Labels are for Cans

April 17, 2019

John 8:31

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

 

Labels are for Cans

 

Do you ever notice how our culture always likes to put labels on people, as if by a label we can accurately judge the content.  We label people by race, color, creed, religion, denomination, by what your job or career is and by who you hang out with.  Maybe it is just in our nature to categorize people by labels, then we can generically place them where they fit best in our thinking and even our prejudice.

I always hated labels, because every individual is different and while we may share certain commonalties that doesn’t make me a this or a that.  Even in the religious world everyone feels more comfortable if they categorize you by faith, church or denomination.  Immediately, that somehow qualifies us to judge rather this person is on my side or the other side.

Multitudes of people wear the label of “Christian”.  What does that mean, that they were raised to believe in a God or that they really follow Christ?

Jesus didn’t come to gather Christians, He came to make disciples.  A disciple is someone who has more than a casual belief in something; it is a person that follows a certain discipline.  What was the discipline of Christ?  According to John 8:31 it is abiding in His Word, then are you truly a disciple.  It is a lifestyle, not just a belief.  It is the fabric of what you live out of.

In John 13:35 Jesus gives us another qualification and evidence of being His disciple.  “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  Wow, we don’t always see that working among a lot of the so-called body of Christ.  Do your really love your brothers and sisters or just the ones that fit under your label and even there, there is further divisions and discord.

Here is another qualification that Jesus gives us as a disciple in Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continuously.””  Again in Luke 14:27 He says, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”  We have to be willing to go where Jesus went and to suffer what Jesus suffered.  It means, as Paul said in Galations 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

How are we doing so far?  Are we just “Christians” by label or disciples by action and lifestyle?

Luke 14:26 gives us another hard one, “”If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.”  That means that in comparison to our love and commitment to Jesus, not even the ones we treasure and love most in the earth can compare, not even our own selves.  Our service, love, allegiance and commitment is first and foremost to Him.  In comparison to that love, we hate all else.

It is easy for us to get comfortable under the label of Christianity, but that is not what Jesus called us to and that is not what He called us to do.  In Matthew 28:19 Jesus gives us this commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  He didn’t tell us to make Christians or even believers or sell everyone on this ideology.  He told us to go make disciples and how can we do that if we aren’t one?

This should convict all of us of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus and the cost of what He asks us to pay.  Do we just embrace it with our minds or are we walking it out in our lifestyle as we abide in Him?  True Christianity is so much more than just labels it is the content of who we are in Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

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Beyond the Veil

April 16, 2019

 

Beyond the Veil

 

Hebrews 10:19-21

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.

 

 

The term veil is only used about seven times throughout the Word of God.  The first and only time it is used in the Old Testament is in the Song of Solomon.  “I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, [and] was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I [am] sick of love. (Song of Songs 5:6-8).”

In Middle East culture we know that the veil for the woman is a sign of modesty and that she would normally only unveil herself before her husband or intimate lover.  The Song of Songs or the Song of Solomon is a book that most consider being a symbolism of Christ and the Bride.  Viewing it in this light we see in this passage that the maiden or bride is in pursuit of her beloved who has withdrawn himself.  The watchmen of the city find her.  Now the watchmen might be viewed as the religious ones that had charge of watching over the spiritual affairs of the city, perhaps not so unlike the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day.  Not so unlike Jesus, we find that this maiden is not commended for her pursuit of her beloved, but smitten and wounded.  In addition, the keepers of the walls, those that uphold the religious institution, take away her veil.  Her modesty has been removed and she is exposed and shamed by the watchmen and the keepers of the wall.  It is not uncommon that when one gets passionate and is in desperate pursuit of relationship with God that they encounter persecution.  Most often it is religious persecution.  When you deviate from the mainstream of religious thinking it often leads to paying the price for not conforming to traditional thinking.  Perhaps the greatest fear of the religious people is that someone who is laying hold of the anointing and the presence of God in a way that they are not able to do, exposes how shallow their relationship really is.  There is a jealousy and a fear of the loss of control and honor.

However, all of this does not deter the maiden as she pursues her beloved even among the mainstream of Jerusalem or Christianity.  What motivates this maiden to such extreme action and determination?  She is sick with love.  She is so love struck with her beloved that nothing can separate her from His love and her love for Him.  She willing to pay any price and go to any lengths to lay hold of Him.

Have we ever had those times in our lives when we felt that strong love and desire for Christ, but He had withdrawn Himself?  We sought Him in prayer, worship, in church, but we couldn’t find His presence.  Sometimes our Lord withdraws Himself, not out of displeasure with us, but to prove our love and desire for Him.

Why knock yourself out?  Can’t you just be content being one of the daughters of Jerusalem, just one of the redeemed of the Lord, one the virgins without number or the concubines of the King?  This woman was in pursuit of the most intimate place with her beloved.  She was so love sick that she would settle for nothing less than all of Him.  She desired marriage.  She desired oneness and unity that she could find nowhere else.  She desired a level of relationship that exceeded the normal.  She desired to enter into that place within the veil, in the presence of the Almighty, where her life was consumed in Him.

The passage here in Hebrews tells us that we can have “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.”  Jesus has made a way for all of us to enjoy and experience His salvation, presence and access to the Father.  There has been a way made for all of us to enter in through the full assurance of faith.  How much do we desire not just an encounter, not just an experience, not just a general acceptance, but an intimate relationship with our Beloved?  How lovesick are we for His manifest presence in our lives and that place where we walk with Him and talk with Him and hear His voice? There has to be a full unveiling of our hearts to Him, before we will fully see and experience His fullness toward us.  What we have formerly seen in a foretaste and in a measure, do we fervently desire in fullness?

Blessings,

#kent

The Planting of the Lord

April 11, 2019

 

The Planting of the Lord

 

Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

 

Have you thought about yourself as being a tree planted in the garden and orchard of God, a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord?  Many years ago when we first had moved into our home, I had planted a number of young trees and saplings in a portion of my yard I wanted it to be like a little forest.  As I was looking out the window at it one evening I felt I heard the Spirit of the Lord say, ” Some of those trees you think will live will die and some that look like they will die will live.  If you will faithfully keep your eyes and heart on me and let your roots go down in the good soil of my Word then I will make you like a mighty Oak tree.”  Over the years that has held true, some of the tree grew up mighty and strong, while others wilted and died.  All of those trees were planted in the same ground, but not all of them reacted the same way.

Perhaps some of you today have felt that the tree of your spiritual life has become diseased or is wilting and dying.  Perhaps the winters have been harsh with trials and the summers have only brought drought and dryness to an already wilting faith and life.  Perhaps those around you have been hurt or died and it has brought despondency and sorrow.  There may even be some of you that feel you are already dead or just hanging by a thread of faith.   God’s got a word for you today.  “Though you were dead, yet shall you live.”  God has come to comfort you who mourn and are broken hearted.  He is come to bring you beauty for what you have considered burnt up with nothing but ashes remaining.  He is come to restore in you joy and hope and confidence.  You say, ” how can it be, look at my failures, my sins, my unfaithfulness.”  He says,  ” Look at Me, my son, my daughter, I am the ever Faithful One.  I have planted you to be trees of righteousness, my righteousness, not yours.  Look up, for your Redeemer lives and ever makes intercession on your behalf.  Though you were dead, yet shall you live.”  If you will put your eyes and your heart back on the Lord today and let your roots go down again into the soil of His Word, He will establish you as the mighty Oak of Righteousness, for you are the planting of the Lord.

Blessings,

#kent

Do We Really Comprehend?

April 10, 2019

 

Do We Really Comprehend?

 

Matthew 15:6

And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?

 

Maybe it is just me, do you ever think about how many times you hear or read something and it is like we were deaf or you had blinders on.  Something was said or you heard or read something and it just didn’t register.  You may have thought you heard, saw or understood perfectly when in fact you didn’t.  Recently, to my embarrassment, I went to the store and bought a gallon of what I thought I read as weed killer.  Actually I had already selected another one when I saw this in the isle with the neat little battery operated spray nozzle.  “That’s the ticket,” I thought as I made my purchase.  Even as I glanced over the directions about the right temperature to apply it, how long it should be before watering, and such it never registered that this was both a weed and grass killer.  After spraying my weeds individually I had enough to go back over and give it a good overall dose.  I thought, ” I’ll get those weeds this time.”  Sure enough the weeds began to wilt, but then the grass started getting large yellow spots all over it as well.  Still, I thought it must be that weed killer.  Soon it was more of the grass that was yellow and the weeds were bouncing back.  So I thought, maybe I should look one more time at the container before I take it back and complain to the store.  Sure enough, there it was as big as life on the label, “Grass and Weed Killer.”  Why didn’t I see that before?  The point is we get preconceived ideas in our head and then we just quit registering the fact that it could be different than what we thought.  How many times do we do that with God’s Word?  We have been around it so much or heard it preached on so many times, we more or less assume we know what that means.  But do we really comprehend?  Many of us, like myself, need to disengage our “assumers” and really engage our spiritual comprehension and understanding.

We should be like the Bereans in Acts 17:10-11, “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming [thither] went into the synagogue of the Jews.  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”.  The Bereans didn’t just take everything as gospel, but searched the Word and established that it was truth before they received it as such.  The Word says that they were more noble than the Thessalonians because they did do this.  As we hear and read God’s Word let’s not take everything at face value, there may be so much more there that God wants us to see and understand.  Maybe our spiritual life is turning yellow and dying for a reason.  Maybe we needed to go back really read the label before we apply something.  We have the Holy Spirit living within us as Christians, how many times as we are reading the Word of God do we ask the Holy Spirit for understanding and revelation.  The disciples didn’t comprehend some of the things Jesus was teaching, so it required greater explanation and clarification for their minds to get around it.  Let’s not just assume we already know all the truth about something, but really examine it in the light of the rest of the Word and the whole council of God as we ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance and teaching.  He is always bringing fresh revelation.

It is one thing to kill your lawn, it is another to kill your spirit.  Let us really comprehend what God wants to speak to us and when we do, let’s apply it with diligence.

Blessings,

#kent

Liberty

April 2, 2019

 

Liberty

 

Luke 4:18

The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

 

 

Liberty is freedom.  It is freedom from oppression, bondage, servitude and captivity.  Perhaps no people on earth should understand the principle of freedom like those who live in the United States, but perhaps no one can appreciate it more than someone who has experienced what it has been to be without liberty.  We see in the natural application of liberty that with it there comes responsibility.  Without that responsibility one man’s freedom can lead to another man’s bondage or oppression.  Even in liberty, laws that seek to protect the rights of all men, and not just a few, govern us.

The first place we see liberty used in the Word of God is in regards to the year of Jubilee in Leviticus 25:10, “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout [all] the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”  It was a time when all debts were to be forgiven, a time of restoration.  The slate was to be wiped clean and if a man or his family was in bondage to another due to debt, they were to be released and their possessions and families restored.

One of the areas where this principle still needs to be at work in our lives is in the area of forgiveness.  We don’t realize how often we hold others and ourselves in bondage in the area of unforgiveness.  It is our unwillingness to release the offenses and the debts of others.  Yet in the Lord’s prayer He teaches us to pray, “Father, forgive our debts or trespasses, as we forgive the debts or trespasses of others.”  There are many of us that have not been willing to really release and forgive someone of his or her offenses to us.  Mark 11:25-26 says, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”  You see our liberty comes in releasing others.  When we bind and oppress others, we are doing so to ourselves as well.  The principle of Jubilee must be at work in all of us in the areas of forgiveness, judgement and legalism.

Christ came to set us all free with regards to sin and the curse it has had upon us.  Through faith in Him we come into a place that we might experience the liberty of His righteousness.  His liberty brings healing and salvation emotionally, physically and spiritually.  The more we experience of Him the greater our liberty.  While the potential is there for us to misuse that liberty, the more we experience and know Christ, the more we are inclined to use our liberty to serve others rather than ourselves.  This is the example that we see in Jesus, “he took upon Himself the form of a servant.”  True liberty in Christ will never exploit others, but it will act out of the love of God to in turn liberate others and bring them into that same place of liberty.  Christ has imparted His anointing upon His Church that they may continue the commission and further fulfill the prophetic word spoken in Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound.”  May the Lord help each of us be His liberators to bring others into this wonderful freedom we experience in Christ. This liberty has been given to free us; to free us from religion, legalism and condemnation. We must be the agents of liberty in our attitudes and behavior towards others.  Have we truly released all, in regards to forgiveness today?  In so doing, we will be set free, even as that forgiveness frees others.  May each one experience the fullness of the liberty we have in Christ to the glory of God the Father.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Purpose in You

March 29, 2019

Ephesians 3:10-12

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

 

God’s Purpose in You

 

As I venture out here on this scripture, I do it fully in faith of what God wants to unfold to us about our heavenly destiny and purpose.  As I read the scripture prior to this I find that Paul came to know that his purpose was to unveil the mystery.  Ephesians 3:6 says this is that mystery, “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

God also has a design and purpose for the ages. Paul expresses here that the purpose He is unfolding is accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, but the fullness of the mystery is not revealed in Christ singular.  It is revealed in Christ in the plurality of His church.  Amazingly enough this scripture declares that it is through the church that the manifold or multi-faceted and expressive wisdom of God should be made known to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.  It is not like they already know the mind, the will and the full intent of God’s plan.  That plan is unfolding in Christ, through us, His many-membered body.

That tells us something about ourselves as the church and the body of Christ.  We are the divine expression of God’s purpose in Christ Jesus our Lord. What God is unfolding in His wisdom is being revealed in you and I.  We should quickly realize that church is not a building I attend, it is who I am.  We are the habitation and the indwelling of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our lives are for the purpose of His expression and unveiling through us the wisdom and the purpose of the Father.  We are not here to just warm the pews on a Sunday morning.  We are here to reveal Him.  That is God’s purpose and His purpose becomes our purpose.  So, know this, you are here to instruct the rulers and authorities in heavenly realms.

How in the world can I do that?

Simply by fulfilling our purpose in God, through Christ.  That purpose is to be the divine expression of what He has uniquely put in you and formed you for.  Knowing and fulfilling your purpose in Christ is part of the larger picture of fulfilling God’s purpose.  You and I are a piece of the puzzle.  Without us it can’t be fully complete.  God doesn’t want us to take for granted who we are.

First of all, we know that who we are is now one in our identity with Christ .

Remember what Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23?  “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  What Jesus is praying here is saying that we are a part of the picture.  In Christ, we have been incorporated into the Godhead.  We are there with Him.  Remember Ephesians 2:4-7?  “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Where is our position today in Christ as believers in Him?  Christ’s resurrection was also our resurrection, when we died to sin and were raised anew in Him.  In that resurrection was also our ascension so that where Christ is, there are we also, in Him. Your bodily location might be earth, but your spirit location is in heavenly realms.

Now you have to ask yourself this question, “Do I live out of the flesh or do I live out of the Spirit?  Where you live from is where your true position is.

If indeed, you are living out of the Spirit as Romans 8 says we should be, then our identity is in Christ and our position is in the heavenly realms.  When you have the right identity and the right position then you are in the right place to fulfill the purpose of God for which He created you.  The identity, resources, the authority, the position, everything you need, He has provided you.  Now all we need is the faith, grace and understanding to carry out in this world who we are and what we were meant to be in Him.

This is why we abide in the Vine and snuggle up close to the good Shepherd.  In the place of right relationship He will reveal Himself through us to fulfill His purpose.  It is not given to us ahead of time. It is given to us moment by moment as we abide, trust and obey Him.

You are the divine purpose of God created for good works to reveal God’s wisdom to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.

Blessings,

#Kent

Even Jesus was Slandered

March 27, 2019

John 8:48

The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”

 

Even Jesus was Slandered

 

Some of us have gotten quite offended because we have been misunderstood or others have taken up an offense against us because we didn’t fit in their belief box.  Here is the truth!  It doesn’t matter what you or I believe if it doesn’t line up with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.  If the religious crowd of that day, who supposedly knew and taught God’s ways, were so willing to slander Jesus, The Way, The Truth and The Life, then should it be any surprise if you are misunderstood or you are slandered for teaching truth.  Truth is only evident in the light of the understanding and belief system that we currently have.  How many of us may now embrace what we once thought was in error, because we have come into a greater understanding and revelation of Truth.  Many were blind to the truth of Jesus in His day, even many of His disciples walked away from Him in John 6:66, because of the truth that He spoke to them.   There are things we are going to hear that will go against traditional teaching and paradigms, but they are substantiated by their alignment with the Word of God and the fruit of righteousness that they should produce.

Should we believe and receive every teaching that comes down the pipe?  Of course not.

1 John 4:1-3 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”  If we are walking in the Spirit then the truth will bear witness with the Word and the Spirit, even if it doesn’t fit in our box of current understanding.  Jesus is taking us from glory to glory as we are being transformed into His image.  In each realm of glory is a deeper dimension and revelation of truth.  If we are not sure about something, we put it on the shelf and pray for the Holy Spirit to give us understanding and discernment concerning it.

Men of God can be mentors, lights and examples to follow in the way of truth, but they are never the foundation upon which you build your house.  They can give you guidance and direction, as well help you to grow into your potential in Christ, but they never take the place of Christ.  Even good men are subject to falling or getting into error, so trust first the Word of God and the Spirit of God whom you must come to know for yourself.  Then if good or great men fall before you it won’t shake or move you in your faith.

As you come into deeper truth and understanding it will be a joy and illumination to your spirit, but don’t be surprised if others don’t embrace it with you and may even turn against you.  Be faithful to what God shows you.  We are accountable for what we know.  Love and pray for those that may slander or malign you.  John 15:24 says, “If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.”  The truth should produce and manifest kingdom results as it did in the life of Jesus.  That is the witness that this is the truth.  Jesus told the believers in John 8:31, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Blessings,

#kent

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

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

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