To Love a Woman

March 21, 2019

 

Ephesians 5:25-29

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body.

 

To Love a Woman

 

As I was thinking upon my love and relationship with my wife this scripture was really pressed home to me.  We spend the better part of our lives investing ourselves into the one that we have committed our hearts too.  Aside from the Lord, they are the one that we live with and that we live for.  Most of us aren’t neglectful when it comes to feeding ourselves, clothing and caring for our own needs.  This body of ours is our home and so we spare no expense or investment in making it the best it can be.  Just as we care for and bless our own body, we should care for and bless our wife and our companion.  Her needs, her wants and her dreams may differ from ours, but they should be of no less value or importance than those that we have for ourselves.  She is flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone and we love and care for her as we do our own body.  When I love her appropriately, then I love myself and if I fail her, then I fail myself.

If we, as married couples, could always maintain the mindset that everything we do is to fulfill the need in the other, then we would know no lack.  If I live to fulfill and minister to her needs and she has that same mind then isn’t that how marriage ought to work?  Unfortunately, so many of our marriages fail or get into trouble because we treat our spouse like we treat often treat our Lord.  They become secondary to our ambitions, desires and pleasures.  We treat them as separate from us and not one with us.  Selfishness is a cruel taskmaster.  “I” demands one thing, “Me First!”  One-sided love affairs never work very well.  When self becomes secondary to the pleasing of our spouse and serving the Lord then we find a formula that really serves in the best interest of our well being, because in becoming the blessing we will reap the blessing.  In marriage, our goal is to bless the other and help them to become the best that they can be.  What we do for them, we are doing for ourselves because they are one with us.  There is no greater illustration in the natural world of what our relationship is to be with Christ than marriage in the right context. We, as husbands, really have the responsibility of bringing love into the home and being the example of Christ to our wives.

Today, as we outwardly proclaim our love to our spouse, let us recommit to the unity of oneness, service and living to please and meet one another’s needs.  If success is important to us then let us not fail to succeed in the areas that we often take most for granted.  Husbands, let us love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

Blessings,

#kent

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Still Waters

March 18, 2019

Psalms 23:2

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters…

 

Still Waters

 

Isn’t God good to show us that He is a place of peace and rest, safety and provision, direction and purpose.  We don’t often find those still waters in the world around us.  It is always full of activity, striving, trying, taking, wanting, worry and anxiety, but when we get in Jesus, our good Shepherd, He brings us into the place of His rest.  He causes us to lie down in green pastures of His Word and promises.  He leads us beside the still waters of His Spirit and life.

What a contrast with the world at large.  Isaiah 57:20-21 describes it, “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

The wicked are always contending with God and so they never find the place of rest, of green pastures and still waters.  Where they will observe them is in you.  It is because you are in relationship with Jesus and have His peace, provision and safety for your life that you become the reality and picture of what they have strove so hard for, but have never found.

Still waters run deep.  It is often those that are of a meek and contrite heart that carry the well-springs of living waters.  I spoke a while back about how the woman at the well in John 4 came to know Jesus as the source of “Living Water”, but after she had drank of Him then she went into her village and she became that wellspring of living water as she gave out the message of Jesus and all the village came out to see Him.  Still waters is that place of walking in the rest of God by the Spirit and no longer striving after the flesh.  It is still and quiet so that it can hear His voice and it is deep because it carries His presence and Spirit.  It doesn’t gain dominion by striving with man, but by simply being the expression of God through what has been experienced in Him as we have laid down in the those green pastures of His life and pleasure and we have drank of the still waters of His Spirit life.  It is an amazing concept that sheep could lead wolves, but the sheep have no fear because they are secure in their Shepherd.  Even if they must give up their life they do so with the assurance of who they are in Him.

Psalms 46:10 exhorts us, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The still waters speak to the calmness and the serenity of our spirit as we know that God is God.  I don’t have to understand everything that He is doing.  I don’t have to know how He is going to do it.  I don’t even have to know when He is going to do it.  All I need to know is that He has led me to lie down in His green pastures and leads me beside the still waters where I don’t have to be afraid, fearful or anxious.  I can simply rest in Him because I know that His banner over me is Love.

Blessings,

#kent

Cinderella

March 13, 2019

 

Cinderella

 

Romans 10:19

But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by [them that are] no people, [and] by a foolish nation I will anger you.

 

The story of Cinderella has long been a favorite among the fairytale classics.  Through the years we have seen many movies and takes upon this theme of the poor beautiful girl held captive and slave to the tyrant stepmother and stepsisters.  She represents for us the underdog, the one that doesn’t have a chance in life, the one that, by the world’s standards, will never amount to anything in this life.  She is trapped in an environment that affords her no opportunities for success or hope to shine in a world where she is clothed in rags, covered by the dirt and cinders she is forced to clean.  She represents for us a “rags to riches” story where our heroine is finally set free from her evil captors and oppressors and is clothed with the beauty for which she was created.  We see her being sought out by the prince who is in love with her, desires to marry her and have her reign beside him in his kingdom.

While this is but a fairytale story, it is interesting to think how in many ways it parallels our hope in Christ.   Look for instance at how the Lord chose Israel.  Deuteronomy 4:20 says, “But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, [even] out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as [ye are] this day.” In Deuteronomy 7:7-God speaks His heart for His people, “The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye [were] the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.”  Even the apostle Paul brings forth this point with those who are called unto Christ.   Did the Lord look for the wisest, the most noble, the most beautiful and the most successful people in the world?  1Corinthians 1:26-31 tells us, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”  God has chosen those Cinderellas which 1 Peter 2:10 says, “Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”  The King of Kings has sought us out and redeemed us out of our state of poverty and sin to betroth us to Himself that we should rule and reign in His righteousness, by His almighty power.  He has cleansed us with His blood, clothed us with righteousness and given us His own name.  That is why we Cinderellas have reason to sing and praise our King.  “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (Revelations 5:9).”  Even as Cinderella was found, rescued and was married by her prince and they lived happily ever after, we also can have that happy ending.  “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son (Revelations 21:3-7).” Cinderella, be lifted up in your countenance and put your hope in the Lord.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s People Feeders

March 11, 2019

 

God’s People Feeders

 

Mark 16:15

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

 

 

We have these bird feeders in our backyard and it is always interesting to see the habits of the birds as the different ones will come and feed out of them regularly.  You begin to recognize those ones who are there daily and it becomes a way of life and a daily supply that feeds them.  It occurred to me that we are like those feeders to the world and even the other saints around us.  The Master comes and fills us with His life and seed as we abide in our place in Him.  We become the sowers and the people feeders of God’s life to the world around us.  Some of us are mobile and travel carrying that seed to many places.  Some of us are stationary, but we are constant and reliable sources that the people, who God has placed in our lives, can come and feed from.

Have you ever been in that place where you thought you had a good relationship with God where you were blessed, you were trying to be faithful and then it happened?  That bird feeder had been constantly standing.  It has a heavy base and the feeders are suspended from the top of a pole with metal branch hooks extending out from the top.  We’ve never had a problem with it until the morning when apparently a strong gust of wind had blown it over.  It is kind of like what happens to us when we are cruising along life’s highway and suddenly we get waylaid.  Some trial or misfortune hits us out of no where like a Mac truck running a stop sign.  We suddenly find ourselves lying on the ground, the wind totally knocked out of our sails and wondering what happened?  Why did this happen to us?  We were trying to do what we were suppose too, we were trying to be faithful?  God this doesn’t seem fair.  It just doesn’t make sense.

When I went out to pick up the birdfeeder, in the fall, a great deal of the birdseed had spilled out on the ground.  I salvaged what I could, set the bird feeder upright again and refilled it.  What has been interesting is that lately the birds aren’t as prone to fly up to the birdfeeder as they are to feed off of the seed that was spilled out on the ground.  You know Jesus said in John 12:32,  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.”  The world is still feeding off of the spilled blood of Calvary.  It made me realize that what may seem devastating to us, sometimes is the unleashing of God’s life and power in a greater dimension and power than what we had known before, especially in our strength and good standing.  For us it is totally humbling, we are undone and we are spilled out.  Along with that pouring out and breaking in our lives, God’s Word and His life are spilled out as well and it becomes a feeding place that others can relate with and gain strength and nourishment from.  Perhaps we’ve been singing and praying, “let the fire fall,” but when that baptism of fire comes, we’re not sure we like what it is burning.  Sometimes when God breaks our pot we feel like life is over as we have known it and perhaps it is.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t going to turn and work in a new dimension and new way to bring forth something even more glorious and rewarding in your life than what you had known before.

