The Spirit that Sets Men Free

Mark 5:1-20

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”

9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Here is the account of a man so possessed of unclean spirits that he was no longer his own.  It is obvious from the story that the man didn’t have the goods or the means to contain or control this unclean spirit.  They had tried to chain him and control him, but no man could control or tame Him.  He had become no more than a puppet controlled and tormented by the spirits that inhabited him.  How he must have longed for deliverance and no doubt cried out to God for it.  One day the prayers and the cries of that captive spirit were answered.  Jesus showed up at his front door among the tombs and the dead things.   This man lived in death and death surrounded him.  I believe it was the spirit in the man that ran to worship Jesus.  Here was the deliverer who could deliver him from his tormented state.  I believe the unclean spirits would have ran from Jesus, but here at last was the answer he had cried out for.  Does it not seem strange that Jesus just happened to pick this destination to go to this day?  Was it not the tormented cries of the man’s heart that brought Him there?  This man was the extreme case of demonic possession, a man filled with an army of demons.  One word spoken by Jesus brought these unclean spirits to their knees.  His presence brought them to cry out, for His very presence was their torment and caused them to quake with fear. 

Such is the One that abides in you and I.  When it is the Christ in us that speaks forth an anointed word, then hell and the devil are helpless to stop it.  Jesus showed even a measure of mercy to the unclean spirits by allowing them to go into the swine. 

Jesus brought hope, deliverance and salvation into a man’s life and situation where a moment before there had only been despair.  He is still doing that today and often times, those of us with surrendered hearts and the sensitivity to hear His voice might be the channels He would use to touch some life and bring the miracle that they so desperately need and are crying out for.  Where would He take your life today and how would He use you to bring the spirits of men together with the Spirit of God?  Jesus came to set the captive free.  It is His Spirit that He desires to unite us too and all others must be cast out.  He wants to give us back a right mind, even the mind of Christ.  He wants us to take the good news of what He has done for us and share it with others.  Go forth and bring to others the deliverance of His salvation and the good tidings of peace and joy.

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Antidote for Fear

May 30, 2017

 

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

The Antidote for Fear

We live and walk in a world consumed by doubt and fears.  Unfortunately it touches many who are believers as well as the world.  It is important that if fear and doubt are a struggle that you have that you will be encouraged and exhorted by this word. 

The only one that God wants us to fear is Him.  When we truly reverence and stand in total awe of who He is then we realize He ultimately has the say and judgement over our life and spirit.   Others may be able to afflict and kill the body, but God determines our eternal destiny.  

When I find myself in fear and doubt, I find that I am not standing and walking fully in faith.  Faith in God’s Word assures me that God is Love.  His love is able to keep me, not matter what circumstances surround me or those I love.  In Romans 8:28 I am given the assurance that, “all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”  Even when I am faced with tribulation, persecution, afflictions and death, I need not fear.

Why?

Because God’s perfect love drives out all fear.  In Psalms 118:6, the Psalmist declares, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”  We have the assurance that as we have received by faith, Christ as our Savior and Lord, He lives in us and we live in Him.  He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  All else, spirit or flesh, is under His dominion.  If we are in Him then anything that touches us must come through Him.  

Our fears come when we lose sight of the identity that we have in Jesus Christ.  When we fully grasp and lay hold of the promises and truth of God’s Word, fear has no grip upon us.  

Why?

Because we are God’s children who abide in the Love of God.  His perfect love casts out fear.  Our lives are His.  Is there any so great as to pluck us out of the hand of God?  

“But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”  If we fear judgement and punishment then we lack the assurance that we have been fully washed and cleansed in the blood of Jesus.  We don’t fully understand that we are fully justified in Christ, meaning it is just as if we never sinned.  When we abide in the Righteous One, then we abide in the full assurance of His salvation.  In that salvation is the revelation of God’s holy and insurmountable love for us.  For us to live in fear, means that we have taken our eyes off of who He is in us and put them upon the circumstances that surround us. 

