Know Him

October 31, 2018

Habakkuk 3:6

He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble.The ancient mountains crumbled

and the age-old hills collapsed. His ways are eternal.

 

Know Him

 

Let us come together and pray. Let us lift up holy hands before the Lord. We are His congregation and the assembly of His people.  Sobering things are before us, but the Rock of our salvation stands with us.  We can not take for granted that what is here today will be with us tomorrow.  The times and seasons are upon us.  We have been called to come into the secret place of the Most High.  Have you entered in?  Know the Lord, not just about Him, that when the day of evil is upon you, you may have hope and confidence.  Today, buy your oil and fill your vessel so that your lamp does not fail you in the day of darkness.  Learn the voice of the Holy One that you may follow where He leads you.  Your salvation is only found in Him.  Set your heart to know Him for He alone is your safekeeping and provision.  The true people of God are not fearful, but confident.  Their confidence is in the Lord Almighty.  If God be for us, who can be against us? Hold fast your confidence and allow your faith to arise to the occasion.  Lights will shine much brighter in the darkness and you are the light of the world.

Blessings,

#kent

Advertisements

 

What the Lord has Cleansed, Don’t Call Common

 

Acts 10:9-16

On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat

But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice [spake] unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.  This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

 

Many of us today in our Christian walk don’t consider ourselves to have prejudice or be judgmental.  We really feel like we have the love of God toward all men until God begins to bring us into the presence of something or someone that flies in the face of all that we consider holy, right, just and good.  How do we respond when God places us in the midst of drunks or drug addicts, gothic peoples with colored or spiked hair, tattoos and piercings?  How about ministering to people that are slow, poor of speech and dress, lacking in cleanliness, etiquette and manors? What about old people, incapacitated and lacking in faculties and social skills?  Can we really love those extremists, god-haters, abortionist, gays, idol worshippers and those of false religions?  You might be thinking, “well, wait a minute, God hates sin and a lot of these that you are mentioning are sinners and anti-god.”  Yes God hates sin, and what were we before He saved us and washed away our sin?  The truth is that, like Peter, we all have prejudices; rather we acknowledge them or not.  All of us can be put in situations with certain people groups that we would feel uncomfortable to say the least.  The fact is that consciously or subconsciously we avoid or condemn what we don’t feel comfortable or accepting of.  There are times in life when God will put us right where we don’t want to be.  What we would often protest to God, that is unclean, common and should be rejected, is exactly what He suffered and died to redeem and sanctify.  Not unlike Peter, we don’t want to be the ones to defile our hands and dirty our righteous garments.  We are faced with a crossroads at certain times in our lives.  Will I live out of a pious religious attitude that says to me, “I am better than these people, I will just cross the street and walk on the other side and ignore their existence?”  Is the Holy Spirit convicting us in these times that, “you are not your own, you were bought with a price, it was the same price that Christ paid for these you deem undesirable and rejects.”  “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

Don’t think it strange when God begins to move in what we might consider some unholy arenas and areas of humanity.  Jesus loved that demoniac that no one else would dare to go near.  We have to be willing as the priests and ministers of God to operate out of a love that requires that we die to personal prejudices and feelings.  These are still a part of our natural man and not a part of the Spirit and love of Christ within us.  Jesus was never afraid to roll up His holy sleeves and get his hands dirty with tax collectors, sinners, adulteresses, people demon possessed, sick, diseased, criminals, enemies of Judah, crippled and lepers.  Those that no one else wanted anything to with Jesus loved and ministered life, health and deliverance.  Quite honestly, most all of us have lived in our comfort zone where nothing we consider common or unholy enters in.  In that place we can live piously, comfortably and enjoy our little religious, well groomed lifestyles.  The truth is that Jesus went to hell to redeem the most defiled and ungodly of sinners.  Dare we turn our backs on those He so loved and died for? Will these not stand up to testify against us on judgement day?  The Love and nature of Christ in us will take us outside of our comfort zone if we will really listen to the Spirit within us.  His love reaches out to the depths of humanity. When He cast out His net of salvation He draws in the clean and unclean alike.

