lives don’t retain truth.  It is as James 1:22-25 says, “22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.” If we only hear the Word of God, but it is not changing and transforming our lives, then our religion is vain and we are broken cisterns or water pots.

Then there are the cistern or water pots that can hold the water.  They have a relationship with Christ.  They not only know about Christ, they actively try and live for Him.  While they hold the Christ within the bosom of their spirits, they aren’t actively giving out the Christ.  They are not dynamic or moving in their faith, they are static and still.  The problem with still water is that before long it starts to become stagnant and becomes the breeding ground for unclean things.  Perhaps a lot of the areas we struggle in today are because we have let our relationship with Christ stagnate.  We have not turned away from Christ, but at the same time He is not flowing through us. We are becoming lukewarm.

In order to have truly healthy spirits we need to become fountains.  We need to be tied into our source, the headwaters of Christ, in order to be the tributary and out-flowing of His love, truth and blessing.  The wonderful thing that you will find out about being a fountain is that you will never run dry as long as the Father is your source.  “His mercies are new every morning.”  The flowing streams of His mercy, grace and truth are continually cleansing you, renewing you and challenging you.  When we are fountains we find a dynamic work of God in progress, not only in us, but also through us, transforming and touching us and the lives around us.  When the waters are still you will see your own reflection, when they are moving you will see God’s.

May our lives be so much more than leaky water pots or even ones that just hold the water.  May we become the fountains of God’s grace, giving forth His life and watering the dry thirsty earth in each unique opportunity that He provides us.  Let us be as John 7:38 says, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”  Take the life within you and go water the earth today.

Blessings,

#kent

The City of God

February 21, 2018

Psalms 48

Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.

2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.

3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress. 4 When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, 5 they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror. 6 Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor. 7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind. 8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever. Selah

9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. 10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.

11 Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

 

The City of God

 

Many have an affinity for the natural city of Jerusalem in Israel and their focus is on the natural.  That can be okay if we understand that God uses the natural things to reveal to us the truth of the Spirit.  Many of the passages that refer to the City of God are not literal references to natural Jerusalem.  Natural Jerusalem follows the same principle of what is a true Jew?  In Romans 2:28-29 Paul gives us the definition of a true Jew.  “28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”  The New Testament definition of a Jew is not about outward nationality, but about the nationality of the spirit of a man.  New Jerusalem is a spiritual city comprised of spiritual inhabitants that are in relationship with their Lord.

Mount Sinai spoke of the law and condemnation, but Mount Zion, the high place in Jerusalem speaks of an everlasting covenant of peace, forgiveness and restoration.  Hebrew 12:18-24 describes it to us this way, “18You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”

22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”  This New Jerusalem is where the people of God are to have their true identity, spiritual citizenship and spiritual habitation.  When we read these references to the city of God our hearts should rejoice as believers for this is speaking of our habitation and dwelling.  Psalm 87:1-2 says, “He has set his foundation on the holy mountain; 2 the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. 3 Glorious things are said of you, O city of God: Selah” It is not the natural habitations of the Jews that God is rejoicing in, it is the gate of Zion, His holy habitation in which both Jew and Gentile have access through the blood Jesus the Messiah.

Psalms 46:4 tells us, “[There is] a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy [place] of the tabernacles of the most High.”  How well this corresponds with Revelation 22:1-6 which declares, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. 6The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

Perhaps through these scripture we gain some comprehension of the glorious City we help to comprise.  Catch the vision of who you are City of God.  In Revelations 21:1-4 it says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” It is this holy city, New Jerusalem that is come down into the earth, a new heaven and a new earth in which God indwells His people and the fullness of His Kingdom will be known among men.  This is the inheritance of those who hold fast the faith and walk in the light of truth.   Walk about this city as it is portrayed and exemplified in the Word.  “Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. (Psalms 48:12-14)”

Blessings,

#kent

 

Call to Repentance and Preparation

(A word from the Lord)

 

Jeremiah 33:14

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.

 

 

Leave the ways of Baal behind you.  Walk out of the darkness and into the fullness of light.  Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and He will direct you paths.  Open up your heart of compassion and feel the need of humanity, hear their groans and reach out to the down trodden, the poor, the widow and the fatherless.  Be a father, be a mother, be what the need requires you to be.  You dwell in your ceiled and comfortable houses while my house lies in ruin.  See My purpose in that I am about to build my temple and my house of prayer to all nations.  You lack blessing because you focus only on your wants and on your needs.  What is your commitment to Me says the Lord?  I have not birthed you and brought you into the kingdom to serve only yourselves.  I have blessed you and I will bless you to be a blessing.  Christ did not come to do His will, but the will of the Father.  That is your calling as well.  Fear the Lord and despise evil.  Humble yourselves before Me and repent of your ways and your pleasures that you might be to me sons and daughters bearing the mark and the nature of My Son.  You have been called out of darkness into the light that you may be light bearers, torches and flames of truth and righteousness.

When will you put Me first?  When will you love Me as you say you do with all of your mind, strength, heart and soul?   I have called out a people after My name to rebuild My house.  It is a house of prayer for all of the nations and all of the nations will come to My light.  Humble yourselves before me.  Look for the opportunity to share Me with those I am bringing into your life.  Within your lips are the words of life, speak them and live them before all men.  Be not be double-minded and forsake your duplicity of heart.  You have been called out and separated unto me for such an hour as this.  Put on the garment s of praise and righteousness.  Put on Christ.  Shake the dust from your feet and come and follow Me.  You are the servants of the Most High.  This is not a calling that you should dismiss lightly.  I privileged you to be my vessels of living water and to bring the waters of refreshing and salvation into the earth.

Arise my beloved, shake the dust and the earth from you.  Wash yourselves in the water of the word and in repentance from dead works.   It is a time to dress and prepare yourselves for what I am bringing to pass in the earth.  Listen to My call and to My warnings that the day might not catch you unawares and unprepared.   Have you not heard that I come as thief in the night?  Don’t be as the foolish virgins who had no oil.  Prepare your lamps that they may be trimmed and lit in the hour of My coming.  Rise up and prepare for Your master is returning from His journey and will soon take account of His house.  Have it in order that you would be not put to shame.  Faithful is the one who hears these words and does them.

Blessings,

#kent

The Spirit of Giving

February 19, 2018

 

The Spirit of Giving

 

James 2:13-17

 

For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

 

Most of us have probably become somewhat hardened in areas of giving.  Everyday we are inundated with mail, phone calls, knocks on the door, television and radio pleas, all asking for money.  Many of these are legitimate and worthy causes, but we have more requests than we have money to give.   Are we to feel condemned because we can’t give to every cause, every month?  Most of the time we have given in the past to one ministry or another because something moved our hearts to do so.  Of course, once you have given you are automatically financial partners for life.  There are not many of us that have unlimited resources to give to every call for giving.  It has been my conviction that with what we have designated as our tithe and offerings we should really seek the Holy Spirit’s leading in where we give it and give it with a cheerful and willing heart.  It may not be to that favorite television ministry or even the church, it may be to the neighbor across the street, another saint who is pouring out their lives to minister to those in need or possibly even to one who has wronged or hurt you in the past.  The Spirit of God does not move as men do with organized fund raising programs, but He will move through the heart of a willing and yielded believer.  Sometimes he brings those across our paths that have genuine needs, but we ignore them because we have our agenda of where we have to give or how much we have to give.  Could it be that the Holy Spirit wants us to develop a sensitivity to His leading and direction?  Sometimes I have people call me wanting me to give to this important cause and I tell them I’ll pray about it, but I try to give as the Spirit directs me, so I can’t make any promises.  Send me your material and if the Lord directs me that way then I’ll give.  There have been times the wife and I have felt to give to someone or something, we would asked the other what they felt the Lord had spoken to them as to the amount and it would often confirm what the other was feeling also.  We were employing a witness to help confirm the way we were feeling led of the Spirit.

There have been times when someone has approached me on the street with his or her hard luck story of being down and out.  I’ve responded by giving them money only to have them come up to me at another time with another story.  My heart wasn’t so merciful and giving toward them the second time.   While we want to be giving to genuine needs, none of us want to conned and taken advantage of by liars and professional beggars.

The important thing that James is bringing out in this scripture is where is our heart?  And do our actions correspond with the faith we proclaim?  I think about someone like Mother Teresa.   Even non-believers could tell that she was the real deal.  It wasn’t because of her religion; it was because of her heart.  She truly counted others of more importance than herself.  She lived a life of putting others first and it wasn’t the important people, it was the nobodies, what most considered the outcasts and the lowliest of society.  She learned what it meant to let Christ live through her.  She became His hands and feet.  She became his expression of mercy and compassion.  Isn’t that what He wants to teach us to be more like?  Isn’t that what the world is really looking for in their search for God, the real deal?  Instead they see religion as big business exploiting all who will give into her.  They see ministers in riches while they live in poverty.  The world needs to see more of the reality of God coming out of everyday believers like you and me that will live Christ before them in word and deed.  Are we the real deal?  Are we supporting the real deal?  Let’s be sensitive to the Spirit to know that we are.

Blessings,

#kent

The God of all Comfort

February 16, 2018

 

The God of all Comfort

 

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

 

We don’t always have explanations for the things we go through in life.  God does not always move in the realm of our time or our way of thinking.  We obviously would pray ourselves out of every trying and suffering circumstance, but God doesn’t always remove those hardships and the unpleasantries of life from us.  It is reassuring when we look at Paul and the apostles lives to see that though none probably walked closer and nearer to God than they did, they were not immune to hardship and suffering.  Yet here in this passage Paul speaks of our God and Father as being the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Yet the God of all comfort spared not His own Son.  Hebrew 5:7-9 tells us, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Even God’s own Son offered up strong prayers to be delivered from death and yet He had to go through it.  It tells us that even Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered “being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.”  So, is God sadistic?  Does He enjoy seeing people suffer?  You know, Adam and Eve didn’t have any trouble obeying and living sinless lives as long as there was no temptation or trials.  The difference is, where they failed in that they had never known hardship or suffering, Christ, the last Adam, overcame through death and suffering.  Trials and hardships are a part of our lives, but they aren’t there because God is mean and sadistic.  The fact is, that there are many times we wouldn’t be able to survive them if it weren’t for His comfort and grace.  Opposition is the element that forces us into a place of strength.  When we face oppositions that are beyond our strength, it forces us into someone stronger than we are.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul tells us what the Lord spoke to Him in that place.  “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  It is in our weakness that we find our true strength, which is our God.  Our natural inclination is to want to be delivered and get out of the place of hardship, suffering and pain, but in that place is often the greatest work of transformation in our lives.  As we experience death outwardly, it forces us into life inwardly.  We begin to trust and rely upon God in ways we never would have otherwise.  And God is not insensitive to your pain.  He indwells you, so He is sharing your sufferings, your trials and your hardships.  His Word and the Life of His Spirit are there to comfort and encourage you.  Likewise others who have traveled this road come along side of you and identify with you, encouraging you in the place where you are.  What is being worked in us through our suffering and hardships is working in us the nature of comfort and compassion that we could not have had if we never walked that way.  With our suffering, God gives us comfort and reassurance.  We know that we are His; that He purchased us with a great price of suffering.  We have been privileged to share in that suffering as well as in the blessing, so that we also might learn obedience through the things we suffer and might be made perfect as Christ perfects us.

No precious vessel of honor becomes that way instantly or naturally.  There is a process that takes it from a place of rough raw materials, through crushing, purification and separations, to tooling, hammering crafting and polishing, till finally from the Master’s hand immerges the prize of such intense dealings and pain.  Is God preparing you as His mantle piece today?  See through the suffering into His heart of compassion and love, for whom the Lord loves He chastens.  Know that He is there with us in those hard places and He shares in our hurts, disappointments, sorrows and sicknesses.  See through the darkness of the hardships of this life into the light of His eternal love and comfort.  He has not left you or forsaken you, but is mighty in you to bring you through to victory.

Blessings,

#kent

Amber Alert

February 15, 2018

 

Amber Alert

 

Mark 10:14

But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

 

We have instituted a wonderful system in this country, so that when a child is abducted or kidnapped or lost, announcements are made everywhere concerning their situation.  Information is gathered and distributed to allow people to be on the lookout for the things that might identify this child or their abductor.  It is wonderful how there is information, coordination and cooperation on a wide and often national scale to recover our little children.

If we were to look at this from a spiritual perspective for a moment many of us recognize that there has been a mass abduction of our children spiritually, mentally and morally.  We need a spiritual Amber Alert to awaken us to the fact that our society is being taken spiritual captive and it starts with our children.  Most of us realize the need to monitor the television that they watch, because it can be a strong instrument and influence to ungodly and wrong thinking.   We see agendas being promoted every day that have messages coming through every venue possible to dumb us down spiritually and morally to lifestyles and that are contrary to Biblical principles and values.  The innocent and inquisitive mind of a child is the most susceptible to the influence and the persuasion of the enemy.  Especially if we as parents and adults become careless and complacent concerning our duties to protect them and give them right values.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”  This exhortation still stands for us today.  It is so easy in our busy society and the demands of life to allow our children to go unguarded and unprotected simply from the lack of instruction and the influence we can have in their lives.  It is not practical to isolate our kids and keep them from any physical contact with the world.  We can’t practically do that even for ourselves, nor is that God’s intent.  He wants us to be lights in our world.  We must start by lighting a candle in our children, instructing them daily in the Word, and continually talking about the things of God and the goodness of God.  Don’t fall into the trap of using God and His Word like a big stick to threaten, condemn and coerce our children when they sin.  Let them know it is the sin that brings consequences for wrong actions and leads to our hurt.   Instruct them in who they are in Christ and help them daily to grow in a personal relationship with Him as we pray with them and teach them the Word.  Discuss with them these attitudes of the world they are hearing and give them sound Biblical principles as to why they are wrong and the consequences of what they bring.

We must have a spiritual Amber Alert sounding right now.  It has to start with us as adults recognizing and addressing the very real attacks and abductions that are taking place with our children everyday in all of the areas that influence them.  Their protection is in bringing them to Jesus and having them sit at His feet.  Instill that Word and the love of God in their hearts daily.  We must be their covering and protection through the influence we have over them.  If we don’t influence them, then we better know that someone else will.  1 Peter 5:8 says,”Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” Our children’s young innocent minds are prime targets for spiritual influences of darkness.  As parents, grandparents and adults that have influence in children’s lives, we must be the spiritual guardians of their souls and the protectors of their little spirits.  We want to wake up to the Amber Alert of the Spirit and take action to preserve and instruct our children in righteousness and the ways of Life.

Blessings,

#kent

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