Let’s stretch Ourselves

September 30, 2020

Let’s stretch Ourselves

Luke 6:27-36

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

              Jesus tells us to do some things here that are pretty contrary to a lot of our human nature.  I would venture to say, that none of us are fully walking in what Jesus is telling us to do in this passage.  Let’s arm our selves with these instructions that the Lord has given us and as we go out each day let’s endeavor to stretch ourselves, step out of our comfort zone and the way that we have always done it.  Let’s step out of our character and into His.  Let’s do something radically kind and generous.  Let’s endeavor to be a blessing to all that we meet, especially those that are irregular people in our lives that we struggle to even tolerate, let alone like.  Put on the mind of Christ today as you look out and see your world.  See it through His eyes and His love.  What would Jesus do?  How can I get out of my thinking and into His?  Bless someone in a spontaneous and unexpected way.  Forgive that person who has offended and hurt you.  Refuse to retaliate when others abuse you, treat you wrongly or speak unkindly to you.  Return blessing for evil, love for hate and kindness for unkindness. 

              Let’s dare to be different today.  Let’s dare to let the Lord stretch us and use us in new and uncommon ways.  That means we have to step out of the character of who we have been and into the character of who Christ is and wants to be within us and through us.  Go out and assault your world with random acts of kindness.   Take the time to tell others how special they are and what a difference their life makes to you.  Edify those around you.  Be thankful that you get to go to work and that you have a job.  Let everyday be another great day, because Christ is living in you and through you.   

              Dare to let go of the things that you hold onto so tightly.  Rest in the Lord that he is your provision and your supply.  As 2 Corinthians 8:15 says, “As it is written, He that [had gathered] much had nothing over; and he that [had gathered] little had no lack.”  There are untapped resources within us waiting to be released, as we are willing to stretch into the Lord’s principles and commandments.  How many times have we read this passage and others like it, but how much of it is actively working in our lives and everyday behavior.  What Jesus speaks here is not often seen in natural behavior.  Jesus wants to stretch us out of what we have been that is like everyone else and stretch into what He is.  If He has commanded us to do these things then He has provided the resources for us to do it. Are you willing to stretch today?

Blessings,

#kent

Our Daily Bread

September 29, 2020

Matthew 6:11

Give us this day our daily bread.

Our Daily Bread

              Bread has long been viewed as a basic staple of life.  Bread speaks to nutrition and the sustenance that sustains our lives.  As Christians we know bread both on a natural and a spiritual plane.  The first mention we have of bread is in Genesis 3:18, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”  Natural bread is a type of the natural nutrients and foods we must eat to sustain our natural lives.  Our own sweat and efforts produce natural bread, while it sustains our physical life for a time; it gives place to death.

              In Exodus 16:4 God takes bread to another level with the children of Israel in the wilderness.  “Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”  Here we see in type, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  God faithfully gave them daily what they needed to sustain them.  He taught them that their security wasn’t in gathering too much and hoarding it to themselves, then taking their ease.  They could only gather as much as they needed for the day or it would go rotten on them and be filled with worms and corruption.  This is where I find a lesson of faith for my own life.  I, like many of you, start to worry about whether there will be enough later on when I am currently in the days of plenty.  I don’t think that saving and preparation are bad principles, but often it is more a condition of the heart.  I find that the less I have the tighter I hold on to it.  My trust becomes more in what I possess and me, rather than in my Father and what He is able to daily provide for me.  God shows me this principle.  My wife and I each have our own businesses that we help each other in.  I find that as I try to hold back and not spend too much, I consequently seem to never have enough.  My wife on the other hand, doesn’t worry about it so much.  She is not an excessive spender, but on the other hand if she sees something she wants or needs she just gets it and doesn’t worry about.   She seems to always have enough not only for herself, but to bless others as well.  Her resources never seem to run dry.  I believe God has been trying to teach me this spiritual principal, that He is our daily bread, physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially.  Our faith and obedience are demonstrated, as we are not so worried about tomorrow, but faithful in that which He has given us for today. 

              The fulfillment of the type of the bread of heaven is seen fully in Jesus Christ.  Jesus says in John 6:51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:58 goes on to say, “This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” There is a daily bread that Jesus tells us to pray for every day.  It is not just for natural sustenance, but it is for our eternal and spiritual life.  I believe this daily bread extends to the daily needs of our physical man, but it is by no means limited to that realm.  It is the supplication for the supply of Life that is only resident in us through Christ Jesus.  As our eyes and hearts are set upon Him, our reliance for our daily needs, both physical and spiritual are met in Him who is our daily Manna from heaven.  Each day we must trust, gather Him in and partake of Him afresh.  Otherwise our manna will become old, stale and rancid.  We need fresh manna, fresh bread and that only comes as we personally approach the throne of grace and make our request for more of Him, be made known. 

              Maybe you are physically and spiritually malnutritioned because you are not coming to the Bread of Life on a daily basis and eating from His bakery.  Our daily bread comes with our daily relationship with Him.  Come and sit as His table, give thanks and partake of your daily Bread.

Blessings,

#kent

The Joy of His Fellowship

September 28, 2020

Psalms 5:11

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

The Joy of His Fellowship

              When you think back over your life what strikes you as the times when you had the greatest joy and contentment in your life?  For many of us has been the loving relationship that we have shared with our spouse or some special individual, but I don’t even know if that joy can exceed or compare to the joy of an intimate relationship with the Lord.  There is not greater joy than when we are in right fellowship with Jesus.  When I think of the times of greatest joy and fulfillment, I have to say they are in the Lord.  In those days when there is a constant dialogue with the Father and the Holy Spirit is just speaking little things into your heart that encourage you or just give you a new different revelation of Him.  It is such a joy to see the little miracles that He performs in our lives as we are fully trusting on Him and looking to Him for our every need.  That is why it is good that we don’t have everything.  We need to keep exercising our trust in Him.  Some of our poorest times were some of our richest times, because we had the privilege of seeing God’s ability working in our circumstances and His provision in our needs.  When we become prosperous and enjoy success, we often lose sight of the One who brought us where we are and who gave us the prosperity that we enjoy.  We begin to take ownership and pride in what we have accomplished rather than what the Lord has imparted through us and to us.   We tend to quit trusting in Him and looking more to our own devices and means.  He blesses us with all of His riches and wonderful gifts and then, ironically, we tend to have less and less time for Him because now we have to be focused on all that we have and all that we are still trying to get.  Meanwhile, in all of that we lose that most precious commodity and possession that we can have in life, the joy and fellowship of the Lord.  We have allowed that intimacy and fellowship we once enjoyed to become replaced by other things we think we want, but that usually only bring us into more bondage and obligation to care for them.  Somewhere in our travels through life we look back and we wonder where did it go, when did I lose it; that special relationship I had with Him?  It is not that we have forsaken our faith or that we don’t still love and trust the Lord, but it becomes like many of our marriages; we lose our first love. 

              God show us again how to recapture the fervent passion and joy we had in our first love.  Help us to turn our backs on the weights and sins that so easily encumber us, stumble us and have robbed us of our joy with YOU!  Help us to find again the elements of our love that made our time together so sweet and memorable.  Help us to revisit and possess again that joy.  We tend to lose it with You and in our marriages and other human relationships as well.  It was that joy that made life so rich and so worth living.  Bring us back to that joy of when You were everything and fellowship was so sweet. 

Blessings,

#kent

A Letter to My Son

September 25, 2020

A Letter to My Son

Proverbs 1:8

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

              My son, do you know how much I love you?  Do you know how I prayed for you even when you were in your mother’s womb and each day since?  A father’s heart is to see his son grow up and be even more than he could ever be.  He wants the best for him.  He wants him to prosper and know the joys and richness of life.  More than anything else, a father who loves the Lord will desire his son to grow up to embrace his own faith in Christ.  A father of faith desires to birth that faith and relationship with Christ into his son. 

              Why is that so important?  The father knows that in Christ are the issues of life, health, wealth and eternal salvation.  If a father can impart to his son how rich he will be through a committed relationship with Christ then he will have left a legacy that he can be proud of.  Your mother and I will have fulfilled one of the primary purposes for our being together.  Malachi 2:15 says, “And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one?  Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth.”  While Christian parents desire to live a godly example and be a light of salvation to others, there is no other soul more precious to them than you. 

              As a son grows up and matures he sees the parents he once perceived as so good with their faults and shortcomings.  As a son grows into puberty and adolescence he often becomes quite full on himself and defiant and resentful of his parents.  A father has had a few short years to try and instill the principles of life and godliness into his son.  He has disciplined him to try and teach him responsibility, integrity and character.  He knows he has made more mistakes than he would ever like to admit, but he prays that somehow, in spite of his shortcomings and failures God, by His grace, will make Himself so real to his son and that his son might now choose to make his parent’s faith his own. 

              As fathers we are often far less than perfect, but if this father doesn’t know anything else and if he doesn’t possess any other significant talents or abilities, the one thing that he does know and is fully committed to is that Christ is the answer to life.  He prays that if His son gets nothing else from him, that he will get that.  For a godly parent, there is no greater gift or reward than to see one’s children choosing the path of righteousness and walking in it.  There are no richer moments than when we see them instilling and teaching their children the ways and the love of the Lord. 

              My son, I leave you with these words of instruction from Proverbs 4:20-27, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart For they [are] life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”  My son, I love you and only desire for you the richness and goodness of God’s grace and love.

Blessings,

#kent

Sheep Among Wolves

September 24, 2020

Luke 10:3

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

Sheep 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

Restoration

September 23, 2020

Jeremiah 31:18-20

“I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined.

Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God. 19 After I strayed, I repented;

after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

20 Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.

Restoration

              Ephraim, for point of reference, was the younger one of the two sons of Joseph.  Jacob blessed him and his older brother Manasseh and the two were counted as one of the tribes of Israel.  Ephraim, though, he was the younger, Jacob blessed as the older, declaring that in him Israel would be blessed (Genesis 48).  Ephraim is often used as a name synonymous with Israel.  Jeremiah speaks this passage toward the end of Israel’s captivity in Babylon as they look forward to a time of freedom and restoration. 

              It is the loving discipline of the Father that prevents us from reaping our own destruction.  If God tears down and destroys, He does it for the purpose of discipline, cleansing and restoration.  God’s discipline deals with the unruliness of our hearts as they stray from Him and forget His precepts and His ways.  It is God’s discipline that leads us to repentance and repentance leads us to restoration of fellowship and relationship lost through our sin and rebellion. 

              God dealt very harshly with His nation Israel.  He allowed the destruction of their country, of their city, Jerusalem and even the glorious temple, which Solomon had built.  God will destroy the flesh, so that He may preserve the spirit.  Even in God’s anger, His love runs deep for His people.  We can readily see that in Jeremiah 31: 20 as God says, “Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.” 

              God’s heart is for us even when we have sinned and turned away from Him.  He ever abides faithful, even when we have been faithless.  Hebrews 12:4-12 is such a rich encouragement to us as God’s children that God disciplines us out of His love and not His anger.  “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”  Many of us are already in a place of discipline or soon will be.  Judgement begins at the house of God.  God is disciplining and judging us so that His house may be in order before He judges the world.  It is our discipline and godly correction that will prepare our hearts and lives for a great ingathering of souls into the kingdom.  We are His sons and as much as Papa loves us, He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.  Let us faint not or feel condemned of the Lord.  God is dealing, exposing and judging us so that our repentance will lead us to a restoration into the fullness of His purpose and plan for our lives.  Father is all about our restoration and not our destruction, but sometimes old things have to be torn down that better things might be built.  If you are undergoing urban renewal in your life then rejoice, for the Father is at work in you to do His good will and pleasure.  You are the sons and daughters of His love and the product of His restoration and grace.

Blessings,

#kent

Five Smooth Stones

September 22, 2020

1 Samuel 17:40

And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling [was] in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

Five Smooth Stones

              Close your eyes and imagine that you are David walking through the stream bed choosing five symmetrically smooth stones.  These little stones might have once been mighty rocks that over time and erosion and rubbing against one another had become those five smooth stones that David chose that day as he prepared to meet the giant that had all of Israel in fear and trembling. 

              “Come on David, picking up rocks to fight this mighty heavily armored giant is like bringing a pocket knife to a gun fight.  This guy can throw spears that weigh more than you do.”

              In biblical numerology five is the number of grace and redemption.  What was going out to confront this giant was not the might and strength of man, but the grace of God expressed through a little ruddy shepherd boy who had the faith and confidence in His God to know that this giant was nothing before him.  Most of us as Christians make the mistake of always looking to see how big our giants are rather looking and knowing how great our God is.  The power of God’s grace and love will bring down giants that the law and religion will only cower from.  David knew and had the revelation of a  secret that the other mighty men of Israel didn’t have.  He knew it was “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.”  He knew that in weakness God’s strength is made strong.  It was in the fact that David wasn’t anything to brag about that all of the glory could go to God.  What the giant failed to see was the mighty God that David carried with Him.  If he had really seen who David was in God, it would have been him that would have cowered and trembled. 

              Many of you really don’t think you are anything.  You make the mistake of looking with natural eyes like Israel did at this puny little shepherd boy.  The power and might of what you carry isn’t in the outward man, it is in the inward man.  It is the Christ in you.  You don’t carry Him because of your might, your goodness or your abilities.  You carry Him because of His grace that works in you.  It is His grace in you that is the stone that can defeat your greatest giant and fiercest enemy.  The giant fought with the weapons produced by man, David didn’t use man’s weapons to defeat the giant, he used what God had produced in those five smooth stones.  They represented the process of what God takes us through to prepare us for the destiny of who we are by His grace.

              Ephesians 2:4-10 says, “But 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.” 

              Did you catch what grace is doing for you?  It has changed and shifted your position from earthly to heavenly, not only heavenly, but seated with Christ in God. 

              And for what reason did He place us there?    “In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”  He has brought you up to bring the giants down.  His grace is the five stones that are able to bring down your Goliath.  It is not you might, your goodness or your abilities.  It is His grace working in you and through you as you embrace by faith who you are and where you are in Him.  When we are always trying to wage our wars and fight from an earthly perspective we are always experiencing defeat.  Father wants us to fight our battles from the position that we have in Him.  Your giants always look smaller looking down on them than when you are looking up.  Remember that you are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.  Operate your life out of the grace of who and where you are in Him.  There is no giant greater than our God.  Go pick up the five smooth stones of His grace that will bring your enemy down and allow you to behead him with his own weapon.

              “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds (1 Corinthians 10:4)”

Blessings,

#kent

Damage Control

September 21, 2020

Damage Control

1 John 3:18

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

              Have you ever experienced those times either in yourself or in others where your words didn’t always follow through in your actions?  How often in our relationships do we offend one another and maybe we are willing to say, “I’m sorry”. Things are okay for a little while and then we slip back into the same old offenses.  Maybe the guys are spending too much time watching sports or playing golf and the wife gets fed up and then blows up.  In the obviously rational discussion that follows the husband sees the error of his ways, apologizes and promises to do better.  Finally, the wife calms down, accepts the apology and life goes back to normal.  Being the creatures of habit that we are, usually sooner than later the husband has slipped back into his old ways and round 2 and 3 and so on continues.  It could be the other way with a wife that likes to shop or go over budget on her spending, for example.  The husband hits the roof and the same type of scenario follows with the wife apologizing to the husband and promising to change.  This same type of thing can play out at work, or in other relationships, where we continue in a behavior until there is a breaking point. Then we do damage control to try to patch the immediate damage, but we never really repent and turn from the behavior that is causing the real problem.  This, no doubt, has much to do with why our divorce rate is at about fifty percent.  If we do that with one another, how much more do we do it with God and His will for our lives?  When we feel the conviction about something wrong in our lives, we so often are prone to cover it with a quick, “I’m sorry, please forgive me,” and then go on our merry way with no real attitude or heart change.  I’m preaching to myself today, because its too easy for us to get caught up in what we are doing and what is so important to us that we fail to see and react to the big picture.  Life isn’t all about us.  It is about family, friends, relationships and a balance in our lives that helps us to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of others; the Lord being the first on that list.  Life has many demands upon us.  Most of us are running full tilt boogie just trying to keep up.  We feel the weight and the pressures of all these demands, and it is hard for us to be everything to everybody.  Many of us have become workaholics because there is so much to do and so little time.  As a result, our relationships suffer.  Could this be why the Lord created a Sabbath?  We all need to take that time when we close the work door and say, “this time is set apart just for relationships with God and family.”  We need to do that regularly and purposefully. 

              Damage control only works for so long.  If a ship were in battle and sustained injury, the crew would do what they had to do to get the ship back up and operational, but that wouldn’t be the permanent fix, it would only be temporary till permanent repairs could be made.  If they continued to operate the ship on “damage control” it would probably eventually sink.  That is where many of us are.  Many of us need to do some permanent fixing starting with our heavenly relationship, then our family and then others.  Our words and apologies must be followed with actions of change.  We tend to neglect the more important people in our lives that love us, thinking they will understand.  Occasionally they will, but we have to change our behavior and place our relationships as the first priority on our list instead of the last.  As I’m talking to myself today, I know I’m speaking to a lot of you.  God’s priorities are people and not things.  A lot of us need real repentance in these areas where we offend and neglect.  Instead of “damage control”, let’s work on some permanent changes that will heal our relationships with our God, our family and others.  We need to make commitments to specific times we set apart just for relationships and then follow through with consistent actions. 

” …Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

Blessings,

#kent

What does this New Man Look Like?

Colossians 3:9-11

9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

              We have been talking about what this new man, who we are in Christ, is.  What does this “new man” look like?  Well, we know that this new man who is being renewed in the image of Christ is what we generally term a “Christian” or a “born again believer”.  If you went out on the street or to different parts of the world and took a poll of random people, what do you think they would say a Christian should look like?  No doubt we would get multiple answers and opinions.  Some might say it can only be a certain race people, or only males can be Christians, or only certain religions or denominations can be Christians.  What does the Word say a Christian is?  It says it is a person that “is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”  In other words it is one that looks in their behavior to be like Christ.  It is one who doesn’t think like the world thinks, but is aligning their thoughts, goals and lifestyle with the Word and the will of God.  It plainly says here that there is no outward distinction or discrimination of sex, color, race or creed that defines you as a “new man or person in Christ”.  The transformation is within and is expressed without.  The defining factor is that Christ is all and is in all.  In the Christian’s mind and heart, this should be at the forefront of all of our thinking, all of our plans, all of our goals and in all that we are.  Is Christ everything?  If He is everything in you and I, then what are we going to look like, what are we going to reflect, emulate, and express?  What is going to be our nature and character?  It is Christ, for He is all and in all.  He is what our life is all about.  He should now define who we are.

              Now being honest for just a moment, how many of us can say that is totally where we are at in our thinking, in our lifestyles and in our behavior?  What we have to grasp and get a hold of is that Christ wants Christians who are wholly identified with Him.  In other words, He is to become our identity.  What does Christian mean?  It means “little Christs”.  In the Old Testament to be one of God’s people you had to be one of the circumcision, that defined you as set apart for God. The New Testament tells us in Philippians 3:3, “3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— ”  Natural circumcision could only apply to males, but spiritual circumcision, which is the removal of our fleshly heart and attitude, giving place to the headship of Christ in our lives, knows no gender, but is applicable to all.  This new garment we are putting on is a spiritual garment that is in the likeness of Him who created us.  That is our purpose and our reason for being.  We are to be the expression of Christ in the earth.  It is Him living through us.  Is that what our world is seeing in the majority of Christianity today?  Do they really see anything that looks much different than them except in name only?  Are they able to see the difference in our behavior, our integrity, our divorce rate or family life?  The truth we face is that most all of us are missing the mark.  Christ really isn’t our all in all, He is only part of our all.  We must all come to the place of prayerfully, honestly, and with a broken and contrite heart defining who we really are.  Maybe we are somewhere between dirty underwear and blue jeans and a clean shirt, but we haven’t fully put off the old man with his former deeds.  There is a tremendous work of transformation that needs to take place in most of us.  God can only work in us, as we are willing to relinquish our will to His.  James says, “a double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.”  How many of us are abiding in that place of only being lukewarm for God?  He is not our everything; He has become our occasional, our “when I feel like it”, if it is convenient, and when it is acceptable in my circle of friends.  What is Christ to us?  Is He the garment that we put on every morning and wear everyday or has He become something much less?  God has called us and provided for us to be so much more than we have been.  It is time for us to rise up and answer the trumpet that is sounding and calling us back to our faith, our full commitment and confidence in Christ.  He must be our all and who is in all. Christ in us, is our hope of glory.

Blessings,

#kent

Our Hiding Place

September 17, 2020

John 3:19-21

19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Our Hiding Place

              You know what is strange is that most all of us say we want more of God.  We want His presence, we want to see His power and we want to see the Holy Spirit moving among us.  The truth is that many of us really don’t want God to move much in our lives. Why is that?  Because we have found our comfort zones.  Our lives may be a mess, but we are comfortable.  It is what we know and are content with and even though we know that we need so much more, our flesh withdraws from it.  Why is that?  It is for the very reason stated here in John 3; we fear the light lest our deeds be exposed.  We are much more content to hide in our comfort zones, play church and feign religion than to let go and come out of our comfort zones and into His presence.  So even if God is willing to meet with us, we are so often unwilling to meet with Him.  Even as Christians we often love our darkness and the comfort of where we are.  There we can live, as we want too, do as we want too and still be religious if we want too, but God don’t shine your light on me.  We have become complacent and apathetic, blinded to our own darkness and state of impotence.

              Sometimes it is guilt and condemnation that keeps us away from God.  We believe the lie of the enemy that God would never love us or accept us for who we are.  If God doesn’t love you and won’t accept you for who you are then why did God so love the world that He gave His only Son?   While we were yet sinners and enemies of God He loved and gave Himself for us.  How could He love you and accept you any more than that?  God loves the sinner, but He hates that sin that is the cancer destroying our lives.  His desire is not to beat us with a big stick of condemnation, the devil does that.  What we are blind too is that we already stand condemned outside of Him.  God in His infinite love is simply trying to save us from our own destruction.   God doesn’t send us to hell.  We send ourselves to hell by refusing His mercy and truth that can save us and bring us back into right fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ. 

              How long are we going to keep running away from the love of God?  While we are looking back and worrying about avoiding God we are running headlong into the oblivion of destruction.  God is not your enemy; He is your advocate, your deliver and your friend.  It is His mercy and love that He wants to pour out into your life.  It is the liberty and deliverance of His Spirit that He wants to bring you into.  True abandonment to God is extreme life.  It is living life on the edge with full confidence and trust in Him and not in ourselves.  If we remain content to live in the darkness of our sin then we will end up dying in our sin and the consequences will be reaped from what we have sown. 

              God has a better way for us.  Remember the little boy that gave up his five loaves and two fishes that Jesus used to feed a multitude of people?  What if the little boy hadn’t been willing to give up his lunch?  What if he said, “Sorry, they should have packed their own lunch?  They will just have to go hungry.”  God is not asking us to be anything that He hasn’t made us to be.  He is simply asking that we be available to allow Him to manifest His strength and purpose through us.  In our weakness He is made strong.  We will never be good enough to deserve God, because it is God’s goodness that we need in us and that is only a gift that He can give as we come into His light and allow Him to have our lives just as they are. 

              If we don’t come into the fullness of God’s light soon the darkness of this hour will overtake us.  God is calling for us with outstretched arms. 

“Come out of your comfort zones and become available to Me.  I will be a light unto your path and a lamp unto your feet.” 

Submit yourselves to the love of God and to the light of His truth.  There you will find true life and liberty.  There you will find His life and purpose for you that is so much greater than you ever imagined or have ever lived in.  In the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy.  Come out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.

Blessings,

#kent

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