Unto Good Works

May 31, 2022

Unto Good Works

Titus 3:1-8

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

               How has our nature changed with regards to how we view and relate with others?

Do we still have a spirit of political dissidence?  Are we still tuned into the all the little faults of those around us?  Do we still gossip and offer our expert opinions about how others should change their lives? 

               If so, we need to be reminded of whom we were before Christ and what we would still be outside of His mercy and grace.  Paul is telling Titus to remind the body of Christ that Christ has not saved us to sit in judgement of others, but to be the extension of His love and mercy through good works.  It is the humility and the evidence of a transformed life living through us that is most going to impact our world for Christ.  The Holy Spirit is looking for vessels that are not intent on their agenda and not just full of their opinions and feelings.  He desires vessels that are offered up to Him willingly and are open channels for Him to live and move through.  We are encouraged not to fall into the pitfalls of those that are contentious and only want to strive with us and get us to operate out of the flesh rather than the Spirit.  It is the power of the godly life we lead in word and deed that is our greatest testimony and witness of God really living in us and through us.  Many of us only want to talk about our faith, but really have no substance when it comes to living it out in our day to day world. 

               Are we mummers, complainers, discontents, political activist, always unhappy about the way things are and the laws and policies we must live under?  Or… do we see that we are strangers and sojourners in this world.  Yes, we speak out against social injustice and sins of society, but we realize that the only way men will change in their hearts and thinking is when they also are partakers of Christ and the Holy Spirit transforms their heart and thinking.  Yes, we cast our vote for righteousness and have our say in government and the laws of our land, as long as we have the freedom to do so.  What we must realize though This, is that we, by our godly lives and good works, should be the thermostats of our society, setting the standard not just by laws, but by example. 

               Many of us are guilty to one extent or another of saying one thing but living another.  That obviously lends very little credibility to what we preach and teach about Christ.  Christ is more than rhetoric; He is a lifestyle.  We will change the world around us when we all come into conformity with how Christ wants to live through us with regards to our good works and attitudes toward those around us. May we prepare our heart unto every good work as we give our hearts and lives for the Holy Spirit to live through, showing all meekness, humility and gentleness toward others.

Blessings,

#kent

The Peace of Christ

May 27, 2022

Colossians 3:15

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.

The Peace of Christ

               The peace of Christ is a gift that Jesus gave and left for His followers to have.  It is an attribute of the Spirit that we carry within us.  Remember when Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  Christ is the peace in the midst of all life’s storms.  It is found in our spirits, not our mind, will or emotion.  His peace is that secure place of His rest wherein we abide under the shadow of the Almighty and under the wing of His protection.  In that place there is no fear or anxiety because it is the attribute of His presence and the storms of this world can not enter into that place.  This place and attribute of peace is what the Lord wants us to live out of.  It is what is to rule in our hearts, our decisions and is to guide our actions.  That place of peace is His salvation actively working in our lives.  

               Ephesians 2:17 says, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.”  That peace is His salvation that is not given just to take us to heaven when we die, but to make us realize that we are to be living out of heavenly places right now.  Colossians 3:1-4 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”  If you died and your life is hid with Christ in God, then where do you live and where do you live out of?  When we know how to live in our position, then we will learn how to live in our peace, because “the kingdom of heaven is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).” 

               When we are living out of emotions, or our intellect or self-will, then we are living out of the realm of the soul and not the spirit.  If we have died and our life is in Christ then His Spirit and His peace must have dominion over every aspect of our soul and all aspects of our soul need to be in submission to the spirit, that is the temple and habitation of God’s Holy Spirit.  God is never moved, or upset, or worried about the conditions and circumstances of this world.  He is always at peace and that is that place He has called us to live out of and be ruled from.  It is out of the peace of God that we move in the will of God.  That is the place of His rest and we abide there by our faith and confidence in Him.      

               Don’t make major decisions out of a place of strong emotion, but subject all your soul to the peace of His Spirit and He will lead and direct you into right decisions and choices.  God is here to bring order to our lives through the sovereignty of His Being.  As we walk in the Spirit, guided by the peace of the Spirit, our hearts are ruled by that peace and in Him we live, move and have our being.

Blessings,

#kent

Descended to an Ascended Life

Ephesians 4:7-10

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Jesus came down that He might bring us up.  The Son of God became the son of man so that He might bring the sons of men to be the sons of God.  Christ came down and imparted Himself into humanity that He might bring us into His ascended life.   It is a life that is marked by the same attributes as the One who has gifted and imparted it to us.  It is a life wherein we die to live, a paradox that the world doesn’t comprehend.  Just as a caterpillar dies to its old ways in the cocoon of transformation, so we are transformed and changed from glory to glory, even into the same image, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).  While we live the blessed life, in the favor and fellowship of the Spirit of God, we, at the same time, may be living out the trials and tribulations that are facing us in this world.  Again, we find a paradox that we can find peace and joy in the midst of trials and tribulations.  While we descend in a spirit of humility into the lives of those that God has placed within our influence, loving them in Christ and meeting them where they are at, we are living an ascended life that is drawing us into the presence of the Father.  With eyes and heart set upon things above, we are not an island unto ourselves we are a light and a ladder to bring others to ascend with us in hope and in faith. 

The Lord, when He ascended up on high, led captivity captive and gave gift unto men. These gifts He gave us, were not for our glory, but for His.  He is glorified when these gifts serve to bring others into this ascending life.  While we are ascending up into Him in spirit, we are being poured out and offering up a spiritual sacrifice in the natural.  The abundance of God’s glory is manifested in our weakness.  When we are operating out of an ascended life then others will see Christ; they will not see us, because the ascended life is not about us, but about Him.  We become a usable commodity spent upon a higher good and calling.  We spend and are spent that others might taste and partake of that ascended life.

Allow me to leave you with the Apostle Paul’s definition in 2 Corinthians 4:7-19, of the ascended life and how he also descended that he might ascend, but not without hope and not alone.

“7But this precious treasure–this light and power that now shines within us–is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.

8We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. 9We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. 10Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

11Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be obvious in our dying bodies. 12So we live in the face of death, but it has resulted in eternal life for you.

13But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, and so I speak.”  14We know that the same God who raised our Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself along with you. 15All of these things are for your benefit. And as God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

16That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 18So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”

Blessings,

#kent

Yielded to Whom?

May 25, 2022

Yielded to Whom?

Romans 6:12-14

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

               Imagine when you receive Christ as your Savior and the Holy Spirit comes to abide in you.  Before that, you are in this chaotic marketplace of humanity.  It is loud with its music.  There are voices all around you calling you and enticing you to come and partake of their merchandise, while they make all their promises of how it will fulfill you and satisfy your needs and wants.  Come buy this desire, buy this experience, if you only have this then you will have peace and contentment.  Many of us have spent a good deal of our lives in that marketplace of worldliness and ungodliness.  We have partaken of many of it wares and merchandise, but always we came up lacking, always there was this same emptiness inside.  What brought happiness and pleasure for the moment was always fleeting and temporal, never eternal and continual. 

               Then, one day, we heard about this Jesus, who was the Son of God.  We heard He could take away all our sin and bring us into a right relationship with God the Father.  As we listened about this Jesus, it was different than all the other religions we heard about before where it was up to our goodness and works to get us to heaven.  This Jesus said He did it all for us, not only did he take away our sins and give His life for all our bad, but in its place He gave us all His good.  All we had to do was believe on Him and ask Him to now come in and be the Lord and King of our hearts.  We felt this tugging and drawing in our hearts.  Something in us was saying, “this is right, this is true, I need to do this.”  Yet, there was a part of you that wanted to hold back.  It was saying you don’t want to do this, then you will be obligated to live for this Jesus and you won’t be able to buy and sell in the marketplace of humanity like you did before.  There is a lot of good merchandise out there; are you sure you want to give all of that up?  Yet something greater rises up in you, that is greater than the reasoning of your natural mind.  Something in you says, “I need this, this is what I have really been looking for all my life in all of these other things that never fulfilled their promise to satisfy and give me the peace and contentment I’ve been searching for so long. “

               Suddenly you make the decision and you step forward, by faith, embracing and receiving into your heart this new Savior.  It is like you stepped out of this marketplace of the world and into this sphere, this dimension, this place where the peace and love of God filled the room of your soul.  Suddenly this tremendous weight of sin and condemnation was lifted off you, your heart and life felt clean and pure again.  You thought, I will never leave this place, this is what I have been looking and searching for.   While the brightness of that experience fills the room, it is like the walls or the sides of that tent are somewhat transparent, and outside of it you are aware that the former world and marketplace exist.  Over time, as you again are forced to walk and live around the marketplace, its spirit and influences begin to return with their enticing voices seeking to lure you again into its dominion and darkness.

               Here is where you can lose sight of who you are and what you have become.  The Lord shows you that you were never just your own.  You were always a slave and a servant; the big difference was who your master was.  When you came through that door of salvation you, by faith, placed your self-life of sin upon that Cross with Jesus.  When it died you traded the master of sin and death for the master of righteousness and life.  Perhaps you, like most of us, are hearing voices from the grave of your old man as he may be trying to resurrect himself in your life.  On one thing you must be clear.  The life of Christ is one that is built upon His Word with absolute faith that He is true.  The sense realm of the natural man will always perceive this outer world as real.  The reality of who you are in Christ is said here in Romans 6:22-23, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.  For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”        

Blessings,

#kent

Nature is in the Blood

Genesis 2:23

And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

            Is this statement and scripture not true of us, the Church, taken from the side of Christ, birthed through the blood He shed and His life that He gave for us?   When we partake of the communion are we not outwardly identifying with His life within us?  As we remember the cross and the New Covenant sealed with the blood of the Savior, then we should know that we are now bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.  Leviticus 17:11 tells us, “For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul.”  While the Old Testament commands us not to eat or drink the blood of any beast in Leviticus 17:14, “For [it is] the life of all flesh; the blood of it [is] for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh [is] the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.”  Yet what does Christ tell us in the New Testament in John 6:53-54, “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”  God’s intent for us is not that we be partakers of the blood of beast and earthly creatures for He has not called us and created us to be partakers of a lower life nature.  When Jesus exhorts us that in order to have divine life you must partake of His blood; He is implying that we partake and become identified to His life and nature.  The unity and intimacy of Christ and the Bride, His Church, is to produce a godly seed in the image and likeness of the Father.  We are all quite aware of what we are apart from Christ and outside of God, but have we truly grasped the revelation of who we are in Christ, identified and one with Him.  Are we still offering the sacrifice of goats and bulls, trying to appease and win God’s favor through our outward expressions of religious piety, duty and ceremony or have we come to the place where we have grasped that the sacrifice that God is hungering for is the sacrifice of obedience and relinquishment of that former man or woman we once were.  The only way we can fulfill that calling is when we grasp that we are no longer our own, but Christ’s.  We are now living, not unto ourselves, but as the extension of His life through the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ within us.  That is our power of obedience and victory that,’ it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives within me’.  Yes, I retain an independent will, that still gives me the choice of God or myself, but I have chosen to present myself daily a living sacrifice that I might exchange my life for His.  Through that daily exchange, there becomes less of me and more of Him.  In each situation and circumstance, I no longer face it as my problem, it is God’s problem, because my life is hid in Him.  I am partaking of His flesh and His blood; I am living in a place of identification with His life.  As long as I abide there I can live out of the power of that life and I can become a partaker of His divine nature as 2 Peter 1:4 tells us, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  It is not blasphemy to identify with who we are; it is our divine destiny and calling.  Jesus offered the sacrifice of His life so that we might become bone of bone and flesh of His flesh; identified with His very life.  Are we truly “in Christ” today or are we content to abide in the outer court of the assembly, only approaching God in the outward and natural sense.  We are God’s kids.  God has called us to be a part of His divine family.  He has called us to be joint heirs in Christ.  We are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Is that where we are living in our walk with the Lord?  If not, then it is time that we became truly identified with His life and purpose within us.  1 John 4:17 says, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”  Who are you today?