The key is to always remain the people feeder.  Giving forth the life and blessing of God in whatever dimension He has given you to do it.  Like we always say, “it is not about us, it is all about Him.”  When the wind knocks us over, God will pick us up again.  Just stay faithful to His call and His purpose in your life, but know that He can change your direction at any given moment.  When we are poured out through the trials of life that is where people truly see the substance of what is in us.  Those are the times our lives become naked, our lives become an open book and the reality of who we really are will be seen.   We want to make sure that what they see is what we saw in Jesus on the Cross; a life fully consecrated to the Father and His glory.  We must become and remain in those places where others can come and feed upon the life of God in us, whether we are standing or have been blown over.

Blessings,

#kent

Live unto Life

March 7, 2019

 

Live unto Life

 

1 Samuel 25:29

Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the LORD has done for my master every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel,

 

There are basically two types of life, natural or soul life and spiritual life.  We know that the clock is ticking on the natural life and much sooner than we might like to think the sand will run out and this natural or soul life will expire.  For those of us who have had God’s grace shed abroad in our hearts and have come into a relationship with the ever living Father and His son Christ Jesus, we live for the spirit life that is eternal.  What we often struggle to keep focused on is that when we have come into this spirit life, we are living to higher principles and purpose.  We have grasped the concept that this present natural life is our stepping stone into the eternal.  What we accomplish and the decisions we make in this natural man, chart our course for eternity and the spirit life that we are stepping into.  But it is difficult to always keep our focus on the things above when we live and walk in the things beneath.

Our scripture today is from the story of when David was being pursued by Saul.  He was highly insulted by a man named Nabal and was on his way with a band of men to slay every male in Nabal’s household when he is intercepted by an intercessor.  Now the name Nabal means fool and this man lived up to his name, but he had a beautiful wife named Abigail who was also very wise.  She gathers up large quantities of food and wine and goes out to meet David and his men before they arrive.  When she meets him and in the discourse of the conversation she makes the statement out of 1 Samuel 25:29 and basically prophesies to him of who he is in relationship to the Lord and what God will do for him.  She reminds him that his life is’ bound securely in the bundle of the living.’  She reminds him that none can prevail against him because that is so with God’s anointing upon him, and she reminds him that even his enemies will be slung away from him as a rock in a sling.  You see, David, in his anger and in the heat of passion had determined to avenge himself against this man Nabal and all of the innocent men that may have been associated with his household.  He has lost his focus and is acting out of his flesh.  How often has that happen to us?  In the course of life an event or an occurrence will totally grab our attention away from who we are in Christ and we pursue it out of the flesh.  Even as God allowed or sent Abigail to check David and warn him, how often has God sent someone, or in some way tried to check our wrong actions by warning us, turning us away and trying to remind of us of who we are in Christ.  Sometimes God will even close doors or allow circumstances to try and turn our wrong course.  If we are wise we come to our senses and discern the warning and correct our wrong course of action.  Unfortunately, we are often prone to be headstrong and determined to go our own way or do our own thing.  Think about all of the men and women in prison.  At some point in their life they probably had warnings and indications that they were headed in a wrong way and to continue would result in consequences, but they chose to ignore those warnings and continued in a path that led to the consequences of their incarceration.  How have their wrong decisions and choices negatively impacted many people’s lives?  We hope that we can all learn to be quick to recognize and repent when we start down these dark trails.  We must always return to our focus, which is not this life, but the spirit life.  It is not just the life to come, it is the life we are entering into now as we live by faith and walk by the Spirit.  We want our lives to every day count toward eternity.  We want our lives, like David’s, to be ‘bound securely in the bundle of the living.’  We want to be bound unto the Lord in the fulfilling of His purpose and calling in our lives.  Are we walking and living in His higher purpose for us today?  The Lord did not create us simply to live unto ourselves.  We have a divine destiny and it can only be realized as we walk and pursue that spiritual life.  Even if we have made a mess of it up to this point, it is not too late for us to change our course.  God still wants to make something good, meaningful and beautiful out of our lives if we will let Him.  If we set our eyes and hearts upon the eternal, upon His Spirit life, then we will begin to walk in the dimension of the spirit even while we are living in the natural.

Let us summarize with 2 Peter 2:1-3, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 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.”

Blessings,

#kent

Speculating Evil

March 6, 2019

 

Speculating Evil

 

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

 

 

How many wrong concepts of God do we have in our mind and thinking?  Who is God to you?  Is He an angry God with a big stick, ready to bash you when you sin or fall short?  Is He one you feel is out to bring misery to your life and is only interested in your suffering?  Is He one who is looking forward to send all sinners to hell and save a few lucky souls?  Or, is He the all-loving and passive God who knows all men are good at heart and doing the best they can?  “Surely He wouldn’t allow anyone to go to hell, if there even is a hell.”  The truth is you will find many concepts, opinions and speculations about God.  It is always His Word, the Holy Spirit and the example of Christ that best reveals the nature and truth about the character of God.  Here in Jeremiah, for example, it tells us what and how God thinks of us.  He thinks thoughts of peace.  His desire toward all men,              according to 2 Peter 3:9 is, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  While this is God’s will, He has given us a will also that He has chosen not to violate.  Is it God who sends us to hell or our own choices?  Hell is a place prepared for satan and his following.  It is not God’s will or intent that we follow him there.  He has in fact loved us so much that He was willing to give the supreme sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ as the acceptable sacrifice for our sins.  Through faith in Him we might be delivered out of a life bound for hell and have eternal life with the Father.  If God wanted you to go to hell He wouldn’t have made such a great sacrifice of love.  What other deity would suffer and die a cruel and horrible death for those who most often despise Him, reject Him and forsake Him?  Our God’s intent is not evil against us.  The expected end that God wants to give us is salvation and eternal life.  He is continually calling out and inviting all who will to come into His house and partake of His salvation for them through Jesus Christ His Son.

How we respond to God’s calling and offer of eternal life is up to us.  That is a choice that we make for ourselves.  There is an evil one, satan, who knows his latter end and is determined to work the opposite, the antitheses, to take us with him to that place we call hell.  We try to take this lightly, not think about it or dismiss it as already taking place on earth or for a period of time after we die.  Believe the Word of God when it lets us know that no one wants to experience hell.

God has a greater plan for your life.  While we experience the adversity of living in a sin filled world, through that adversity we are being trained up to be overcomers of the world, of sin and all that pertains to it.  Revelations 12:9-11 says, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”  Beloved, God’s destiny for the believer is victory.  Because we no longer love that old life of selfishness and sin and are willing to die to it, our God is replacing it with His divine nature, character and life.  Yes, we will face resistance, adversity and trials, but in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ who has loved us.  God will rule and reign through a people after His own heart and nature, in the process there is much dross and impurity to burn out of us so that we can be that pure expression of His love.

God is the Father who loves us with a Daddy’s heart.  He loves every one of us in spite of our vilest sin.  Jesus paid the price for every one of them.  Today he is calling everyone outside of Him.  His desire for you is peace and not evil, but it is your response, your choice, your trust in Christ and in the blood He shed to cleanse you of your sin, that is the gateway to your salvation and eternal life.  Today, if you feel that tugging and longing in your heart, ask Him to come in and forgive your sins.  Ask him to be the Lord of your life.  That simple prayer and act of faith is all that is required for you to pass from death to Life.  From there you will begin to walk the walk of faith as you grow in Him.

If you have speculated that God’s intent for you was evil, its not, that is the enemies plan, not His. He wants to give you Life; reach out by faith and receive His gift to you.

Blessings,

#kent

Philippians 3:3

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

 

Faithfulness to Gifts and Callings

 

The hands that led me and guided me are the hands that held me, changed me and loved me.

Those hands didn’t have a lot of experience and wisdom when they started.  They didn’t have all of the answers or even know all of the rules, but they were faithful with the entrustment that God had given them.   They weren’t rich, greatly educated and were not of any position as the world regards such things, but they worked hard, they kept the faith and they didn’t give up.  They were faithful in what they knew.  It was that lack of self-dependence and the need for God dependence that taught them faith, trust, and reliance upon the One whom is steadfast and faithful.  It is the struggles, the trials, and the continual reaching out to God that develops that patience and steadfastness that turns into wisdom, understanding, giving and sacrifice.  It teaches us to look beyond ourselves, to place no confidence in our flesh, but to rejoice in Christ Jesus who is our life provision.

God has placed an infant of responsibility into each one of our hands.  We may want to withdrawal from it because we lack wisdom, understanding or natural ability.  We can not withdraw from our God-given responsibilities or we end up denying the gift and the Giver.  When God gives us something or calls us to something, we can depend upon Him being faithful to teach us how to be a good parent and steward over it, if we will simply keep our reliance and faith upon Him.  Sometimes we want to abort or give our infant of responsibility to someone else, because it doesn’t fit into our plans and its not what we want.  Most of us have discovered by now that what we want isn’t always what is best for us even if we think it is at the time.  God gives us what we need, to be who He has created us and destined us to be.  All we have to do, to fulfill His destiny for us, is to be faithful to do what He has placed in our hands to do and be what He has placed within us to be in Him.  The motive in us must be for His glory and not our own.  He didn’t create us for our glory, but for His.

Some of us are still pregnant with the gift and calling of God within us.  If we are to fulfill our destiny and calling we must be willing to enter into labor and by God’s grace working in us, bring it forth.  Which of us feels qualified to deal with all that is entailed with a newborn, especially our first?  Parenthood develops in us as we assume the responsibility and care for that child one-day at a time.  We are so proud of our kids because they are the products of what was birthed out of us and by God’s grace we are raising them or have raised them to maturity where they might continue the cycle.

Don’t be afraid about what you don’t know how to do.  Just do what you know and trust God to show you and teach you how to do the rest.   Most importantly, we must not deny what He has placed within us by the Holy Spirit.  We must do what the Lord has placed in our hearts to do and be what He has placed in our hearts to be.  Just as we must assume responsibility for what the Lord has given us, we must not assume ownership of that gift or calling for which we have been called to be faithful stewards.  When we see the fruition and success of that which God has birthed through us, it is easy for us to lifted up in pride over what we have done.  This will be a stumbling block to us if we allow that to happen.  We have been given the privilege to be an overseer of God’s gift, but always remember that it is for God’s glory and not for our own.  Even Jesus who has been given all authority and power in heaven and in earth, when all things have come to full subjection under His feet, then will He yield it back up to the Father.  All things that come out of the Father must return back into Him. ‘We rejoice in Christ Jesus and place no confidence in the flesh.’

Blessings,

#kent

Parables of the Kingdom

February 20, 2019

 

Parables of the Kingdom

 

Matthew 13:44-52

44″The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45″Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

47″Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51″Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.

“Yes,” they replied.

52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

 

Jesus has given us some parables here in Matthew to help us grasp a spiritual understanding of the kingdom of heaven.  It is much like you having discovered a large reservoir of oil beneath your property.  You grasp the potential wealth of what you are sitting on, but until the oil can be brought to the surface it has no practical and realized value or worth to you.  Aren’t our lives the same way?  We have discovered the great truth and wealth we have of Christ in us, our hope of glory, but as long as He stays locked up in our spirit, our property, remains pretty much unchanged.  So what will we do?  Now having this knowledge of the great treasure possessed beneath the surface, we will make our primary pursuit and investment in gleaning the treasure we know is there.  We will make what ever sacrifices are necessary of what we now possess outwardly so that we might tap into the rich resources that are hidden in our earth.  2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” There is treasure in these here vessels of clay and we need to mine it out.  We are drilling for the nature, the power and the life of Christ, and we don’t want to spare any expense or fail to make any sacrifice necessary to lay hold of it.  What is more is that, as we are in pursuit of the riches within, we want to share the good news with others around us.  We want them to know that they also can have this treasure, but we find that many are far too self-absorbed to hear us or lay hold of the truth that we are sharing with them.  Paul says in verses 4-6, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”  We have been blessed with the revelation of the riches we have within, now it is about laying hold of them till they become resident and manifest in our daily lives.  In laying hold of these riches there are other things that we value in life that we will have to let go of.  We have to decide where our treasure really is and what we are willing to give up to lay hold of it.  If we choose the riches and what is valuable to us in this life then we will lose our grip on the eternal life and fail to realize the riches that we held.  On the other hand, when we are willing to forsake all else and spend all our resources to lay hold of this treasure within, then we will lay hold of riches that so far exceed those we could ever know in this world.

In another parable Jesus gives here of the net drawing in a great catch of fish we see that the kingdom of heaven is currently made up of a mixture of both good and bad.  We see it in the realm of Christianity.  It is a mixture of flesh and Spirit.  We also see that in God’s time there will be a purification and casting out of all that is bad or that defiles.  This same analogy could apply to our individual lives as well.  We may often become disgusted with all of the flesh and ungodliness we see in the body of Christ, but we don’t have to look any further than ourselves to see where it comes from.  We are like that net of fish, full of a mixture of good and bad.  Surely I am not the only one that becomes so discouraged with myself; with how far I miss the mark and fail to walk after the Spirit in so many aspects of my life.  We are a mixed bag that the Holy Spirit is trying to help us sort out as we look and fully lean upon Him.  Most any valuable thing in its natural state is impure.  That is why God is processing us, to bring out the riches of His pure nature and love.  Sometimes it is like going through hell with fire and gnashing of teeth as we deal with these areas of impurity and iniquity in our lives.

In Matthew 13:52 Jesus says something rather interesting, “52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.””  It is like, the more the Holy Spirit instructs us in our lives through knowledge and experience in godliness, the more we understand and know of its ways.  As we grow in understanding and experience we share that with others who are likewise seeking to know Christ in a deeper and more meaningful way.  We all have rich experiences of how the Lord has dealt in our lives and how He has taught us.  As we share these with others it is mixture of not just past experiences and knowledge, but also of fresh revelation and insight into areas of our lives.  Our lives should be a combination of new treasures and old.  It is like building a house, you are continually building upon the former with new material.  God’s Word never changes and yet it is always fresh as He unveils new truth, insight and revelation in it.

What kingdom truths is the Lord opening up in your understanding and what are we doing to lay hold and see the reality of these truths come to pass in our lives?  He is our resource, our provision and our salvation, but we have to let go of the world with that other hand.  It is going to take both of our hands holding fast to His so that He can pull us up into Him.

Blessings,

#kent

Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

 

A Life That Makes a Difference

 

When we reflect upon our lives and their meanings, don’t we all want to feel like our life made a difference in the world and had an impact?  Life is not lived to make a void when it is gone, but to make a difference while it is here.  A selfish life is an empty life.  Life is a gift given to us that we may impart into others.  If we miss our purpose, then we have missed our meaning.

The older I get the less I care about what others think of me or how they view me.  My heart is, “God let every day count and let me live it to Your glory by accomplishing Your will.”  I told my brother-in-law the other day at his birthday,  “You know, I feel like I have reached critical mass and I am accelerating into the Son!”  The older we get the more aware we become of the urgency to impact our world and the lives around us.  This is what Jesus intended us to do.

How often in the past have I sat on my light or muffled its sound for fear of offending or not gaining another’s approval?  Do I represent Jesus before men, as I would want Him to represent me before the Father?

Think about what Jesus said concerning the meaning and direction of our life in Mark 8:34-38, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Doesn’t this say that Jesus wants our lights to shine with a passion?  It doesn’t mean we have to be fanatically strange, but then if we are so like Jesus we are going to tend to stick out like a light in a dark place and that’s okay.  There are those who are drawn to the light and then there are those who will recoil back into the darkness.  We are not here to be conformed to the darkness but to dispel it with the light and truth that dwells within us.  Jesus said as much with the way He lived His life as He did with His words.  It is not about meeting a quota and witnessing to so many people, it is about being a witness through the way you live your life and how you lay it down for others.  Some of us feel condemned because we don’t always know what to say or how to say it.  The fact that you take the time to care about someone you don’t know or who can’t benefit you, speaks to the One in you.  The fact that you would just take the time to tell someone how special they are and that God wants them to know that He really loves and cares about them.  We have made it more about pitching religion and getting someone to pray the sinner’s prayer than about really loving and caring about them in the way that Jesus would.  I have found that when people don’t feel like you have an agenda when you approach them in a sincere and loving way, more times than not they are open to that.  They want to know that God really does see them, care about them and love them.  It can be a real blessing even to have a loving stranger offer to pray for you or meet a need.  So many people out there may be smiling on the outside, but they are crying on the inside.  They need and want answers, not just religion and dogma shoved down their throats.  They want to see the reality of it exemplified in the lives of God’s people.  So often they watch those who say they know Christ, but then become disappointed and disillusioned, because they see God’s people acting and being like everyone else.  There is such power in love to bring light into people’s lives, but it has to be the real deal.  People are fed up with the fake and the insincere.  When we can bring the genuine light of Christ into people’s lives, many will respond to it, but it takes more of us that truly look like Him in the way we live our lives and the love that we carry that so exceeds our own.

Man, in his unregenerate state, is a “self-lover”.  It is always about him.  That man or woman that really is a disciple of Jesus has come to that point where they are willing to lay down their lives so that may become “life givers”, rather than “life takers”.   As Jesus said, ‘If we gain the whole world and lose our soul, its worth is as dust falling through our fingers at the end of life.’  We are left empty, desolate and void, even though we may have thought that we had everything.  Now we face eternity as the poorest among men.  The richest are those who spent all to let their light so shine in a way that it brought others to Christ and imparted His goodness into them.  They may have had nothing in this world, but they face eternity with money in the bank of heaven, a smile on their face and rejoicing in their hearts.  They have gained the fullness of life while lighting the way for others to see.  They are a city set upon a hill that cannot be hidden.  They have lived a life that made a difference.

Blessings,

#kent

Beauty

February 14, 2019

 

Beauty

 

Genesis 29:17

Leah [was] tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.

 

Isn’t it amazing today as you see all of the television reality shows and what you hear in the attitudes of women?  So many are enamoured with being beautiful and sexy.  Their whole focus is on the outward man.  If they can just have the right kind of looks then everything else will fall into place and happiness will ensue.  The Bible gives an example of two women who were sisters that became the wives of Jacob.  Obviously, the natural eye is attracted to natural and outward beauty.  Jacob was no exception; it was Rachel’s beauty that caught his eye.  On the other hand, we have Leah.  She was no doubt a nice quiet little gal with gentle eyes, but not in the exceptionally beautiful category.

The story goes that Jacob worked seven years for Labon, the girls’ father so that he could marry Rachel.  Come the wedding day, with the veil and all, Labon pulled a fast one and gave Jacob Leah, rather than Rachel.  Naturally Jacob protested, but Labon insisted that the custom was that the elder daughter should marry before the younger and that he could work another seven years and have Rachel as well.  So Jacob ends up with two wives, Rachel the one he loves and is drawn too and Leah, the less desirable one that he is now joined too or stuck with.  It is interesting how God enters into the picture in this marriage.  Genesis 29:31-32 it says, “And when the LORD saw that Leah [was] hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel [was] barren.  And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.”

There are some of you ladies out there that may feel you got the short end of the stick, rather perceived or real, you don’t feel beautiful.  You feel undesirable and unattractive.  The natural inclination for all of us is to be good looking, well liked and popular with people.  God in His infinite wisdom didn’t make a good many of us to fall into this category.  What we must see is, that often what we don’t have in one area, God can, and does, make up in another.  Proverbs 31:30 tells the women, “Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”  In God’s eyes there is something far more beautiful and appealing to Him than outward beauty, it is the inward beauty of a godly heart.  Peter bears this out as well in 1 Peter 3:3-5, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.  For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.”

Today this scripture might read,  “Whose adorning is not in a nose job, breast implants, calogen treatments, whitened teeth, liposuction, cosmetics, hot clothes or a tan and sculpted body.”  Women spend billions of dollars every year in the name of beauty and there is nothing wrong with looking nice within reason, but our focus and emphasis is all wrong.  How attractive do you want to be to your husband, Jesus?  He is not concerned or attracted to what you look like outwardly, He is looking at the condition of your heart and soul.  He is looking for that meek and quiet spirit that is living in submission to the Holy Spirit, led and guided by Him.  He is looking for women that are living in the fullness of the inward beauty.  If outwardly you are beautiful, but inwardly you are rebellious, arrogant, mean-spirited and controlling does that equate to a beautiful woman?  Regardless of what you have in the way of outward beauty, you do have a say about the kind of person you can be inwardly.  Develop that beauty.  Cause people to be attracted to you, because of the Christ in you.  That beauty is not vain or selfish, it is in the likeness and nature of your husband, Christ.  If you feel like Leah, then be encouraged that God will make you fruitful, for it was out of Leah that the seed-line of Jesus came, not Rachel.  Let your adorning be “the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible.”  After all, in the end, it is that beauty that appeals and attracts our Savior and that we truly desire to possess.  “A woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Blessings,

#kent

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