When Stephen was about to be stoned by the frenzied mob of the religious, he didn’t fear what they could do to him.  He only saw Jesus and had set his eyes on things above.  When we, like him, see Jesus setting a the right hand of the Father, then there is no room for fear because Ephesians 2:6-10 assures us, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

When we know who we are, where our position is and what our purpose is then what can man do to us.  Our life is hid in Him and He is sovereign over all of the affairs of men.  When we get a revelation of this we will better understand the perfect love of God and that God has designed that we should be made perfect in that love.  “Perfect love drives out fear.”

Blessings,

#lemt

Discouraged but not Forsaken

Deuteronomy 1:21

Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up [and] possess [it], as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged

How are you doing today as you run the race of faith?  Are you running with the wind in your sails or are you just floating like a sailboat without a breeze?  Are you encouraged and built up in your faith or are you tired, weary and feeling defeated?  Where are you at in your relationship with Christ today?   Perhaps you are where you want to be and growing daily in your faith and obedience to Christ.  That is where we would all like to be, but in reality you may be floundering, experiencing some failures and defeats or dealing with issues that you don’t have the answers for.  

Hopefully, what we have learned so far is that our relationship with the Father, along with His love and desire towards us, doesn’t ride on the coattails of our emotional ups and downs.  It isn’t our feelings that dictate our walk and relationship with the Father; it is our faith and confidence in His Word.  The Father is constant in His love for us, even when we fall flat on our face or back into sin.  The wonderful thing about the Lord is even though he loves us the way we are; He loves us too much to leave us that away.   There are times we hate ourselves; all we can see is the failure, the weakness, the sin and how helpless we feel to change it.  What we do know is that all of our self-pity and defeatism will never allow our life to change.  The enemy has us right where he wants us, in the throes of defeat.   Perhaps you have been experiencing the dealings of the Lord in your life and His discipline has been upon you.  That should be an encouragement to you, because you know He is dealing with you as His son or His daughter.  Don’t allow discouragement to come in and cause you to give up.  There will be times of discouragement where you are tempted to want to give up. 

God loves us, even in the mess we are in.  God has great things for us and great things He wants to accomplish through us.  Hebrews 12:12-15 says, “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.”  Our greatest failure is not that we have messed up it is when we give up.  Life is a series of battles and we aren’t going to win them all, but our victory is in keeping our eyes upon Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith.  We have to keep coming back on our knees and pouring out our heart and soul to Him.  He is what we can’t be in ourselves.  Lest we forget who we are and what we are, we are a new creation that bears the name of Christ.  Let us quit looking at what we have been and where we have come from and start looking at what we are going to be and where we are headed too.  Our identification, our purpose and our reason for living must always be centered in Christ.  When we allow that to be robbed from us, we become the whipping boy for the devil and he will flat beat you up until you feel like a worthless nothing.  Let faith arise in our hearts. Let us believe what the Lord and His Word says about us, “that we are the righteousness of Christ”, that we are, “more than conquers through Christ that loved us” and that “He has raised us up together and made us to sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.”  

If the enemy has you in the dungeon of despair and discouragement today, sucking rocks and the putrid filth of his accusations and condemnations, then it is time to lift up your head and look to where your salvation comes from.  It is time to get up and walk out of that prison cell.  Those bars can’t hold you.  Jesus has already unlocked the door.  He has never stopped loving you and all He is waiting for and desiring is for you to come back to Him.  Make the Lord your refuge, your mighty fortress and your strong deliverer.  He is and always will be your salvation, your hope and your strong tower.   “…for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5).

