Christianity from a Distance

James 1:22-27

22Do 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.

    26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Many of us are resigned and content to read our Bibles, listen to Christian broadcasting or to the minister.  Mentally we agree with all that is being said, but practically we may want to avoid personal involvement.  Oh we may give our tithes, to that those who “are called” to do the work of the ministry, but then we are just the “laymen”.  Just let us live a quiet Christian life in our suburban lifestyle; let us live in our daily routines and not get too involved in the mess outside.   The truth is we get real uncomfortable when a situation comes along that gets in our face.  Perhaps there is a family crisis and someone in the family needs financial or physical help.  Don’t we kind of want to look to someone else to do that?  After all we are busy with our lives and the responsibilities we have.  We have our own bills to pay and work to do.  We often embrace the Christian message in spirit, but not in reality.  We are those Christians from a distance type of people that don’t want to get personally involved.  After all, we’ve got enough problems of our own to deal with, right?  God forbid if someone should require our help or assistance that we don’t even know.

James really gets in our face about this issue of virtual Christianity, if you will. We put on our Christian face one minute and the next, when we look away; we forget what manner of people we are supposed to be.  We favor the rich, because somehow we think it might benefit us, not likely.  They will more than likely exploit your favoritism and give you nothing in return.  We discriminate and reject the poor, because we think that they are only there for a hand out and somehow we are better than they are.  And James 2:5-11 tells us, “5Listen, 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? 8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” 

Jesus met people where they were at.  He had the capacity, as we should, to look past their faults and see their need.  James 2: 14-17 says, “14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  You see our armchair Christianity doesn’t qualify us before our Lord.  It isn’t the example He taught and lived.  Faith has to be dynamic, moving and alive in our being or it is just a name and a dead religion.  It has no life in it. 

God presents us with enough opportunities to demonstrate our faith and beliefs in action.  Will we continue to turn away and turn a deaf ear, or will we begin to listen and hear what God wants to do through us personally?  Will our actions or the lack thereof testify against us on the Day of Judgment?  God is calling us off the couch and onto the field.  A couch potato sports fan does not an athlete make.  The same is true of Christianity.  Our God hasn’t redeemed us to be spectators, but participators in the expression of His life through us.  It is time we get into the game and are what we claim.    

Blessings,

#kent

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The Fingerprints of God

August 24, 2017

Jeremiah 17:7-10

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind,

to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”

 

The Fingerprints of God

The fingerprints of God are seen upon our lives,

In ways we may not comprehend or often realize.

From the miracle of our birth and through our lives we see,

The love of God that kept us and how He cares for you and me.

 

Oftentimes we miss Him, because we are focused on our needs.

We think in doing things our ways is how we should do His deeds.

We so often miss His wisdom in this foolishness of ours.

In wanting all our sunshine we miss the need for showers.

 

Often winds of adversity are simply blessings in disguise,

Without them, there are things in us we would never realize.

Yes they may be painful and counter to our will,

But they often stop our busy tracks and cause us to be still.

 

The fingerprints of God are often dusted aside with blatant disregard,

As the deceitfulness of sin works in us and our hearts become so hard.

The touch of God is upon your life to deliver us from sin.

He wants to be the transforming love that changes us within.

 

Look for His fingerprints upon your life today.

Take a moment now to thank Him as you come and pray.

His fingerprints will change your life if you are sensitive to His touch.

He is able to transform your life where you need His change so much.

Blessings,

#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

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

Be Angry and Sin Not

July 19, 2017

Be Angry and Sin Not

Ephesians 4:26-27

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.

 

Anger is a God given emotion.  While it is not a sin to be angry, it carries with it the potential for sin.  On the other hand it can be an emotion that motivates us out of a place of passivity and complacency.  Any emotion or feeling we give place to has the potential to lead to sin if it is not brought under the control of the Holy Spirit within us.  Most all of us are aware of what uncontrolled anger can do and the harm it can cause both emotionally and physically.  Many marriages are broken and people reside in prison as a result of anger.  The Word of God gives us some insight into the right place of anger through the example of Jesus when he saw the misuse and abuse of the temple of the Lord by the money- changers.  He saw the greed and corruption at work in the Temple, which was to be a place that was to bring relationship and connection with God.  Jesus didn’t just immediately fly off the handle.  He took the time to make a whip of cords to be the instrument of His wrath to drive the moneychangers out of the temple. His anger had a purpose and was God directed. (John 2:14-17 “And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting.   And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.  And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up”)  We often think of Jesus as just being a man of love and compassion, but there was another side of Jesus that didn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, hypocrisy and abuse of others.  There was a holy anger and zeal of God that rose up in Jesus against such things.  It is this kind of anger that often rises up in God’s people to bring about change in lawful ways.

