Core Values

April 30, 2020

 

Core Values

 

Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

 

There are those time of introspection when we look at our lives and evaluate what they have meant, what we have accomplished and where we are in relation to the values we place on our lives.  Some of us can be very proud of what we have accomplished in the world with regards to success.  Many of us are mediocre, having done moderately well, and others of us may feel and see our lives as failures or falling short of what we hoped and dreamed.  We can be either encouraged or discouraged by what we see as success in our lives.  Most of us who are in Christ know that, when all is said and done, it won’t be earthly success or failure that determines the worth and value of our lives.  What it comes down to is the core values of what kind of a relationship did we have with our God and how was that lived out in relationship with others.  In modern day, many of us can look at an individual such as Mother Teresa and admire the epitome of self-sacrifice, love for her fellow man and dedication to her God.  She demonstrated through her life the core values of what life had come to mean to her and yet, by the world standards of success, she was poor.  Her reputation came not from self-promotion, but from the extreme example of her piety and godly life.

The focus of all that we discuss and talk about here is centered in what our core values are and how we are living them out in our lives.  The hope is, that even if I am a failure by the world’s standards, I can still be of great success by God’s standards, but for that to happen He has to be at the forefront of all that I am and the motivation and direction of all that I do.

We used to see the bumper sticker a lot that said, “God is my copilot”.  Quite honestly, that is true of most of us as Christians.  We take God along for the ride to wherever we decide we are going.  We ask His assistance, guidance and blessing, but we don’t really relinquish the control of our life entirely to Him.  He is just there to help us out.  When we ever come to that place where He is truly the pilot of our lives, then we take the supportive role as we endeavor to move and live according to His direction and plan for us.  We know that God is well able to always reach His destination, but with us it may well be questionable.

After walking us through the many lives and examples of men and women of faith, Hebrews 12:1-3 starts out by giving us a strong exhortation.  “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”  We have to keep our core values central in our lives and pursue them with all our hearts.  Christ in us, is like our heart to the natural man.  Through careless living it can become clogged and restricted with fat and plaque, restricting the life flow through our spiritual man.  Many of have heart disease today, because we have misplaced our core values.  Paul defined our core value well when he made the statement in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  Can we make this statement along with Paul?  Are we living successfully our core values?

Blessings,

#kent

The Snare of Pride

April 29, 2020

 

The Snare of Pride

 

Psalms 10:4

In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

 

Pride is a stronghold that stands in opposition to God.  It is centered in self and self-reliance.  The prideful person is most often blind to their arrogance and is often blindsided by their own self-righteousness.  A good case and point are the Jews in John 8:31-46.  “31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

34Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

39“Abraham is our father,” they answered.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. 40As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41You are doing the things your own father does.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

Pride will blind us to sin and who we really are.  Just as these Jews protested that they had always been free and that their father was Abraham, Jesus spoke to them the sobering reality that they were sinners and slaves to sin.  If we are righteous, then we will first hear the words of Jesus, we will acknowledge our sin and repent of it and then we will walk and live in obedience to God’s Word.  Pride will cause our ears to be deaf to hear the spiritual truth that will bring conviction.  John 8:43 says, “…Because you are unable to hear what I say.”  It will often even protest its religious alliance to God, but its fruits of true righteousness and obedience are barren.  It is interesting in this passage that it says Jesus was talking to the Jews that believed and yet they were the ones ready to kill Him.  As believers we too can have pride in our hearts that we aren’t even aware of.  We can have spiritual pride as well as natural pride.  It can be the root and gateway to sin in our lives.  Pride will always justify itself and never want to acknowledge itself for what it is, rebellion against God.  When God says, “to this man will I look, even to him that is of a humble and contrite heart,” he is looking for the man that is emptied of pride, self-reliance and self-righteousness.  He is looking for the man who only has eyes for the Lord and is totally and completely reliant upon the Lord for all that He is. His willing obedience and submission to the Word of God and his love for the Lord verifies his true humility and trust.  He is not trying to live a life outside of God, but totally in God.

