Foundation for Faith

June 16, 2020

Foundation for Faith

Psalms 18:2

The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower.

              We find in life that often we are a self-filling prophecy.  We become and are shaped in the image of whom we think and believe that we are.  Maybe we started out in our lives doubtful, fearful, with a lack of confidence and very little faith in ourselves that we could do much of anything or be anything.  As long as we hold on to that mindset and it is coming through in our outward demeanor, do you think we will see much success in our lives?  If we don’t believe in ourselves, then how could we expect others to believe in us?  What if, on the other hand, we dare to believe all that God says about us and dare to believe all that He said He would be for us?  Now we have a foundation for success.  As we believe and then act upon that premise by faith and those beliefs, will our life change? 

              King David was a man who is a prime example of one who spoke, sang and wrote what God was to His life.  Even in the deepest valleys of his life he dared not trust his soul, but rather He spoke out of His spirit and ministered to His soul the truths and the realities of God’s Word.  He was constantly meditating and reminding Himself of the goodness of God, His faithfulness, His power, His salvation and all of the attributes and benefits of God and His nature.  This is what makes the Psalms so powerful.  They are Spirit anointed sonnets and songs of who God is and why life is worth the living because He is in it.  David would recite the Word of God and encourage His soul.  His faith would then lay hold of the truth that He spoke and begin to act upon it. 

              Many of us see ourselves as weak, untalented, insignificant people.  That may be you and I outside of Christ, but what can we be in Christ?  Are there any limitation to what God can do in and through us, except in our own mind and thinking?   The foundation of faith is wrapping our mind and heart around God’s Word, assimilating it into our hearts and speaking into our doubtful and fearful souls.  It is so often good just to pray the Psalms, reading and speaking them to God as if they were your own.  It will inspire faith in your heart and courage to your soul as it did for David. 

              Who is the Lord and what is that to me?  When we answer that question we find the foundation for our faith.  Upon that foundation we can build a successful life, for our confidence is in Him who is able to do abundantly more than we can even ask or think. 

              What is the foundation of your life today?   Is it the Rock or is it the sand?

Blessings,

#kent

Good Souls Hiding in Ugly People

Luke 19:1-10

And [Jesus] entered and passed through Jericho And, behold, [there was] a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that [way]. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw [it], they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore [him] fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

               There are a lot of people in this world, and perhaps in some degree or another we are some of them, who are living out a life of ugliness and sin that they don’t really want to be inside.  Perhaps they have been caught up in a lifestyle, or addictions, or behaviors that they really hate in themselves, but seemed trapped and unable to change.  There are a lot of people who really don’t like who they are or the ugliness that they can manifest through their actions.  Zacchaeus was such a man.  He was the chief of the publicans or the tax collectors the most despised and hated of people among his countrymen.  He was a little man in a big position, but it wasn’t where he was happy.  He had wealth and position, but He didn’t like who he was.  He was unhappy because he was living contrary to the nature that God had intended for him.  I looked up the meaning of Zacchaeus and it means, “pure or innocent”.  Now it is not hard to see that Zacchaeus’ life was anything, but that.  He had heard everyone talking about this Jesus and the extraordinary man that He was.  Something stirred in Zacchaeus’ heart as he sought to try and see this man.  Sometimes it is hard for us to see Jesus, because our stature has become so low, but he didn’t let this detour him. Even though the crowds of people who knew and hated him tried to prevent him from pressing through he was determined that he would see Jesus.  We are often crowded out by condemnation that says we are not even worthy of seeing Jesus.  The first step in changing the ugliness of who we are is seeking higher ground.  It is in seeking a higher vantagepoint where we can see Jesus and where he can see us.  There needs to be a determination to seek out the one who can change what we hate in ourselves.  God had created Zacchaeus to have a pure and innocent nature, as He has created us, but it had become perverted through sin, greed and the world.  When Jesus passed by and looked up in that tree where Zacchaeus was hanging out, He didn’t see that ugly little chief tax collector that everyone else saw.  He saw a man that needed to be returned to the nature of who he really was, pure and innocent.  Jesus basically invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house.  Now Zacchaeus could have said no, but like many of us we so desperately want to be different and changed from what we have become into what He has created us to be, we know that we need to accept His invitation. It is our only hope.

               It was the fellowship and the communion with Jesus that transformed Zacchaeus’ heart.  After He had been with Jesus, he recognized what had been missing out of His life.  Position, power, authority were no longer the compelling issues with Zacchaeus.  He just knew he wanted to be right with God and he was gladly willing to give up or restore whatever was necessary to maintain that relationship that he found with Christ that day.  It is in the presence and relationship with Jesus that our ugliness will be transformed.  As we are conformed not to the world, but transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus, we see change.  When Jesus becomes the sole object of our communion and companionship our lives will change from the inside out.  We are always trying to change the outward things, but until the inward attitudes of the heart and soul come into spiritual alignment with God’s heavenly purpose the rest of us can’t really change. 

               If you feel like that ugly person without, not necessarily in looks, but in attitude and disposition then seek higher ground.  Jesus is looking at you and seeing the inward man of the heart, that good and precious soul that He created in His image.  Come into His presence and give your life to Him so that God, by the Holy Spirit, can transform you into who you really are.  Come to repentance and make things right with God and with others.  Today God wants to truly bring salvation into your house and into your soul.  He wants to transform that ugliness into the beauty and the purity of soul that He has created you to be.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Good Pleasure

June 4, 2020

God’s Good Pleasure

Philippians 2:12-13

 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure

Aren’t you glad that it is God that puts His desires in our hearts and gives us the abilities to carry them out?  I know the heart of my natural man and it is deceitfully wicked.  It won’t choose God’s ways; it will choose the ways of selfishness and follow after it’s own desires and feelings.  There is no enemy of my soul greater than my own self.  That is why I make this scripture a continual part of my prayer life.  “God, put within me and work within me the will and the do of your good pleasure.”  That is the cry of the spirit man within me.  I know that without God’s Holy Spirit at work in me I can do nothing and I would be doomed to failure, because I can’t produce His life and His nature, but I can submit in obedience to the Holy Spirit, even as He strengthens and helps me.  I can desire and cry out for the Holy Spirit’s help and strength in my weakness. 

               Paul says in Philippians 12:13, “work out own your salvation with fear and trembling.”  What do you mean work out my own salvation?  I thought that got worked out when I asked Christ into my heart?  He would probably say, ‘no, that was just where it began.’  You didn’t come to full adulthood when you were born; it was a process of time and growth.  Likewise, we don’t fully appear in the image of God when we are born again, but it is a process of maturing and being conformed to the image of Christ, spirit, soul and body. 1Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 8 is a great chapter to read to better understand this process.   

               The key I believe the Lord would have us grasp here is that He has began a good work in us and He will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).   Like the loving Father and parent that He is, He is changing us and exchanging our old heart of stone for a heart of flesh with His laws written upon it.  Our joy is in submission and obedience.  Our transformation takes place much quicker with an attitude of humility and brokeness.   We find the desire to will and to do God’s good pleasure is so much more real and close to our hearts as we seek that place of intimate fellowship and relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit.  In that place He truly becomes that desire of our hearts.

               May God grant each of us, each and every day, to will and to do His good pleasure.

Blessings,

#kent

 

God Will Take Care of Us

 

Matthew 6:25-30

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?

 

It was shortly after we were first married and I was called into the supervisor’s office where I worked.  There I was informed that the company was going bankrupt and they would have to let me go.  As I brought that sad news home to my young, then pregnant wife, she was devastated.  Suddenly all of her security was gone and future uncertain.  I remember it was this particular passage that God gave me to share with her that began to renew hope, faith and a confidence that God was there to take care of us even when I couldn’t.  No doubt many of you have experienced similar situations where the future looked bleak and no provisions were on the horizon.  All we could do is say, “God you are a ‘Way Maker’.  You make a way where there is no way.”

As I was reading through the many accounts of Jesus touching, healing and delivering people in need, it was evident that their need was met in response to their faith to believe.  Jesus would sometimes say to them, “be it unto you according to your faith”.  The Lord is continually stretching our faith to believe Him for greater and greater things.  Even in those things that don’t turn out the way we hoped or wanted we can know that, “God is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).”

David often found the way of provision was released through the voice of praise and thanksgiving.  This is the voice of faith and it stirs up faith within our souls as well.  Sometimes it is really hard for us to grasp and believe that such an infinitely wonderful and great God could care individually and personally so much for us, and yet He does.  If He can care and provide for all of the small creatures and His creation, then surely He can care for you and I as well.

Let’s say someone shows up at your door today and says, “Here is a check for a million dollars.  Take it and spend it anyway you want.”  Obviously, we are going to be pretty elated and our initial response is quite likely going to abound in praise toward God.  After a few weeks and all the bills are paid and the needs are met.  We are enjoying the good life.  Now, where is God in the light of our prosperity and good fortune?  Is our dependency, trust and reliance still as great then as it was before?  Is God still at the forefront of all our thoughts and activities as we use that money, or has He faded back to a lonely second position, as our new lifestyle compels us to think less of Him and more about us.  This is our human nature at work and as much as we say, “I wouldn’t be like that, we would be amazed at how quickly God can lose His significance in the light of our prosperity.”  Herein lies its danger, we begin to love and trust in the money more than our God.  God warns Israel about this when He promises to prosper them after they come through all of their trials in of the wilderness in Deuteronomy 8.  It is a great chapter to read and reflect on.  “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish (Deuteronomy 8:17-19).”  At the forefront of every blessing, of every trial, of every endeavor and circumstance in life, God must continue to reign as the Lord of all of our life.  Our reliance upon Him is not to change whether in much or in little.   The Son is forever to be the center of our universe and the One to bring life and warmth to each day, winter, spring, summer or fall, in good times or bad.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).”

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Realm of the Unseen

 

2 Corinthians 4:18

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.

 

Christianity is unique in that we exist and live in a world and reality that is both natural and spiritual.  We operate in two different realms that come together in faith.  We don’t just worship gods or ideas; we worship the one and only true and living God of all creation and glory.  We have seen His face in His Son, Jesus Christ and He not only exist outside of us, but He also inhabits His believers with His Holy Spirit.  The true Christian, likewise, in his spirit, indwells heaven and touches the dimension of the spiritual realm.  Our faith is all about how these two worlds come together in our daily lives.

How do we know this other world outside of our natural self?  It is revealed to us through God’s written Word and it is made alive within us through the Holy Spirit.  Romans 8:24-25 tells us, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, [then] do we with patience wait for [it].”  A Christian doesn’t worship, serve and hope in a God that he tangibly sees, touches and acknowledges with just His natural senses, but the true believer steps into the dimension called faith where we call things that are not as though they were.  Many of us still struggle with this concept, because our natural mind still wants to operate in a sense realm mentality, touch it, taste it, smell it, see it and hear it.  Many have rejected Christ because they will not allow themselves to believe and enter into the realm and dimension of faith, where realities are laid hold of in the spirit, before they are ever manifested in the natural.  Many of us as Christians are still missing it because even though we were able to embrace Christ as our Savior by faith we fail to carry that on through as a part and portion of our spiritual walk and life.  As a result we are natural minded Christians who only see limited blessings.  As spiritually minded Christians, our realization is that, the less of the natural man is given place the more the spiritual man, in the image of Christ, can come forth.  It is not like we zombie out and just let the Lord possess our bodies, it is a union whereby the soul gives the place of lordship and dominion over to the spirit which is the habitation of the Holy Spirit.  Thus by faith and knowledge in the Word of God, we can grow up in Him in all things.  We learn to live and operate out of a place of trust in the Lord as we are obedient to His will and commandments to our lives.  We learn to know, practice and operate out of the principles of the Spirit realm and not just the earthly.  We know that our obedience to the principles and commands of God’s Word will bring forth God’s promised results.  By faith we have embraced them and our hope stands in the gap waiting for that which we have not yet seen, but believe we have.  The results and manifestation of our faith may be seen in a moment, days or over the course of years.  Sometimes it even supercedes our natural lifetime and extends into generations.  Look at the promises that Abraham believed for.  They are still seeing their fulfillment over the course of thousands of years.   God doesn’t promise a time, He just promises His faithfulness.

We are an impatient people and often we are prone to give up on our faith and let it go.  Some of the things that God teaches us through faith are patience, perseverance, and prevailing in the face of doubt and discouragement.  Often things are established in the heavens long before they are seen upon the earth.  How many things are still in heaven that never made it to earth, because our faith failed and we gave up.  With our faith we need to release praise and thanksgiving, rejoicing in expectance for what we hope for, but have not yet seen with our natural eyes.  Here we need our spiritual eyes to see and embrace God’s promises, despite what natural circumstances tell us.  Here, in the unseen realm, we call those things that are not as though they were.

Blessings,
#kent

Wisdom Leads to Life

May 13, 2020

Proverbs 15:24

The path of the wise leads upward to life, that he may avoid [the gloom] in the depths of Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead).

 

Wisdom Leads to Life

 

James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”  The Word speaks a great deal to us about getting wisdom, that wisdom which from God above.  That wisdom from above teaches us to fear God and hold Him in awesome reverence and respect.  It teaches us to mirror and follow God’s character, principles and precepts.  The benefit is that this is the wisdom that leads to life, prosperity and fruitfulness concerning spiritual and eternal matters.  Wisdom is a pathway; it is a road that we choose or refuse to travel.  Proverbs is a book that deals with many of the attributes of sound and godly wisdom.  Man’s wisdom doesn’t really comprehend God in a spiritual sense.  James 3:13-16 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”  As we learn to walk the path of the Spirit we are walking the path of the wise, because in all of our ways we acknowledging the Lord as we seek His direction and counsel.  If He orders our steps then we know that we will walk in the path of life and avoid the tragedies and the pitfalls that lead to death.

As a spiritual people we alone are the spiritual man and conscience of our society.  Unfortunately, just as we often shut out and ignore our own conscience, our society will often ignore us and eventually mute us.  Nevertheless, we must never cease to be the voice of godly counsel, reason and righteousness.   Without a conscience a person or a society becomes reprobate and the Spirit of God departs from them.  Wisdom is our teacher and it is our conscience to keep us from the path of the fool that leads to death.

I heard a quote this morning from C. S. Lewis that said, “The last expression of the sinner is the horrible enslavement of the sin that he desired.”  If we give full place for the freedom to sin, that sin we so desired will become our hell.  Wisdom sets its heart and mind on the things above, for it is wisdom that leads to life.

Blessings,

#kent

James 5:12-16

Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.

13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

Wellness in the Body of Christ

 

Wellness in the body of Christ is maintained as we uphold the integrity of who Christ is in us.  The body of Christ is not unlike our physical bodies.  There are times when sin and disease can gain access to the body.  In the case of the body of Christ we know that the purpose of satan is to kill, steal and destroy the body of Christ.

We all understand that as of yet, in this natural man, none of us is walking in perfection.  It is true that we are to identify with Him who is perfect in us, but we are still in that state of transformation where body and soul are to line up with the Spirit of Christ.  As such we still see many imperfections in one another.  Satan often capitalizes on our weaknesses and imperfection to bring in division, dissention, disease and darkness.  James is calling upon us to act in such a way that we not only maintain individual purity and health, but health as the body of Christ.

The first place he exhorts us here in James is regarding the integrity of our word.  “Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.”  One of the most important areas we must be careful to preserve and guard is our honesty and integrity.  Our whole reputation and character hang on these essentials.  There is stern warning to us here that if we don’t do that, we will be condemned.  I don’t believe it is talking here about our condemnation here just coming from man.

When we compromise our integrity and honesty it is not just man that we offend, but God Himself.  This is especially true regarding His body.  When we don’t allow our yes to be yes and our no be no, especially with regards to our brothers and sisters in Christ, then who are we really lying to, them or the Holy Spirit?   If we dishonor the body, then we dishonor Christ.

Ananias and Sapphira didn’t start out intending to lie to the Holy Spirit.  I think they initially had good intentions and they may have been well regarded within the early church.  Their fault wasn’t even in the fact that they sold their land and didn’t give it all at the apostles feet.  Peter even tells them it was your land to do with what you wanted, but your sin was in your conspiracy to lie about what you gave.  When they lied to the body of Christ, they lied to the Holy Spirit and we know the condemnation that came from that in Acts 5.  The Lord was showing us our body, soul and will are the land that we own.  It is ours.  The Lord gave it to us and he gave us power over it to give to Him or not.  Now if we come and say we have totally sold out to Christ, but conspire to withhold areas of our life from Him is that an Ananias and Sapphira complex?  Would we not be more honest in confessing our sins to one another as it exhorts us to do in James 5:16?  We realize that while it may be our desire to be totally sold out to Christ, there are areas in all of our lives that still need to be reconciled to Him.  It is not the standing in our strength that makes us strong and whole, it is in the strength of the whole body that we can be brought into alignment with wholeness.  It is in recognizing and confessing our weakness to faithful men or women so that they can pray with us and stand with us so that we may be healed.

One of the greatest tools the enemy uses to destroy us is isolation.  Sin can only work in darkness.  When it is brought into the light, it loses its power.  What we should all desire and pursue is transparency and accountability to one another.  That is not to say we judge, control or manipulate one another.  It means that we all understand that in this natural state, sin still is at work among our members trying to bring in disease and destruction of the body.  The way we war against that is by taking off our religious and self-righteous mask and being real with each other.  I never would consider someone that came to me to ask for prayer in an area of weakness, a person of weakness.  I would totally respect them and see that indeed they are spiritually mature in that they recognize their weakness and desire others to stand with them in their battle to overcome.  There is not enough of this happening in the body.  We have learned to be so independent and spiritual in our own right.  As a result many of us are truly sick and afflicted in our sin, but are too proud to confess for fear that we will be viewed as weak or unacceptable.  “A person that is transparent, even with their faults, is more pure than the person who portrays goodness outwardly, yet inwardly harbors darkness and deceit.”

Let’s bring the “real” back to the body.  Let’s come to the place where we are not afraid to be transparent with one another and to pray for one another.  When we do that in His love and with no condemnations or judgements in our hearts then the Holy Spirit can work through us to bring healing, deliverance and victory because we then stand in His strength and not our own.

Blessings,

#kent

Pray for One Another

May 4, 2020

 

Pray for One Another

 

James 5:16

Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

One of the most tremendous assets we have as a believer, functioning in the body of Christ, is each other.  Because Christ is in us and His power and grace can flow through us, there is a wealth of blessing, power and grace to be found in one another.  Each of us has different gifts and ministries that can help in different areas and situations in our lives.  Each of us has the power and the access to the throne of God to pray and intercede for others.

Yesterday, it struck me, as I had the privilege of sharing with several of my brothers and sisters, the fellowship and ministry we can have on different levels with others.  What a blessing to have them share with me about how they stand in a place of intercession and prayer for us and how they are standing in a place of faith, believing God not just for themselves, but for us as well.  It was wonderful to share the words of life with a brother over breakfast and talk about the things God is doing in our lives, our families and our careers.  We were able to break the Bread of Life and share in a real and personal way, not just our successes, but also our struggles and our weaknesses.  Through that exchange we could know better how to pray for one another.  We all go through our struggles in life, but sometimes there is just encouragement with others who empathize from a position of like struggles.  You end up building each other up in faith and confidence in God.

Some believers you may relate with on a less spiritual level, but nevertheless you, break bread together, share fellowship, friendship with and are blessed in the communion you have with them.  Still others target you in their prayers, intercede for you and call just to encourage and build you up.

It made me think, do we really tap into the resource we have in each other?  Is each of us ministering and effecting the lives, not only of non-believers, but the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ?  When we have those that we are investing our life, time and prayers into and they are doing the same for us, we mutually garden each others spiritual lives.  We have accountability to one another that helps us not to stray off into sin.  We need others to help balance us and us them.  We have a communion of body life where we are not just looking to one man to feed us and teach us, but we are actively ministering, teaching, exhorting, encouraging and praying for one another.  We are gathering and eating the manna and revelation that God is personally speaking into our lives through our time spent with Him and in turn we feed one another from that same manna.

This is a concept some may practice and experience more than others, but certainly one that we all need to be involved in.  Many or our churches are large and while we might be blessed in corporate worship and teaching, we need those daily interactions with our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us all live more productively and faithfully to Christ.  When we have that love of Christ in our hearts for one another, when there is sensitivity in our spirits to the needs of our brethren, then we can be unique and diversified channels of various blessings into their lives.   Perhaps our greatest downfall is that we tend to like to do our work and then hibernate in our own ceiled houses.  We become guilty of what the prophet Haggai said in Haggai 1:2-5, “2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ ”

3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.””  Don’t we often rob God and His people because we are content to do our own thing while the house of God lies in ruin?  What is worse is that we are robbing ourselves and our very lack may be do to the fact that we aren’t the channels of God’s blessing that we are to be in God’s house.  We know that God’s house is a people and not a building.  1Peter 2:5 says, ” Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” How much stronger could God’s house be and how much greater could it be built up if we are all are faithful to invest in one another’s lives.   Are we fulfilling our calling of ministry to impart our gifts, our lives and prayers into one another?  The body of Christ must be strong and living the standard of God’s righteousness, so that we can be a light in the world and have lives seasoned with salt.  That can start by us having the willingness and the commitment to invest in one another.  This is the way a truely healthy body functions.  Bless somebody’s life today, be their answer to prayer or even pray on their behalf.  We need the Christ in one another.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Out of a Thankful Heart

 

Romans 1:21

 

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

 

Have you ever given and done things for someone to bless them, only to have them either ignore and take for granted what you had made special effort or sacrifice to do for them or even worse, have them complain because it somehow didn’t suit their liking?  Remember the hurt and disappointment you felt, the lack of appreciation and insult it was to you?  How often has this been our attitude towards the Lord?  We may mutter an occasional thank you in prayer or in blessing our meal and often that is more out of habit than a sincere appreciation for what we truly have.  It is important that we take a minute to consider the true importance of thankfulness to the Lord and realize the implications of the lack of it.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  Our giving thanks isn’t something we should do on a whim.  It is the will of God concerning you and me.  Just the words “give thanks” occurs some thirty-nine times throughout the Bible, not to mention all of the other phrases of thankfulness.  Maybe this is something that we have taken rather lightly and we need to take a harder look at.

Is God an egotist that he requires our thankfulness?  It is not about God’s ego.  It is about His worthiness and the tribute of praise, worship and thankfulness due to His name as the Lord, Savior and Creator of all.  But even beyond that there are reasons we need to praise Him for our own sake.  As our key passage points out, there is something that happens to us when we fail to acknowledge all that God is and does and cease to be thankful.  It causes us to become vain in our imaginations, we start to become puffed up and guess who soon becomes the god upon the throne of our hearts?  Our foolish hearts do become darkened because they begin to acknowledge only self and our abilities rather than God’s.

There is a passage from Moses’ exhortation to the Israelites as they were about to come into the promise land that I think is very applicable to the people of God in any generation.  Deuteronomy 8:10-20 says, “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.  Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest [when] thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein];

And [when] thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, [wherein were] fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where [there was] no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;

Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”  God knows our hearts and how full of ourselves we can become.  If for no other reason, it is important that we keep God in perspective in our lives through thankfulness and praise.  We must always remember and acknowledge before Him that He is the source and provision for every good thing.  Not unlike the Israelites of the wilderness, we are much more prone to murmur and complain about all God hasn’t done for us, or how we think He has failed us and what He should have done that He didn’t do for us.  Are we idiots to make such accusations against our God?  What right or business do we, His created, have to tell Him how and what things should be done?  How arrogant and presumptuous on our parts, to correct or rebuke God.  This is truly when our hearts become darkened because we have gotten God out of perspective through our hardened attitude and lack of true thankfulness.

There are not a lot of things we can really give back to God, but thankfulness is one of them.  Let us take the time to really count our blessings, regardless of our circumstances, and truly offer thanksgiving from a grateful heart.  Let us be thankful not only for the things which we see already manifested, but even the more for the things we don’t yet see which we lay hold of by faith.  Thankfulness is truly an expression of faith that opens the doors and brings the answers to our prayers.

” So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations (Psalm 79:18).”

Blessings,
#kent

Spiritual Mindset

April 14, 2020

 

Spiritual Mindset

 

Romans 8:5

5Those 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.

 

            If we ask ourselves today, “what is my mind most often filled with, what are the predominate thoughts that are foremost in my heart?”  Take just a minute to meditate on that question and try and arrive at an honest answer.  Generally, it will be about what we are most passionate about, whether it is our family, our job, our spouse, our sports, hobbies or pleasures.  The spiritual man may enjoy and appreciate a lot of things, but the one thing he is passionate about is God.  His or her heart will continually be in state of meditation, thinking, singing, praising, worshipping and fellowship with the Lord.  The Lord is the lover of the spirit’s heart.   When we read the Song of Songs we are reading a love story, a passion story of the soul in pursuit of Christ.  If He is not fully the passion of our hearts and souls, then He must become so.  Nothing will ever do more to deliver us from sin and conform us to His nature than continually abiding in His presence.  Psalms 16:11 declares, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.”  The richest place of contentment, joy and fulfillment is in the Lord’s presence.   When we truly taste of His presence, we understand that there is not a replacement for it on earth.  Nothing can take us higher, nothing can bring us greater joy, and nothing can have as great an emotional and spiritual impact as encountering His presence.  It can be somewhat elusive as it was for the Shulamite maid in pursuit of her lover, but once she found His love, she would settle for no less, nor no other. She would pursue Him, no matter how far or what the cost.  Songs 6:3 says, “I [am] my beloved’s, and my beloved [is] mine: he feedeth among the lilies.”  For us the lily has become a symbol of resurrection life and that is exactly where we find Christ.  We want to feed and eat with Him in that place of resurrection, Spirit Life.  Songs 7:10 reveals to us, “I [am] my beloved’s, and his desire [is] toward me.”  As much as we may desire Him, He desires us more.  He is passionately in love with us and is wooing us into His bedchamber.  He desires to impart into us His divine life; the life that lifts us above the natural realms of earth and living into the realms of His glory and presence. 

            We so often think of spiritual life in terms of life and death.  “When I die and go to heaven then I will be with Jesus.”  Why are we waiting for death, when we can press into Life now?  Jesus never taught that we had to die before we could become spiritual.  He taught us that when we came to Him we already died; we already became identified with that cross and at the same time we became identified with His Life.  We stepped out of natural thinking, living, being, into a new creature formed in His image and likeness.  His desire is that we unwrap its mystery and begin to taste of it now.

            The Lord has called us to a spiritual mindset where our minds, our hearts, our souls are continually in love and pursuit of Him.  Do we love Him like He loves us?  Are we willing to give our all for Him as He did for us?  This is the place of abiding in Him; this is the place fellowship and relationship.  We will never find the intimacy with Christ that we desire in the midst of other lovers.  Will He still love us?  Yes, always and forever, but He is looking and earnestly desiring the soul whose heart is single toward Him, who has forsaken all other lovers and He is the sole passion and love of their hearts.  Are we that person?  Is Christ really everything to us, our all in all? Are we the ones “who live in accordance with the Spirit and have their minds set on what the Spirit desires”?  Do we find ourselves falling short of the love relationship Jesus desires with us?  I think, in truth, most all of us fall so short of the spiritual men and women that He has called us to be.  We are but a phantom of the real.  We don’t have to stay that way.  Look into the yearning eyes of your loving Lord.  He is calling us unto His heart and bosom today.  He is calling us to come up higher, to be a partaker of His divine life, to be the spiritual men and women who walk and live in the Spirit. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Blessings,

#kent

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