Blessings,

#kent

Liberty

May 23, 2022

Liberty

2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.

Liberty is the liberation of the soul from the law of sin and death.  It is emancipation from the bondage of the flesh.  Liberty in Christ is the freedom to live in the calling and destiny our God has prepared for us, to realize His highest and His best for us.  Oppressive forces are continually at work to rob our freedom, to undermine our liberty and to pervert the law of life in Christ Jesus to which we have been called. 

Our liberty in Christ is not found in the freedom to live to our flesh, or in self gain and promotion; it is realized in our dying to all that the world holds dear.  Those former affections are no longer the object of our love and desire.  When we really see Jesus, when the Spirit of God really possesses our soul, then all that is earthly, sensual and devilish will be as dung in comparison.  We will catch the vision that Paul caught and we will run for the prize of the high calling that in Christ Jesus. 

We are living in a day of purification and revelation.  We are being called by the Spirit to come out of our former complacency, our ruts of religious thinking and form, and come into the anointing and calling that Christ has for each of us who are His.  If you are reading these words, it is because you desire something more; you desire more of Him.  God wants to impart more of Himself to us, but in order to impart the new, the old has to pass away or it is only a hindrance and a pollution of the new.  Hebrews 9:8 says, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.”  We can not realize the fullness of God’s calling and the holiest of all as long as we are bent on carrying all of our old religious baggage with us.  Do not depart from the Word of God, but put on new ears to hear not the same religious rhetoric that you have heard all of your days, but the sound of a new trumpet in the land. It is calling us up higher, but it is not going to often be all that we thought we understood.  The Lord says in Isaiah 65:16-17, “That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”  The Lord is doing a new thing in the earth.  He is calling us out and up in ways we have not known before.  Know this, that in the way of the cross there is suffering and in the suffering there is loss, but in the loss there is purification and resurrection from the dead.  Don’t fear to let the former things go, for what the Lord is calling you into is so much higher and so much greater, but it is not the way of the flesh, nor of the will of man.  Like Peter in John 21:18, the Lord would say to us, “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.””  The calling of God is great upon our lives, but it is not without a price.  Again, we know and believe Romans 8:16-18, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” 

Can you hear the call of God personally upon your life today?  Will you respond by releasing the former things and come to know Him in Spirit and in Truth.  Learn His voice and obediently follow Him, for you are the sheep of His pasture.  He is calling you into the liberty.  When we truly find our liberty in Christ, then we will begin to become the liberators of others. 

2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.”  Search out and know your liberty in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,

#kent

Persevere to Pursue Holiness

Hebrews 10:19-25

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

               Here in Hebrews we are again being exhorted and encouraged to draw near to God.  We are not being told to draw near, hoping that we’re good enough or hoping that God will accept us.  He already has accepted us in Christ and if we are to draw near and have boldness to enter into the Holiest, we must do so based not on identifying with our former selves, but based upon who we are in Christ Jesus.  It is His blood that has cleansed us, purified us and given us acceptance before Him.  When the Father looks upon us now, He sees us in Christ and receives us as such. 

               One thing the tone of this scripture brings to us is that we do not enter in by the attitude of “I wish I may, I wish I might”.  The scripture is saying to us gird yourself up in the confidence of who you are in Christ, with a true heart, in fullness of faith.  We know that the blood of Jesus has dealt with the sin issue that separated us from God.  We know that His Word is renewing our mind and thinking, washing our bodies with the water of the Word.   But do we have a true heart?  One that is truly set, fixed and will settle for nothing less than His manifest presence?  The Lord is telling us that we have everything we need to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.  That Holiest is where the light of His glory is present over the cherubim.  It is that place in his Holy presence we meet with Father, Almighty.  While we have access and provision to come here, it is not a place for the weak and faint of heart and faith.  They will not see this place.  We are talking about a place and dimension at the mountaintop.  Most will not enter in because the path is not well traveled.  It takes the passionate person that will persevere in faith, boldness and confidence.  God is looking for a people that are wholly sold out to Him, where He alone is the object of their passion and desire.  A people who covet nothing less than His manifest presence and life.  They don’t want to settle for just living in Israel.  They don’t want to settle anymore for just living in Jerusalem.  They have their have their eye single and steadfast upon Mount Zion, where the King reigns.  They have been promised through this Word an audience with His Majesty and they will not be dissuaded by anything until they have come into His presence.   They will make whatever spiritual preparations required, but they have determined that they will not be denied His promise.  Most of us get discouraged and distracted along the way and we give up on our highest pursuit.  The whole reason we meet together and have church where two or more are gathered in His name is so that He might be in our midst and so that we might stir one another up in our passion to pursue Jesus into the Holiest.  We have to keep one another focused on our life purpose, which is to know Him and manifest His nature in these mortal bodies. 

               Hebrews 12:1-4 goes on to exhort us after we have just left the hall of faith in Hebrews 11.  It tells us, “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. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”  Whatever it requires of us, we want to be God-chasers, passionately intent on entering into that place where He has made a way.  This is our quest to enter into the prize of His glory and presence.  On the journey we will find ourselves changed and transformed, for the closer we get to Him, the more His consuming fire burns away all that is perishable within us.  The closer we get the more in His likeness we become.  Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  Summon up your faith in all boldness and with a true heart and all of your might, pursue the Lover of our souls into the Holiest.

Blessings,

#kent

The Arm of the Flesh

May 19, 2022

The Arm of the Flesh

2 Chronicles 32:7-8

Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that [is] with him: for [there be] more with us than with him: With him [is] an arm of flesh; but with us [is] the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

            When we think about our arms, we think about limbs that are fundamental to our lives; by their strength we carry out the tasks of life, by them we defend and protect ourselves and by their strength we take care of ourselves from the small things to the large.  We have come to realize that often our strength is not sufficient for the needs we have in our lives.  This brings us to the place where King Hezekiah offered these words of encouragement to the people of his nation.  He had done what he could do, but in the natural, the forces that had come up against them were much greater and stronger than they were.

            Does that ever sound like your life?  You’ve done what you know to do, but some of the trials and circumstances in our lives are much greater and stronger than us.  If all that we have is our natural strength to rely upon then we know that whatever it is that we are facing will overcome and conquer us.  Praise God for the Word that says in 1 John 4:4, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  Isn’t it marvelous and reassuring that we don’t have to rely upon the arm of our flesh, but we have the arm of the Lord to rely upon; “for there be more with us than with him;” him, being our enemy, our circumstance, our need, our sickness, our disease, and our adversities and trials.  The Word of God is rich with stories of those who, by faith in their God, were more than conquers, they were Overcomers of God.  They were able to do mighty, miraculous, and many times, supernatural things because they did not rely upon on the arm of the flesh, but upon the arm of God.  God wants to be our strength.  He wants to show Himself mighty in our circumstance that are too great for us and not only in the big things, but in the everyday things.  In fact, God is very strong about His feelings of where we put our trust and confidence.  In Jeremiah 17:5-8  the Lord speaks this to His people, “This is what the LORD says:  “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. 7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” God wants to get us out of this mindset of self-sufficiency and reliance.  He wants our eyes, our hearts and our confidence to be in Him and who He is and not ourselves.  We, like those before us, are all prone to self-worship.  We become our own god and it is always about us, what we can do and how we can get it.  That is not God.  God wants to be an integral part of everything that affects our lives.  He cares about your problems and your needs.  He wants us to bring them to Him, but more than that He wants us to believe for what He says He will do and stand in that faith.  God doesn’t work in the snap of our fingers or in the twitch of our nose; He works in His time and His way, His wonders to behold.

          Now that we are “in Christ” we have His arms and His strength to sustain us.  That doesn’t mean we won’t go through the fires of trials and testing, but it does mean that we don’t go there alone and in our own strength.  It is there that we will see the manifest strength of our God in and through us. 

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)”

Blessings,

#kent

Superficial Love

May 18, 2022

1 John 3:16-17

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Superficial Love

               I feel the Lord’s conviction about how superficial my love for others so often is.  We get caught up in our lives, its demands and responsibilities and we often let go by the wayside the things that life should really be about.  We are entangled in the means and we never seem to find the time for the end.  The end is to love God, our families, and our brothers, sisters and neighbors.  As we hurry through life trying to meet our deadlines and fulfill our commitments, the ones we love the most are often waiting on the sidelines for their turn to have time and real involvement in our lives.  We go through the motions of love.  We say the words and give our token gestures of times when we visit or spend with someone, but they are superficial and lack the depth of the love that Christ has called us too.  It is often hard for us, men even more than women, to establish the time, importance and balance that we need in our lives for others.  Some of us are more social and even more needful of relationship than are others, but nevertheless, we need the time and to develop the ability to communicate the love of Christ on a deeper level.  We need to take the time and have the ability to unplug from our world and to plug into theirs.  What are their needs and what is their heart’s cry? 

               When we meet our friends our token words and greetings are, “How ya doing?” and the token answer is usually always, “Fine.”  Do we ask because we really care?  Do we respond because we really want to share?  We are superficial in our love and relationships.  People won’t take the time to really share their hearts until they know you really care about their hearts.  Most of us don’t have that kind of time.  We have things to do, places to go and other people to be superficial with. 

               I am asking the Lord to let His love go deeper in my heart and life than the shallow place that I have been.  If we are to really experience the depths of the love of God we have to be willing to wade out into the depths of the needs of those around us.  We have to see them with His eyes and love them with His heart in practical and real ways.  It is easy for any of us to say a lot of good sounding and inspirational words, but Lord, help us to walk our talk and be the reality of who you have called us to be in You.  Help us to be the revelation of Your love to the world around us and especially to those that are closest to us.  Help us to lay down our lives for others, as you laid down your life for us.

Blessings,

#kent

Products of His Grace

May 17, 2022

Products of His Grace

1 Timothy 1:15

This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

The Apostle Paul makes this statement in 1Timothy.  Paul says that one of the reasons God chose him was not because of his goodness, his strength or abilities.  God chose Paul to show forth His mercy and grace.  God has shown us that there is no one beyond the reaches of God’s love and mercy.  Previous to this scripture Paul states, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did [it] ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”  God has not called us out of darkness into His marvelous light because we were exceptionally good people.  Many of us know that God found us and rescued us when we were in utter depravity and sin.  He chose us little mud babies and loved us in spite of the stench of sin that covered us.  We are each one the products of God’s awesome grace and mercy.  In remembering where we came from God does not desire that we feel defeated or unworthy because of our past.  He would simply desire that it would be a reminder to us of how great and undeserving His grace toward us has been.  Which of us could boast and say that God has chosen us because of how righteous and how good we are? If we did then indeed God’s grace has saved us in our self-righteousness.  

               Jesus told Simon the Pharisee a parable in Luke 7:47. He is speaking of the woman who has just anointed His feet and bathed them with her tears, for she was a sinful woman.  Jesus says to Simon, “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little.”  I would venture to say that many of us examining our own hearts today would find that in all that God has forgiven us we should be great lovers of God.  Ironically, many of us, in our religious spirit, are quick to express the faults and failings of others.  We are as quick to condemn as we are to forget what a mighty grace of God has been operating in our lives and forgiving our sins. 

               Through the marvelous grace of God that abounds toward us in Christ Jesus, may our first thoughts when seeing others sin, be to pray for them.  If it is in our power, we ought to exhort them toward repentance in a spirit of love and humility; taking heed lest we fall.  None of us are above the wiles of the evil one deceiving our hearts, so we need to watch out one for another.  We need to be accountable to one another, confessing our faults to one another so that we find the power of forgiveness as we unite in prayer.  We are the recipients of the grace of God and we are the administrators of that same grace that works in us.  Let us be faithful to extend that grace to all with whom the Lord allows us to share it.  His grace goes way beyond where our love would stop, so don’t limit the grace of God and its power to work even in the chiefest of sinners.  Let us live lives that are worthy of the wonderful grace that He has given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

               “For 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.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-10

Blessings,

#kent

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