What about the issues of anger that we may deal with on a daily basis?  They may not be so noble in their cause.  Anger can not always just be ignored or repressed.  That can just place more powder in a powder keg that will one day result in even more extreme consequences if we don’t deal with it.  At the same time anger can’t just be reacted too unchecked.  It should be filtered through the Spirit within us to judge our motives in each circumstance as it arises.  While anger may arise at times and can actually cause us to deal with and address issues that we may otherwise avoid, the scripture says it is not something we want to hold on too.  The Word gives us about a day to deal with it.  But it tells us if it is still there when the sun goes down it is time to let it go.  Anger held onto becomes unforgiveness.  Unforgiveness removes us from right relationship with God and blocks the flow of His forgiveness to us.

The spirit of anger and wrath is a fruit of the flesh and not the Spirit and cannot be given place in our hearts because it is sin. (Ephesians 4:31″Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: “)  The theme of the passage in Ephesians 4 that addresses the subject of anger is primarily about being renewed in the spirit of our minds.  While we have emotions, they cannot rule us.  The Spirit and the peace of God must rule in our hearts.  The former areas of emotion and sin that ruled us must do so no longer.  Now we put off these former attitudes and behaviors as we put on Christ and that mind that is in Him.

 

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

Alive

June 6, 2017

Romans 6:8-14

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Alive

How many of us are alive in Christ today?  I don’t mean going through the religious motions of Christianity, but are experiencing daily the quickening life of a resurrection Christ?  The scriptures use the analogy of life and death in a spiritual sense.  Death, spiritual death, is descriptive of our life before we died to death. 

Some may think, what do you mean died to death?  How can you do that?

Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Now these are the basic tenants of the Christian faith and most of us may already know this, but there is something more the Lord is wanting us to get  a hold of.  Because we were conceived in iniquity and all have sinned we grew up, outside of Christ, in a state of spiritual death.  We were dead to God and His Spirit.  Quite literally Christ, took upon His own sinless self the penalty and judgement of all of our sin and died for the death that indwells the unbeliever.  Sin and death were crucified upon that cross in His body. When we came into the light of the truth and gave our hearts to Jesus there was a death, to sin and death, that took place in us.  The spiritual reality of what was taking place is that we identified our former life in this sinful man with Jesus upon the cross.  We were spiritually crucified that day and identified with Christ upon the cross.  There we nailed that former man of sin, which we were, together with Christ upon the cross.  We died to sin and death. 

Through the practice of water baptism we are symbolizing our identification with the death of Christ as we die to the old, go under the water and are buried and then are raised up a new creation in Christ, being made alive in Him.  In that spiritual resurrection of our spirit man there needs to be a revelation and understanding that the former person we had been has ceased to exist and the new man we are is unified and identified in Christ who raised them from the dead. 

The Greek for the word alive here is “Zao”.  Some of its meanings are ” to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead), to enjoy real life, to have true life and worthy of the name, active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God.” You and I were dead in our trespasses and sin.  We were living in spiritual death headed for condemnation, judgement and hell.  Christ interrupted our death with the spiritual awakening of His truth.  In receiving that truth, which is Christ, by faith we were made alive and given the promise of the power of endless life with Him in glory. 

Paul says this again so eloquently in Ephesians 2:1-10, ” As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And 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.”

Now the point is this, if Christ has quickened our spirits and made us alive unto Him, why are we still partaking and living in the dead things that are unclean and defile our spirits?  There are areas in our life where we allowing death to be a cohabitant with life.  The Word says, “what fellowship hath light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).”  The Lord’s exhortation to us today is bathe our whole man in the light of His truth and righteousness.  The distinction between good and evil is quickly shrinking the gray areas of our life.  He is bringing us into the more radial distinction of His nature and character.  Allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts, quicken and make alive every part of who we are that we might be distinctly His.  We want to see the full salvation of the Lord, spirit, soul and body.  In order for us to experience the fullness of His life, we must experience the fullness of His death to the man of sin and death.  In Christ Jesus you have been made ALIVE!  Let us live fully alive in that Life!

 

Blessings,

#kent

Restoration

June 2, 2017

 

Acts 1:6-7

6So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Restoration

We know that there are times and seasons in the economy of God.  We don’t exactly when they will come into being, but in that hour the Lord will begin to unfold His purpose and plan through His prophets and mouthpieces.   We know from history that when Jesus ascended that it was not the hour when the kingdom would be restored to Israel.  In fact it was the hour when the kingdom of Israel came into judgement and the Israelites were dispersed throughout the nations.  In more recent history we have seen the signs of restoration again as natural Israel has become a nation again and its in habitants have been returning.  It is a sign of the times of restoration.

Before we see the restoration of the nation of Israel in it’s fullness and before we see the restoration that the sons of God will bring in the earth, restoration must begin within us, His people.  We must be restored into right fellowship and relationship with Him again.  Spiritual Israel has become a mixed and polluted people.  We have become integrated and filled with the values and influences of the society in which we live.  God is starting the procedure of restoration, which is first a process of purification and sanctification unto Him.  He starts with judgement and purification of His own house, because the spirit of reconciliation and restoration will flow through His people to the nations.  John the Baptist was a forerunner of Jesus as it says in John 1:23, “He said, I [am] the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.”  Again the Lord is sending His word forth, “Make straight the way of the Lord.” 

This is a day in which our focus is to see restoration within our own hearts and lives back to a right and close relationship with the Father.  Many things are brewing both spiritually and naturally immediately in front of us.  It is a day of preparation and watchfulness.  Let us not be caught up in just ‘the buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage’.  It is time to turn our eyes from the economy of this world onto the economy of God and where we fit into His plan and purpose.  The wise virgin prepares herself, stores up her oil and is in readiness when the Bridegroom appears.  That is where we want to be.  Draw near to Him and listen to Holy Spirit as He speaks to your heart and leads you in His ways. 

Blessings,

#kent

Returning to Our First Love

Revelations 2:4-5

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

Love is a many splendored thing, but it can also be a place of vulnerability, heartache and disappointment.  So much depends on the care, attentiveness and tenderness with which we handle the most precious of gifts, one another’s hearts and their love. 

That first found love between two lovers those years back, it seemed so rich.  You loved one another’s presence and you didn’t want to be apart.  Your desire for one another was so strong and you bathed in the love that you had for one another.  Oh, that first love, how rich and full and sweet it was. 

Little by little small offenses began to enter in.  Sometimes unkind remarks were made that wounded your spouse’s soul, neglect, lack of communication, demands of life; so many things can tear at the foundations of your love. 

We begin to take for granted that first love, as we become more familiar with the other.  Those little things that we didn’t notice or didn’t seem to bother us now become a source of irritation and conflict.  Our hearts that were so warm and open begin to close as we often, without even knowing why, transform from that loving unity, to opponents and foes.  Little by little we can shut down in our emotions and our love to the point we forgot why we even liked this person, let alone loved them. 

We can often wander and drift away from our first love for Christ the same way.  Instead of being continually awed and thankful for all that Christ has done and continues to do for us, He becomes common, just another element of our lives and not the substance of them.  How blind we all can become to the hardness that can come over our hearts with regards to the ones we love and what we have held so dear.  Many of us have lost that which we once cherished more than life itself.

What has changed?  Is it them or is it us?  Maybe it is like our environment.  We love the beauty of the water and streams, the woods and forest, the mountains, oceans and wildlife, but if we have them before us every day we may take them for granted and lessen in our once great appreciation of them.  Somewhere in there our motives for gain, for what benefits us and for what we think will better our lives out weighs our appreciation for the other.  At the environment’s expense, we begin to deplete our forest, tear up our mountains, pollute our waters and destroy what we once held so dear.  It is the same thing that we do to our marriages and our relationships. 

We lose sight that our spouse is our teammate that we are dependent upon one another to make life easier and sweeter.  Yet we are so blind at how the enemy of our soul comes into to kill, steal and destroy what was the most precious thing in our lives.  Our unity is destroyed and our marriages turn from bliss to ashes.  Isn’t it because we have bought into the lie?  When one of us in our marriage loses we both lose.  There are no winners and losers, because we are a team. A house divided against itself cannot stand. 

The older my wife and I grow together, the more dependent we are on each other to remember things, to help each other, and to be the strength in the other’s weakness.  On the other hand there is the temptation to find more fault with the other’s shortcomings, especially when they have chided you for yours.  We have to realize that we are a team. We need each other more than ever.  Love cannot become a selfish thing that only looks out for itself. If it has and is becoming that then it has left the boundaries and definition of love.  The nature of love is to serve, to give and bless another.  Love always exalts the other above itself.

Perhaps it is time for many of us to remember and to return to our first love both in our physical and spiritual relationships.  It is time to give the precious gifts of our humility, our forgiveness and our first love.  It is time to make a safe place where we can come together, not to find fault or blame, but to find reconciliation and healing for our hearts and our relationships.  Isn’t this what God wants for us?  I believe He will help in this endeavor if we call upon Him and His love to fill our hearts.  Let us cherish and once again hold with such tenderness and sanctity the gift of one another’s heart and love.  In the same way let us recommit to our first love for Christ and find the first passion that so consumed our soul.

Blessings,

#kent

Psalms 71:1-6

In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. 3 Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men. 5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. 6 From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.

What Value do we put on Life?

It is God who has given each one of us the breath of life.  He has known us from the foundations of the world and each one is precious in His eyes.  It is God who gives life and unto Him that life returns.  It is He that imparts to us a soul that we may comprehend, know and lay hold of Him.  How it must grieve the heart of God when a people can put themselves in the place of God deciding if a unborn child has the right to live and presumptuously thinking that we have the right to take that life that God has given.  When did God impart to us the right to decide who would have a quality of life worth living or that it could be done away with if it were not convenient to us?  We live in a nation that has legally given us this right to deny any rights to our unborn.  I can tell you that there are many grieving women out there that bought into this lie and have felt the horrible impact of what they have done. They have felt the shame and condemnation of their actions and live with that every day.  Morally, they know within their hearts, that what they have done is wrong, regardless of what our laws allow and now so many live, struggling to forgive themselves and no doubt struggling with the truth that God can forgive them for what they have done.  If you are one of those women, then know that God’s grace and forgiveness can extend to our deepest sin and there is no stain that His blood cannot cleanse if we seek Him in repentance and ask for that forgiveness.  Often it is not God’s forgiveness we struggle with as much as it is forgiving ourselves.  God would not have you continue to carry this burden of guilt, but through that experience may you become His greatest advocate for life and the instrument that can help others from making this same mistake. 

The greatest handicap in our life is not that we are born into adversity, it is that we would not know adversity, weakness or trial.  Some of the most challenged people are the greatest people of character and strength.  Like the psalmist David, in above scripture, adversity makes us cry out for God, it is the travail that births His presence and strength into our weakness and failure.  It is in what we can not be that we can find that He is.  It is through adversity that we become overcomers.  Usually we are praying, “God, deliver me out of my adversity,” but that would only defeat its perfect work in you.  Rather we should pray, “God, be my strength and enablement to go through this adversity and prevail through You.”  We so often have what might be termed a rapture mentality that looks for God to catch us up and deliver us from all tribulation.  The greater truth is to already be entering into the ark of His safety and life that He might preserve you and keep you through all tribulation.  David didn’t see God there when he was fleeing for his life from Saul, but His prayers and faith in God covered him and preserved him in safety.  God was there in the midst of David’s praise and supplications.  He was all that David asked that he would be.  It was through this adversity in David’s life that God was training him up to rule and reign.  It was in this adversity that God was training David that his reliance should never be upon himself, but always upon his God.  It was through this adversity that David could know that his strength, his wisdom and his ability was the presence of God’s anointing upon his life.  God’s favor rested upon David because he did know that and did trust in his God.  Even so, David also knew a time in his life of great failure and sin when he committed adultery, lied and had Bathseba’s husband put to death.  He had to live with the consequences of those actions, but I believe he also found God’s forgiveness and mercy through his repentance for his sin. 

We are all cracked pots, fragile, weak and subject to breaking.  That is why we must put ourselves totally into the Potter’s hands that He may shape and mold and be the glue that fills those cracks of our weakness and failure.

Respect the life that God has given rather it is unborn, old and frail, or lowly and unimportant in appearance.  God is the author of it all and to Him it is all, precious.   Our function is to be a light and serve His creation in the love of Christ.  We are His hands and fingers that holds, cares for and loves all His creatures, both small and great.

Blessings,

#kent

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