What place is pride playing in our hearts?  Are we harboring sin, are we self-reliant and self-directed?  Have we truly yielded every area of our lives in obedience to His Lordship?  Have we gone to the other extreme where we perceive ourselves as being more righteous and spiritual than others are?   Have we unknowingly and unwittingly been caught up in the snare of pride?

Blessings,

#kent

A Pure Heart

April 28, 2020

 

A Pure Heart

 

Psalm 24:3-5

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

 

Titus 1:5 says, “Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”  The purity of our hearts and our relationship with God has so much more to do with the condition of our hearts than it does with just outward acts, or dos and don’ts.  Many of us are concerned with how others perceive us and how even God perceives us.  We spend much of our life and efforts trying so hard to project the right image or performing the outward works of righteousness.  The Lord wants us to focus on the truth that purity and righteousness are a condition of our heart.  If our heart isn’t right nothing else will be either, no matter how religious or pious we wish to present ourselves.

Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”  It stands to reason then that the condition of our heart toward God is the measure of our purity.  Impurity takes place when there is a mixture of unclean and clean.  With regard to our spiritual state, that could be a mixture of impure thoughts, desire, emotions, actions, or motives.  If we are God’s kids, His desire in us is purity of heart.  He wants every thought and motive of our hearts to be centered in Him, in His nature and character.  If the Lord is the treasure we are laying up in our hearts, then our motives, and that which is spoken out of our mouths, will reflect that.

One of the ways the Lords helps us achieve purity is by fire.  It is the tribulation and trials of life that reveal our true heart.  How do we act in stressful situations?  How do we handle sin and temptation?  The Holy Spirit within us discerns the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  If we want to be pure then it is by exercising the knife or the sword of the Word of God in our hearts through skillful instruction and conviction of the Holy Spirit that cuts us to the quick concerning the areas of impurity in our lives.  Hebrew 4:12 says, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  The Word is able to cut into the gray areas of our lives and reveal true heart motive.  Then it is our will and choice to purify and cleanse ourselves by relinquishing these areas of our lives to the Lord.  If we are the Lord’s, then we must always be mindful that this why Jesus came, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)” Jesus has saved us to deliver us from iniquity.  The purification is a process by which He is pruning us, cutting away the unproductive ways of our flesh and baptizing us into fire that is constantly dealing with the issues of our heart.  Why?  The Lord is desiring a peculiar, separated people unlike the world.  They are as Peter puts it in 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

In order to have purity, we must by the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, be willing to deal with the impurity.  This will come in that place of relationship and desire for all that He is, counting all that we value in this earth as dung in comparison.  James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.”  The motives of our hearts must be centered in His Love.  It is not out of legalism or ceremonial ritual or practice that we will be purified.  1 Timothy 1:5 says the end of the commandment is this, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:”

What is the condition of our heart today?  Are we operating out of a pure heart and pure motives generated and birthed out of the love of Christ within us?  It is in that continual, life-giving union with Him that the exchange of His nature for ours is taking place and purity of heart is the cream that rises from His love within us.

Blessings,

#kent

Preach the Gospel

April 27, 2020

Preach the Gospel

Luke 10:3  Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

 

The context of the verse above is taken from the account of when Jesus sent out seventy disciples to go in His name and authority.  They were not to depend on their resources, and they were only to stay and let their peace come upon those who received them.  The very powers of hell had to give place to them.  Just before this verse Jesus says, ” The harvest is great, but the laborers are few, pray that the Lord of the harvest would send more laborers into His harvest.”

This passage stands a preview of the great commission, which Jesus gave just before His ascension when He gave the command to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  We know as believers that we are expected to share our faith with others.  It is often easier for some than others to verbalize their faith.  The message you carry must be preceded by an attitude.  Jesus said I send you forth as lambs.  What is a lamb nature?  Is it wishy-washy, mealy mouthed, timid, weak, kick-me-around attitude?  Was that the nature of the Lamb of God?  He was humble, why, so others could be lifted and built up.  He was meek, which is not weak, it is strength under control.  He was willing to suffer offense and wrong not because of fear, but because of love.  He saw past the wolf type nature that is prompted by the god of this world, satan, and into the heart of man that desperately needed the liberating love and forgiveness God wanted to give them.

