Having the Same Mind

January 29, 2021

Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.

Having the Same Mind

                I’m not sure any other married couples experience this, but I find that Sharon and I often don’t think alike.  Sometimes we’ve even wondered why the Lord put us together when we think so differently.  What makes practical and logical sense in my world is often totally foreign to what her thoughts are on the same subject.  Now it is not really about who is right or wrong, because everyone has their own perspective.  The important issue is how do we come to one mind in a matter? Just because we can have things the way we want them to be doesn’t mean that we are going to be happy because we do.  There is more to consider here than just me.  As I was thinking upon the ways I want to be a better husband this principle came to me this morning, “Remember that in pleasing a woman it is not thinking how you think, but thinking how she thinks.”  That can be kind of foreign to us guys, so it is something that we have to become sensitive too.  The reason we want to please our woman is first because we love her and second of all, a happy wife makes for a happy life.

                The good thing about Sharon is that she is very honest and straightforward to let me know how she thinks or feels about something.  That is good for a slow-witted guy like me, because even at that I am often slow to get the message.  A lot of women often will say one thing with their mouth while feeling another way in their heart.  They think that he will somehow know how I really feel or what I really want and do it.  Then when he takes you at your word, he finds that you are upset and angry and he is not even sure what has done wrong.  Ladies, most of guys are kind of slow on some things that pertain to female logic.  Help us out by being honest about what you want. 

                Let’s make a spiritual application to these principles. The Bible says that we don’t think as God thinks.  Romans 8:6-7 says, “The way a sinful person thinks leads to death. But the mind controlled by the Spirit brings life and peace. 7 The sinful mind is at war with God. It does not obey God’s law. It can’t. 8 Those who are controlled by their sinful nature can’t please God.”  We know that the natural minded thinking is not pleasing to God and when He called us unto Himself, He called us to change our mind to His way of thinking.  Now God’s way of thinking is in conformity and obedience to His Word of instruction and to listening and obeying the Holy Spirit within us.  It is the spiritual mind, which is pleasing to God.  That mind operates out of a faith that trusts in Him.  Romans 12:2 tells us, “Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.” 

                Many of us still maintain a duality of thinking and being.  Often, we give lip service to the Lord, saying all of the right spiritual words, but our hearts are not with Him.  They are set upon our own affections and desires.  We are still of our own mind.  We are as Proverbs 23:7 says, “7For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”  We say one thing outwardly, but in our hearts, we feel another way.  The man in Christ must be swallow up in ‘Life” that which is the man in Adam lost in death.  Only by walking, thinking and being in Life can the Life swallow up the death that has corrupted our thinking and is in opposition to God.  In everything that we are and are becoming, we must have one mind.  Our mind is the mind of Christ, because we are in Him and the cross is at work crucifying that which is not in conformity with His Life.  Colossians 1:21-23 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” 

                Our mind and our will are our own.  We can maintain and keep our old way of thinking, but it alienates us from the choice we made in Christ.  We can never have the full peace and blessing of God outside of our obedience to Him and the conformity of our minds to His.   We can’t have the glory without the cross.  They go together.  Our objective is to have the same mind as Christ.  Philippians 2:5-10 sums it up this way, “Think as Christ Jesus thought. 6 Jesus has always been as God is. But He did not hold to His rights as God. 7 He put aside everything that belonged to Him and made Himself the same as a servant who is owned by someone. He became human by being born as a man. 8 After He became a man, He gave up His important place and obeyed by dying on a cross. 9 Because of this, God lifted Jesus high above everything else. He gave Him a name that is greater than any other name. 10 So when the name of Jesus is spoken, everyone in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow down before Him. 11 And every tongue will say Jesus Christ is Lord. Everyone will give honor to God the Father.”  Aren’t you glad that you are losing your mind? 

Blessings,

#kent

Changing Garments

January 28, 2021

Changing Garments

Colossians 3:9-13

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

                Every day we make a choice when we get up and get dressed what garment or clothes we are going to wear.  Am I going to put back on what is lying at the foot of my bed or am I going to look in the closet and choose to wear a fresh clean set of clothes?  The Word teaches us that when we come into a relationship with Christ and He is abiding in our spirits, we must make an active choice with regard to our wills.  There is an active daily decision on our part to put off the flesh, along with our affection for it, and put on the nature that conforms to His.  When we were kids we were content and happy to wear the old dirty jeans with the holes in the knees and the old ratty tee shirt.  Then mom would lay out a change of clothes and tells us this is what she wanted us to wear.  Normally we rebelled, whined, argued, complained but we eventually complied.  Left to ourselves we might still be wearing those old rags.  Thankfully, most of us had a mom that began to teach us to dress for success.  She taught us that the world evaluates and judges you by what they see you wearing.  Fair or not, that is reality.  As we began to wear those clean and neat clothes we began to perceive ourselves differently and it began to reflect in our attitudes.  This was one of the reasons why, in times gone by, the schools used to have dress codes.  God still has a dress code.  Just like we needed to obey mom, we need to obey the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in regards to our behavior and the choices we make.  Colossians 3:9 says, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” It is time to throw out those old hole-filled, filthy jeans and raggedy tee shirts and put on the new garments.  It tells us, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”  Do your ever find that what is astonishing, and disheartening is that so many who claim to be and represent themselves as Christians have terrible ethics?  They don’t keep their word; they’re often not totally honest and forthright.  Quite frankly, we are often an insult and a slap in God’s face when it comes to our integrity.  Don’t lie and say you are something you are not.  Be what you say you are, in action, word and deed, having “put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”  When you change your clothes, change your underwear too!  Be transformed and conformed to the nature of Christ from within to without.  The word tells us this putting on the new man involves several things.  What do the garments of Christ consist of?  “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”  It goes on to say, “15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name (nature and character) of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

                Everyday we make an active decision about what we are going wear both naturally and spiritually.  Are we choosing to dress for success, by putting on Christ and putting off the flesh with all of its misdeeds?  Our transformation is based upon our union and compliant relationship with the Spirit of God within us and the Word of God that instructs our minds and hearts.  How are you dressing today?  Are you changing garments?

Blessings,

#kent

Is there Action in our Jackson?

1 John 3:8

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

                Do you ever come under the conviction that we know how to talk a good game?  We know the right words and phrases, choruses and hymns and the scriptures and verses, but how much of it is just words in our mouth as compared to a living reality and action in our lives.  We speak much of the ideas and tenants of Christianity, but is it Christ living his love through me when somebody ask me for help or I have to go out of my way.  Are we as the Chinese preachers said, “you are all talky talky, but no walky walky.”  If our actual living, lifestyle and action lived up to our entire mental and verbal ascent, what a godly people we would be. 

I’m talking about the conviction that the Spirit is bringing upon my own heart.  How much hypocrisy do we want to tolerate in our lives as we live behind our masks of godly appearance and words?  It should be our conviction that our actions should always speak louder than our words.  People should know we are Christians by our love, not because we say we are right, can quote scriptures and have a Jesus bumper sticker.  How many people reject Christ and go to hell because they never saw the reality of the Christ that Christians spoke about?  If we never really embrace and live out the reality then we are as 1 Corinthians 13:1 states, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”  Luke 24:19 says, “…Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.”   Jesus didn’t just talk the words of the kingdom of heaven; He walked them, demonstrating in action a divine life.  It is the same life He desires to see us walking in.    Colossians 3:17 exhorts us, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”  Whatever we do in life we want to be acting out of the character and nature of Christ; that is His name. 

                The reason we listen to the Word, and even read this little discourse that I feel God gives to me, is so that we might continue to hear the voice of the Spirit speaking conviction, encouragement and exhortation into our lives.  The Lord isn’t here to beat us up through condemnation, but to bring us up through a Spirit filled and Spirit led life.  If you continue to read this word it is not because of what I write, it is because of the witness you feel in your spirit that God is speaking things to you personally and encouraging you to be all that you can be in Him.  A lot of us in Christianity don’t want to hear that, our ignorance is bliss and we want to continue on with things as they have always been and as we would have them remain.  There are others of us, who struggle with our flesh, we miss the mark, we fail, and we know that we are so much less than we desire to be, but the Spirit of God burns in our hearts.  We continue to cry out for God to change our wayward hearts, to write His laws upon them and to put the will and do of His good pleasure within us.  Our eyes are fixed on His strength and not upon our weakness, for in our weakness His strength is made strong.  We will be great in Him, because He is transforming us and changing us from glory to glory even into the same image.  Even in all of our shortcomings we are reliant upon His love and faithfulness, His patience and virtue to continue living and working in our lives.   The only way we can do that is by allowing Christ to be a part of all that we do and all that we are. We continue seeking out His agenda for our lives and not our own.  We are continually being sensitive to repent and through His strength turning from our sin.  It is His love that we desire to abide in and live our lives out of.  Our lives must become the expression of not just words, but actions that stem out of a Christ filled life of love and obedience.  God’s love in us must be the wellspring of our actions in life and it is the actions, not just the words that give substance and meaning to our lives.

                “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:22-27).

Blessings,

#kent

Finding the Beauty

January 26, 2021

Finding the Beauty

Isaiah 68:1-3

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD

                There are a lot of people out there who see their lives as a mound of ashes.  They feel like life has dealt them a bitter hand.  They feel crushed, in despair and discouragement.  They have been hurt, disappointed, and have felt forsaken.  They may have experienced broken relationships, or rejection from others.  If they were to evaluate their lives to you they may only see failure and hopelessness.  Perhaps this might even feel like a good description of someone’s life reading this today.  If it is, the good news is that there is hope.  Ecclesiastes 9:4 reminds us that, “Anyone who is among the living has hope -even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!”   We must never come to the place where we allow despair and discouragement to cause us to want to take our life.  Our hope is among the living and not among the dead.  God has written a book of hope and life.  He sent His only Son to preach, live and die for a message of hope and life.  Our very scripture today is the prophetic word that spoke of His coming and His mission.  Jesus has come and His ministry right now is to the poor of spirit, the down and outers who have come to their end.  His mission is giving the hopeless, hope again, to comfort those in heartache and mourning and to provide for those who are spiritually or emotionally bankrupt.  He is here to give you beauty instead of ashes and the oil of joy for mourning, a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness and despair.  Jesus came to bear our infirmities.  Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  Jesus literally became ashes for us that we might receive the beauty and hope of His promise and life.  He wore our thorns that we might wear His crown.  All that He suffered on that cross and leading up to it was all on our behalf so that we could have life and have it more abundantly. 

                Some of us have found our lives, at some time or other, in the throes of despair and hopelessness.  The Lord wants us to know that nothing is hopeless as long as He sits on the throne.  It only becomes hopeless when we take it out of His hands and try and bear it all ourselves.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul tells us what the Lord spoke to Him in that place.  “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” There is a beautiful Savior who is here to help us and give us beauty in those ugly times when life seems so bad and meaningless, so hopeless and barren. 

                Jesus is the redemption that is near to your heart today.  Reach out and receive that hope through faith in His word.  He has given us His Holy Spirit to comfort and help us through.  He will give you the beauty for ashes. 

Blessings,

#kent

What is Our Temperature?

January 25, 2021

What is Our Temperature?

Revelations 3:15-17

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

                The state of our spiritual temperature has to do with our acceptability before the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord is giving us his temperature preference in this passage concerning the church and us as individual Christians.  Many of us, if were not familiar with this verse, and were ask the question of how we would rate ourselves in our spiritual walk with the Lord; whether hot, lukewarm or cold, would probably respond “lukewarm.”  Why, probably because we see ourselves vacillating in our spiritual commitment and walk with the Lord.  Many of us love the Lord, but we are not completely sold out and zealously pursuing Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.  We are Christians of convenience, mindful of the Lord when it is convenient for us to do so.  The Spirit is speaking to us that He would rather not have us committed at all than to have us in a tepid state of apathy and lethargy where we live a semi-committed life.  For us to be cold is defined as sluggish, inert in mind.  One who is destitute of warm Christian faith and desire for holiness.  While one that is hot is defined as one zealous and fervent of mind.  It is so easy for all of us to fall into the error and pitfall of complacency in our relationship with the Lord.  God wants us to be passionate about Him.  He gave us this great salvation, not to have as an intermittent portion of blessing for our lives, a spiritual or religious activity to appease our conscience.  He gave Himself wholly, unconditionally in His love for us.  We do Him grave injustice if we desire to give anything short of our best and all for Him.  Let us press into Him today and enter that “hot zone” where we are passionate and zealous for our Lord.  We don’t want to be distasteful and the object of His rejection because of our unstable ways.  James 1:8 says, “A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways.”  Are we single-minded today, where Christ is our life and all that we live for and do in life is centered around Him and His will for

Blessings,

#kent

The Path of the Wise

January 22, 2021

Proverbs 15:24

The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to the grave.

The Path of the Wise

                The essence of our lives is about a relationship or lack of.  It is about a relationship for those that are wise and heed instruction to be delivered from the path that leads to judgement, hell and separation from life.  This life holds us in suspension between two worlds, the world of death, darkness and torment we know as hell or the kingdom of life and fullness of joy.  The wise person heeds the words of life and embraces them and as long as they embrace them they are led upward as they mature and grow in their relationship with Christ.  Christ stands as the door and the gateway to life.  Without us passing through that door and heading up that narrow path that leads to life, we continue down the broadway to hell.  We tend to like to avoid that terminology of hell as being almost a spiritually or politically incorrect thing to talk about.  It has had its day of being used to guilt and scare people into accepting Christ.  The reality is though, that the Word does speak of it as a very real place and state of being.  The picture it paints of hell, no matter what we think it is, is not a pretty one or one that we would want to be a part of even for a short period of time.  Hell is a place that is filled with fools.  They are fools because they failed to heed and receive the words of life and then walk and trust in them.  Fools don’t want to be corrected, they don’t want discipline and they scoff at instruction.  Proverbs 15:10 says, “Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die.”

                Proverb 15:33 says, “The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”  The proof of a wise man is not in his success in this life, or his bank account.  It is in his fear of the Lord, the reverence and respect for God’s truth that teaches him wisdom.  In this world he may be enduring much tribulation, but humility comes before honor.  Proverbs 15:16 tells us, “Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.” In all that you are seeking in this life, seek wisdom, godly wisdom, for it will take you on the road that leads upward to life.

                With these thoughts in mind take a moment to meditate on Proverbs 2 and think about the path that you walk.  “ My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. 12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 13 who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. 16 It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, 17 who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.  18 For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. 19 None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. 20 Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.”  Wisdom is in recognizing truth, embracing and walking in that which you know to be truth.  Living a lie will only be your destruction.  Choose life or death will choose you.

Blessings,

#kent

Until the Day Dawns

January 21, 2021

2 Peter 1:19

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Until the Day Dawns

                Often when I see the sunrise in the morning I am reminded of this scripture.  It speaks to us about how the prophetic word, the Word of God, is the light that shines in the dark place.  The dark place is all that is around us.  We live and walk among darkness.  The earth still abides under the curse and travails for its day of release.  The Word of God is the torch that gives us light in the night.  It shows us the way, it dispels the darkness and it is what indwells us to make us light bearers.  Peter speaks here to the validity of God’s Word as being the dispensation of God and not of man.  Holy men were simply the instruments to pen the Words that were given through the unction of the Holy Spirit.  These words are the light and the life that lead us into the kingdom and the will of the Father.  Peter exhorts us that we would do well to heed these words for they are a light shining in the darkness to all that heed them. 

                Peter also alludes to a new day that is dawning.  It is a day when the Morning Star, the Christ, rises in our hearts, then that Word will become manifest and alive within us as Christ fully transforms us into His image and likeness.  That which we have known in part we will know in completion. 

                There will come many in sheep’s clothing that will seek to malign, pervert and misuse the Word of God.  They will be the cause of why the Word of God is blasphemed, mocked and ridiculed among many.  These are false prophets that would seek to undermine the truth and deny the Lordship of Christ.  You will know them because of the truth that abides in you through the Word and you will discern the fruit of their unrighteousness.  From such turn away and expose them with the truth of God. 

                We are the lights that God has placed in the darkness to show men the way.  We are the containers and torches of His light and truth ‘until the day dawns and the morning star arises in our hearts.’  Then the light of His glory will fill the earth.

Blessings,

#kent

Endings and New Beginnings

January 20, 2021

Endings and New Beginnings

Deuteronomy 11:11-17

11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.

13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today-to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul- 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you

                In this passage of scripture, the children of Israel, after forty years in the wilderness are crossing Jordan into the Promise Land of Canaan.  While this land is the inheritance of God’s people it has been possessed by the ungodly nations.  Now has come the time when Israel is to enter in, not by their might and their strength, but by faith in their God.  Many believers today have the mentality that all I need to do is believe in Jesus, live my life and die and go to heaven.  God has used the natural promise land of Canaan to show us that as believers in Christ Jesus we also have a Promise Land to enter into and possess, the kingdom of heaven, that which was lost to us in the fall of Adam. Jordan is a type of that baptism into the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.  As we are immersed in its water and come out the other side, we come out dead and no longer identified with ourselves, but alive unto the newness of life in Christ Jesus.  God is telling us that the land we have now entered into by faith, “It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.”  God wants us to know that we are walking in a blessed land, one He cares for and watches over.  He is telling us we can enjoy and partake of the blessings of this land in our spiritual walk if we will faithfully obey His commands.  It will be a productive and prosperous land for us if we are careful to always put God first. 

                This walk of the Spirit, this possession of spiritual Canaan is not without its pitfalls and dangers.  We are possessing a land that has formally been filled with idolatry and every evil practice.  Even as the Spirit of Christ is fully possessing our souls and we are seeking to yield every area in obedience to Him, we come up against giants and strong spiritual forces in our lives that resist the Holy Spirit.  They are stronger than we are in ourselves, but ‘we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus’.  ‘In Christ we can do all things’, but God would warns us as He did natural Israel, to guard our hearts against idolatry, where we place other things, desires and pleasures before Him.  He desires to bless us, but He requires of us faithful obedience.  It is very easy after we have gone through spiritual battles and experienced measures of victory in our lives to then fall into complacency which in turn lets our guard down and opens us up to falling into sin and idolatry.  That idolatry is anything we put before Him. 

                God goes on in this passage to tell the people that the way they can guard against this idolatry coming into their hearts is to continually, in every thing, in every way, everyday of the year, put the Word of God before them.   Read the Word, talk about it, tell your children continually about it, meditate upon it, even put it on your person or in conspicuous places where you will be continually reminded of your God and who you are in Christ.  This is imperative to maintaining a God perspective identity and in return, enjoying the fellowship you have with Him in the spirit and the blessings He has for you.  Our purpose in possessing this land is so that He might possess every part of us and we would experience the richness of His fellowship and presence, for that is indeed the manna and the taste of heaven.

                Remember that the eyes of the Lord are upon you from the beginning to the end.  Make this a time for drawing nearer, living a deeper and more committed life in the Spirit and coming to know your God in a greater and more personal way.  May you be blessed with the rain and the waters of His spiritual blessing and presence as you personally walk, possess the land and live for Him.

Blessings,

#kent

The Heart of a Servant

January 19, 2021

The Heart of a Servant

Luke 22:25-27

And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’  But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. “For who is greater, the one who reclines {at the table} or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines {at the table?} But I am among you as the one who serves.”

                The economy of the Kingdom of God works under different principles than that of the world.  In this passage Jesus makes lordship and the place of a servant a case and point.  In the world we are taught and value that the one who has the greatest wealth, power, dominion and authority is the greatest.  People bow down and worship and admire earthly dignitaries, celebrities and those of world renown.  The disciples arguing about the position and greatness in heaven prompt the remarks that Jesus made here.  Jesus is saying the Kingdom of God doesn’t work like that.  In that place there is only One who is sovereign and Lord of all.  Their greatness, their worthiness or their leadership qualities do not establish those that rule under Him; they are established by their heart as a servant.  For him that would be great in the Kingdom of God, the first order of service and servitude is vertical toward the Almighty Himself, inclusive of Christ, the King of Kings. If our hearts are not first right before Him it is doubtful that they will be fully right before others.  Deuteronomy 10:12 says, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”  Jesus declares that this is the first and great commandment. This expresses our worship and service to God, which is foremost and utmost in the heart of a believer.  Then Jesus goes on in Matthew 22:39-40 to express the horizontal aspect of a servant of God, “And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” The apostle Paul expresses it like this in Galatians 5:13, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”  The call of God on our lives is not first a call to greatness, it a call to service.  We are called to, “…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)”

                Indeed our God has called us to greatness, but it is not the way of man, it is the way of the cross.  It is the place where we loose ourselves in the pursuit of being and doing what our God values of importance.  As we come to see even in these two great commandments what He gives they are represented in the vertical and horizontal aspects of the cross, which looks up to God as we reach out to our fellow man.  The crossroad and the intersection of the cross takes place in the heart of each one of our lives as the love of God is expressed through us even as it was through His Son.  We die to ourselves that others may live.  Paul expresses it in 2 Corinthians 5:13-17, “For whether we be beside ourselves, [it is] to God: or whether we be sober, [it is] for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more. Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

                For us to truly possess the heart of a servant there has to be an exchange of our heart for His.  We cease to see and judge men outwardly, but we begin to look into their inward man.  What is the true need and heart cry of each individual and how can we be God’s instrument in meeting that need.  The Lord would have us develop sensitivity in each of us to those within and without the body of Christ.  The way up to greatness is the way down.  Sometimes to find the highest heaven you must be willing to tread through the lowest hell.  Remember even Christ, the King of Kings, took upon Himself the form of a servant. He tasted death and experienced hell for us that He might set the captives free, bring liberty in place of bondage, and through selfless love lift us to be joint heirs with Him.   Would you be great?  Then we need the heart of a servant.  “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all.

(Mark 9:35)”  ” And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark10:44-45).”

Blessings,

#kent

Troubled Waters of the Soul

January 18, 2021

Troubled Waters of the Soul

Psalms 38

1 O LORD , do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. 2 For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me. 3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. 4 My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. 5 My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. 6 I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. 7 My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. 8 I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. 9 All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. 10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. 11 My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away. 12 Those who seek my life set their traps, those who would harm me talk of my ruin; all day long they plot deception. 13 I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute, who cannot open his mouth; 14 I have become like a man who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply. 15 I wait for you, O LORD ; you will answer, O Lord my God. 16 For I said, “Do not let them gloat 17 For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. 18 I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin. 19 Many are those who are my vigorous enemies; those who hate me without reason are numerous. 20 Those who repay my good with evil

slander me when I pursue what is good. 21 O LORD , do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. 22 Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior.

                The dealings of the Lord are many with those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  Those of us who have walked with the Lord for some time know that this walk is not just peaches and cream and everything in between.  We can identify with King David, who was a man after God’s own heart and yet endured many trials and afflictions throughout his lifetime.  He loved God and yet we see him in times of weakness, sin and defeat.  How wonderful God is to allow us to see great biblical characters in their good times and their bad.  In that truth and reality there is hope for us who also struggle with our weaknesses and shortcomings in our desire to be godly and upright. 

                Hebrews 12:4-13 is an exhortation and encouragement also of the Lord’s correction.   “4In 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.”  As sons and daughters of the most High God, we experience the corrective, but loving hand of God as we endeavor to grow up spiritually.  Sometimes it can seem harsh and extreme, it can rob our peace, it can upset our world, and it can afflict our bodies, but if it didn’t we would continue on and miss the mark or where God wants to take us.  We are by former nature a stubborn and rebellious people.  Many of us still have that former nature still wanting to work in our members.  As submitted as we think we might be there are areas of our life where we tend not to want to let go of things that are keeping us back from God’s highest and His best.  As painful as it is, we must be thankful that God loves us too much to leave us the way we have been. 

                Perhaps you are wrestling in your spirit today.  Maybe there is unrest, trials or tribulations that are pressing hard upon you.  While we don’t want to give place to the enemy to usurp the authority we have in Christ, we must, with all humility and contriteness of heart, be searching our hearts for those area and places where we might be missing the mark and displeasing our Father.  1 Corinthians 11:31-32 tells us, “31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.”  Let us search our hearts that we may judge and correct ourselves so that we may retain His peace and avoid undo correction. 

Blessings,

#kent

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