We, like Peter, have to have a revelation of our prejudices and God’s incomprehensible love.  We have to be willing to lay down our lives, our pride, our dignity, so that Christ might reach through us to love and save the lowliest of men.  Are we willing to get our hands dirty?  Even the priest of the Levitical order had to get bloody, stinky and dirty as they prepared the sacrifices for the altar.  It went with the job.  Whatever it takes we must be willing to do, wherever He leads us we must be willing to go.  We have been called to be Christ to the Nations.  Are you truly willing?

Blessings,

#kent

In Times of Discouragement

October 29, 2018

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 

In Times of Discouragement

 

As believers we all face those times of discouragement, testing and trial where in the natural we would want to give up, give in and walk away from our faith.  Perhaps none faced more assault in the spiritual arena than did Paul.

How did he make it through?

It was because he knew his identity in Christ that he was able to endure all the assaults of darkness and the daily trials of life.  He knew the “all surpassing power” that didn’t come from self, but from “Christ in him.”  He had a revelation that being identified with Christ is not just about the blessing, but drinking from the same cup that He drank from.  The cup of suffering.

I had a glimpse of revelation the other day as I was listening to the passage of James and John’s mother asking if her sons could set upon each side of the throne of Jesus. Jesus replied in Matthew 20:22-23 with this statement, “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

“We can,” they answered.

23Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

Jesus’ disciples, like most of us, have the perception that serving Christ is all about the glory.

When Jesus said, “now am I a glorified” in between where he stood and the glory was the cross.  Romans 8:17-18 Paul declares, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  The suffering, the death and the cross are all elements that precede the glory.

Jesus finishes this passage in Matthew by saying, “and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Our faith in Christ is not first about getting, but about giving.  It is not about us being served, but about us becoming the servants of Christ in serving others.  It is in the death of our carnal and mortal man that the life of Christ is released, which we carry.  Paul realized that the troubles, the trials, the distress, the hardship, the death to self are merely the bridge that leads to the surpassing glory of our inheritance in Christ.

When we read this passage in Corinthians most of us have no idea or comprehension of that kind of suffering and sacrifice.  We are so easily discouraged by someone who has offended us or some trial that we pass through.  Men like Paul virtually lived in the place of trial and hardship and they did so because of who they were in Christ and who Christ was in them.  They did so because in the pouring out of their life, others were able to receive the gospel and live.  They truly were living sacrifices poured out to the glory of Jesus.  They didn’t live for the momentary blessings  and substance of this world like so many of us do. They were willing to be totally spent in life and  substance for the kingdom of God because they saw a greater eternal weight of glory before them that so outweighs these momentary earthly afflictions.

Paul says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

If Paul heard what our complaints are and where our discouragement comes from he would probably laugh and tell us we need to suck it up.  We need to get over ourselves and realize it is not about us, it is about Christ in us and the kingdom that we serve.  We have been so pampered in our faith and theology that we know very little about what it is to drink from the cup of suffering and yet this is a very real part of our faith.

When we are going through our momentary trials and feeling a little discouraged, let’s just look back at Jesus, Paul, the apostles and saints and what they endured and gave up.  Let us remember who we are in Christ and who He is in us that we  may be willing to face whatever is before us with our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.  Let us be encouraged by the lives of the saints that went before us and willingly gave so much at such a great price.  They did not lose heart, how much less should we?

Blessings,

#kent

What is this Grace?

October 26, 2018

 

What is this Grace?

