Runaway

June 18, 2020

Runaway

Matthew 5:25

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

              Perhaps one of our greatest downfalls is not dealing with something while it is a small matter.  Given time and left to itself, what started out as something that could have been controlled or averted gets out of control and results in a destination for catastrophe. 

              When I was in my teens I was working one summer at a grain elevator during harvest.  Railroad cars would sometimes be dropped off and we would block the wheels with a 2×4 so that they would not take off.  I remember one day for some reason one of cars started rolling.  I saw it and first tried to stop it by putting a 2×4 behind the moving wheel.   It wasn’t moving fast yet, but there was enough weight and momentum that it ran over that 2×4 like a toothpick.  After a couple of attempts and seeing that this was not going to work I instinctively climbed aboard the moving car and turned the brake wheel to bring it to a stop.  Because we were able to catch the moving car and deal with the potential problem quickly there were no adverse consequences, but what if that car had kept moving and picking up speed as it went?  What if it had become a runaway train car speeding out of control?  This is much how temptations and problems that arise in our life go.  Dealt with and averted early they can usually be resolved before they become out of control and are on a crash course with disaster. 

              When we let those little sins into our life, that are small and seem quite harmless at the time, and don’t deal with them, but perhaps hide them in darkness, they have time to germinate, grow and before we know it they are out of our control.  Sometimes we don’t know how to deal with them, but we won’t get help.  We keep thinking we can handle it while in reality it continues to pick up momentum taking us down the track to judgement and growing consequences.  Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He gave this parable in Matthew 5.  Our adversary is anything, that left unchecked and dealt with, will bring us to consequences and judgements that we don’t want to face. 

Perhaps there are areas that are moving out of control in our lives today.  Take a look down the tracks and see the potential disaster this runaway train can take you too.  Deal with it quickly, before it is too late and the consequences are too great.

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

 

Reception, Perception and Installation

 

Matthew 13:14-17

And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them].

 

We are a very blessed people in this nation.  We are rich and wealthy in many things.  One of the things we are wealthy in, is the rich knowledge and understanding we have of the Word of God.  We think of places like China and countries where the Bible has been outlawed and how hungry the saints of God there are for a fraction of what we have and take for granted.  My concern is the responsibility for what I do know and understand.

The nation of Israel was not so different.  They had the law and the prophets.  They were the richest nation on earth concerning spiritual knowledge and understanding of who God is.  They were the source of true spiritual life to the nations.  Unfortunately, here is Christ in there very midst and they don’t even perceive Him for who He is.

When we talk about reception, we talk about taking in or receiving something.  Many of us have taken in spiritual information over a great deal of our lives; some of us not near so long.  What are we doing with what we receive?  Do we use it to condemn and judge others who don’t have what we have?  Do we simply retain this knowledge in our hearts and minds, but it is having no real affect in changing our lives?  Israel, like many of us, learned to go through all of the spiritual and religious motions of honoring God and keeping ceremony, but what happened to their spiritual senses and the application of the life changing principles that they had knowledge of?

I become concerned when I look at my life and think, am I just talking about these things of God, passing on what He has made known and real to me, but not really installing them into every aspect of my own life.  Often I don’t perceive these principles manifest in my personal walk as I know they ought to be.  If I know them, then I can’t claim ignorance.  I am without excuse.  This is where I find that knowledge alone is not enough.  What I know and what I live can be two totally different things.  If what I hear and know and see doesn’t affect a heart change then I may be puffed up with knowledge, but void true spiritual life.  Jesus didn’t come just to give us more information about who God is; He came to be the life changing information that can transform you and me from the hopeless lost individuals that we were into the sons and daughters of the Most High God, bearing His standard and nature.  The Lord has given us His Holy Spirit to take this information and put His finger on the areas of our heart that need change and transformation.  We can bow our necks as Israel is indited of doing here, dulling our spiritual senses so that while there may be knowledge, there is no true revelation and change taking place in our hearts.  Thus, we continue our walk through life projecting a spiritual and religious front, while inwardly we are void of true Spirit and Life.

Do we all have doubts and questionings at times about God and our faith, of course we do.  If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be walking by faith.  It is “the knowing” that Christ has placed in our hearts, that continues to raise a standard of confidence against such doubts.  We can’t say we always understand why things are as they are, or happen as they happen, but we have an assurance in our hearts that God is God and forever sets upon the throne having dominion over all things.  In that confidence we rest knowing that nothing can separate us from His love.

The installation of that which we spiritually perceive and understand is a lifelong and continual process.  Our greatest danger is falling into complacency and apathy along the way.  We must never take our spiritual relationship with Christ for granted.  Like our marriages, it needs continual nurturing, fellowship, relationship and commitment.   Otherwise it will be said of us, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Blessings,

#kent

Spiritual Warfare

April 3, 2020

Spiritual Warfare

2 Corinthians 4:3-5

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh  (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

 

As believers in Christ we need to become warriors in the spirit.  So much of our lives have been focused and spent on the conventional weapons of the natural man to resolve problems.  It has been by the activism of the flesh that we have fought spiritual and moral battles. Many of those battles are the strongholds in our own personal lives that we war with constantly and so often defeat us.  This scripture says that we have divine power to demolish strongholds. We have really tried and resolved not to let these strongholds overtake us any longer.  We may have even prayed about it and asked God to help us in these areas, but we are still experiencing defeat and failure.  Most of our failures comes through the assault of our minds.  Our mind gets distracted and begins to entertain the things that we struggle with.  Usually it is not long till the body is following it in action.  Our first problem is that while we may spiritually ascend to the place that we don’t want the stronghold to have place in us, our mind, soul and body are still compromised because they have not been brought to the place of full surrender to the spirit in these areas.  The bottom line is the spirit man in us has to be the one in authority over our being and not our soul man, that which is of the mind, will and emotions.  We want to see the body and soul line up under the spirit, as the spirit is subject to the Holy Spirit.  When our lives are in the right order and alignment we walk and live as the spiritual men and women we are in Christ.  God wants to grow us up to the place where we truly know who we are in Christ and act out of the power and authority we have in Him.  We begin dealing with strongholds at their conception, not when they mature and bring us again under bondage.  This is where we guard our minds and are transformed through the renewing of our minds so that the Spirit and the Word are the guardians of our thought life.  James 1:13-15 says it like this: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  It is at this point of being tempted that we have to deal with it.  If we are still double-minded in our commitment to let the Spirit have full Lordship of our lives in any area then that compromise will carry over into our actions and failure to have victory.  We must take the authority of God’s Word to destroy the areas of strongholds in our lives at the point imaginations or thoughts or desires begin to raise a rebellious head against the knowledge of God and His ways.  Here is where we can’t be passive, but must act out of the Spirit in power and authority to crush every spirit that is not of God.  Satan is a subtle adversary and not one to be reasoned with, but to be taken authority over.  This same principle holds true over the other areas that impact our lives.  God has empowered us with spiritual weapons and authority in Christ to be more than conquerors and have the victory over sin and strongholds in our lives.

Blessings,

#kent

Fear in the Mind

March 19, 2020

 

Fear in the Mind

 

1 John 4:14-17

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.

 

 

After this article on “Face your Fears” another writing was shared with me that gave the inclination we needed to go a little bit further with this subject.  Our scripture today is somewhat of a mystery and would appear to be a contradiction to what we have shared about the fear of God.  What we need to understand about the fear of God is that it is what compels us into the nature of God.  The fear of God is one of the spiritual attributes that Christ possessed.  Isaiah 11:2, speaking of Christ and those of Him, says, “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” Fear is something that compels us away from something we are afraid of.  In God, that fear abhors evil and cleaves to what is good.  The aspect we identify with fear gives place to love in relationship with God in Christ Jesus.  The blood of Christ removes all fear of judgement, for it has atoned for our sins and we have right standing and relationship with God because we are “in” Christ.  What we must lay hold of is the strategy of the enemy is always to unsettle us from this place of trust, rest and love we have with Father.  We have come into this place by faith and trust, not by any acts of righteousness on our part.  “We love Him, because He first loved us.”

We said before that while the fear of the Lord draws us into relationship and assurance in Christ, the fear generated in the natural and by our adversary, the devil, draws us out of relationship and rest in Christ.  Mark 4:16-17 says, “And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.”  What one sister brought out in her writing was the distress that so many of us endure through mental persecution.  She found that this word persecution carried with it the meaning and connotation of dread, timidity, faithless and fearful.  We know that the greatest battleground we face in our Christian walk is fought in the mind.  We are constantly assaulted in our minds with doubts, fears, and feelings of inadequacy, failure, questionings and unbelief.  We can feel so solid and confident in an aspect of our faith and relationship with God and after a barrage of mental assaults by the enemy; we can suddenly find ourselves wondering if there is a God.   This mental persecution is an assault of fear.  This fear will rob our faith, it will rob our joy and peace, and it will destroy us if left unchecked.  What preserves us is our root or our putting on the whole armor of God.  We see the example of Jesus as He is led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit and the devil begins his series of mental persecutions and temptations, but he couldn’t unsettle Jesus, even in His weakest state, because He was rooted in the Word of God.  While the devil tried to pervert the scripture to unsettle Jesus from His faith, Jesus would give back the Word of God in truth, as His rebuttal.

Many of us struggle in our faith because we are succumbing to the circumstantial reasoning and mental persecutions.  For satan to undermine your faith and confidence in Christ, by first always getting your focus on you apart from Christ is His first and primary strategy for your defeat.  Every time we are dwelling on us, outside of who we are in Christ, it is going to bring us into defeat.  Our victory is in who we are “in Christ”, He is our hiding place, more importantly, our identification, because He has given us His name.  God allows us to be shaken, so that once we are shaken enough, we will become settled in the truth and will be shakable no more.  Hebrews 12:27-29 tells us, “And this [word], Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God [is] a consuming fire.” The fear of the Lord empowers us with the boldness and authority of the Word and the God who wrote it.  It is the day to break free of the death shrouds of our timidity and fearfulness and a day to walk and live in the authority of who each of are in Christ Jesus.  “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)”

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Righteous shall not be Forsaken

 

Psalms 37:25

I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

 

Often times the walk of righteousness is not an easy walk.  As we draw near to God and more and more relinquish our life for His, we sometimes can be become discouraged and disheartened.   All around us the wicked and the ungodly seem to be prospering and enjoying life while it seems we are facing one struggle after another.  While life is an uphill battle for us, it seems to often be a roller coaster ride for others and we may be tempted to mummer, “This is unfair Lord.”  The psalmist saw the same thing in his day.  He gives an account in Psalms 73 of how he envied the prosperity of the wicked.  “For I was envious at the foolish, [when] I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Psalms 73:3).” Do we ever get discouraged and think I’m tired of this walk of righteousness.  Everyone is prospering and enjoying life and I’m trying to be godly and yet I’m struggling through life.  Where is the equity God?  The psalmist goes on to explain what he discovered and the folly of his reasoning.  “This is what the wicked are like- always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.  If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies (Psalms 73:12-20).”   Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.”  There are times when our vision becomes obscure when we start to look back at the world instead of steadfastly upon the Lord.   The enemy would begin to coax our minds and hearts into thinking that the way of the world is far better.  He is only able to do this as we get our eyes off of Jesus.  We only need to enter into the sanctuary of His holy awesome presence to be reminded of what the end and the destiny is for the wicked and unbelieving.  God is not withholding His good from the righteous, He is raising up His righteous to possess and rule all things.  In order to do that the “things” cannot possess us.  Only He, The Lord God, Pure and Holy, must possess us.  Our destiny is not of this world, for this world and all of it goods soon are to pass away and perish with the using, but the possession we have in Christ is eternal and only increases from glory to glory.

Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged by the struggles you have in this world.  It is by patience and steadfast faithfulness that we enter in and possess the greatest prize of all, God’s holy nature and manifest presence in our lives.  What our God desires to give us is unmatchable by anything in this natural world.  We must have the vision of what God’s heart and desire for us is lest we perish in the wilderness, failing to enter in and possess our inheritance by unbelief.

Let us take heart and faint not, knowing that the fullness of our salvation is near at hand.  We can know that Paul was right when he said, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:16-19).”  We don’t need what the world has.  They need what we have, for the scripture declares that the sons of God will the instruments of God’s restoration and restitution in the earth.  The outward apparel does not always reveal the wealthy man.  The righteous is being purified to be the containers of God’s wealth and blessing.  The blessing that seeks not it’s own, but is the dispenser of the life and love of God even as Jesus, the pattern Son.

If we want renewed vision and purpose we need only draw near by the blood of Jesus and enter the sanctuary of His presence.  When we experience the richness of His manifest presence we will know without a doubt that there is nothing in this earth richer or more satisfying than Christ is Himself.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Tales of Jealousy, Betrayal and Revenge

 

Matthew 26:6-14

 

6While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

8When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9″This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

14Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 16From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

 

The Lord began to open up some interesting parallels in the Word concerning jealousy, betrayal and revenge.  As I read the above scripture I believe it was no accident that the story of the woman anointing Jesus’ feet and the decision of Judas to betray Jesus are sequential.  It brought to mind the story of Cain and Abel.  Genesis 4:2-8 gives us this account, “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.”

The parallel we see here is that, as the woman was presenting her sacrifice of tears, precious perfume and the washing with her hair, Judas was despising her offering and John 12:4-8 shows his heart as he suggests a better sacrifice and offering than wasting the perfume on Jesus.  “But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5″Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages” 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7″Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. ” It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” It may be conjecture, but it seems to me that Jesus’ rebuke to Judas created an offence in his heart much like the rejection of Cain’s sacrifice.  Whenever we hold an offence in our hearts of bitterness, jealousy, and rejection we open our spirit up to the darkness that is waiting to enter in.  Suddenly there is anger, the desire for revenge and the seeds of murder.  What Cain and Judas share in common is a heart that was self seeking and unwilling to give its best and its all to God.  God even spoke and pointed out to Cain the problem with his attitude, “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Had Cain or Judas or the other examples we could give, such as Saul and David, been willing to humble themselves and acknowledge a wrong spirit and attitude in their hearts and repent of it they could have been accepted.  Humility and repentance are the mastery of sin.  These characters chose to hold on to the offense and then act out their anger; giving place to murder in their hearts.

What is the lesson God is speaking?  Offense and unforgiveness in our hearts, that goes unrepented of, will open up our spirit to the darkness of revenge and even murder.  That murder may not be physical, it could come in the form of the words we speak, slander, gossip, betrayal or undermining another in some other way.

There are times in our life we feel rejected, slighted, passed over and we feel it is so unfair and maybe it is, but watch your attitude.  Humble yourself before the Lord and allow Him to show you what is acceptable and good.  When I look back over my life and the times I didn’t get the promotion or I applied for jobs and was rejected, I can see now that God wasn’t rejecting me, He was protecting me and leading me in the way that was best for me.  I can see how through times that I was rejected, in time it led to even better things and greater opportunity when God did open the door.

Let go of any offenses or jealousies that you are harboring in your heart.  Repent of them and trust God, rest in Him, He will show you the acceptable way.

Blessings,

#kent

February 5, 2020

 

Almost There

 

2 Timothy 4:5-8

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

 

 

The apostle Paul has been a mentor and an inspiration to millions of believers over the years since he penned so many of the books of the New Testament.  As we are traveling our road of faith and as we are running our course in this life sometimes it gets pretty rough and hard. We want to give up.  We get tired, we get discouraged and we get worn down through trials and tribulations to the point where we would entertain the thoughts of forsaking our faith and just go with the flow of the world.

We see an example of one who almost gave up and actually did for a time.  His name was John Mark.  Acts 12:25 tells us, “And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled [their] ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.”  We gather from what is previously written that he has grown up in a strong household of faith.  We know that a least his mother, Mary, was a devout Christian; for it was her house that the saints had gathered to pray when Peter was in prison.  It was her house that Peter came too after the angel released him from his shackles and imprisonment and they could scarcely believe it was he.  We can see John Mark as having a lot of fervor and sense of adventure, but not a lot of experience when it came to walking in the ways of the apostles.  When he was allowed to travel with Paul and Barnabus he began to experience hardships he had never known.  Trials and persecutions threatened his very life.  He found the walk of these committed men of God was one unto death.  Their safety and well being was not at the forefront of their ministry and walk with the Lord.  We see this becoming a little too much for John Mark.  In Acts 15 we read of this sharp contention that arose between Barnabas and Paul, because Barnabus wanted to take John Mark again.  We read where John Mark had deserted them at Pamphylia, so to Paul, he had disqualified himself and Paul was no longer willing to take him along.  Paul and Barnabus separated and Paul took Silas and Barnabus took John Mark.

I think a lot of us can see ourselves in John Mark.  We start out fervent and are going to win the world for Christ, but after we have warred and walked against the enemy of our souls long enough, sometimes we want too and sometimes we do, desert our calling or our confidence in the Lord.  We find ourselves releasing our grip on the anchor of our souls and drifting back into that which we have been delivered out of.  The thing is, if we have been truly born again we will not be content with this back-slidden or separated state.  The good news is that Jesus is a Barnabus as well as a Paul.  He is a God of second chances.  He will still love and receive us back to Himself even if we have strayed or fallen short along the way.  God placed Barnabus there to come along side John Mark, to encourage him and help him to become again the man of God he was called to be.  We find that even Paul, in time, softens to John Mark and finds him useful. In 2 Timothy 4:11 we read from Paul’s hand, “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”  We find that it is this John Mark who penned the gospel of Mark.

Even if we stumble in our walk and commitment to Christ, never underestimate God’s ability to take your failures and turn them for your good.  Sometimes when it is darkest and most difficult, we may well be at that threshold of our breakthrough.  Hold fast and confident in your faith.  Don’t allow your discouragement and trials to overtake you, but even if they should, the Father has not cast you off, but longs for you to return to Him and again run the good race of your faith.  Repentance and reconciliation are the doorways to restoration in our relationship with our Father.  You’re almost there!  Don’t give up and don’t give in, in all your ways acknowledge Him and follow His ways.

Blessings,

#kent

The Spirit of Mourning

January 17, 2020

 

The Spirit of Mourning

 

Matthew 5:3-12

Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth

Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

When we as the people of God approach the presence of God in prayer there is an attitude that we should bring with us.  This attitude works in and out of the prayer closet, but it is an attitude that Jesus lays out for those of us that receivs the blessing o f God.  These are the “BE” Attitudes.  It is a condition of the heart that is in right standing or coming into right relationship with the Lord.  There is an attitude of heart that prepares us for God’s presence and working in our lives.

We have talked about how we enter into the presence of God with the attitude of praise, worship, rejoicing and thanksgiving.  Yet here Jesus is saying, “Blessed are they that mourn: they shall be comforted.”  This is a specific area that the Lord wants to deal with today.  Why do we mourn, lament, wail and are sorrowful?   For many of us, we come by this naturally through the brokeness and disappointments of life.  There is no doubt that there are those who are reading this today who are inwardly grieving and broken.  The hurts of this present world and life’s circumstance are heavy upon your heart and you have come with this attitude of mourning before the Lord.  Central in the heart of Jesus and the ministry of Christ to His people, was the broken-hearted.  Isaiah 61:1 says, “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.”  It is interesting that the ministry of the Christ was addressed to many of the attitudes, which are addressed here in Matthew 5.   Jesus is very compassionate and is there to put His arms around those whose spirits have been broken and mourn in the natural sense.

There is another reason for mourning and it deals with our spiritual condition.  When we come to a real revelation of ourselves in the light of God’s holiness and calling we can truly be undone.  Some of us have never really come to that place where we have fully comprehended our state of wretchedness and depravity outside of God and His righteousness.  If we have then we know what it is to mourn spiritually.  Many of us know the element of grieving that we carry daily because of our sin and failures in fully walking in uprightness and purity.  We know what it is to be poor in spirit, because we realize how utterly bankrupt we are in ourselves.  Until we have a true revelation of this in our spirits, we will continue on, thinking somehow there is some good or righteousness in us outside of Christ.  A revelation of the true state of our heart and being will make way for the Holy Spirit to really perform His daily work of grace in us.  As we despair of all that is of ourselves and cling and long for the Lord to move and work in all of the areas of our lives that are not subject to His Lordship.  Many of as Christians may have once experienced this, but now we have grown complacent in our lifestyles that cater so much to our flesh and natural man.  Jesus gives us warning in Luke 6:24-26, “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”  It is imperative that our heart remains in a right and prostrate attitude toward the Lord.  When we cease to fear and reverence Him, when we become lifted up in ourselves, then we set ourselves on a course of separation rather than reconciliation toward the Lord.  Again James 4:4-10 exhorts us, “4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?  6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Today the Lord is concerned with our posture and attitude towards Him.  It is hard for all of us who live in these prosperous times and in the country that we do, not to be caught up in a lot of its ways.  The Lord is clear that we will mourn either in a spirit of repentance or in judgement.  This is a day we must get right within our hearts towards the Lord.  It is a day to mourn over the place we are missing and failing our Lord in our commitment and lives for Him.  It is a day to draw near to Him in brokeness, contriteness of heart and mourning of our sin.  “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.”

Blessings,

#kent

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