Blessings,

#kent

As a Man Thinks

March 24, 2017

As a Man Thinks

Proverbs 23:6-7a

Eat thou not the bread of [him that hath] an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he…

Often we don’t give much thought to the power of suggestion and the input from various sources that we take into our minds.   Most of us have a belief and value system in place.  Somehow we think that value system stands as a wall to defend us from wrong thinking and consequently wrong actions.   Termites are just like little ants.  They don’t eat that much individually, but given enough time and numbers they can bring down an entire house.  The same is true with our values and beliefs.  They are not impermeable to wrong thinking and influence.  Paul makes this clear when he exhorts the Corinthians in 2 Corinthian 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”  As we live and walk among the world we are constantly exposed to the values and the mindset of the world which is most often contradictory to the Word and the will of the Father.  We can’t always avoid all that we are exposed to in the world, but we take in much of it by our own choice or by not actively turning from it.  Paul goes on to share at the end of this chapter in 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  

Initially when we see or hear something that is wrong or offensive our reaction may be one of shock, disdain and turning away.  If we are exposed to these types of things enough times, soon our conscience becomes numbed, our spiritual senses dulled and more or less we begin to dismiss it as common place, in other words, it becomes acceptable.  

How do we react to common television shows today that twenty or thirty years ago would have caused a public outcry?   Over time, not only have we as Christian become desensitized to the moral depravity, but also so has our society as a whole.  I was reading about a study this morning where they estimated an 18% increase in teenage intercourse, simply due to the influence of television.  It wasn’t just in what they saw on the programs, but what they heard regarding sexual attitudes.  We generally perceive reality based on what are mainstream values around us.  We who are believers should know better, because our reality should be based on the standard of the Word of God.  Let us not think for a minute that a constant diet of worldly views and influences doesn’t have an effect on our relationship with God and our purity with Him.  When God brought the children of Israel into the Promise Land He commanded them to totally annihilate and destroy the societies that previously existed there.  That wasn’t because He was a mean and vindictive God.  It was because these nations had filled up the cup of His wrath by years of gross perversity and sin.  For them to be integrated into Israel’s society would bring pollution and draw their hearts away from God into the idolatry and perversity that God abhorred.  As we can see in the Word of God, this is exactly what happened causing the judgement of God to come upon the children of Israel many times over their history.  

There is tremendous power in the words we hear and take into our minds, either for life or for death.  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.”  It not only has power in what we speak, but in what we hear.  We become the products of our input.  Colossians 3:1-4 says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”  Again in Philippians 4:8 we are exhorted, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”  We are in a day of preparation for the Lord’s appearing.  The Word warns us in Matthew 24:12 that in the last day, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Our love is waxing cold because we are allowing the spirit of this world to take hold of us through all of the things we partake of in the world.  This is not about throwing stones or do’s and don’ts, because we are all guilty to varying degrees.  This is about the mind and the will of God for our lives to be a separate and consecrated people unto Him.  It is a narrow way and few there be that find it.  It is His way, His Word and His Spirit.  We must each one judge ourselves, lest we be judged.  We must be eating a pure manna if we want to produce purity.  We must guard our hearts from the tremendous spirit of corruption and defilement that is all around us.  Let’s seek His grace and entreat the Lord’s help that our eye might be single and uncompromised before Him as we make right choices concerning what we take into our lives.

Blessings,

#kent

The Protection of Light

March 10, 2017

The Protection of Light

Luke 12:2-3

For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

Light is the guardian and protector of our hearts.  As long as we keep our full face in it, then it will dispel all darkness.  When we begin to turn our face out of the light and regard darkness with our eyes and thoughts, then our body will follow where our eyes and heart lead us.   Outwardly we may maintain a position of light and righteousness, but inwardly light is fading from white, to gray, to black.  A book is often judged by its cover, but its pages reveal its content.  Pages written in the light will reveal light, but pages written in darkness will conceal it.   

Are we an open book today that could be read of any man and no shame would be revealed or are there pages we are writing in darkness that we hope that no one else will see or read.  There is a day the pages of our heart and life will be open and be read of all men.  Regard humility that you do not suffer humiliation.  Fear the Lord, so that you don’t have to fear man.  God gives us grace and a time to repent from our evil and our darkness.  Turn back from darkness and run back into the light.  Let us repent of our darkness, lest our nakedness be exposed.  Let us clothe ourselves again in light and wash ourselves in the blood of His forgiveness.  We must judge ourselves quickly, lest we would be judged and our unclean ways be found out.  Judgement begins in the house of God and it has begun.

A great man who became the victim of his own words used to say, “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”  The word he spoke is true, but only each one of us can apply it to our own lives.  Today is a day to no longer conceal a matter but to repent, turn and run back into the light of God’s compassion and forgiveness.  May we be an open book, read of all men, concealing nothing in darkness.

Blessings,

#kent

Adversary to Avocate

March 9, 2017

Acts 9:31

Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Adversary to Avocate

The apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee, did great harm on the church in its early stages.  He was the adversary that went about breaking up churches and throwing Christians in prison, bringing great torment and affliction upon the body of Christ.  Just as we have seen examples of those who we are involved in witch-hunts, Saul was a Christian hunter.  He had a zeal to seek out and destroy the Church.  His name and his presence didn’t stir warm and fuzzy feelings if you were a Christian in that location and time.  

The great thing about God is that He has the wonderful ability to take something evil and turn it for good.  It must be a great source of frustration for satan to find a device that he can use to tear up God’s people and then God ends taking that same device and turning it around for His good and glory.  Such was the case with Paul or Saul of Tarsus.  God took this man who could strike fear in the hearts of Christians and turned him into a blessing and an object of His grace.  He took the devil’s tool, turned it around and beat the devil up with it.  Now only God can do that.

We see circumstances today that are like that in our world, our nation and our personal lives.  There are individuals or organizations that are antichrist by there very nature. I wonder what made the difference in Paul’s life?  Since God operates and moves through the prayers of His people, was it the people that were praying against him or those that prayed for him that made the difference.  Maybe instead of trying to pray someone out of our lives we need to be praying them into the kingdom of God.  It is often our adversary that moves us to action in prayer and in faith.  It is often our adversary that arouses us out of our sin of apathy and complacency and into a place of action in Christ.  Our rest and our comfort are still in the Lord.  

God took this vessel of wrath and turned him into a vessel of mercy and truth.  God is still in the business of taking evil and turning it for good.  In our adversity know that God is doing a deeper work in us.  He still sits upon the throne and is Lord of all.  He is still able to work all things after the council of His will and for our ultimate good.  Sometimes we have to weather the storms in faith and prayer, but afterward God is able to give us rest, edifying us as we walk in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,

#kent

God of the Present Tense

February 28, 2017

Psalms 46:1-3

… God [is] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 

 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; [Though] the waters thereof roar [and] be troubled, [though] the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

God of the Present Tense

It is often easy for us to relate God with Bible stories and the great works He has done in the past, but the most important thing to our living in Christ is that we know Him in the present tense, in the here and now, today.  God has given His word so that we could see His faithfulness and throughout the history of mankind, but He gives us past examples so that we might make them relevant to our daily life and circumstances.  Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”  He is with us now as He was with His disciples.  The earth may move and the mountains carried into the midst of the sea, but our God is not moved.  He remains our refuge, our strength and a very present help in time of trouble.  

We can’t see the One who is our confidence, but it is our faith that reaches out to embrace God at His word and cling to it.  The world operates in what they can see.  That is where they place their confidence.  Our confidence is in what we can not see, but what we know in our hearts to be real and true.  

Perhaps you, like me, find that when you are going through the midst of a trial or problem, it is difficult for us to not want to look upon it and judge it by the natural eye and with natural judgements.  It is our faith that reminds us to boldly confront our circumstance in faith and trust knowing that God is our very present help in our time of trouble.  He is working in ways we do not know and by means we can not see.

Our relationship in Christ, our hope and our confidence must be present tense.  It must be what we are living and believing each day as we walk and put our confidence in Him.  We ask Him to order our steps and we seek to acknowledge Him in all of our ways.  We must trust Him when we can not see.  Our life is in His hands.  

There was a time in David’s life that he faced death daily.  The odds were against him.  He was a fugitive and a marked man.  What kept David through all his adversity was that he lived in the present tense of God.  His confidence daily resided in Him who was able to deliver his soul from death.  We must each live in the reality that David found, the present tense of God. 

Blessings,

#kent

Walk the Talk

February 27, 2017

Jeremiah 3:4-14

Have you not just called to me: ‘My Father, my friend from my youth, 5 will you always be angry?  Will your wrath continue forever?’ This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can.” 

6 During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. 7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. 8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. 9 Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. 10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the LORD. 

11 The LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah. 12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north: ” ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD, I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the LORD. 

14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

Walk the Talk

An oriental pastor once told his people, “You people are all talky-talky and no walky-walky.”  I fear this is where many of us may truly find ourselves today.  We call out and pray to God.  We go to church and even read and study the Word, but are our lives producing the fruit of His righteousness and life?  This is where Israel and Judah were when this word came to Jeremiah the prophet.  We maintain our appearance of spirituality and due diligence, but at the same time we are playing the harlot with the things of the world.  Our affections and desires are still toward the earthly things and so we really have a duality of heart.  Yes we believe in God and have embraced Christ, but are there still “His time” and “my time”?  We talk the talk of the spiritual man around our brothers and sisters in Christ, but our imaginations and affections are often somewhere else on this world.  We have to ask ourselves, where is our heart and what is the purpose of our lives?  Have we compartmentalized God into our religious box, but then we have another compartment for us to still live in and partake of worldliness that caters to the affections and desires of our flesh?  This is what the Lord views as our spiritual adultery and unfaithfulness.  Sin always has its judgements and consequences if we continue it, but if we have ears to hear and a heart to receive God comes to us beforehand and speaks the message of mercy that He spoke to Israel and Judah, “” ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD, I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the LORD. 14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”

God is calling His people out of the world in this hour.  He is calling us to repent and turn back to Him with all of our hearts, minds, soul and strength.  He desires a people of uncompromising commitment to His purpose and His will.  He has and is raising up shepherds in this hour after His heart and that are attuned to His purpose who will lead us into knowledge and understanding.  It begins with our repentance and our return unto Him with our whole heart.  What is the true basis of our spiritual life?  Is it in our talk or in our walk? 

Blessings,

#kent

Psalms 22:24

For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

The Despised and the Afflicted

Have you ever looked down on someone who was weaker than you, not as talented, not as good looking or not as good or righteous?  Have you ever despised another because they offended you in some way?  Have you ever regarded yourself above others in your station or position in life?  If we are really truthful and search our hearts I would imagine that we all have had these prejudices.  I am sure for all of us there are people we prefer to not be around or associate with for various reasons.  Maybe there are good reasons that we shouldn’t associate or be around them. 

What the Lord is speaking today is concerning the despised and the afflicted.  Many times we can’t really appreciate or identify with where others are at, because we have never been there or had to really walk in their place or we have forgotten where we have come from.  We judge and make assumption from afar and think that we judge rightly and fairly.  What is God’s heart concerning the afflicted and those whom others may despise?  He certainly doesn’t condone any of us in our sin or favor the unrighteous, but He feels and knows the heart of the afflicted.  He knows their pain and their torment.  He knows their rejection and their low esteem.  Without realizing it we can become like the Pharisees that dwelt in their sterile environment where they didn’t have to dirty their hand or touch the unclean things.  It is safe there and we don’t have to deal with all of the unpleasantness of the humanity that is sick and dying all around us.  We often despise the afflicted because they cause us to deal with unpleasant things; things we would rather ignore and not be concerned with.  Our religious, righteous and sanctimonious heart is not the heart of the Father, because he doesn’t despise or abhor the afflicted.  He doesn’t hide His face from them, but He loves them and cares about them.  Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘it is not the well who need the physician, it is the sick.’  Jesus has a heart for the despised and the afflicted, because He walked in their place.  Isaiah 53:3 speaks concerning Jesus, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”  Many of us have become quite comfortable with our religious trappings and comfortable surroundings.  We dress nice, we talk nice and we rub shoulder with like-minded people, but how do we view those who don’t fit within our circle and our standards?  Do we thank God that we are not like them?  Jesus addresses this in a parable that He gives in Luke 18:9-14, “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10″Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 

13″But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 

14″I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Some of us have forgotten who we were when the Lord called us unto Himself.  1 Corinthians 1:26-32 says, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

James 1:5-7 puts this question to us, “Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?”  Let us be careful whom we despise, reject and judge.   Our ministry and our outreach are to such a people.  Let us honestly search our hearts and our attitudes.  Many of us need to get over ourselves and get the heart of the Father for the despised and the afflicted.  If we are missing that, then we are missing Him. 

Blessings,

#kent

He Abides Faithful

February 9, 2017

2 Timothy 2:11-13

11The saying is sure and worthy of confidence: If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him. 

12If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny and disown and reject Him, He will also deny and disown and reject us. 13If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.

He Abides Faithful

In the innermost recesses of our soul, in the depths of our spirit, resides the Spirit of God in us.  The person that is in Christ knows that this place is their sanctuary, their hope and their redemption.  All of hell may be breaking loose outwardly, but this is your place to come and find peace.  In the inner sanctuary of your soul is where you find the hope, the faith, the love and the presence of God to give you strength for every trial and temptation.  If satan could do one thing to defeat us, it would be to rob us of who we are in Christ.  He wants us to focus on the outward man that is often a mess and so often riddled with failures and shortcomings.  These things do not negate who we are in Christ.  When we reached out with our feeble hands of faith and embraced the salvation that we heard we engaged into a relationship with the Almighty God of heaven and earth, with His Son, Christ Jesus and with His Holy Spirit.  That was the day that our names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and we began our journey no longer as a lost and wandering soul, but as one of God’s redeemed.  There are some of us who have made a pretty big mess in our lives.  Some of us, even after our salvation experience, have committed some horrendous sins.  Because of our failures in life and lack of faithfulness to the Lord we may feel hopeless, cast-off, and as if we have committed the unpardonable sin.  There may be those who feel like, “ how could God ever love someone like me again after all that I did”?  

God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness are not measured by human standards.  God alone sets the boundaries upon these attributes of His character.  I believe in the scripture of 1 John 1:8-9,

8If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts]. 9If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. 10If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].”  We can choose to walk away from our faith and our commitment to Christ and forsake our own mercy.  Our sins will reap their consequences.  Even though we were faithless, God still abides faithful and even though our love and commitment fell short, His didn’t.  God has made a way to return to Him, to find forgiveness and restoration if we will confess our sins to Him and ask for His forgiveness.  No one can give us that absolution, but Christ, our high priest and intercessor.  It His precious blood that we have trampled underfoot and yet it is that same blood that washes our filth and sin away.  It is the fountain of hope and life to all that come to it and will turn from their wicked ways.

If you or someone you know have been discouraged, condemned and felt like God could no longer love you or accept you then you have lost sight of how great the love of God is for you.  Jesus left the whole flock of His sheep to go and find the one that was lost.  In Luke 15:4-7 He gives this parable, “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found [it], he layeth [it] on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together [his] friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” He wants to recover you and I today.  He wants to bring you back into the fellowship of His flock, not as one still set on a course of sin and disobedience, but as one who is remorseful and repentant of their sin.  He doesn’t forgive us to justify and give license to our sin, but to allow us a way back if we are willing to repent and turn from it.

In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”  No matter what the enemy has told you or the thoughts of worthlessness he has placed in your head, God still loves you and values you more than you could ever imagine.  Come back to Him, repent and find your peace again in His fellowship.

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: