Products of His Grace

June 15, 2018

 

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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More than Enough

June 14, 2018

 

More than Enough

Malachi 3:10

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it].

 

Faith needs an avenue of expression to produce substance.  One of my greatest faults is always looking at my need and my lack, rather than my supply and provision.  That is a fault of being naturally minded.  When I set my eyes on the Word of God, what I see is Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Is this always going to happen according to your natural understanding?  Quite often it doesn’t happen in the way we think.  But God has given us spiritual principles that promise us prosperity, provision and blessing.  The first of these precepts and principles is not having any other gods before Him.  He wants us sold out to Him.  He wants our obedience and He wants our trust.  When we were kids, we didn’t get everything that we ever wanted, when we wanted and as much as we wanted.  If we did, we probably were pretty self-centered, spoiled brats.  While God has everything and every resource at His disposal, He loves us enough to train us and mature us in what He has to give us.  He is teaching us to operate out of principles of faith that count Him faithful before we ever see the manifestation of His faithfulness.   We tend to have a very short memory.  So many times and even now in the blessing and prosperity so many of us enjoy, we forget where all that we have even came from and why we enjoy the freedom and the blessings that we have.  We soon begin to think that somehow we are the ones responsible for our blessings. Generally we fail to really appreciate all of the blessings that we already have because we are so focused on what we don’t have.

In the above scripture God is teaching us a principle that reaping a harvest of blessing requires the planting of a seed of faithfulness.  In this case it is the tithe, which was considered the ten- percent of one’s earnings.  While a farmer may eat or sell a majority of his crop, if he doesn’t set aside seed to plant, His harvests will cease and his food supply will dry up.  The same principle holds true spiritually.   We plant our substance back into the kingdom of God, which produces for us not only a spiritual harvest, but a natural harvest as well.  When we fail to tithe in this way we not only rob God, we rob ourselves of His blessing and provision that comes through this act of obedience.  A lot of people get very protective and defensive about tithing.  The truth is, tithing is first a condition of the heart, before it is a condition of the pocketbook.  God doesn’t want what is not in our hearts to give.  Giving to Him is a physical act of spiritual worship.  Would we give to Him that which cost us nothing?  When we give, it is in effect an act of thanksgiving and acknowledgement for that which He has supplied us with.  We are all just stewards and servants.  God places things in our hands, rather it be talents, gifts, abilities, or finances.  As faithful stewards to Him we have the responsibility of giving a portion of those blessings back to Him and investing them in the Kingdom that they may produce an increase to the glory of God and the increase of His Kingdom.

What we have is not always seen in what we outwardly possess.  What we possess is a God that is more than enough for all our needs.  There may well be times that the world around us seems to prosper much more than we are.  Read Psalms 73 to see David’s perspective when he envied the foolish and the wicked that prospered.  The Word speaks to us in Psalms 9:10, “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”  God is faithfully loving us and dealing with us as sons and daughter according to the conditions of our heart.  While everything around you in the natural may be testifying contrary to what the Word of God is speaking to you, Trust God.  Stay obedient and faithful to the precepts and principles of His Word.  It is not about what we see, taste, touch or feel; it is about the truth and faithfullness of God as we stand on the promises of His Word.  He is our portion and our blessing and He is more than enough.

Blessings,

#kent

Submit One to Another

June 13, 2018

 

Submit One to Another

 

Ephesians 5:21

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

 

We are all about our rights and life is so much about us, but this simple scripture should put it all in perspective from God’s point of view.  It is all about lives in service to the King of Kings and consequently in service to one another.  The members of my body aren’t concerned about which gets the most attention or is most favored, but they are concerned about which one is suffering the most.  The members of my body exist to work together in unity for the good of the whole and not the individual part.  Doesn’t God want us to work together the same way in our marriages, families and relationships with the body of Christ?  We have one Head and none of us are it, so we need to be about the cause of Christ for the unity and wholeness of His body and not our individual agendas and dogmas.  God has an order of authority and all authority under Him should have His will and purpose foremost in mind.  The exercise of submission is an exercise of love.  His Love, expressing itself through us in righteousness, is what we live for.

Blessings,

#kent

Birthing the Promise

June 11, 2018

Birthing the Promise

 

Ecclesiastes 3:10

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

The Way of the Cross Leads Home

 

2 Corinthians 4:7-12

 

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  So then death worketh in us, but life in you”.

 

We, who are in Christ, are like the alabaster box that contains the precious ointment and perfume of the Life of Christ in us.  We may look pretty sitting on the shelf, but our value is not in the outward container, it is in the contents within.  We are like the man in Matthew 13:45-46: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”  When we have found the treasure of heaven, the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, then next to Him, all else becomes worthless and of little value.  We are willing to forsake all to follow Him, to know Him and to possess His divine Life.  How wonderful!  We are all these earthen vessels that contain this treasure within them, but how does that make a difference to the world around us?  Like Mary with the alabaster box, she broke the box to release the treasure of the fragrance within.

Paul is explaining much of the same principle that was at work in their lives.  There is no strength or power in the vessel itself.  The power and life is only released in weakness, brokenness and total God reliance.  Our world and circumstances, life in general, often has a way of crushing and breaking us.  1Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” This is common and to be expected, especially among believers.  The true fragrance and essence of our life within is released most often in the place of suffering.  The fact is, it is the treasure within that sustains us, not with natural strength, but with divine and supernatural strength.  The enemy of our souls would crush us and destroy us, but in doing so he is only releasing the fragrance of the Christ in us.

Perhaps this sheds some insight into why we must suffer in life.  In those places of weakness and utter helplessness we find a strength and life not our own.  We are driven out of our self-reliance into trust and faith in our God.  He becomes then our life, our health, our supply, and our comfort.  As death works in our mortal bodies, it is only to give place to the life of Christ.

The even greater truth of this is that it works to a multiplication of His life in others through us.  Even as Jesus, being one man, through His death on the cross brought a multiplication of His Life to the world.  The harvest isn’t in the seed, it is in the seed dying to the outer shell and releasing the life within that grows up to produce multiple seed.  It is the principle of  John 12:24-25: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” The experiences that we go through in life are serving to develop us in faith, character and maturity in our walk with the Lord.  This, in turn, translates into our being poured out for others to minister life, encouragement and builds the faith of others to walk through their trials and testings in life.  The death of the cross works in us so that it might work for Life in others.

Don’t be discouraged if your vessel is being broken and you are being poured out on the altar of sacrifice.  You are becoming the sweet fragrance of Life to others.  It is the way of the cross that leads Home.

Blessings,

#kent

The Kingdom Given

June 4, 2018

 

Luke 12:32

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”

 

The Kingdom Given

 

In Christ Jesus believers have been given the kingdom of God.  In Luke 17:20-21 Jesus says,  “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”  The kingdom of God is much like receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, faith is the hand that reaches out and receives it.  Just as a gift given is not really received until it is accepted, unwrapped and possessed by the recipient.  The kingdom of God is much the same way.  It is ours in Christ, but we have perceived it to be just a realm reserved for us when we die and go to heaven.  If that is the case, why did Jesus tell us in the prior verses to seek first the kingdom and all these things shall be added unto you?  Jesus made it apparent that there is a “now” kingdom for us to possess and live into.  We so often get it backwards.  We put the kingdom secondary to our lives, our pursuits, our desires and our goals of becoming successful by worldly means and standards.  Yet , Jesus tells us to seek FIRST the kingdom and all these things shall be added unto you.

Abraham was taken up and God showed him the nation that he was to inherit.  He received it then by promise, but it was some hundreds of years later that the Israelites, as a nation entered in and possessed their inheritance.   What was always the hindering factor to their possessing their kingdom?  They were always getting their eyes off of God and on to other things. Their unbelief robbed them of their possession.  The same thing we do today.

I believe God is looking for a people in us that are so passionate about His kingdom that nothing less will do.  He is not looking for people with an appearance of spirituality, that are religious or that are good at playing church.  He is looking for a Church who is passionate about possessing His kingdom and all that is contained therein, but they have to have the heart to always seek that first. It is not God that is keeping the kingdom from us.  It is His good pleasure to give it to us, but is it in our hearts to enter in and fully possess it?  Just as church is not some building we have to go to several times a week, it is who we are.  If we never have the revelation or faith to believe what we are, how can we ever have the faith to become who we are?

We are are God’s kingdom in Christ Jesus, but “in” means we are into Him and not ourselves. It means that life is first and always about “Him” and not just about me. Kingdom is a place where you live and most of us are content just to visit occasionally.  Kingdom is a state of mind, a state faith and a state of being.  It is the paradigm and the mindset we live in as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus, into kingdom thinking and living.  We begin to grasp who we are as Sons and come to realize all that we have been trying to be good enough to attain is already ours.  God has already given it to us in Christ and now we are to simply live out of what He has already put inside of us.  What has He put inside of us?  Is not His own Spirit!   What does He tell us in Romans 8:13-17?  “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The 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.”  What is the kingdom of God?  Romans 17:18-19 tells us, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.”  It is not about the external things, it is about the inward relationship of our lives hidden in Christ and lived out as Christ lives.

The kingdom of God is ours, but are we really willing to possess it?  Jesus said in Matthew 11:12, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. “Are we the forceful men and women who in this hour will forcefully take hold of by faith what Father has already given us?  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”  It is up to us to believe that and enter in.

Blessings,

#kent

What is Our Identity?

June 1, 2018

Galatians 2:20

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

 

What is Our Identity?

 

Knowing our identity in this hour is perhaps one of the most crucial revelations that we can have.  Most men identify themselves by what they do and their careers,  women may identify themselves by the same, or their family, or who they are married too.  How many of us go around speaking the identity that Paul spoke here in this verse?  Our identity with what we are and who we are in the world is subject to the world and therefore subject to change.  Our identity of who we are in Christ is grounded in the transformation that He has worked in us.  It is not measured by our merit, ability or the works that we accomplish.  Our identity in Christ comes out of the transformation of new birth in the Spirit and a baptism by water and the Spirit that identifies this former man of the flesh as crucified with Christ upon His cross, of being buried to that old former way of life now in the grave and the identification with Christ in a new resurrection man, born not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but by the Spirit.

Romans 6:5-14 declares our identity in Christ this way, “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”  Paul is telling us that with our salvation experience in Christ there has to be a total paradigm shift in the way we see ourselves and the world around us.  Most of us as Christians, profess Christ in one breath and identify with the world in the next.  We may remember what James says in James 1:8, “A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.”  It is this double mind that keeps us unstable and unsure of who we really are.  The enemy is forever trying to steal your identity.  It was only as the serpent beguiled Eve, causing her to doubt her identity that he was able to steal it from her.  That is why the enemy tempts you with sin on the one hand and condemns you with the other.  He keeps drawing us back to see ourselves under the law of sin and death.  Under that law he attacks us as natural men, condemned by sin.  Paul reveals to us that we are no longer under that law if we are in Christ.  Romans 8:1-8 declares to us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

8Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”  Notice Paul says it has to do with where we have our minds set.  Where is our mind set today?  What is your true identity?  In this hour we must know who we are in Christ and fix our minds there in that paradigm that walks after the Spirit and lives in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  Only there can we secure our victory over sin and the flesh.  Colossians 3:1-3 exhorts us in that, ” 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.”

What is your identity?  Don’t fall prey to spiritual identity theft.  Know who you are, hold on to it and walk each day in it by faith and in the power of Him who lives in you.

Blessings,

#kent

Exercise

May 31, 2018

1 Timothy 4:8

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

 

Exercise

 

In this day and age of predominantly overweight people, physical exercise and health are hot topics.  We all know and recognize their value whether we participate in them or not.  Paul is saying here that, yes, these things have their value, but of even greater and lasting value is the value of godliness or we might say “God likeness”.  In this exercise and image there is promise both in this life and the life to come.

Acts 24:16 says, “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.”  Isn’t this an exercise of godliness?  In this attitude, it is not about me, it is about how I affect God and others.  Am I walking in a way that is pleasing to God and loving my fellow man?  Am I walking in identity of who I am in Christ?  Exercise is then seen in the decisions that we make in how we live and conduct our life.  The greater sensitivity we have to the Spirit, the greater agape’ love that we walk in, the more we can walk in the conduct and attitude of godliness.

Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:5, “But as for you, you must exercise habitual self-control, and not live a self-indulgent life, but do the duty of an evangelist and fully discharge the obligations of your office.”  Godliness is an exercise of vigilance in our relationship with the Lord.  It is not giving license to the flesh or self-indulgence.  The closer we walk in the light and the practice or exercise of the truth the more we will be developed in this virtue of godliness.  Godliness is the practice and exercise of living in the presence of Jesus and hosting His Spirit in all that we do.

We should honor our temples, be moderate and healthy in our eating and get physical exercise.  More importantly, focus on the exercise of living a godly life.

Blessings,

#kent

The Joy of Fools

May 29, 2018

 

The Joy of Fools

 

Proverbs 15:21

Folly delights a man who lacks judgment, but a man of understanding keeps a straight course.

 

 

What is folly but a fountain of foolish acts lived and acted out by one who lacks the practice of sound judgment and fails to embrace truth?  Many of us have had those times of foolishness in our lives.  Most of us look back and shudder at some of things we did and realize the consequences that could have followed those actions.  For many of us, God gave us grace to see the error of those ways and to see where they were taking us.  Was it fun?  Oh sure it was fun to party and to act out of the lust and impulses of the flesh.  It was fun to be wild and unrestrained, but it had no future and it didn’t produce what most of us desired out of life.

I can remember my college years.  It was a time of making the transition from my parent’s values to my own values.  I was becoming my own person and could now choose what I thought was right and wrong for me.  I remember some of the partying and the wild things that we did.  It was fun at the time, but then when you were alone the question would come, “Is this all there is to life?  What is my purpose?  What are my goals?  What happens when we leave this life and all that we have done is live for selfish pleasure?  Is there no more consciousness and we cease to exist or do we indeed have to give an account of our ways before an Almighty God?

I began to realize early on that foolishness is a dead end street.  Oh yeah, it may be like Bourbon Street in New Orleans and life can be like Madrigal, but where does it lead us and what is our end?  What I experienced was emptiness and lack of true fulfillment and joy.  My happiness was only temporal, but it never really satisfied and gave meaning to life.  Perhaps some of us are still trying to hold on to our areas of folly.  Perhaps those areas of folly and foolishness have become strongholds in our life that we don’t want to give up or let go of.  Fools and misery love company.  You will become like the people that you associate with.  You can never really come out of your foolishness until you are willing to depart company with the foolish and seek out the company of the wise.

The wise are not necessarily smarter than everyone else is, but they have come to the realization that wisdom and life is in seeking out the Lord and following in His ways.  He is the author of wisdom and His paths are straight, but they lead us unto life.  Proverbs 16:16-17 says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver! 17 The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.”  Folly will only delight a man who lacks understanding, because when we understands the high ways of the Lord, we will no longer delight in the lower road.  That road will only lead us to hell and destruction.

Have you given up those areas of foolishness that may be destroying your life and the lives of the ones that you say you love?  A truly wise man heeds counsel, he receives correction and departs from evil, but one who is truly a fool will not listen and he will not learn.  Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.“  Is the delight of our folly worth the consequences that it brings if you continue it?  Do we have enough wisdom to say, “enough, no more!”?

Blessings,

#kenta

Truth

May 25, 2018

 

Truth

 

John 16:13

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

 

You don’t really think about what a powerful word and attribute truth is until you just stop and meditate on it.  Throughout the Word of God we see truth as a primary attribute of God.  Jesus, the Son of God, says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man come unto the Father, except by me.”  Jesus refers to the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, in our passage today and others as the Spirit of Truth.  Why all of this emphasis on truth?  It is because this is what leads us into the Father and what He has determined that should be expressed through His sons.  Not everyone can hear and receive truth, because it is the Spirit of God that reveals and quickens His truth to us and in us.

Jesus, at the time of His judgement when he stood before Pilot, had this conversation with Pilot as revealed in John 18:37-38, “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault [at all].” If we want to hear God’s voice and know the mind and will of God, the first requirement is that we be able hear and know truth.  In John 3:19-21 Jesus speaks of the world and how they react to truth,  “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”  You know, if we are honest with ourselves many of us would have to confess that there are areas of darkness we don’t want to bring into the light and have them revealed.  While, with the majority of our lives and beliefs we want to confess and believe in Jesus, there are still areas of deceitfulness and sin.  There are many of us still embracing the spirit of the world in so many ways such as traditions, holidays, superstitions, horoscopes, our viewing preferences on TV and movies, our choices of music, reading material and internet viewing, to name but a few.  Are we willing to allow the Holy Spirit to examine every area of life and are we willing to relinquish and repent of any area of darkness or impurity found within us.  If the answer is honestly “no”, then we have to face the fact that we have idolatry in our lives and we are worshipping another god or gods.  If we are willing to say “yes”, then we are like David in Psalms 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.”  You see we have received Truth in our spirits and generally in our thinking when we received Christ into our hearts.  The Holy Spirit desires to fill the whole temple of our spirit, soul and body, not just the inward parts.  What is the greatest commandment?  “Love the Lord your God with all of your mind, your heart, your soul and your strength.”  That is a statement of fully embracing the Lord with everything within us.  If we fully embrace Truth, then there is no room for darkness and lies in that place.  Don’t we realize that we are the children of Truth?  That means we are to be free from all affection for sin, all pretense, simulation, falsehood and deceit.  Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:24, “God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.”  We can’t truly worship God out of our heads.  Worship isn’t a mental assent to God, it is a spiritual assent out of a pure heart that is loving and embracing Truth.  We must love what God loves and hate what He hates.

1 John 1:6-8 tells us we are in the process of purification that starts with the attitude and commitment of our hearts.  “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” When we received Christ as the Lord of our lives we made a commitment to walk out of darkness and to walk in the light.  We do that through the confession and repentance of our sins, having the assurance of 1John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  While we are and have departed from walking in darkness we know we can’t truthfully say we any longer sin.  Our assurance is in the truth that Christ is our righteousness.  As we abide in the Truth, we are allowing, desiring and inviting the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and reveal all of our yet unclean ways that we might repent and have an ever closer and richer fellowship with the Truth.  Truth is expressed through the love of God in us and the love of God in us is our assurance that we are in the Truth.  Let us conclude with 1 John 3:18-19, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”

Blessings,

 

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