The demeanor of our lives often speaks as loud or louder than our words.  Many people speak words, but the power behind your words is your demonstration to carry out what you say.  God has given us a commission and I believe He has given us the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out that commission.  Let us be faithful to step out not just in word, but in action to profess Christ name and our faith in Him.  Then trust the Holy Spirit to do the convincing and the convicting that will bring them to Him.  He has prepared the harvest; we must be faithful to bring it in.  You can be sure that He has not given us a task, but what He has not empowered us to do it, even to the point of supernatural acts.  Let us not limit God by our unbelief, but go, as He sends us as lambs among the wolves.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Intent

April 24, 2020

 

God’s Intent

 

Romans 8:28-31

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?

 

God says His intentions for His people are to conform them to the image of His Son.  Jesus is the pattern and prototype, the standard and the likeness of what we are becoming.  All things in our lives should be working to this end that in all things we are like minded with Christ.  The Lord Jesus sits in heaven’s throne, not idly, but as the High Priest of our confession, ever living to make intercession on our behalf.  All that Christ has done and is still doing is to bring us into the likeness of who He is.  The Holy Spirit is working out those intercessions to accomplish in us the good and perfect will of the Father.  Thus, it says, “that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and to them that are called according to His purpose.”  Most of us have circumstances and times in our lives when we struggle with the fact that this can actually be working together for our good.  Then, we have to understand that life is not just about good things happening to us, but whatever does happen to us God is working it to do a work of goodness in us.  Often it is the most negative things that work the greatest positive in us.

God has called us out of darkness and predestined that we should be the children of light.  We are the vessels through whom His divine light would shine.  As Jesus revealed God to humanity, so we reveal Christ to our world.  Though we were lost in sin, now Christ has justified us, made us just as if we had never sinned.  After that justification is complete then He will glorify us, even to the image and likeness of Himself.

Though the forces of hell and death come against us nothing or no one is able to separate us from the Love of God.  We are not in this battle alone.  It is God that is determining our victory as we pursue His purposes in hope and faith.

Be encouraged today wherever you find yourself in your spiritual walk.  These may be dark days or blessed days, but wherever we are, even in the face of death, our God stands with us.  The Romans that Paul wrote this letter to were standing at death’s door for the sake of their faith and we may one-day stand there with them.  Romans 8:32-39 goes on to encourage us in such a powerful way, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?   Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth. Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It doesn’t matter who condemns us, belittles us, and tries to intimidate, criticize and ridicule us.  It doesn’t matter who robs our possessions or takes away our livelihood.  God Almighty is for us!!!  God” spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?  We are destined for greatness.  We are destined for the fullness of God.  We are His children that are being made conformable to His likeness.  All the curses of hell and death may come against us and we may lay down our lives for our faith, but nothing is powerful enough to separate us from our God.  “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that has loved us.” Our DADDY is stronger than anybody else’s and our security, love and completeness is sealed in Him.  It doesn’t matter what our circumstances, just as it looked like Jesus was defeated when they nailed Him to the cross.  His death became life and victory and power.  The death that works in this life can only work the power of the resurrection life in us as we fix our eyes on Him “who is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).”

Take heart that He is working in you and I so much more than we will ever see come from what this world and what its goods have to offer.   We are a Kingdom People set apart for Kingdom purposes.  Hold fast to your confession of faith and waiver not in your commitment, no matter what obstacles come against you.  He will see you through and bless your latter end even more than your former.  Nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Blessings,

#kent

The Pearl of Great Price

April 23, 2020

 

Matthew 13:45-46

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

 

The Pearl of Great Price

 

There are many oysters gleaned from the sea, but the only ones worth remembrance are those that contained the precious pearl within them.  Our natural lives are not so different than those oysters.  Millions of people have lived and died upon the earth, but those that were remembered fondly are those that left something of value to others.  A life spent for self is like buying an ice cream cone; it is enjoyed for the moment and then forgotten.  A life invested and spent in blessing others is a legacy and memorial which lives on.  It often outlives our mortal existence on earth and is the basis of our reward in heaven.

Why did the merchant in this scripture sell all that he had to purchase this pearl of great price?  Because that is what his life was about.  What is our life about?  What statement and what remembrance will our life have?  What is our legacy that we will leave behind?  These questions and there subsequent actions are what define our life.  When we found Christ as the answer to what our life was about then our lives took on new purpose and meaning as we embraced Him as our pearl of great price.  If we truly have a revelation of Christ then we too are willing to sell all that we have to obtain this pearl.  Why, because He defines our life, our being and our reason for living.  When we are remembered in earth and in heaven, we want to be remembered for what this Pearl was in us and through us.  It wasn’t the outer shell of this oyster and flesh that mattered.  What mattered was that the reason it existed was to house and cultivate this pearl of great price.  It is the pearl that gives it value and meaning.

As we think upon what our lives have meant and what they will mean to others, think upon how Christ is remembered through your life and what you spent to obtain this pearl of great price.  Yes, salvation was free when we received the seed of His life within us by faith, but the layers of that pearl were built upon through years of growth and maturity in which there was an exchange of our life for His.  That is how the pearl grew within us.  Often it was not an easy or painless process.  It may well have come through much tribulation, trials and affliction, but faithfulness kept building upon our hope one layer at a time.  At the end, may we have as our legacy, a pearl of great price.

Blessings,

#kent

Approaching Our God

April 22, 2020

 

Approaching Our God

 

James 4:7-9

7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 

Many of us struggle with approaching God and establishing the relationship with Him that our spirit man longs for.  We want to hear the Lord speak to us, we want His direction for our lives, at least we think we do, and we want a relationship where we have a continual abiding fellowship and dialogue with the Lord.

We keep thinking, “what am I missing”?  Why aren’t I feeling closer to God?  Why don’t I hear His voice and get His direction more?  Our answers could lie in these verses and in this chapter.  For many of us we are losing the battle to the flesh in too many areas of our lives.  We are back and forth between spirit and flesh.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak and so we struggle with living consistent lives in the Spirit.

The first thing God tells us here, that we need to do, is submit.  Literally it means to be subordinate and be yielded to another’s control.  This is the same context of submission as Ephesians 5:22 requires when it says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Men we are not really different from our wives. We really want to be in the driver’s seat concerning our lives.  One of the reasons we are missing God is we aren’t fully resigned in obedience to Him.  Wives, if you aren’t really submitted to your husbands, then you aren’t really fully submitted to Christ.  We all have to follow the order of authority that God has laid down for us in our lives.

The second area is “resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  Many of us are hit and miss at this as well.  We have good intentions, we mean well, but too many times we miss the mark.  Our resistance must be in direct proportion to our insistence that Christ is Lord.  When Jesus encountered the devil’s temptations in the wilderness, He insisted on the authority of the Word lining up in obedience to God.  Many, like the devil, take the Word and pervert it to try and say what justifies their particular lust and desires.  Resist the devil with the Spirit and the Word.  We are weak, but He is strong.  Our strength is in our abiding, obedient relationship with Christ.  He is the overcomer in us. We must see ourselves through the lens of who we are in Christ.

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.”  Are we continually approaching God in an attitude of true humility, contriteness and repentance?  Are His praises continually in our mouth, His meditation in our heart and is our purpose to find His will and plan for us personally?  What must we do to draw near?  “Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”  The first and foremost thing is that we must be totally serious in our intent to find God’s presence.   God sees right through our heart, our intents and motives.  James 1:4-8 tells us, “4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” If we want God to take us seriously, then we have to be totally serious with Him.  Isn’t it interesting that again in this passage of James 5 he uses this terminology of “double-minded”?  This is where most of us find ourselves, divided between heaven and earth.  We look up at God and say, ” yes, I want you Father,” and then we look back at earth and think, “yeah, but I don’t really want to give that up, lay that down or turn away from that area in my life.”  We are double-minded, torn in two directions, but the Word calls us adulteresses, those of us who break our vows with our friendship with the world. It is this attitude and state of mind that we must grieve, mourn and wail over.  We must hate it so much that it becomes a stench to us.  We must be so grieved at any attitude or behavior that is contrary to the nature and character of Christ in us. He must forever be our all in all.  There must be so much of a humility and brokenness in our hearts that God will lift us up and know that we mean business with Him.  The lower we are willing to go the higher He can lift us up.  The more we are willing to die, the more of the resurrection life of Christ we are able to lay hold of.  How is our approach as we seek to find God’s presence today?

