The Problem between Our Ears

Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he…

Self- perception is based on many things.  It comes from our experiences, our relationships and the input we receive from the world around us.  What we believe about ourselves is not always true, but it is true to us, because that is the reality that we see in our own mind.  What makes a young lady that is bulimic and anorexic to the point that she is skin and bones, continue to believe in her own mind that she is still fat.  It is not a reality issue; it is a perception issue.  As a photographer I have people come in quite often that are very critical of themselves in their images.  They will pick out perceived flaws that no one else would see.  So often our perceptions are formed by the input we get back from the world around us.  We are using that to evaluate if we are acceptable, or smart, or pretty, or successful.  Our dependency upon the world around us to shape our self-perception and values is often what cripples us.  Those we are looking too in shaping our perception are often flawed in their own perceptions so our premise for evaluating our worth based on the input of others is like building a house on sand.  Add to this the condemnation, accusations and the lies of satan, we can get pretty messed up.  The Word tells us that’ faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God’ (Romans 10:17).  The way we form a well-rounded perception of ourselves is through the Word of God.  If you are going to believe what somebody says about you, then believe what God says about you, because He doesn’t lie. 

There are a lot of us that are carrying a lot of baggage around with us that is tearing us up and it is destroying our relationships with the people that we care about and that we really love.  Sometimes we don’t even understand why we act and respond the way that we do.  This is where the Lord wants to set us free.  Often it is a lot of these misperceptions that we have formed from past negative experiences that we are using to evaluate our relationships now.  Because of the pain, hurt, abuse or disappointment of past relationships and experiences we allow fear to come in and tell us that our current relationships are going to happen the same way. We become convinced that we are going to get hurt, so we transfer that past negative experience into our present one and start responding defensively to protect ourselves from perceived hurt.  Often we can end up sabotaging a meaningful relationship and even marriage, because of these past experiences that we are bringing into the present.

I don’t pretend to be a psychiatrist, but the thing that is going to set us free is when we recognize that our values and perceptions are often warped.  We need a plumb line so that we can establish values and perception that are based on truth and not on a lie.  It is the Word of God that is that plumb line for us.  We have to align ourselves with what God thinks of us and what His values are for us.  Many of us need to really ask the Holy Spirit to give us understanding and reveal where our values are distorted and wrong.  Sometimes we need to look back at our past to honestly evaluate where certain values and feelings about things were formed.  As the Holy Spirit reveals these things then we can give those issues and perceptions to Him and ask for the Lord’s healing and change in those areas. 

You see, it is not the outward that is really you.  We can outwardly act many different ways.  The true man is as he thinks he is in his heart.  Heart change comes from a heart relationship with the Lord.  He wants to make you and your relationships whole and healthy.  He wants to give right perspective and the perception of who He says you are.  He probably has a much higher opinion of you than you have of yourself.  He values you and He wants you to be able value yourself based on what He is and is becoming within you.  Allow Him the place and open up your heart so that He can come in and begin to heal you and make you whole again.  Feed on what God has to say to you through His Word rather than what others say to you or about you.  Start responding to what the Word says rather than to feelings and emotions that surface in certain situations.  He can give us the balance we need in our lives and He alone can fix that problem we have between our ears.

 

Blessingd,

#kent

Restoration

August 16, 2017

Jeremiah 31:18-20

“I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined.

Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God. 19 After I strayed, I repented;

after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

20 Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.

Restoration

Ephraim, for point of reference, was the younger one of the two sons of Joseph.  Jacob blessed him and his older brother Manasseh and the two were counted as one of the tribes of Israel.  Ephraim, though, he was the younger, Jacob blessed as the older, declaring that in him Israel would be blessed (Genesis 48).  Ephraim is often used as a name synonymous with Israel.  Jeremiah speaks this passage toward the end of Israel’s captivity in Babylon as they look forward to a time of freedom and restoration. 

It is the loving discipline of the Father that prevents us from reaping our own destruction.  If God tears down and destroys, He does it for the purpose of discipline, cleansing and restoration.  God’s discipline deals with the unruliness of our hearts as they stray from Him and forget His precepts and His ways.  It is God’s discipline that leads us to repentance and repentance leads us to restoration of fellowship and relationship lost through our sin and rebellion. 

God dealt very harshly with His nation Israel.  He allowed the destruction of their country, of their city, Jerusalem and even the glorious temple, which Solomon had built.  God will destroy the flesh, so that He may preserve the spirit.  Even in God’s anger, His love runs deep for His people.  We can readily see that in Jeremiah 31: 20 as God says, “Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.” 

God’s heart is for us even when we have sinned and turned away from Him.  He ever abides faithful, even when we have been faithless.  Hebrews 12:4-12 is such a rich encouragement to us as God’s children that God disciplines us out of His love and not His anger.  “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”  Many of us are already in a place of discipline or soon will be.  Judgement begins at the house of God.  God is disciplining and judging us so that His house may be in order before He judges the world.  It is our discipline and godly correction that will prepare our hearts and lives for a great ingathering of souls into the kingdom.  We are His sons and as much as Papa loves us, He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.  Let us faint not or feel condemned of the Lord.  God is dealing, exposing and judging us so that our repentance will lead us to a restoration into the fullness of His purpose and plan for our lives.  Father is all about our restoration and not our destruction, but sometimes old things have to be torn down that better things might be built.  If you are undergoing urban renewal in your life then rejoice, for the Father is at work in you to do His good will and pleasure.  You are the son of His love and the product of His restoration and grace.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Tell Them I Am Coming!

August 14, 2017

Tell Them I Am Coming!

2 Thessalonians 1:4-12

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. 11With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 12We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We experience tribulations and trials to varying degrees, but we see a level of persecution in the early church that most of us have not yet seen, nor do we hope too.  The truth of the matter is that when the body of Christ begins to move into her position of authority and begins to quit playing church and starts to fulfill her destiny being the church, she will meet again with tremendous opposition.  Currently, in this time and in this nation we see the church sometimes mocked and taunted, but with relatively little true persecution.  Maybe that is because we are viewed as just being another religious form of the world. 

When the church truly awakens and comes out of her slumber the door of true persecution will again be opened.  The reason is because there will be an increased polarization of good and evil.  Today we, the Church, live largely in a place of compromise where our values are not viewed so differently than the world.  Many live together outside of marriage, our divorce rate isn’t any better than that of the world, our integrity is often viewed as less than the world’s and we just project a form of godliness, but too many times with no substance. There is not the action of distinction that sets us apart from the world we live in, so our power and life has been neutralized.  We don’t really offer that much of a threat to the enemy, so why should there be much persecution.  We are often mocked by the world for the hypocrisy that they see in our midst when they see sin revealed and even some of our most prominent leaders fall.  Slowly, but surely we see the darkness overtaking our land as God is removed farther and father from our government and public life.  What we will soon wake up too is a very hostile foe, especially when we begin to stand in who we are in Christ. 

Persecution and tribulation is often a sieve that sifts and strains out those who are fair weather Christians who follow Christ just for convenience and blessing from those who are truly committed to Christ in life and in death. 

The Word teaches us that Christ is coming to be glorified in His saints and if we suffer with Him we will also be glorified with Him.  Many of us have the concept that when things start getting rough and nasty for Christianity, the Lord will come and rescue us out and take us away to glory.  As I read the Word, I see the pattern being that God will take His people through the fire, but He doesn’t necessarily rescue them out of it. 

The exhortation and the encouragement of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians was that they were to be commended for their faithfulness in the midst of the tribulation that they endured.  They continued steadfast and it was their love and charity they had for one another that they were known by.  The Lord is coming soon, but are we the people of God that the Thessalonians were, that are patient and faithful in the midst of great tribulation?  The Lord is giving us many exhortations and warnings to prepare our hearts for the time of His presence.  2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 says, “1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”  Regardless of your theology concerning the Lord’s coming, if you are missing the Lord warning and telling you to prepare your heart and come into intimate relationship with Him you are missing the coming of Christ.  We are being called to prepare the temple for the full habitation of the King of Glory.  The Lord is coming.  Stand steadfast and rock solid in your faith, because it will most likely be shaken first.

 

Blessings,

#kent

August 7, 2017

Making Healthy Choices

Joshua 24:15

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Life is made up of a series of choices we make everyday.  Much like what we choose to eat, our lives eventually begin to show forth physically the fruit of what we have eaten or not eaten.  One or two good choices or bad choices do not determine our fate, it is the overall direction that we go with a pattern of decision making that really begins to define who we are outwardly and who we are inwardly. 

The best and the healthiest choice any of us made was when we asked Christ to come into our hearts and be our Lord and Savior.  That should have began us down a path and a pattern of making much more healthy choices for ourselves and those for whom we are responsible.  Why do we read God’s Word, why do we pray, why do we listen to sermons and the messages that come out of those who speak God’s Word to the Church?  Isn’t it because we want the mind of Christ to make healthy choices and right decisions?  We know that over time these choices will define our life, who we are and what we are with regards to the Kingdom of God. 

Let’s be honest, most of us like junk food and fast food.  I’m certainly no exception there.  We are educated enough to know that a steady diet of this kind of food will result in an unhealthy end.  Some of us are already experiencing the effects of those types of choices.  And we can’t turn around and sue God because He made them available to us.  All of our choices have consequences and we bear the responsibility for those choices.  They can be good or bad depending on what they produce.  One of the greatest gifts or curses God gave to man was the right and ability to make their own choices.

Joshua is saying in our verse today to the children of Israel, you all have to make a choice about who you want to serve in life.  If it doesn’t seem good to you to really serve the Lord, then you can choose other gods, whether that be another religion or the god of self, or some other god, “but as for me and my house (those I’m responsible for) we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua had made his choice long before he ever spoke these words and his life was the result of the choices he had made.  We all have to make our own choices in life and consequently we all have to answer for them rather in this life or that which is come. 

Are you making healthy choices spiritually today?  Are Christ, His Word, His Truth, His Life and His Ways what you are feeding on daily?  I believe God has given us this life to enjoy His blessings and the goodness around us, but if we have chose Him and continue to choose Him, then all of our other choices will be centered in His will and purpose for us and not our own.  “For in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).”   May the Lord help each of us daily to make healthy choices in every arena of life so that our lives may be blessed and we may be partakers of all the goodness He has for us.

 

Blessings,

#Kent

Light and Truth

August 4, 2017

Psalms 119:97-105

Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.

99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.

100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.

101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.

102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.

103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Light and Truth

Light and truth are ways of life to the believer.  They both illuminate the way and guide the steps of your feet so that you do not stumble.  We walk in a world that is full of darkness and pitfalls so it is essential that we keep light and truth before us so that we do not stumble and fall into error and sin. 

The Lord will establish our ways if we walk in His principles and precepts.  Every day we want to put His Word before us and absorb His truth into us.  We don’t want just a mental ascent to the truth or of the truth, we want that truth to become substance within us.  It is so easy for us to become like the man described in the book of James 1: 22-25, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”  This is God’s intent for our lives and what we must endeavor to practice. 

The Holy Spirit has been given to lead us into all truth, but truth is like building stones, they have to be built one upon another.  If we fail to establish truth in one area, then there is no sure foundation to support deeper and higher truth.  There is a breech in our wall that becomes a place of weakness and access for the enemy of our soul.  Our building will go askew and will not follow the design of the Master Builder.  God’s Word is truth; therefore we continually go back to the Word that orders our steps in the ways of righteousness and life.  2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Truth is not just about learning or gaining knowledge, but about implementing the knowledge and fear of the Lord into your life and daily walk.  Paul warns Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-9 about the mindset of how many will think in the last days.  “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.” 

True salvation and a relationship with Christ have nothing to do with how much you know about the truth, it has to do with how much you are experiencing and walking in the truth.  Truth is like that holy meat taken from the altar, it is not the touching or contact with it that sanctifies and makes you holy.  It is the partaking of it, so that it becomes flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone.  Truth is not something we are just learning about; it is what we are becoming. 

 

Blessings,

#kent

More Precious than Gold

July 14, 2017

Psalms 19:7-14

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.

The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.

The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. 11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

More Precious than Gold

All of the keys of the kingdom are found in the King’s book.   His law, statutes, precepts, commands, the fear of the Lord and His ordinances.  All these things He has provided us that through them and His promises we might become partakers of the divine nature. 

Many of us know the value of education.  We have been taught from our youth up that it is education that will help you to get ahead in life and make you successful.   Knowledge alone is not what makes you successful, it is the proper application of the knowledge gained that gives you value in the marketplace.  Education only has value when it is acquired and applied.  This same principle holds true concerning these precepts that God has given to us.  As Christians they are all around us.  We hear them in church, we read them in the Word, we hear them through God’s people and we hear the Spirit speaking them into our heart, but do we have ownership of them?  I can be the most educated of men and still be a fool, because a fool is one who doesn’t apply knowledge.  Wisdom is only seen in those who apply wisdom.  The Father is giving us His wisdom here in these scriptures and is telling us these are more precious than gold, than even pure gold.  They are sweeter than honey straight from the honeycomb.  They are able to make you wise unto salvation.  Apply them and they will richly reward you.  Know them, neglect them and they will bear testimony against you.  You will be as the servant who buried his talent.  These precepts only have value and give increase when they are applied, practiced and used to put on the mind of Christ and carry out His will and purpose through you.  The knowledge of these precepts gives us warning, but in the keeping of them there is great reward. 

It is these precepts that show us the error of our ways.  It is the blood of Christ that can forgive our hidden faults as we openly confess them.  Often it is our willful sins that are the strongholds that we allow to rule over us. 

“Lord keep us from our willful sin that the precepts of your Word, statues, laws, commands, ordinances and the fear of You might be what rules and establishes our hearts and lives in righteousness.  If you cleanse us then are we clean indeed.  Make us blameless before you and innocent of great transgression.   May the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing and acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  Amen.”

 

Blessings,

#kent

Apples of Gold

July 7, 2017

Apples of Gold

Proverbs 25:11

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Throughout our lives we’ve all come to know and experience how cutting, hurtful and harmful words can be that are spoken in a way that is mocking, cruel or unkind.  Words are like a two edged sword, on one edge is life and on the other is death and the flat sides are neutral.  As Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  We have these tremendous weapons in our mouths and often we so carelessly use them and abuse them or we fail to use them in a positive way at all. 

It is wonderful to think about the power we have to edify and build up another through the power of our words.  When we look to speak the best about people then we will see the best in them.  Sometimes we all need words spoken to us that are hard for us to hear, but they are truth.  The words of a true friend are not always going to make us feel good, but hopefully they will help us to be better people and reveal to us things we need to know about ourselves that we are blind too.  Proverb27:17 says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” In other words, we don’t just speak the words that make us feel good, but we speak the words that help one another grow, the words that challenge us and exhort us. 

God’s Word has many passages that give us great hope and purpose.  It can greatly edify us and build us up.  God’s Word can also cut us to the bone and reveal the ugliness of our sin and wrong motives.  Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  God’s Word goes to the heart of the matter.  If correction is needed, it will correct us and chastise us and if edification is needed, it will build us up and set our feet upon a right path.  While hard words are difficult for many of us to hear, we will hear them and receive them more readily if we know that the person’s heart is pure who is speaking those words.  If we know the motive for speaking hard things to us is love, then we are more apt to receive those words into our heart in order that they might produce life and betterment in us. 

Proverbs 25:11, today’s passage, paints for us a picture that right words, spoken in season, can create rich and beautiful things.  If we are walking in the love and spirit of Christ then our words should be moved and spoken out of a right spirit and a contrite heart.  In other words, when we are speaking right words into someone’s life we are doing it in love and without spiritual pride or haughtiness on our part.  We all need ones that will speak both blessing and correction into our lives, in love.  Those are our true friends.  Those are the ones that know how to speak out of the nature of God and in the spirit of redemption and mercy.  Their words are ‘the apples of gold set in pictures of silver.’

How will we use the sword that God has put in our mouths?  Will it produce apples of gold or a bloody mess?  Let us choose our words wisely and pray that the Spirit of God directs what, where, when and how we speak.  Remember the power of death and life is in your tongue, both for you and for others.  Ask God to put a watch before your mouth that you may speak out of both wisdom and love.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Temporal or Eternal

June 27, 2017

There was a day I knew not what to do.  Lord  I come before You to inquire of You.  The Spirit is silent within and I don’t want my thoughts to take the place of Him.  So I wait to see what He may speak. 

Inserted Sharon’s writing.

Morning Kent,

Just wanted to share a thought with you. If you feel it is something that can be used, then share it. There are scriptures I could put in, if you want to use this that would add to it. I will add them if you want me too. Also, feel free to edit it…as I’m sure it needs it. Love you…

Temporal or Eternal

Matthew 6:19-21

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

This evening, I opened an email and one of my friends sent me something I had received a few years ago. It was sculptures made in the sand at a beach. One of the pictures was of Christ and his twelve disciples…another was Jesus on the cross and the last one was the face of Jesus. I found myself asking Jeannie, “Can you imagine spending all that time on making something that will just fade away or be destroyed by the next day?” I no more said those words when the thought came to me that’s precisely what we do everyday. We work hard in this world for money, to buy things that are temporal…those things that fade away and can be destroyed… instead of working for those things that are eternal. Why do we do this? Is it because this world has blinders on our eyes? It would have us going in every direction but on the straight and narrow road, which leads to life.  Jesus says in Matthew 16:26, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”  Why can’t we understand and keep in mind how temporal this life is? I heard a preacher say once, “Everything we are doing now, will make a difference in our position for all eternity.” I’m sure I didn’t quote it just right, but the meaning is there. And if this is true, then why do we waste so much time? Are we building our house on a firm foundation? Or are we building on sand; and when the winds of adversity blow, what we’ve been built on, will it sink and fade away? My prayer is that each one of us would take a long hard look at our lives and the way we live, and ask ourselves what exactly our lives are about. Are we living for Christ and His destiny for our lives? Or are we living apart from Him, doing our own thing and living our lives the way we please?

Blessings,

Sharon

 

 

My Destiny is the Pits

June 22, 2017

Genesis 37:13-24

[One day] Israel said to Joseph, Do not your brothers shepherd my flock at Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them. And he said, Here I am. 14And [Jacob] said to him, Go, I pray you, see whether everything is all right with your brothers and with the flock; then come back and bring me word. So he sent him out of the Hebron Valley, and he came to Shechem. 15And a certain man found him, and behold, he had lost his way and was wandering in the open country. The man asked him, What are you trying to find? 16And he said, I am looking for my brothers. Tell me, I pray you, where they are pasturing our flocks.

17But the man said, [They were here, but] they have gone. I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. 18And when they saw him far off, even before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. 19And they said one to another, See, here comes this dreamer and master of dreams. 20So come on now, let us kill him and throw his body into some pit; then we will say [to our father], Some wild and ferocious animal has devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams! 21Now Reuben heard it and he delivered him out of their hands by saying, Let us not kill him. 22And Reuben said to them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit or well that is out here in the wilderness and lay no hand on him. He was trying to get Joseph out of their hands in order to rescue him and deliver him again to his father. 23When Joseph had come to his brothers, they stripped him of his [distinctive] long garment which he was wearing; 24Then they took him and cast him into the [well-like] pit which was empty; there was no water in it.

My Destiny is the Pits

Most of us know the story of Joseph who was the favored son of Jacob, but despised by his brothers.  God had his hand on Joseph in a special way and even gave Joseph some dreams that were glimpses into his destiny and calling.

Remember how great it was when we first came to know Christ and experienced the joy of salvation.  Then, as we grew we learned of His exceeding great and precious promises to us in Christ Jesus.  What perhaps wasn’t so real to us at the time was the truth that “if we suffer with Him we shall also be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17)”.  Many of us walking this journey of faith and trust in Christ have found and are still finding ourselves in some very difficult places.  Maybe we have even pondered whether God really loves or cares about us.  I believe, like Joseph, the pit we often find ourselves in was really an appointment with destiny.  It may be satan’s attempt to destroy us, but then that was his attempt when he succeeded in crucifying Jesus.  The paradox of our faith is that often the way up is the way down and we often walk through hell in our journey to heaven. 

Joseph, just happened to run into a man that was in the fields where his brothers were suppose to be as he was searching for them and this man just happened to have overheard his brothers saying where they were going.  Joseph’s whole journey that day was the road that would lead him to rule and reign, but between here and there existed a dark and hard path to follow.  It was the road of preparation, the trying of his faith.  When Joseph did come to where his brother’s were camped they plotted against him and even planned to kill him.  Remember the scripture that says, ‘your enemies will be those of your own household?’  Many of us have experienced betrayal, hurt, rebellion and have been forsaken by those of our own family.  They seized Joseph and threw him into a dry well or pit.  Have we ever found ourselves in dry and waterless places, faced with adversity, trials and tribulations and it seems as if God and the Holy Spirit are no where around?  We may not think that we are even going to make it.  Surely this is the end of us; what hope is left? 

Imagine how Joseph felt and the thoughts that went through his head as his brothers spoke of killing him and refused to take him out of the pit?  The fear, the sorrow, the betrayal and the separation he felt not only from his brothers, but more importantly from his father who he may never see again.  His bright future is suddenly turned to darkness and despair. 

If you are finding yourself in the pit today, don’t be discouraged and don’t despair, you may just be finding your destiny.  If we learn one thing from Joseph’s life it is that matter how dark it gets and how far away from God it seems, don’t give up, don’t give in and don’t forsake your faith and trust in God.  God has not forsaken you, but He is there with you every step of the way.  James 1:3-4 exhorts us, “Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Patiently trust God even in the pits of your life because He is active in you performing the will and do of His good pleasure to bring you into your inheritance.  1 Peter 1:3-9 sums all of this up quite well, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

 

Blessings,

#kent

Love that Binds

June 16, 2017

Ephesians 4:1-6

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Love that Binds

Unity in a family, a marriage or in the body of Christ is found when we are all operating out of a communication of love.  People are unique and we will always have our differences from one another.  That is the way our good Lord created us to be.  In our differences He poured into us the bonding and the glue of His love so that we are able to patiently bear the irregularities of all those people that God didn’t make just like me.  Love is never really exercised and grown unless it is stretched and challenged.  People will certainly do that to you.  I personally found that just keeping to yourself and doing your own thing makes it easier to love people, but that is a long distance love.  God’s love is most often up close and personal.  It is often a decision rather than a feeling.  Whatever our relationships with people God knows we are going to have our differences.  Obviously, outside of Christ, we are much different than God.  In fact, He says before we were saved we were His enemies.  Romans 8:7 says, “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”  What reconciled us to God was first His love for us, not our love for Him.  This is a key example that we forget in so many of our relationships.  We are most often reactionary, returning kind for kind and love for love or even hate for hate.  God does not just react to our rejection of His love.  If He did the human race would have been extinct long ago.  His love is deliberate and it has purpose.  His love is to gather you in His arms and impart Himself into you. 

That bring us to where God is bringing each of us in our expression of love.  If we are loving out of our human condition and our feelings of love, then our love will always be conditional and full of limitations.  God has called us to live out of His love which is unconditional and loves the unlovely as much as the lovely.   Living a life worthy of the calling is living life out of the foundation of love.  Who is love?  We know that God is love so if we are to love as He loved we can only do that as we submit to His love to reign in our hearts and find expression through our hands. 

The apostle Paul exhorts us here to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  He is not saying it is always easy, but in order to do it you have to lose your importance and your impatience.  Humility has been defined as “strength under control”.  That strength and humility of love learns to prefer others above itself.  It becomes more aware, concerned and active in meeting another’s needs than it does its own.  Love makes every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  We soon learn through life’s experiences that even among other Christian not all are willing or wanting to reciprocate your love for them.  Most of us are aware that even in our own selves we often are acting out of our flesh or giving place to an ungodly spiritual influence or spirit.  When that is present we can be quite confrontational, unfriendly and irreconcilable.  When we encounter that reaction towards us from others, even if they are our brothers or sisters, we have to see it with spiritual eyes of love and discernment, not getting caught up in the spirit of division that is at work.  Often times we end up taking some punches we don’t deserve and in love we learn to turn the other check.  It is not about us being right or winning an argument.  It is about the love of God triumphing even in an ugly situation.  Many of us get caught up in our emotions and feelings and if that soulish part of us is not being tempered by the Spirit we will get off into the flesh and certainly will not be known by our love in those moments. 

The stream of God Spirit takes a lot of rough jagged rocks in the river bed and rubs them together until over time they become smooth stones.  That is what we are becoming those smooth stones, but the process is brought about by agitation, irritations, irregularities and confrontations.   It is  the Love of God that is the fluid that heals, blends, forgives and ultimately loves through us in the unity of one Spirit. Perfection takes a good deal of practice.  God has put us with one another to learn to practice His love.  God’s love should be what binds us together until we work out our differences and that may just be loving and accepting the other for where they are at.  God has us all on different rows and we at different places in our walk with Him.  Above all let the love of Christ prevail in our relationships.  If the world is ever to know us by our love, then they first have to see it in action in though our lives and behavior towards one another.

 

Blessings,

#kent

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