Love is not Always Easy

April 16, 2018

Ephesians 4:1-3

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

Love is not Always Easy

 

A part of the calling that we have as Christians in Christ Jesus is to walk in love.  If we are going only by emotions, there will be a lot of times that we won’t feel love.  We may feel everything but love.  The first thing we have to realize is that while love may carry with it emotions and strong feelings, the emotions and feelings aren’t the love.  Love is a decision of your heart.  True love is a commitment in the good times and the bad, in the sweet and the bitter, for the better or for the worse.  Therefore love is not always about how we feel.  God first loved us when we were sinners, estranged and in rebellion to Him.  His love wasn’t in response to our love; it was in spite of the fact that we didn’t love Him.  God has chosen to love us and His actions toward us were deliberate and not just responsive to us based on what we could give back.  This is the love that Christ has placed in our hearts because He is in us.  We are to choose to act out of love, not to just love others when they love us or love the people that are nice and pleasant, or that we have feelings for.  Love is often a hard choice.  It is often not easy to love certain people.  It is our calling, in as much as is possible, to be a peace with all men and to live and act out of the attitude of love.  Love needs to be what powers us, motivates and drives us in the will of God.  When we begin to think upon the vastness and the magnitude of God and how insignificant and minute we are in comparison, it just blows us away that He even would acknowledge us, let alone give His only Son to die for us.  How can we truly comprehend that kind of love?  Yet everything God is and does is motivated out of love, because God is love.  That same force, that is God’s source and power, now indwells us.  It must be what drives and motivates us to love God with all of our heart, our mind, our soul and strength.  It is also what empowers us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

We know how hard it is even within our own marriages to always love our spouse.  They can be so irritating, inconsiderate, unappreciative, stubborn, insensitive, lazy and any number of other adjectives and nouns.  In the beginning we were moved by great emotions and feelings, but after the honeymoon was over that perfect person can turn into one of our greatest trials in life.  What we forget is that love is still a choice.  We start responding to our spouse like we did in the beginning, out of feelings and emotions; only this time they are negative instead of positive. Our love and hate are a response of our flesh and soul and not a choice of our spirit.  Love doesn’t react because someone is pushing our buttons; it is a choice based on our commitment, vow and promise.  It doesn’t return insult for insult, hurt for hurt, cursing for cursing.  It chooses to act and respond out of the nature of Christ.  It also must be willing to accept valid criticism, correction and look at what can best meet the other person’s needs.  We are all unique and different individuals and none of us were made or designed to fit perfectly within someone else’s box.  There are a lot of times we don’t even like who we are, so how is someone else always going to please us?  This is where the lowliness, gentleness, forbearance, longsuffering and the fruit of the Spirit enter in.  This is the place where we get to practice living the nature of Christ.

The root of most ended marriages is selfishness of one or more of the individuals.  Love is not selfish, it is self-sacrificing and it takes both parties giving and compromising to create the best environment to be able to live in enjoyment and in peace with one another.  It is always work and most of the time it is not easy.  It is only successful through the commitment of both parties and their choice and commitment to love the other.  The same principle holds true in our relationships with others.  It is God’s love that must possess you; our love always falls short.  Love is not always easy, but it is always God.

Blessings,

#kent

Advertisements

 

Garbage:  Destructive or Constructive?

 

Matthew 5:38-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.  39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 

Which of us doesn’t deal with garbage in our lives?  When I say garbage I am talking about all of the offenses, insults, persecutions, inequities and evils that come at us in life.  We all deal with it on some level and some more than others do.  Life inherently holds hurts, disappointments, pain, frustrations and offenders of our person.  Most of these come directly or indirectly through people that touch our lives in a negative way.  Mostly we brush it off and go on, but there is garbage that can emotionally cripple and traumatize us.  There are some offenses that are gut-wrenchingly hard to deal with, let alone let go.  All of this is the garbage that gets dumped into our life.  Even in the good things there are by-products that must be passed and flushed down the toilet of forgiveness and forgetfulness.

Here’s the thing, if we don’t pass the poop in our life, it will back up on us.  It will eventually make us sick and can even become septic, especially if gets into the rest of our system.  It not only makes us sick, but it can begin to poison our other relationships that were healthy as well.  It changes our state of emotional and spiritual health.

In the scripture that Jesus gives here in Matthew 5 we find some principles that in the natural are kind of hard to swallow, because they seem unfair.  There is an old saying, “No one can get your goat unless you have one to be got.”  Jesus is simply saying get rid of your goat.  These principles that Jesus speaks of are hard, because we are still holding on to us, our rights, our goods, our dignity and pride.  You see, a dead man can’t be hurt.  If we are truly dead to this old man and alive unto Christ, then our life is hid with Christ in God and living a life pleasing unto Him is all that matters.  Most of us aren’t there yet. We are still struggling with the garbage.

Garbage or dung can have a positive and a negative side.  We have just spoken to the negative effects it can and does have on us such as bitterness, covetousness, unforgiveness, strife, jealousy, envy, gossip and the like.  It feeds upon the flesh like bacteria.   On the other hand if we can process our garbage and our dung in a healthy way, then it can become the fertilizer for a productive and godly life.  If we ask ourselves, “Where do we grow spiritually”?  Is it when everything is roses, prosperity, health and great relationships?  No.  We grow out of adversity, trials and tribulations.  These are what stretch and exercise our faith.  These are what cause us to lose ourselves and press into Christ.  The law of our mind wars against the mind of the Spirit, because it still wants the law of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  The kingdom we are entering into is not one in which we seek to preserve this life, but we willing lose it for Christ’s sake.  We are to be using our garbage to grow from and not to be allowing it to pollute and defile our lives.   Your garbage must become your fertilizer.  It must become the fabric for growth and not destruction.  It is out of this garbage that we can see the fruit of the Spirit produced in us, but if we hold it in and allow it to become septic and toxic, it will poison us.  It will feed the fruit of our flesh and it will produce death and not life.

Be careful how you process your garbage.  Don’t hold on to it.  Process it and pass it.  Use it as the fertilizer for your spiritual growth and health in Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

Death of the Saints

April 12, 2018

Isaiah 57:1-2

The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away,

and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.

2 Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.

 

Death of the Saints

 

You know as the Lord gave me this scripture today I struggled with it.  Out attitudes toward death first may be fear of death and then that death is not in the will of God for His people even though the scripture plainly states Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  You know we are spirit people contained in terrestrial or natural bodies.  This container of our flesh is but a temporary container of the eternal spirit that we are.  As we come to know Christ we come to realize that our fleshly man is not the means for which we live, but it is our means to the end for which we live.  By that I mean that we know longer live after the flesh for the flesh, but our bodies are to instruments of righteousness for His name sake.

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 speaks to us this way, “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”  The point of what Paul is sharing with us here is that it is not as much about the quantity of earthly life that we possess, but the quality of the life that we live.  We know by faith in Christ that when this earthly tent passes away we have a building from God, an eternal house.  It is our faith and vision as we look beyond death to walk into that with which we desire to be clothed upon, even the fullness of resurrection life in Christ.

Many of us will go there by means of the grave, but God is saying that it is not a fearful thing.  In our scripture today He is saying that many don’t understand why the righteous are taken.  He says they are taken to spare them from the evil that is to come.  When the saints enter into death, they can enter into to it with peace.  They rest in the fact they have lived a good life and fought a good fight.  Whenever their time here is done the Lord stands at the threshold ready to receive them into life.  Paul says that is even more desirable than this life.  Many times it is the fear of uncertainty that is our greatest fear of death.  It is the loss of what we have always known to be life that we are reluctant to let go of.  What we do know as saints of God is that what is on the other side of death is far more glorious and sublime than what this earthly existence could ever offer, when we are in Christ.

Psalms 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD [is] the death of his saints.”  Death should hold no fear for those of us who know who we are in Christ.  Most will face this at some point in life whether it be sooner or later.  The important thing is that we stand fast in the identification with His life.  While we yet live and breathe the breath of this earthly life let us fight the good fight of faith, living even now out of the life of His Spirit and power.  It is the Lord that numbers our days on earth, let us seek to live each one faithfully to His glory.  Have no fear of death, but have purpose and meaning in the life you now live.  There will be a people in the timing of the Lord that will not see a physical death as Christ comes forth with and within His people.  Whether we are that people or not we will live out of the life of Christ, submitting our body to Him if He calls us home before that time.

Blessings,

#kent

A Time to Speak

April 11, 2018

 

Proverbs 25:11

A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver.

 

A Time to Speak

 

There is a lot of verbiage that goes through our mouths during our life.  Most of it, in the light of eternity is virtually meaningless.  We also know from Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  The tongue has the power to kill and it has the power to bring life.  We have no doubt all been around individuals that rattle on and on and never really say anything of substance or value.  We’ve been around individuals that could use their tongues to cut like a sword and with one sentence they could leave you feeling like the most worthless individual that ever lived.  Occasionally, we come across those individuals that may not be very outspoken, but when they do speak their words are those apples of gold in pictures of silver.  They speak a word that doesn’t just flatter you, but it speaks faith, confidence and gives you sense of value and purpose.  Their words are rich with life and substance.  Often they can be missed because those who are doing all of the talking are so full of themselves, they are all that they can hear.  How often do we not hear the Holy Spirit, because we never give Him an opportunity to speak or when He does speak the sounding brass of our own thinking and speaking drowns him out?  If we don’t hear Him it often may be because we don’t shut up long enough to listen.

The difference between what Jesus spoke and what the religious leaders spoke was quite different.  They both spoke from the Word of God, but Jesus spoke as One having authority.  We are around many that go through the religious motions and ceremony.  They have knowledge of the Word, but what they are speaking is more often than not a regurgitation of something they have read or studied from someone else.  On the other hand when we are listening to someone who has been in the presence of the Lord and is speaking out of His anointing those things which God has placed within their heart there is substance and depth that we so often long for, but so rarely find.  Proverbs 16:1(Amplified) says, “THE PLANS of the mind and orderly thinking belong to man, but from the Lord comes the [wise] answer of the tongue.”  What we want coming out of our mouths is the wisdom from above, not just our earthly wisdom and knowledge.  It takes us being in the presence and seeking the heart of God for us to begin hearing the words He is speaking to us and through us.  It is from the richness of God’s presence and the life of the Word within you that you will begin to speak fitly words that glisten with God’s nature and are framed within His redemptive character and likeness.  They are words that will not just address the situation, but words that will speak to the motives of the heart.  Within the root of a tree is found the substance of what it is, so is the root of a man’s heart.  It is the fruit of that tree that reflects its root.

Blessings,

#kent

A Heart of Lust

April 10, 2018

 

Psalms 78:18-42

18And they tempted God in their hearts by asking for food according to their [selfish] desire and appetite.

19Yes, they spoke against God; they said, Can God furnish [the food for] a table in the wilderness?

20Behold, He did smite the rock so that waters gushed out and the streams overflowed; but can He give bread also? Can He provide flesh for His people? 21Therefore, when the Lord heard, He was [full of] wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob, His anger mounted up against Israel, 22Because in God they believed not [they relied not on Him, they adhered not to Him], and they trusted not in His salvation (His power to save). 23Yet He commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven; 24And He rained down upon them manna to eat and gave them heaven’s grain. 25Everyone ate the bread of the mighty [man ate angels’ food]; God sent them meat in abundance. 26He let forth the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by His power He guided the south wind. 27He rained flesh also upon them like the dust, and winged birds [quails] like the sand of the seas. 28And He let [the birds] fall in the midst of their camp, round about their tents. 29So they ate and were well filled; He gave them what they craved and lusted after. 31The wrath of God came upon them and slew the strongest and sturdiest of them and smote down Israel’s chosen youth. 32In spite of all this, they sinned still more, for they believed not in (relied not on and adhered not to Him for) His wondrous works. 33Therefore their days He consumed like a breath [in emptiness, falsity, and futility] and their years in terror and sudden haste. 34When He slew [some of] them, [the remainder] inquired after Him diligently, and they repented and sincerely sought God [for a time]. 35And they [earnestly] remembered that God was their Rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer. 36Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouths and lied to Him with their tongues. 37For their hearts were not right or sincere with Him, neither were they faithful and steadfast to His covenant. 38But He, full of [merciful] compassion, forgave their iniquity and destroyed them not; yes, many a time He turned His anger away and did not stir up all His wrath and indignation. 39For He [earnestly] remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that goes and does not return. 40How often they defied and rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert! 41And time and again they turned back and tempted God, provoking and incensing the Holy One of Israel. 42They remembered not [seriously the miracles of the working of] His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy.

 

A Heart of Lust

 

The account we read here in Psalms 78 is an example of the lust that tends to work in all of us.  Often we only think of lust in a sexual sense and there is certainly that aspect of it, but it is much broader than that.  It was a quality and aspect of humanity that kept the children of Israel in the wilderness, it continually provoked the wrath of God and it remembered not all His benefits because it becomes so focused on its own.  Lust defined is the selfish and self -indulgent desires and appetites of our flesh.  Many of us are still controlled, to a large extent, by an attitude and mindset of lust.  Our focus is so often on what pleases us and what we want, rather than on what is pleasing to our Lord.  Even in our prayers, we are crying out to God to give us meat, give us what we want rather than being content with the provision of God’s hand.  Human nature is usually to always want what it can’t or shouldn’t have.  There are times when God will allow us to have the lust of our hearts.  He will give us what we think we must have.  What we find is that the fulfillment of our desires soon becomes a curse.  What we thought was going to fulfill and satisfy us leaves us empty and lean of soul.  It brings with it consequences that we didn’t anticipate.  Verse 33 of Psalms 78 says, “33Therefore their days He consumed like a breath [in emptiness, falsity, and futility] and their years in terror and sudden haste.”  This is the fruit of our lust.  It is enmity with God and so it brings death to us and not life.  It is the antithesis of faith and trust in God’s goodness, sovereignty and provision.

1 John 2:15-17 tells us this, “15Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]–these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. 17And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.”  We want our lust to be for those things of the Spirit that pertain to life and godliness.  Our desire is for a deeper and more intimate relationship with our Lord that we might know and experience the fullness of His life and blessing upon us.  We must learn from our former examples that the lust of the flesh breeds death, but walking in the Spirit produces life and the attributes of a godly character.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Zechariah 4:10

For who hath despised the day of small things?…

 

Small Beginnings can lead to Great Endings

 

There are many of us out here in the sea of humanity that feel obscure, overlooked and of no seemingly great significance.  Perhaps we are a people who have embraced God’s truth.  We have loved Him, sought Him, praised Him and tried to walk in obedience to Him.  Perhaps we are facing discouragement in our life, because as hard as we have tried to be faithful, we still are struggling with feeling small, insignificant and of no great worth.   We seem to have been forgotten back on the far side of the mountain and maybe even God doesn’t seem very near to us.  We’ve been tempted to give up.  “Maybe I’ve missed God.”

I wonder if young David ever felt that way as he was sent out to pasture and care for His father’s sheep.  When Samuel came to anoint one from the house of Jesse as King, it seems David was the last one on anyone’s mind.  This little ruddy runt of a kid, what could he be?  It seemed he had been forgotten and not counted as anything in the eyes of man, but God was looking at hearts.  What is your heart?

The road to rule and reign is often paved with adversity and pain.  David didn’t spend his time on the backside of some forsaken mountain feeling sorry for himself, because he wasn’t appreciated like his brothers were.  He spent that time building a relationship with God.  In those times of loneliness, it was God whom he counted as his friend and companion.  It was God he would minister too in song, psalms and praise.  It was God that he walked with day by day down those lonely mountain paths and back pastures.  As he learned how to shepherd, protect and care for those sheep, God was training him up to care for His flock.

Often in our daily walk with God, we can become weary, beaten down and discouraged.  Often in our eyes we feel like a failure.   The enemy sits on our shoulder whispering the condemnation where we have fallen short, pointing out all our shortcomings and weaknesses.  As he paints this negative picture before us he is saying, “Who do you think you are that you could be anything for God or anybody else?  Look at what a failure you are.”  Sadly we begin to listen to this voice and believe about ourselves what it is saying.  We feel like giving up, “what’s the use, I might as well just go back and live like the rest of the world.”  That is the recipe for defeat and I would dare say that most of us have felt or been in this place at one time or another.  Perhaps some of us are here now.

God’s got a word for us, “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.”  No matter how insignificant you feel, God has a plan for your life.  In ourselves we could never fulfill the plan God has for us, but in union and relationship with Him our mountains will become plains.  Zechariah 4:6 says, “…Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of host.”  God is the one who makes the small things great and the great things small.  God is the one who orders our steps as we walk in His ways.

Isaiah 60: 22 says, “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.”  We all have to learn to operate and live in God’s time and not our own.  God’s plans rarely operate according to our schedule.   What God is looking for in us is that heart that He saw in David.  He is not looking for the best looking, the strongest or the person of greatest natural abilities.  He is looking for the one who has a heart after Him; who is willing to endure the hardship and disappointments in life and still love Him, praise Him and trust in Him?

We may never be anything that the world esteems as success and that is okay, but what are we in God’s eyes.  He is the one that counts.  We labor not for the things that perish, but for the things that are eternal.  Don’t give up.  Don’t become discouraged.  Fix your eyes on Him who is able to make your small beginnings have a great ending.

Blessings,

#kent

Stepping Up

April 6, 2018

 

Stepping Up

 

Ephesians 4:15

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:

 

Our walk in Christ is a progressive one; it is a journey that each day should bring us a little more into His character and likeness.  If we charted it on a graph I doubt that for very many of us it would look like this smooth sloped line starting at zero and going up.  The truth is we would probably see dips and rises.  Sometimes it is like we go two steps back to take one forward.  Some days we can be so discouraged with life or ourselves that we just want to give up and sometimes we may even do that for a time.  Life is a series of ups and downs and we all know that on the surface it is easier live a sweet Christian life when things are going well. When we are caught up in the Spirit and we are feeling and experiencing the Lord’s presence and blessing in our lives it can be like we have heaven on earth.  The reality is, we know that we can experience hell on earth well.  There can be those times in life when all that we know and held dear is pulled out from under us.  Our world can be turned upside down in a heartbeat.  One thing you can count on in life is that nothing stays the same.  It is these experiences in our lives that are the testing and proving grounds of our faith.  The adversities in life are what exercise our muscles of faith and sound the depths of our character and integrity.  Often it is when we feel the least spiritual, that we grow the most.  Our Father always sees the big picture where we can only see the next hundred feet.  The one thing we have to be committed too is that come heaven or hell, our lives are wholly His.  We are His garden, to prune, to dig around, to water or however He decides to deal with us individually.  What we can hold fast too are the facts and truths that ‘He loves us with an everlasting love’, ‘He is able to complete the good work He began in us’, ‘He will never leave us of forsake us’ and ‘all things work together for the good of them that are called according to His purpose.’ 

            The important thing for all of us in Christ is that we maintain a focus and vision of continual faithfulness toward the Lord.  The enemy of our souls has continual roadblocks, diversions, disasters, and snares to discourage, get us off track and get us back into that mindset of the flesh and the world.  We must maintain a continual vigilance of our souls and we need one another to help us see the things that we often don’t see in ourselves.  Our spiritual transformation and progression is not something we accomplish in and of ourselves.  Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  That is why our walking in the Spirit is so important.  Walking in the Spirit is where we experience His righteousness, His freedom, His strength and power through us to overcome sin and temptation and deliverance from evil.  It is where we walk in the company of the Strong One, the Wise One, and the Faithful One.  It is in Him and our continual union and fellowship with Him that we experience growth from glory to glory as 2 Corinthians 3:18 puts it, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

            Every day should be a progressive walk in the Spirit, regardless of what life circumstances are.  Each day should be a stepping stone of faith and trust that brings us up higher and transforms us into His likeness.  Keep your eyes upon Him and your walk in the Spirit.  Let each day be another step up into the glory that is before us.

Blessings,

#kent

April 5, 2018

1 Peter 1:3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

 

Scenario of Two Lives

 

There was once a man that lived up in the mountains at the top a steep spire that was very difficult to reach.  Up there he lived alone raising his gardens and small livestock, capturing his water from the frequent  rainfalls.  There he lived isolated from the world and separated unto God, studying his bible and praying daily.  There he endeavored to live his life without sin wholly unto God.

There lived another man who was part of a large family and had many children of his own.  He lived in a crowded city that was full people, commerce and neighbors pressing in on every side.  His means were meager as he struggled to feed and provide for his family.  There were many conflicts surrounding him.  There were many difficulties that beset him.  There were many people continually putting demands upon him and expecting from him.  He also was a godly man, given to God and spending time with the Father in the brief moments he had to himself.  In his life he wrestled with many trials, temptations, persecution and needs that never touched the first man.  Daily he would repent of his sins and failures of living for God, but he would also remind himself of all that Christ was to him, had done for him and was doing in him.  Daily he reminded himself that his righteousness was that of Christ and not his own, that the blood of Jesus covered Him and the Spirit of Christ indwelt Him.  Daily, amidst all of the trials and demands upon his life he endeavored to live in the love of Christ and to share that love with others.

In the end which man accomplished the greater holiness and was most effective for the kingdom of God?  Which man had been perfected more into his image and likeness?

Having that vertical relationship with God is undeniably important.  It is where we draw from the source and the well of His life and strength, but if we never have the horizontal stretching through our relationship with humanity then we can only selfishly accumulate to ourselves, but never give out that which the Holy Spirit is imparting into us.  We can never know the growth we gain through the stretching that we go through in our relationships and the trials of this world.

Through Jesus, we see both the vertical relationship of communion and oneness with the Father and the willingness to be poured out for others that He might release that love into humanity, eventually giving the ultimate sacrifice of His physical life, not for Himself, but for us.  It is all of the trials of our faith that make us much more precious than gold.  Don’t be discouraged by all of life’s problems, demands and woes; this is the place where your faith is exercised, matures and grows.  This is the place where you have the opportunity to live out the things you say that you believe.  If you have your failures, as we all do, know that you are not condemned, but you have an advocate and intercessor with the Father, Jesus Christ, The Righteous.  As we confess our sins and failures He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  That overcomer lives in you, because Christ is in you.  As we continue to daily identify with Him, we also learn to walk in an overcoming life.  We, like Jesus, learn obedience through the things that we suffer (Hebrews 5:8).

Count it all joy in the race that is set before you.  Run to win and win by faithfully walking in what the Father has called you to be, the continual expression of Him.  He has enabled us by the Spirit of His power and strength to be more than conquerors through Christ that loved us and gave His life for us.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Failures that don’t end in Defeat

 

Micah 7:7-10

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. 8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. 9 Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. 10 Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will see her downfall; even now she will be trampled underfoot like mire in the streets.

 

 

We have all known times of failure in our life and most of us have experienced the Lord’s rod of correction.  There are times when we have stubbornly pursued our own interests and pleasures to only find bitterness and sorrow at the end of what we thought we had to have.  Our sin has consequences and many of us can testify of the great pain and suffering we have had to endure because of our foolish disobedience.

In those moments of failure, when the house that we have built upon the sand is washed away, we may stand in utter shame and humiliation that we have come to this point in our lives.  We may almost think the world and the ones that we loved would be better off without us.  We have had to fully confront our iniquity and the failure which has resulted from it.  How can we even face God or the ones who loved and respected us?   We see failure written all over us, what do we have to live for and have to offer now?

Our scripture today is one of hope and encouragement to the person who feels like a failure. In this scripture we have a nation of God that failed Him and had to suffer the reproach and the discipline of His correction.  The one thing we have to know about our God is though He will discipline us; He will never stop loving us.  He has a tender heart for the one who is truly repentant and will set their heart upon Him again.  After all, that is what discipline is for, to show us the error of our ways and bring us back to righteousness.  No matter how low we go, God never stops loving us, but a man without hope or faith is dead.  Without hope there is no way but down.  Hope causes us to look up into the loving eyes and heart of our Heavenly Father and say; “Can you still use this broken pot?”  It is our hope and faith in the Lord that believes that though we sit in darkness the Lord will be our light.  Christ will plead our cause and will be our advocate.  He will lift me again out of my place of darkness and bring me back into the light of His salvation.  All those who cursed me and judged me will be put to shame for though I was defeated I don’t have to fail.  The Lord is our victory and He is our good success.  When we were willing, through repentance, to relinquish the failure that we were; God begins to form a new man fashioned in the form of victory and uprightness.  He is a man that rises out of the ashes of failure to find victory and purpose again in His God.

Only God can take our failures and defeats and turn them for good.  When our enemies thought they had nailed our coffin shut, then God will raise us up to their shame.  You can trust that it won’t be in our time, it will be in His time.  No matter how bad we mess up and no matter how bad we fail God, our loved ones and even ourselves, all hope is not lost if we will put our eyes back on Jesus.  His love and forgiveness can reach into the deepest hell and depravity and set the captive free.    No one else and no other God can do that but Him.  Our failures don’t have to end in defeat, in fact they may be what bring us to our ultimate victory in Christ and our enemies will be put to shame before us. God can still brings us back into the light of His salvation and grace.  ‘As long as there is life, there is hope.’

Blessings,

#kent

God Centered Man

April 3, 2018

God Centered Man

Psalms 1:1-3

Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

 

Do you want a fruitful and productive life?  David is describing the spiritual man in these verses.  First he tells us what He is not.  He is not man influenced by the world and friendships with others that don’t have the same perspective and position of godliness.  He doesn’t take the same stand or have the same attitude or serve the same things as sinners.  His life outlook, attitude and actions are not about whom he can tear down, ridicule or destroy.

What then is the God centered man and what are the benefits of being that man or woman?  This person gets excited and feeds off of God’s Word, His principles and laws of Life.  His counsel and influence are coming from the Holy Spirit and like-minded believers who share this godly perspective.  This person is learning to live in the presence of God where God is not just an occasional thought, but a continual presence.  The Lord is his abiding place, his position, and his life’s mission.

What are the benefits?  The Word of God is packed full of exceeding great and precious promises.  Guess who these promises are for?  They are for this God centered man or woman.  The Lord delights to establish and bless those who delight themselves in Him and in His ways.

The Lord wants to be so much more to us than an occasional thought, prayer or visit on Sunday morning.  There are places in God few of us ever experience or know because we don’t seek to live in His presence where everything we do and think is centered around His will and His purpose.  What we are missing is the prosperity and richness of a Spirit filled and directed life.  There are heavenly places we can walk in right here on earth, but they only are found in His presence and His Life.  Find the riches of your inheritance in Christ as you begin to experience and live a God centered life.

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: