Are we Listening for Instruction?

 

Isaiah 48:17-20

This is what the Lord says, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:  “I am the Lord God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river., your righteousness like the waves of the sea.  Your descendents would have been like its numberless grains; their name would never be cut off nor destroyed before me.  Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians!  Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it.  Send it out to the ends of the earth; say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.”

 

Many of us have become accustomed to seeking man and religion for answers and direction in life.  Do we think that Babylon was just some ancient city in Iraq?  The spirit of Babylon or Babel is very much alive today as it was in days of old.  Many of you will recall the tower of Babel that Nimrod attempted to build back in the book of Genesis.  It began with the efforts of men to make for them a name in the earth.  It was an edifice of man built to the heavens.  God thwarted their efforts by confusing the languages of men.  Babel has come to mean confusion or mixing.

What does that have to do with listening to the voice of God?  There are so many voices around us influencing us to do this and to do that, but we have gotten away from the voice that wants to direct us in the way we should go.  There are many things that have a pretence of good and noble gestures.  Does that mean they are of God?  What about all of our religions and even denominations, won’t they take us where we need to go?  Many of these sound good, shouldn’t we listen to them?  Often we hear so many voices saying so many things it is hard for us to know what to believe, who is right and who is wrong.  There are many spirits and voices that have a form of religion and godliness, but are they the voice of God to us?   Many of us have become the occupants of this religious city called Babylon.  We have been caught up and taken captive by religion, led out of the New Jerusalem, which is free and led into Babylon.  We have become so comfortable and adjusted to it that we may seldom even think about what the New Jerusalem is that we have left.

Throughout the Word of God we are hearing the exhortation, “Come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing.”  Here, in this scripture, we are hearing the exhortation of the Lord to come out and flee Babylon.  Babylon has become a mixture of flesh and spirit.  When we look at Christianity today and our religion as a whole are we not seeing a mixture of flesh and spirit.  Why is so much of the world turned off to Christianity?  Isn’t it because they see the hypocrisy of our lives in the light of what we profess to believe?

What is the answer, to forsake all of our churches and be by ourselves?  No, there is more to it than that.  Babylon begins in our own mentality and thinking.  The Babylon first must come out us before it will ever come out of the church.  Praise God we are seeing the Spirit stirring in the hearts of true believers that are grasping and laying hold of the concept that to come out of a religious Babylon we have to come into a place of relationship with Christ.  Herein lies the answer to our coming out of Babylon.  In that place of personal relationship and coming to know our Lord intimately and personally we are separating ourselves from mere religion and coming back to the place where God has called us to live and inhabit.  We are to come back to that New Jerusalem that is free; the city of our God where we walk in the light of the Word of God and are directed and led by the Spirit of God.  We stop listening to all the external voices and we first listen to the inner voice of the Spirit of God within us, but we will only really hear that voice as we are abiding in Him.  The Lord is calling us out of Babylon today.  He is calling us out of the confusion and many voices of religion and back into that place of personal relationship and communion with Him.  Then when we gather with like-minded believers we corporately enter into that place of intimacy and worship where His Holy Spirit desires to dwell and He alone is glorified and not man.  Come back to that place where we learn to listen to Him again and not the many voices of confusion.

Blessings,

#kent

Approaching Our God

November 13, 2018

 

Approaching Our God

 

James 4:7-9

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 double-minded. 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.

 

Many of us struggle with approaching God and establishing the relationship with Him that our spirit man longs for.  We want to hear the Lord speak to us, we want His direction for our lives, at least we think we do, and we want a relationship where we have a continual abiding fellowship and dialogue with the Lord.

We keep thinking, “what am I missing”?  Why aren’t I feeling closer to God?  Why don’t I hear His voice and get His direction more?  Our answers could lie in these verses and in this chapter.  For many of us we are loosing the battle to the flesh in too many areas of our lives.  We are back and forth between spirit and flesh.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak and so we struggle with living consistent lives in the Spirit.

The first thing God tells us here, that we need to do, is submit.  Literally it means to be subordinate and be yielded to another’s control.  This is the same context of submission as Ephesians 5:22 requires when it says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Men we are not really different from our wives. We really want to be in the driver’s seat concerning our lives.  One of the reasons we are missing God is we aren’t fully resigned in obedience to Him.  Wives, if you aren’t really submitted to your husbands, then you aren’t really fully submitted to Christ.  We all have to follow the order of authority that God has laid down for us in our lives.

The second area is “resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  Many of us are hit and miss at this as well.  We have good intentions, we mean well, but too many times we miss the mark.  Our resistance must be in direct proportion to our insistence that Christ is Lord.  When Jesus encountered the devil’s temptations in the wilderness, He insisted on the authority of the Word lining up in obedience to God.  Many, like the devil, take the Word and pervert it to try and say what justifies their particular lust and desires.  Resist the devil with the Spirit and the Word.  We are weak, but He is strong.  Our strength is in our abiding, obedient relationship with Christ.  He is the overcomer in us. We have to see ourselves through the lens of who we are in Christ.

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.”  Are we continually approaching God in an attitude of true humility, contriteness and repentance?  Are His praises continually in our mouth, His meditation in our heart and is our purpose to find His will and plan for us personally?  What must we do to draw near?  “Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 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.”  The first and foremost thing is that we have to be totally serious in our intent to find God’s presence.   God sees right through our heart, our intents and motives.  James 1:4-8 tells us, “4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” If we want God to take us seriously, then we have to be totally serious with Him.  Isn’t it interesting that again in this passage of James 5 he uses this terminology of “double-minded”?  This is where most of us find ourselves, divided between heaven and earth.  We look up at God and say, ” yes, I want you Father,” and then we look back at earth and think, “yeah, but I don’t really want to give that up, lay that down or turn away from that area in my life.”  We are double-minded, torn in two directions, but the Word calls us adulteresses, those of us who break our vows with our friendship with the world. It is this attitude and state of mind that we must grieve, mourn and wail over.  We must hate it so much that it becomes a stench to us.  We must be so grieved at any attitude or behavior that is contrary to the nature and character of Christ in us. He must forever be our all in all.  There must be so much of a humility and brokenness in our hearts that God will lift us up and know that we mean business with Him.  The lower we are willing to go the higher He can lift us up.  The more we are willing to die, the more of the resurrection life of Christ we are able to lay hold of.  How is our approach as we seek to find God’s presence today?

Blessings,

#kent

Joy Cometh in the Morning

September 14, 2018

 

Joy Cometh in the Morning

 

Psalms 30:5

For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

 

Where is your life spiritually today?  Would you characterize it as nighttime or daytime?  Most all of us, who have been walking in Christ for a time, know that we go through seasons in a spiritual sense.  There are times we go through such close intimate times with our Lord and sense His presence and love in such a wonderful way and then there are those nighttime experiences.  It may come as a result of allowing sin to come into our lives.  It may be the result of God’s chastening or dealings in our lives.  It may be through persecution or tribulation.   Whatever the reason it is nighttime experience, one in which we fail to sense God’s presence in our soul.  Our prayers may seem hollow and of none effect.  These are times when spiritually we cry out for God, perhaps it is in these times we really begin to seek God’s help, His presence, His deliverance through a trial or tribulation we are facing.  There are times our lives can feel pretty bleak.  Our circumstances are overtaking us.  Where is God?

King David experienced this nighttime ordeal before He became King.  Psalm 30:7-9 says, ”

LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, [and] I was troubled. I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.  What profit [is there] in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.”  Perhaps you and I have prayed prayers similar to this.  One thing that is so admirable about David and I think a spiritual key to us overcoming in these dark times is that David, no matter how low, remembered the goodness and the faithfulness of GodHe continually brought God’s promises and His benefits before the Lord in his prayers and psalms.   And he never ceased to praise and thank God even in those dark times.  He was quite honest with God about what he was going through and the emotions that wanted to overtake him, but he always brought his thoughts and focus back to a place of faith in the faithfulness of God.  We may go through some long nights that may go for years, but learn those principles that David learned.  They will sustain you in those times. David even says an interesting thing in this passage, he says, ” by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face.”  Have you ever thought of your mountain as favor from God?  Remember that what God is allowing in your life is designed to press you into Him.  He wants us to learn and trust Him for who He is, not what He can do for us.  This is the place of maturing faith where the rubber meets the road.  God has to become very real to us or we give up and turn away.  God is processing us through the hardships of our life.   “The trial of your faith is much more precious than Gold” (1 Peter 1:7a)

In this scripture David says “joy does come in the morning”, our trials, darkness and seeming separation from God won’t last forever.  He is faithful to bring us through if we faithfully hold fast to Him.  David’s next expression after talking of how severe the trial says, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”

If you are in your night season, don’t be discouraged, have hope, God has not forsaken you.  He is proving you and bringing you into whom you really are in Him.  Stand the test, stay the course, for joy comes in the morning.

Blessings,

#kent

Sheep or Goat

August 9, 2018

 

Sheep or Goat

 

Matthew 25:32-46

“All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them [the people] from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats; 33And He will cause the sheep to stand at His right hand, but the goats at His left. 34Then the King will say to those at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me, 36I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me. 37Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink? 38And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You? 39And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You? 40And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least [in the estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it for Me. 41Then He will say to those at His left hand, Begone from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me and entertain Me, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me with help and ministering care. 44Then they also [in their turn] will answer, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You? 45And He will reply to them, Solemnly I declare to you, in so far as you failed to do it for the least [in the estimation of men] of these, you failed to do it for Me, 46Then they will go away into eternal punishment, but those who are just and upright and in right standing with God into eternal life.”

 

Every day we either minister or fail to serve Christ.  For so many of us, we find ourselves so involved and caught up in what we are doing that we totally miss our mission and calling.  We miss and fail to take the time and invest our resources into others.  Many of us have built up a wall of resistance against those who cross our paths with needs.  Even if we are giving, there are so many people, organizations and causes constantly asking for money and finances for something that we tend to get hardened to the “giving” as a whole.  After all we have our own family to take care and worry about.  While I would agree that there are more causes and people demanding from us than what most of us have resources to meet, are we still staying in tune with the Holy Spirit?  Are we in relationship with Christ where we can move and give ourselves as He leads and impresses us rather than as everyone expects and demands from us?

When we look at the life of Jesus what impresses us about His giving?  Did He raise great sums of money to put in the temple treasury?  Did He get involved with every charitable organization or fundraiser?  The first thing He did is He tuned into the Father and what the Father’s will for Him was and then He carried it out in action.  He gave out of the well of His life and truth.

In John 6 we find that there are those that followed Jesus after He had fed the multitude, because they saw Him as a free meal ticket.  They try and guilt Jesus into giving to them by using scriptural coercion.  In John 6:30-35 we read this dialogue, “Our forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as the Scripture says, He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.32Jesus then said to them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Moses did not give you the Bread from heaven [what Moses gave you was not the Bread from heaven], but it is My Father Who gives you the true heavenly Bread. 33For the Bread of God is He Who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world. 34Then they said to Him, Lord, give us this bread always (all the time)! 35Jesus replied, I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time)…. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will and purpose but to do the will and purpose of Him Who sent Me.”  The true gifts and service that we offer will be from a heart that is one with the Father’s and that lives out of an attitude of giving and service.  When we live to serve, love and give to those around us then we live to serve and minister to Jesus.  It will be in the random acts of kindness, the times we help those who couldn’t help themselves and in the times when we gave even when others didn’t deserve it.  It is in a life that is lived for others and not just for self.  It is in taking the time and having the heart for others even when our own life is so demanding.  A sheep has a nature of a servant and was born to be a blessing.  A goat may go through the motions, but their heart is not in it.  They will never see the needs in others, because they are always blinded by their own.

Blessings,

#kent

Renegades

January 18, 2018

 

Renegades

1 Timothy 4:1-3

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

 

Did you ever think about there being renegades, religious or spiritual outlaws, deserters and traitorous to the faith of Jesus Christ?  The Word of God warns us there is and will be and not only so, but they become the wolves that prey upon the flock.  They know the culture, the language, the scripture, but they have become hypocrites feigning and pretending to be what they are not.  Even as the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy, these renegades have become the agents of satan  to undermine, destroy and put into bondage those who do not discern their workings.  They are manipulators, using and abusing the flock of God to their own end, purpose and glory.  In the end it is all about them and they have become so hardened and callused to the dealings of the Holy Spirit that they completely ignore whatever warning He has tried to give them.

Beware of those who use condemnation and coercion to force their will and ideas upon you.  They put yokes and bondage upon you that Christ never intended that you bear.  They use religion rather a relationship of love to promote their gospel and unholy tidings.  Yes, it will contain truth and much of it will come from the Bible, but the devil is a bottle poison in a lake of truth and so are these agents of his.  These will become more and more prominent in the latter days as the spirit of antichrist is at work in the world and is becoming more manifest.  Guard your hearts with the full knowledge of the Word of God and the Spirit of Truth.  2 Timothy goes on to warn us, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” The testimony of a true believer is not just in the rhetoric of their mouth, but in the fruit of their lives.   Many great teachers and preachers and so-called men of God we only see from a distance, living behind a projected front of holiness and religion.  The true man of God won’t put you again under the law of condemnation.  He will declare to you the law of liberty, freedom and righteousness, which is through Christ alone.  The man of God will not manipulate you through guilt, fear, judgement and condemnation, which is a form of witchcraft.  I often find it offensive to receive what can be a moving email and at the end I am condemned and not a good Christian if I don’t send this to at least ten more people.  That’s condemnation and manipulation.  If it is of God then let God move upon the hearts of those who read it to pass it on.  Unfortunately it speaks of the mentality of much of what is at work in Christendom today.  When we have to force it, lay guilt trips and condemnation on people to get them to respond to our ideas and agendas then we are acting out of the flesh and not out of the Spirit of God.  There are sermons I have heard on tithing and giving that would have me feeling like a reprobate if I wasn’t giving more.  Then I have heard sermons and teaching on tithing and offerings that brought me into a greater revelation of the joy and act of worship that is entailed with giving.  It taught me the spiritual and natural benefits involved in giving.  The difference was in one I might have given out of guilt and condemnation, in the other instance I was seeking the Lord on how I could give more, because I wanted too.  It was my joy and worship to do so, not my condemnation.

Many years ago I felt like the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and said, “in the last days you will see miracles and what will appear to be great works and moves of God.  Don’t look upon the outward things, but look at the heart.  By the heart of a man you will know his nature.”  Satan can counterfeit miracles and Christians, but he can’t counterfeit the love and the fruit of the Spirit, at least not for long.

I’m not sure why the Spirit has led me to write this, but there are those that need to be discerning about who they are following and where they are being led.  The Word of God says in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”  In Matthew 10:16 Jesus tells us, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”  God doesn’t want us to just follow blindly anyone that seems to have a good message.  Make sure the message lines up with the whole counsel of God, that it truly bears witness with your spirit and that you have the complete peace of God as you follow it.  If something seems wrong it may well be the Holy Spirit raising a red flag in your heart.  Beware of the renegades, they may be dressed just like you, but their heart is in a different place.

Blessings,

#kent

Ears to Hear

October 27, 2017

Ears to Hear

Matthew 11:15

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear

There are not a lot of people around that don’t have physical hearing ears.  So why did Jesus so often quote this phrase?  The eyes, the ears and the hearts that he sought in men were not their natural ones, but their spiritual ones.  A lot of people have rejected Jesus for generations, because He didn’t make sense to them intellectually.  They didn’t have spiritual ears. 

God spoke through Ezekiel to the people of Israel in Ezekiel 12:2, “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of the house of the rebellious, who have eyes to see and see not, who have ears to hear and hear not, for they are a rebellious house. Spiritual senses have to be attuned to hear spiritual things.  Our spiritual sight and hearing are directly connected to the condition of our spiritual heart.  If we are hardened in matters of the heart, our spiritual hearing and sight will be impaired as well.  Many of us know how to listen with our ears, but we don’t know how to listen with our hearts.  Often words sound like one thing, but that is not the heart.  We often may wonder why we don’t hear from God when in fact He may be speaking to us all of the time.  It is a rare thing to hear God’s audible voice from heaven, but He can speak to us in so many other ways.  He speaks through His Word, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit within our hearts, through circumstances, through others, through examples that we have and a number of ways.  Yet often we don’t hear the Lord speaking, because we are listening with our intellect rather than our heart.  That doesn’t mean that we only hear God through our emotions, because they are from the soul and can deceive us.  We have to get in touch with our spirits, our inner man, that inner voice that is speaking the mind, will and heart of God.   In John 8:47 Jesus  says,  “He that is of God will hear the words of God.”

I remember times when the kids were growing up and they were constantly asking questions, “Can we do this or can we do that and so and so did this.”  As parents you know how emotionally draining children can be.  There were a lot of times that I just zoned them out.  I basically just shut them off.  They could be standing there saying, dad, dad, dad!  I had just shut them off mentally.  That was my way of coping, but at the same time I had shut off my involvement in their lives, as obnoxious as that could sometimes be.  I quit hearing them; my heart was hardened in that area.  We do the same thing to God.  Many times, like my children, we don’t really want to hear God.  He is speaking things to us that we don’t want to deal with.  Quite honestly, we like our way.  We like to do what we enjoy and when we enjoy it.  If that is not lining up with God’s plan, guess who we tend to ignore?  We end up shutting God out of our hearts.  When we close our hearts to God, we don’t just shut out a person, we shut out the love of God to our hearts and consequently the flow of His Spirit and love through us.  That ends up impacting not only our spiritual relationship, but our natural ones as well.  Many of us have done this same thing with our marriages and we are wondering why we don’t feel in love with that person anymore? Our heart connection is the key to our hearing and seeing.  If you want to really hear your wife, stop listening to just her words and listen to her heart.  Sometimes what we hear as just nagging is a plea from their heart, saying “help me, appreciate me, care about me, communicate with me, love me.  I have needs that are desperately needing to be met.”

If we want to hear again what God is speaking through His Spirit we have to open our hearts to Him.  We may be going through all of the right religious protocol and yet totally missing Him.  Our relationship first has to be a matter of the heart, before it has meaning though our works.  Our works must be the outflow of our heart relationship with Father; so many times we have gotten it backwards and try to use our works to find relationship. 

If we ever want to come out of the wilderness and inherit the promises of God, we have to reconnect our hearts with Father.  Deuteronomy 29:4 says, “Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.”  A rebellious heart will keep us the prisoners of our circumstances, it will keep us in the rut of failure and it will leave our hearts lean and malnourished.   

When the Holy Spirit spoke through John in Revelation 3 He repeatedly said at the end of each exhortation, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”  Let us have the spiritual ears to hear what He is speaking to our hearts in this day, this hour and this minute.  Let us listen and obey.  Let us reestablish that heart connection that has become callused and cold.  In order to hear Him in this hour we have to have that right heart condition.

 

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

Doers and not Hearers Only

January 18, 2017

Doers and not Hearers Only

James 1:22

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 

You are welcome to listen in as I am really talking more to myself than anyone else, although this is a subject that might actually touch many of us more than we realize.  I just feel the conviction that I am in the Word and daily talking about it, mentally I ascent and agree with it, but how is it playing out in my daily life?  It works great when I can apply it to others that, in my opinion, are missing the mark, but either I don’t want too and I am often too deceived to see how I am missing the mark.  

  You know, I think that I get tunnel vision.  I get to going in a routine and have things set in my mind about how I think things are or at least that I want them to be and I don’t want to acknowledge or be flexible enough to move out of those parameters.    Its not any different from that religious mentality that says I work five or six days a week, do my programs, or routines, maybe I even go to a bible study or some other weekly religious gathering.  On Sunday morning, often with contention we get ready and go to church, sing the songs, hear the word, shake our heads in affirmation and then go out to dinner, maybe take a nap, watch 60 minutes and Monday we start all over again.  Meanwhile what has really changed in me, you or in our world.  How many voices are saying in quite subtle ways, “ I could sure use your help, I could sure use a friend, I sure wish you would communicate with me, I sure wish I had a hand with these chores, I sure wish I could fulfill  that little need or want, or I could sure use your ministry and attention in this area of my life.”  I am convicted because I know that I have become so dull of hearing I either miss or fail to respond to the majority of those voices and those needs that are present in my family, friends, and my neighbors.  Now remind me again, “Who is it I am suppose to love as myself?”  If I am missing all of that in the people, most of whom I love and care about, how much am I missing of what God is wanting and needing from me?  If I have so shut them off, no wonder I can’t hear God’s voice as I pray, “help me to be an instrument of your blessing, help me to do your will, help me to love others as you have loved me and help me to know your will.  Amen.”  The fact is I already know what a whole lot of His will is, but am I willing to change my agenda to facilitate it?  

Husbands, it really helps if you are partly psychic and you can read minds well and be well attuned to exactly what your wife is thinking and feeling.  I have to admit that I am not very gifted in this area.  Most of the time women never just come out and say what they want and when they do it is usually too late.  You have to be able to read between the lines.  You have to be able to pick up on the subtle little things that are asking for your attention and action.  The wife might say, “I sure wish I had this little gizmo, it would be so helpful to do this” She is asking for something and we are thinking, “yeah, I would like to have that new router.  I could really do some cool stuff with that.”   If you are like me, most of the time you don’t hear that as a call to action, you simply dismiss it as one of those “that would be nice things” and go on.  Now you may not have intentionally blew her off, but in her mind you did, You didn’t hear her heart and you didn’t hear her need or want.  If I don’t pick up on that and hear that in my wife, then how much and how many times am I not being sensitive to the Holy Spirit when He is trying to motivate me in the right direction.  We are like, “Sorry God, I am on a mission right now, I have an agenda; get back with me later when I have more time.”  

I am doing exactly what the scripture tells me not to do; I am hearing as it goes in one ear and out the other, but it never gets processed into action and deed.  Nevertheless, I’ve heard the word, it was good and I agree with it, but I never get around to applying it to me personally.  I deceive myself into thinking I am spiritual when in reality I am just on a mental trip, it is not changing the way I hear, through a sensitive spirit, the needs of others and how I can respond to help meet them at the point of their need.  I am failing to allow Christ to really express through me the love and concern He has for others and their needs.  Unless someone finally comes along and slaps me up along side the head with a 2×4; I just stay pretty much oblivious to the problem that seems so obvious to that other person.  Like I said, by the time the 2×4 comes around to make me fully aware of the problem, it’s probably too late to try and remedy it then.  

So, “God, help me and any one like me to have ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart to do.  Help us to have spiritual sensitivity to the needs of others around us.  Help us to be your expression to those needs and to be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.  Amen.“

Blessings,

#kent

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

Malachi 3:1

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 

When asking the Lord what is the most important message of this hour I believe “preparation” is what He is dropping into my heart.  It is the time of a John the Baptist ministry when He has sent His servants into the Land to stir the hearts of the people to repentance and preparation for the coming King.  

We have all grown so complacent with the lifestyles that we lead.  We truly have far greater riches and blessing than the majority of the rest of the world.  That is wonderful in some ways, but in others we have fallen into the snare of self-reliance and contentment.  I see this in my own heart as well as others.  In the spirit, God is speaking, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”   He is exhorting and warning us to stir ourselves to faith and action.  It is a time to really seek the Lord and what His purpose and plan is.  We may still be in the stages of preparation, but we should be no less diligent in seeking God’s highest for our lives.  Things are boiling beneath surface and there will soon come a time when things will be released upon the earth, no doubt in both realms of light and darkness.  Lethargy and mediocrity will prove to be the ropes that have tied our hands and feet.  Over and over in what we hear the Lord speaking He is saying, “press into Me, repent of your sinful ways and start pressing into the high calling that is yours in Christ Jesus.”  

The book of Proverbs teaches that it is the wise man that listens and takes heed to reproof, but the fool only despises it.  May the Lord heighten our spiritual senses and accountability today as we endeavor to walk the closer to Him and pursue His righteousness.  A shaking has already begun and a judgement has come upon His house, for God first judges His own house.   He is exposing our sin and our corruption.  He is shouting from the rooftops those things that have been done in the closet.  

This is the day for us to get our hearts right again, to purify ourselves and put away our iniquities.  Can we hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches?  More importantly are we willing to act upon and prepare the way of the Lord by first preparing our hearts?  If you had one month to put your life and your house in order what would you change?  What are our priorities in the light of eternity?  The decisions and the choices we make today will ripple through our eternity.  They may make the difference in whether we stand or fall, whether we are honored or dishonored before the Lord.  Many of us are compromising ourselves as King Jehoshaphat did in the Old Testament.  He was a good king and he loved the Lord, but in 2 Chronicles 19:1-3 we see God sending a prophet to warn him about compromising with evil.  “When Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem, 2 Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD ? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you. 3 There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God.”  While many of us embrace and believe the principles of righteousness we embrace alliances with those walking in darkness.  The Lord is calling us today unto separation and preparation.  Jehoshaphat met his end because he was in an alliance and relationship that was not in the will and purpose of God.  Be careful whom you build your relationships with.  

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:19-22)

Blessings,

#kent

How do I Know that I Know Him?

1 John 2:1-6

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 

Have you ever been around someone, who says they go to church and they claim to be a Christian, but their attitudes, their morals, their integrity and their language all testify against them?  Now the truth is we all fall short of the glory of God and we know that if we sin, Jesus has paid the price and offers us forgiveness when we confess our sins and ask for it.  When we behold Jesus and when we see His life and listen to His Words, is He what you really want to be like? Now our church mentality wants to say, “Oh yes, that’s what I want.  I want to be like Jesus.”  What does your heart say?  What is more important is what are our lives saying?  

Have you ever noticed in life that you tend to excel at what your passion is?  When you are passionate about something it is not work, or a burden to you, it is your desire and it is what fulfills you.  If we are trying to serve God out of obligation and duty then we probably won’t do exceptionally well at it, because it is not in our heart.  On the other hand, if Christ is our passion, our love and our desire, then keeping His commandments isn’t that hard.  That’s who we are and what we want to be.  It is our passion and our love, so to do the contrary to that grieves us and steals our joy.  That is why Christ is all about relationship; when we love Him and when we are intimately connected to Him then He is who we desire to please.  His commands aren’t grievous to us, but joyous, because our obedience to them reflect our love for Him and desire to be well pleasing in His sight.  Our obedience is our expression of love back to the Lord.

Remember your first love?  We could not do enough to try and please that significant other.  They were in our hearts, our thoughts and our conversation; we would doodle their name, we talked to our friends about them, they were the passion and joy of our life.  That is what many of us have had with Jesus, but like that first love, the more familiar it became, the more common it became until it wasn’t so special anymore, it was just another part of life.  Many of us have seen this happen in our marriages and we have seen it happen with our relationship with the Lord.  We still love, but we’ve slipped into a routine.  We are faithful, but our hearts aren’t in it like before.  This condition can and does happen to many of us both in the natural and in the spirit.  In Revelation 2 the Holy Spirit is addressing the seven churches.  When He comes to the Church of Ephesus, He says this, “3I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary. 4But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love]. 5Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.”  How many of our marriages have had their lampstand removed for this very reason, we forsook our first love?  We lost our passion for love and relationship?  What we have done in the natural, we are doing in the Spirit.  The joy of obedience and service is in love.  When we loose that love, the joy goes with it.  We have to recapture that first love we had for Christ.  Can you remember when He filled your spirit with His Spirit till your joy was too overflowing?  

While we may be faithful with our bodies or our spirits, our minds and hearts have wandered off to pursue other lovers, but all they are really doing is robbing us of our first love and joy, and they never offer us any long-term fulfillment or faithfulness.  They destroy what we did have to give and leave us nothing but heartache and sorrow.  We are like Israel of old and like Homer, the harlot wife of Hosea.  Hosea writes in Hosea 2:7, “And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my firsthusband; for then was it better with me than now.”  Beloved we need to lay hold of her revelation.  We need to return to our first husband, our first love and our first passion.  This can be said to us both naturally and spiritually.  We have to rekindle those fires of friendship and relationship, both with Christ and with our spouses.  Who can measure how much richer our lives will become if we set our hearts to do that.  I know that my wife would say amen to that, how about yours?  

How do you know that you Know Christ?  The knowing is in the intimacy of relationship that is stemmed out of love and commitment.  It is a dynamic that cannot become stagnant or static or it will whither and die.  Complacency and mediocrity will kill it.  We love Him, because He first loved us.  His passion and His love for us hasn’t changed, if something has changed in our relationship then the problem is with us and not with Him.  Let’s return to our first love.  God’s love is made complete in us through our obedience.

Blessings,

#kent

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