Blessings,

#kent

Rags to Riches

April 21, 2020

 

Rags to Riches

 

Colossians 1:27

To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

 

As kids we often would muse, “if you had three wishes, what would you wish for?”  As adults today, if we had one wish, what would we wish for?   Would it be fame or fortune, health or peace, beauty or strength?  I would say many of us, while having our needs met, wouldn’t consider ourselves rich or beautiful or famous or wise.  If we stopped to really evaluate the ways in which we are rich or we are poor, what would we conclude?  Many of us would smile and say; I’m rich with family, or in relationships I have with others.  We might be rich in the joy and satisfaction we receive from serving and blessing others and making a difference in their lives.  We have often gotten into the mindset that riches means having millions of dollars, but is a millionaire always rich?

Proverbs 13:7 says, “One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” In order to be rich, must one always have the tangible substance of material things in their possession?

When we discovered Christ, the Son of God that has freely provided so great a salvation, we discovered a vein of the most precious substance known to man.  It runs so deep and so wide and it runs from the earth beneath to the heavens above.  So many of us still haven’t really grasped how rich we have become in having Christ.  Our concept of riches it still focused on outward possessions.  It is fine if you have outward possessions and wealth, but if that is all your heart is content with then you are indeed most poor.  There is no greater poverty than the leanness and depravity of one’s soul.  In Matthew 16:26 Jesus poses the question, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” When we found that relationship with Jesus Christ, we went from rags to riches, rather anything changed outwardly or not.  What is the price for eternal life in the riches of heaven with our almighty loving heavenly Father?  What is the price for having all my sins and faults and failures forgiven and my debts cancelled?  What would it cost to have the Christ, the Spirit of the living God, dwelling in me?  Does anyone possess that kind of earthly wealth that they could purchase these priceless gifts?  Yet Christ died to pay the price that He might freely give them to all that would believe.  You and I are so rich beyond measure and yet we are so often focused on what we don’t have.  If we truly tapped into what we do have we would realize that there are no limitation on what is possible for us to have or to do?  While we are very, very rich through Christ, we have limited understanding and wisdom in how to use the wealth we possess in the fullness of how God has intended, so we are in school.  The school of life is teaching us to practice the principles of the Kingdom that is ours.  In order for us to come into the fullness of our inheritance we must learn the ways of kingship and godly rule.  In order for us to rule like the King, we must come into the nature of the King.  How did our King demonstrate His kingdom to us?  Philippians 2:5-8 tells us, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

We have gone from rags to riches when we fully comprehend that this Christ is in us.  He became poor, of no reputation and endured the death of the cross so that you and I might possess so great a riches.   Will we miss the greater by always focusing on the lesser?  We spend the majority of our lives and resources pursuing that which is perishing while we neglect that which is eternal and priceless.  We are the sons and daughters of Most High God; let us begin to dress ourselves in the rich garments of His righteousness.  The world may despise us, but they don’t possess what we possess.  We, like our example before us, must become void of self, so that we can bring others up.  We want all of those around us to experience this “rags to riches” story.  We want them to come out of the poverty and emptiness of their soul into the riches of God’s love and grace.  There are not any greater riches in all of earth or heaven than “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Blessings,

#kent

Take Time to Love

April 20, 2020

 

Take Time to Love

 

Song of Songs 5:1

I am come into my garden, my sister, [my] spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

 

Life is so busy and the demands of life so many that it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activity and forget what it is all for and who it is all about.  Isn’t it all for those that we love and want to provide for and bless?  At least that is what we tell those that we love.   Often our greatest blessing can be ourselves, our time and personal attention.  That is the gift we often withhold from the ones that love us most.  We can justify it by all that we have upon us, but when said and done, those things can’t replace our relationships.  When they do, then they rob the emotional support and love that has more value than money. 

            I am one who is easily caught up in my business and all the demands of the things I have to get done.  On the other hand I have a lover, a friend and a wife who is always exhorting me to get balance.  The business of life is necessary, but it is not everything!  We must take time away from the work to go often into the garden of our love and relationships, to partake of the sweet and rich things of our fellowship.  We need that time, that personal sharing of heart to heart, because that it the true nectar and sweetness of life.  Our wife, our children, our grandchildren all need those garden times when we just play, and talk and enjoy relationship.  This is the garden in our lives and a garden left untended goes to weeds. 