 

Ephesians 2: 1-10

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

Grace is one of those basic principles we tend to assume that we know all that it entails and quickly skip over it.  The definition I have always heard of grace is that it is ‘God’s undeserved favor’.  Indeed it is, but I sense the Holy Spirit saying you need to take a closer look at grace and the part that it plays in your life.  The very fact that we could not have even been cognizant and have come to Christ without His grace makes this quality something that deserves a closer look.  We might tend to acknowledge it and then quickly dismiss it as a fundamental of our faith.  It is kind of like breathing or your heart beating you don’t consciously have these take place, but I’ll guarantee you if they stop working you will be immediately aware and concerned over it.  Grace is like the loving hands of the Father that caresses His humanity.  It is grace that provides us fellowship and relationship with our heavenly Father.  It was grace in the Father and the Son that extended the sacrifice of Christ’s holy life for our sinful ones.  All the benefits we enjoy in Christ we owe to grace.  The richness of our salvation is the product of God’s grace.  Even the incomparable riches of what God is going to do in and through us in the coming age are the benefits of His grace.  The riches of God’s grace are so much more than tangible elements could ever attain or express.  They are the fullness of God’s favor, His benefits, His mercies, His good will, loving kindness and His love.  Grace is an ocean of God’s blessing directed at mankind.  Like salvation, it is so shallow a small child can wade in it and so deep that the most profound and faithful of men will never sounds the depths of it.  What is contained in God’s grace is the fullness of Christ Himself.  What God has done in and through Christ He is doing in and through us, for the Lord Jesus is our prototype and the image after which our Father has called many sons to glory.  Even now the Word says that through grace working in us by faith, God has made us spiritually alive in Christ Jesus, but beyond that, He has raised us up with Christ and seated us in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Do we begin to catch a glimpse of the potential power and life of God at work in us even now through this grace that we have received?  Grace, by its very virtue, tells us that this is a gift and quality that we could never earn, deserve or merit in our own being.  Grace is all about God’s goodness, His undeserved favor and blessing.  The faith, that is not even what we possess, but that which He has placed in us, is the key to unlocking the riches of God’s grace.  Because God has enabled us to believe through faith in the marvelous thing He has done through Christ, we have the keys of His kingdom.  God is an extravagant giver and He has bestowed upon us such extravagant gifts that we still don’t fully comprehend and realize what we have and what has been so freely given to us.

It might be kind of like you bringing home and giving to your child a fully loaded Mercedes worth a $190,000.  He kind of looks it over and then goes back to playing with his Legos.  What we should be saying is Father, teach me how to drive.  I can never fully enjoy what God has given me until I know how to use it.  The process of our lives is God teaching us about how to drive, how to operate in this grace which He has so richly bestowed upon us.  Let us not be content with our Legos and simple toys of this life, when Father has given and promised us so much more.  Press in that you might know the riches of this grace through faith.

Verse 10 tells us the reason for God bestowing this grace upon us.  “10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  God has given us grace that He might have a people conformed to His image and the expression of the good works that are in Christ.  We are not only the products of God’s grace, we, like Christ, are becoming the expression of God’s grace to the rest of this world.  We are the favored of God to express the favor of God.  Grace has delivered us from the dimension of condemnation, death and the law.  It has brought us into the dimension of Life, liberty and freedom in Christ.  It is the freedom to live out of the life of God rather than our former life dictated through lust and sin.  2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us, “And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work.”  Faith is all about the endeavor to operate this vehicle of God’s grace; for it is grace working in us that will abound to God’s glory and praise and honor.  It is grace working in us that shows forth God’s strength in the midst of our weakness.  Grace must be received in all humility for it not anything that we could ever boast in of ourselves.  It is not the product of our being or doing, but the product of God’s loving kindness and mercy.

God has called us out of this world and into the grace of Christ.  Live out of the richness of the grace, which He has bestowed upon us.  Allow that grace to have its perfect work in you.  Never take for granted the marvelous riches and wealth of the grace God has bestowed and that now works so wonderfully within us.

Blessings,

#kent

Truth

October 25, 2018

 

Truth

 

John 16:13

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

 

You don’t really think about what a powerful word and attribute truth is until you just stop and meditate on it.  Throughout the Word of God we see truth as a primary attribute of God.  Jesus, the Son of God, says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man come unto the Father, except by me.”  Jesus refers to the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, in our passage today and others as the Spirit of Truth.  Why all of this emphasis on truth?  It is because this is what leads us into the Father and what He has determined that should be expressed through His sons.  Not everyone can hear and receive truth, because it is the Spirit of God that reveals and quickens His truth to us and in us.

Jesus, at the time of His judgement when he stood before Pilot, had this conversation with Pilot as revealed in John 18:37-38, “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault [at all].” If we want to hear God’s voice and know the mind and will of God, the first requirement is that we be able hear and know truth.  In John 3:19-21 Jesus speaks of the world and how they react to truth, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”  You know, if we are honest with ourselves many of us would have to confess that there are areas of darkness we don’t want to bring into the light and have them revealed.  While, with the majority of our lives and beliefs we want to confess and believe in Jesus, there are still areas of deceitfulness and sin.  There are many of us still embracing the spirit of the world in so many ways such as traditions, holidays, superstitions, horoscopes, our viewing preferences on TV and movies, our choices of music, reading material and internet viewing, to name but a few.  Are we willing to allow the Holy Spirit to examine every area of life and are we willing to relinquish and repent of any area of darkness or impurity found within us.  If the answer is honestly “no”, then we have to face the fact that we have idolatry in our lives and we are worshipping another god or gods.  If we are willing to say “yes”, then we are like David in Psalms 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.”  You see we have received Truth in our spirits and generally in our thinking when we received Christ into our hearts.  The Holy Spirit desires to fill the whole temple of our spirit, soul and body, not just the inward parts.  What is the greatest commandment?  “Love the Lord your God with all of your mind, your heart, your soul and your strength.”  That is a statement of fully embracing the Lord with everything within us.  If we fully embrace Truth, then there is no room for darkness and lies in that place.  Don’t we realize that we are the children of Truth?  That means we are to be free from all affection for sin, all pretense, simulation, falsehood and deceit.  Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:24, “God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.”  We can’t truly worship God out of our heads.  Worship isn’t a mental assent to God, it is a spiritual assent out of a pure heart that is loving and embracing Truth.  We must love what God loves and hate what He hates.

1 John 1:6-8 tells us we are in the process of purification that starts with the attitude and commitment of our hearts.  “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” When we received Christ as the Lord of our lives we made a commitment to walk out of darkness and to walk in the light.  We do that through the confession and repentance of our sins, having the assurance of 1John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  While we are and have departed from walking in darkness we know we can’t truthfully say we any longer sin.  Our assurance is in the truth that Christ is our righteousness.  As we abide in the Truth, we are allowing, desiring and inviting the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and reveal all of our yet unclean ways that we might repent and have an ever closer and richer fellowship with the Truth.  Truth is expressed through the love of God in us and the love of God in us is our assurance that we are in the Truth.  Let us conclude with 1 John 3:18-19, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”

Blessings,

#kent

Single Eye, Single Mind

October 24, 2018

 

Single Eye, Single Mind

 

Luke 11:34-35

The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when [thine eye] is evil, thy body also [is] full of darkness.

Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

 

We hear it said, “the eye is the window of the soul.”  Jesus is saying something similar to this in this passage.  The soul is made up of the mind, will and emotions.  The eye really represents the input to what we are feeding into our soul.  Someone could be physically blind and actually have more light in their body than someone who has all of their faculties.  In John 9:39-41 Jesus has a conversation with the Pharisees after healing a blind man and remarks to them,”…For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And [some] of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” Our spiritual sight comes by way of the Spirit of God.  The Holy Spirit is what quickens the Word of the Lord to us and makes it light and life.  We become accountable for the knowledge and light that we have. With what Jesus is saying to the Pharisees it is plain to see that just because they had the knowledge of the Word of God they didn’t necessarily have enlightenment and understanding.  How many are deceived today because they think if they know something about God that saves them or puts them in right position spiritually?  Jesus is saying to the Pharisees, if you were ignorant of the Word of God that would be one thing, but because you think you know the truth and because of your knowledge, your sin remains.  Knowing the truth is not necessarily living in the truth.

If there is one thing that I’ve seen through the years, “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies (1Corinthians 8:1).”  We can have a great command of the Bible and great revelation knowledge, but it is not in what we know, it is in what we are walking in and putting into practice in our lives.  Faith in action according to knowledge and working through love is what produces life and light.

Jesus is speaking to His disciples concerning spiritual sight in Matthew 13:10-17, “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them].”

In order for us to have light it must come to us through the eyes of spiritual insight.  That brings with it not just knowledge and legalism, which is the state we see the people of Jesus’ day in, but it comes through the Word that is quickened by the Holy Spirit who gives life and understanding to our knowledge.  Rather than a head thing, it becomes a heart thing.  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” The law simply written on pages and administered by men simply becomes legalism, condemnation and death.  The law written upon our hearts by a life changing Spirit becomes to us and those around us, life, liberty and light.

Jesus likens our light as unto a candle set upon a lampstand.  If we have a candle only, like the Word without the Spirit, we have no light.  If we have a flame with no candle we may well have a fire out of control.  But if we have a candle lit with a flame we have a union that creates balance and produces light.  We are the lampstands that are to carry that light with singleness of purpose.  Our purpose is to be the outshining of His light and the truth of His Word through lives that are lived in the luminance of the light which He brings to us who of a single eye and a single mind.

Blessings,

#kent

Romans 11:29

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

 

Gift and Callings Unchangeable

 

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Windows of God

October 22, 2018

 

Windows of God

 

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.

 

The other day a colleague and friend of mine made a statement that hurt and troubled my heart.  While I wasn’t in a place to really get into a discussion about it, it has continued to disturb me.  This woman is an accomplished artist and photographer who has a heart for others.  She has done and desires to do more of photojournalism that will help the plight of people who are battling disease, poverty or oppression, she cares for them, having grown up in the Appalachia Mountains and experienced poverty herself.  I mentioned she should work for one of the international Christian organizations that help such people.  She made the comment that she considered herself a very spiritual person, but wouldn’t really consider herself a born again Christian.  Then there was some comment about the way they had treated others.  What I was hearing was that she had been hurt, disillusioned and probably disappointed in those who said they represented Jesus Christ.  I’m sure many of us have heard and seen a lot of that sort of thing.  How sad that we, God’s people, are often the greatest stumbling blocks to people in their search for truth and a relationship with God.  We are the window through which people see the heart and nature of God.  If that window is dirty and the glass is distorted, then what kind of view are they going to get of a loving Savior who came and died for them that they might have that relationship with God?  What kind of window am I today; what kind are you?  Are people looking into our lives and seeing us profess one thing and live another?  Are they seeing self-righteousness rearing its ugly head in prejudice, judgmentalism, and condemnation of others?  Are we more concerned about seeing the faults and judging others than we are with seeing past their faults and seeing their need for Jesus?  If we are only condemning everybody to hell that is not just like us, then all we are is a religious bigot who will receive the same measure of judgment that we have doled out to others.  God speaks concerning this area of judgment in Romans 2:1-11, “1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? 5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.”  In verse 28 it goes on to say, “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 same could be said of those who profess Christ, “he is not a Christian who is one outwardly; it is he who is one inwardly, whose commitment is from the heart and by the spirit, not simply an outward form of religion and head knowledge.”  If we are truly Christ’s then the world around us should be seeing the genuine truth and love of who we profess to be.  Far too many have used the profession of Christ as a cloak for unrighteousness, exploitation and self gain at the expense of other’s souls.  How sad when we can better trust and rely on the people of the world in business and in keeping their word than we can in those who profess Christ. 

          We are the windows of heaven.  Unless God’s heavenly light is shinning through us in the face of Jesus Christ we will be the stumbling blocks to the world around us rather than the light to their salvation.  What is shinning out of your window today?  How do others perceive the face and nature of God through you?