            I believe God wants to speak this into all of our lives, especially those of us who get too busy and tune everything else out,take time to love”.  Love is the most important commodity in life.  Real love can’t be bought or sold; it is something that can only be given.  Respect and cherish the gift of love from others and be generous in the love you give.  Few things in life are more rewarding than those that stem from a heart of love.  We can’t get so busy with life that we forget to smell the flowers.  We need to go often into the garden of our relationships and enjoy the sweetness of life we can find there.  The more time we spend there the sweeter the garden grows.  Take Time to Love.

Blessings,

#kent

Birthing the Promise

April 17, 2020

Birthing the Promise

 

Ecclesiastes 3:10

I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

 

Many of us have been believing and pressing into God for different needs and areas in our lives where we are trusting for a miracle or a breakthrough from the Lord.  Perhaps we have grown weary and have wanted to give up.  It may have seemed everything has been against us.  Though we have sought the Lord we may not have received any distinct word other than “just trust Him”.  Though we have been faithful to try and trust Him it doesn’t mean fear, doubt and unbelief haven’t tried to creep in to unsettle us, discourage us and defeat us.  Perhaps we have tried to do everything right.  We’ve even prayed about anything that may be hindering our answer to prayer.  Still it may seem nothing is coming together, there is no immediate answer in sight and when we do get a hopeful prospect to our answer it falls through and we are left empty and disappointed.  Still we encourage ourselves in the Lord.  We continue to praise Him in our adversity and trust Him in our need.  In the natural you wonder if this dream you have, this vision, this need for God’s touch will ever come to pass.

When a woman carries the promise of baby in her womb she has joy, not because she has seen the face of her promised seed, but she knows that life is growing inside her and in due season it will come forth.  God’s promises to us are often like that fetus in the womb of our soul.  All we have is the promise, the expectation, and the anticipation of what God has promised and quickened in us, that it will come to pass.  Every woman that has born a child naturally will testify that there comes a day when it is time to birth, but in between the promise and the fulfillment is this little thing called ‘labor or travail’.  In that place there is often extreme and intense pain to bring forth this promise that has grown in her womb.  At the time she may feel like there is no way she can handle the pain or that she will make it through the process.  It will often bring her to the end of herself.  This same principle is true for us who are trying to give birth to a vision, a dream or a need that we have in us.  In the process of trying to birth it, everything in the natural is telling us we are going to die and fail in the process.  We are pressed to the extremes of our faith and trust in God, as we are desperately trying to hold fast to His Word and our hope in Him.  The Lord wants to encourage us today to not give up, to continue to hold fast because you are in the stages of travail and our faith is being exercised and stretched like it never has before.  The Holy Spirit and the Word of God are our labor coaches encouraging us that we can make it, that God is faithful, don’t fear only believe.

When we look back through the Word of God we can see so many examples of the trying of men’s faith and the travail they had to pass through.  We see Abraham willing in obedience to sacrifice his only Isaac, Jacob wrestling with the angel, Joseph enduring betrayal, slavery, imprisonment and hardship to finally realize the fulfillment of his dream.  We see David running for his life from Saul and the enemies that sought his destruction.  We see Daniel in the Lion’s den; the three Hebrew children facing the fiery furnace and Jeremiah left in the miry pit.  The examples are many and numerous, but most pronounced we see Jesus enduring the travail of His Passion that He might give birth to the Church and the salvation promised to men.  We are no different in our personal lives than they.  We with patience and steadfast faith we’ll also inherit the promises if we faint not.

Ephesians 6:13 tells us, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”  Our God is raising His people not to be wimps that roll over in the face of adversity and look for the way of escape, but warriors who will stand in the day of battle and travail.  Perhaps you are in that day today with your circumstances.  2 Corinthians 2:14 exhorts and encourages us by saying, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”  Romans 8:37 reminds us, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Endure the day of travail for your joy comes in the morning.

Blessings,

#kent

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