Blessings,

#kent

Who Died and Made Us God?

October 19, 2018

Rom 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

 

Who Died and Made Us God?

 

The context of the chapter containing this verse is dealing with the different viewpoints of theology we may have as believers.  At the heart of this chapter is this verse that says who made you God, to judge if everyone else is serving God in the right or wrong manner?  The very nature, that people are different and view things different ways says we are not all going to be in agreement.  It is not our role to be the judge whether another believer’s theology lines up with ours.  How many walls have we built and how much division has come from this mindset.  God is first concerned about our heart attitude toward Him.  It is not the outward ceremonies or works that bring us in right relationship with God, it is what we do acting out of faith.  We are justified by faith, not by whether we do this or that a certain way.  The truth be known, none of us are right on the mark with all our thinking and ways of worship and service.  We can be certain we have missed the mark if we are caught up with judging whether others are right or wrong.

We have some dear friends and fellow believers in Christ who we have shared fellowship with and staid in contact with, some twenty years.  The day they worship and their ideas of diet are different than ours and it has been a source of debate many times, but is not the basis for our relationship.  The reason we are still close has nothing to do with how we worship, but with the quality of relationship we have with God.  While outwardly we may differ in how we view things, inwardly we are of one spirit in Christ and because of this we can have spiritual communion with one another.   Christ is at the center of our relationship and that is why we have known and loved each other for so long.

I have been blessed as I have seen in our city where more and more people are laying down their denominational views to come together and operate as the body of Christ, whether it be something like true spiritual worship or serving the poor and needy.  The true body of Christ cannot be divided to be effective.  Sure we can all have our opinions and viewpoints, but on the fundamental principles of Christ and His Word we must stand and live as one body, not fragmented factions.  It is before Christ we must all give account, so let us all first examine and judge our own hearts and let God judge the others.

Blessings,

#kent

Qualifying

October 18, 2018

1 Peter 1:6-9

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

 

James 1:2-4

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

 

Qualifying

 

How many of us have endeavored to do something in life that required us to qualify to participate.  If we ever went through basic training in the military, or went out for sports or any number of other events, there was a difficult period we went through of preparation and trials.  Many of us can probably remember times in our life when physically and maybe even mentally and emotionally we were pushed to our limits.  We may have hurt so bad or been so discouraged we thought we couldn’t go on, we couldn’t make it.  Something didn’t just magically happen that suddenly made us qualified and we were taken out of the testing.  If we qualified we had to stay the course, we had to persevere and endure.  Maybe some of us didn’t make it when all was said done, but the one sure way we were disqualified is if we gave up and quit.

Our life in Christ is often like that qualifying period when God is working in us a greater thing of His nature and character.  Sometimes we are pushed to our limits and we want to give up and quit.  The old ways of life were so much easier for us.  Many do give up when trials come and forsake their faith.  They allow the precious seed to be robbed from them and they fall by the way side.

James says that faith produces patience and it is that patience that must have its perfect work in us.  We are like a raw sacrifice until we are cooked over the fires of tribulation and trials.  It is that faithfulness and steadfastness in the trials that make us to be a sweet smelling savor unto the Lord.  It is then that He can say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”  It is faithfully keeping our eyes and heart on Him that is the demonstration of our faith and overcoming.  Only faith can count as substance that which it cannot see and physically experience.  It is that faith that pleases God.  It is faith that sees beyond the natural realm and counts God faithful even in the thick of our trials and testing; that is the faith that is more precious than gold.

Today, if you are discouraged, if you are broken, if you are hurting, if you’re feeling bankrupt and destitute, hold fast to your faith.  Don’t give up, don’t give in, just keep your heart steadfast in Him.  Jesus will carry you through.  He will become in you what you cannot be in yourself.  It is only as we lose ourselves that He can be.  Place it all on the altar.  Reckon yourself dead unto sin and the world, and alive unto Christ.  He will qualify you as you hold fast your faith.

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: