Finding the Beauty

November 16, 2018

 

Finding the Beauty

 

Isaiah 68:1-3

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD

 

There are a lot of people out there who see their lives as a mound of ashes.  They feel like life has dealt them a bitter hand.  They feel crushed, in despair and discouragement.  They have been hurt, disappointed, and have felt forsaken.  They may have experienced broken relationships, or rejection from others.  If they were to evaluate their lives to you they may only see failure and hopelessness.  Perhaps this might even feel like a good description of someone’s life reading this today.  If it is, the good news is that there is hope.  Ecclesiastes 9:4 reminds us that, “Anyone who is among the living has hope -even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!”   We must never come to the place where we allow despair and discouragement to cause us to want to take our life.  Our hope is among the living and not among the dead.  God has written a book of hope and life.  He sent His only Son to preach, live and die for a message of hope and life.  Our very scripture today is the prophetic word that spoke of His coming and His mission.  Jesus has come and His ministry right now is to the poor of spirit, the down and outers who have come to their end.  His mission is giving the hopeless, hope again, to comfort those in heartache and mourning and to provide for those who are spiritually or emotionally bankrupt.  He is here to give you beauty instead of ashes and the oil of joy for mourning, a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness and despair.  Jesus came to bear our infirmities.  Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  Jesus literally became ashes for us that we might receive the beauty and hope of His promise and life.  He wore our thorns that we might wear His crown.  All that He suffered on that cross and leading up to it was all on our behalf so that we could have life and have it more abundantly.

Some of us have found our lives, at some time or other, in the throes of despair and hopelessness.  The Lord wants us to know that nothing is hopeless as long as He sits on the throne.  It only becomes hopeless when we take it out of His hands and try and bear it all ourselves.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul tells us what the Lord spoke to Him in that place.  “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” There is a beautiful Savior who is here to help us and give us beauty in those ugly times when life seems so bad and meaningless, so hopeless and barren.

Jesus is the redemption that is near to your heart today.  Reach out and receive that hope through faith in His word.  He has given us His Holy Spirit to comfort and help us through.  He will give you the beauty for ashes.

Blessings,

#kent

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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

In Times of Discouragement

October 11, 2018

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 

In Times of Discouragement

 

As believers we all face those times of discouragement, testing and trial where in the natural we would want to give up, give in and walk away from our faith.  Perhaps none faced more assault in the spiritual arena than did Paul.

How did he make it through?

It was because he knew his identity in Christ that he was able to endure all the assaults of darkness and the daily trials of life.  He knew the “all surpassing power” that didn’t come from self, but from “Christ in him.”  He had a revelation of that being identified with Christ is not just about the blessing, but drinking from the same cup that He drank from.  The cup of suffering.

I had a glimpse of revelation the other day as I was listening to the passage of James and John’s mother asking if her sons could set upon each side of the throne of Jesus. Jesus replied in Matthew 20:22-23 with this statement, “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

“We can,” they answered.

23Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

Jesus’ disciples, like most of us, have the perception that serving Christ is all about the glory.

When Jesus said, “now am I a glorified” in between where he stood and the glory was the cross.  Romans 8:17-18 Paul declares, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  The suffering, the death and the cross are all elements that precede the glory.

Jesus finishes this passage in Matthew by saying, “and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Our faith in Christ is not first about getting, but about giving.  It is not about us being served, but about us becoming the servants of Christ in serving others.  It is in the death of our carnal and mortal man that the life of Christ is released, which we carry.  Paul realized that the troubles, the trials, the distress, the hardship, the death to self are merely the bridge that leads to the surpassing glory of our inheritance in Christ.

When we read this passage in Corinthians most of us have no idea or comprehension of that kind of suffering and sacrifice.  We are so easily discouraged by someone who has offended us or some trial that we pass through.  Men like Paul virtually lived in the place of trial and hardship and they did so because of who they were in Christ and who Christ was in them.  They did so because in the pouring out of their life, others were able to receive the gospel and live.  They truly were living sacrifices poured out to the glory of Jesus.  They didn’t live for the momentary blessings and substance of this world like so many of us do. They were willing to be totally spent in life and substance for the kingdom of God because they saw a greater eternal weight of glory before them that so outweighs these momentary earthly afflictions.

Paul says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

If Paul heard what our complaints are and where our discouragement comes from he would probably laugh and tell us we need to suck it up.  We need to get over ourselves and realize it is not about us, it is about Christ in us and the kingdom that we serve.  We have been so pampered in our faith and theology that we know very little about what it is to drink from the cup of suffering and yet this is a very real part of our faith.

When we are going through our momentary trials and feeling a little discouraged, let’s just look back at Jesus, Paul, the apostles and saints and what they endured and gave up.  Let us remember who we are in Christ and who He is in us that we may be willing to face whatever is before us with our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.  Let us be encouraged by the lives of the saints that went before us and willingly gave so much at such a great price.  They did not lose heart, how much less should we?

Blessings,

#kent

Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee [is] mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

 

How Will You Weather the Storm?

 

Psalms 94:22 declares, “But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.”

Psalms 91:1-2 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalms 20:7 resounds, ” Some [trust] in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”

Where then is our place of safety and assurance in this day and age?  It is the same place that David found it when he fled Saul who pursued him to take his life.  David went from hero to number one most wanted in his country.  He was alone. The only ones that would associate with him were criminals, debtors, malcontents and the outcast of society.

What made David so exceptional was that he personally knew God and he knew who he was in God. His faith and trust were not in his strength; neither his abilities or any other natural resource.  His faith and trust were only in God.  Many people are scrambling today, because they see a bleak future.  Some are storing guns, food, water and gold.  Some are building underground bunkers to live in.  Is that where our true protection and security is?

It is not the godly that trust in their strength, their power, riches and arrogance.  It is the wicked.  Psalms 52:5-9 declares their outcome. “Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin: He will snatch you up and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living.       Selah

6The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at him, saying, 7“Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!”

8But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

9I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good.

I will praise you in the presence of your saints.”

If you are looking for protection, security and provision then look at God’s Word and you will see it is only complete in Him.  Earthly gold may be a good thing to have, but listen to how Revelations 3:17-19 exhorts us as His body, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”  Today Christ is at our door, not just wanting to bring us salvation, but intimacy and relationship where we don’t just know about Him, but we know Him.  The more we know Him the more all around us becomes about Him.

Jesus spoke a parable in Matthew 7:24-27 that is a kingdom principle.   “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”  The key is not in just what we know, but in what we put into practice.

Revelation without realization, is like intent without action; it is like the knowing without the doing.  It is like faith without works.  Many of us know a great deal of the Word, many of us have a set under its teaching a great deal of our lives.  The wise man is the one who implants it into His life and actions.  The foolish man is the one who listens and hears, but doesn’t make it substance.  Which house remained in the day of the storm?  For God to be your fortress He has to be the reality and the realization of your life, without the reality of that truth how will you weather the storm?

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

Wild Grapes

September 10, 2018

Wild Grapes

Isaiah 5:1-7

Now will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; [and] break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts [is] the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

 

This scripture could be as applicable to the Church today as it was of Israel of old.  We are His vineyard and are to be the fruit of His vine.  It is to be His life and the sweetness of His nature that is in us.  Would He say today of His vineyard that it brought forth wild grapes.  Are we seeing the true nature and character of Christ in the Church today?  Are we seeing justice, mercy and righteousness as the fruit of our works and lives?  Are we still double-minded and two-faced toward our Beloved, the keeper of the vineyard?  Does it ever amaze us how we can be spiritual around religious or spiritual settings, but then we see all of this worldly talk and attitudes coming out of us when we are around those in the world.  Would the world around us comprehend that we were truly a different type of grape; one that always tasted of the sweetness and flavor of Christ?

In Isaiah 5:11-13 it goes on to say, “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, [that] they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, [till] wine inflame them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because [they have] no knowledge: and their honourable men [are] famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.” Is it possible that we still live this double life where we are for God on Sunday and certain occasions, but then we want to party and live the life of the world the rest of the time?  One day we wake up and find ourselves in spiritual bondage and oppression to the spirits of this world.  We find strongholds over our lives that we can’t seem to break out of and we are there because we have become wild grapes.  It says, “my people are gone into captivity, because of lack of knowledge.”  If we are not always focused on the purpose and calling we have in Christ then we will find ourselves drifting off course and left to drift off course we will find ourselves slowly drawn into that great maelstrom or whirlpool that draws us, slowly at first, but then faster and faster circling the drain of the destruction of sin.  “If the honorable men are famished and the multitude dried up with thirst ” what is that saying?  We are in spiritual drought; our spirit is languishing for lack of life and knowledge of God and His ways.  We must catch the vision of where God is going and what our part is in the journey.  We have to have knowledge and revelation of Him.  We have to know who we are and what we are becoming.  Are we becoming what Christ has planted in us?  Are we becoming the sweet grapes of His nature and character or are we becoming wild grapes that have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof?   Matthew 24:12 says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  Sin will always bring separation from God because it draws us away from His presence and fellowship.  On the other hand when we are pressing in to know Him and drawing near to Him, His presence will consume the sin in our lives and purify our hearts.

James 4:1-10 sums it up in a very practical way, “1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

What kind of grapes are we becoming today; the true fruit of His vine or wild grapes?

Blessings,
#kent

 

Never take your Blessing for Granted

 

 

Deuteronomy 8:11-14

Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest [when] thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein]; And [when] thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;

 

This is the condition we find our county in today.  We are a very blessed nation, like no other in the world.  Those of us, who know our historical roots, know that God has had his hand upon the establishment of this country and even the government that has been put in place.  We have been an example and demonstration of God’s goodness, provision and blessing.  We have been like the new Israel and many early settlers viewed it exactly that way.  God has shown His faithfulness to us time after time as He has kept this nation by the power of His loving hand.

Isn’t it ironic now, that the land of religious freedom and expression can’t even post the Ten Commandments in public places, have Bibles or talk about God in the schools in this country, but they can and now do these things in Russia, a land so long under religious tyranny and oppression?  What abomination is it that has taken hold of us that now we can’t even pray out loud or openly proclaim the God that established and blessed this nation.  Further, we see the efforts to remove, “In God We Trust” from our currency and “One nation under God” from our pledge of allegiance.  What spirit of darkness has come over our land that we legally kill our unwanted babies and want to recognize and sanctify homosexual marriages?   What spiritual blindness has gripped our hearts that we want to call good evil and evil good?  Supposedly we are a people ruled by the majority and polls tell us that there is still a majority in this country that believes in God.  How is it that we are not upholding His values and morals?   Have our hearts become so lifted up, as the scripture warns us, that we have forgotten our God?  Will we have to receive God’s firm correction and judgement because we have allowed our land to become polluted and defiled with ungodliness?  While many of us as Christians don’t like or agree with what we see going on, we are guilty of not becoming actively involved in raising up a voice and an outcry against such things.  Certainly we need godly men that can step into the places of leadership throughout our society and uphold a standard of righteousness and moral integrity.  Let us not be guilty of not participating in a democratic process that God has helped establish to make our voice known.  When we fail to act in righteousness, evil comes in by default.  A quote given by Edmond Burke an eighteenth century British statesman says, “”For evil to triumph it is enough only that good men do nothing”.   Is that about to be our epitaph?  God blessed us in our last election by placing a president in office that upholds these godly values and principles, but no man can do it alone.  We, as a people of God, we must raise up a standard against the spirit of wickedness that pervades our land.  Our complacency will be our demise and the loss of all that we hold dear.  We must establish again our Lord God, as the Lord and sovereign of our hearts and our nation.  Our family units must be preserved at all cost if we are to survive as a nation.  Marriage must again find its place of sanctity and respect that it once held.  We must become a nation that learns again what unselfishness and self- sacrifice is about if we want to our families preserved.  Our selfishness is proving to be our undoing.

With prayer and supplication our request must be made known before God for the state of our nation.  The battle is a spiritual battle, but it is played out in the natural arena of our daily lives, society and government.  James says that, “faith without works is dead.”  It is not just what we believe that is important, it is what we act on.  Each one of us has a vote and say.  Each one of us has representatives that are suppose to be listening to the voice of their constituents.  Are they hearing our voice or are we silent, doing nothing, allowing evil to triumph?

I am not one that is big on politics, but I feel the heart of God is that we need to stand up and be counted.  We have far too long let the voice of evil be vocal and consequently we have lost our spiritual heritage through our silence and passivity.  Dare to take up the weapons of spiritual warfare and fight the good fight both in the spiritual and natural realms.  We can no longer afford to be a silent majority unless we want to be an oppressed majority.

Blessings,

#kent

John 6:60

Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard [this], said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?

 

When we don’t Understand

 

Like the reflections in moving waters the details of God’s working are not always clear to us.  We see them as in shadow, with some form, but not always clearly.  Yet we sometimes make the mistake of judging God wholly on what we only know in part.  There are things that don’t always make sense to our natural minds and understanding.  When Jesus told His followers that ‘unless you eat of my flesh and drink of my blood you have no life in you,’ many were offended and walked away from Him.  Perhaps it was because they judged what He said after the flesh and natural understanding rather than by the Spirit.  We should know that we can’t judge well spiritual matters with our natural understanding, they are spiritually discerned.

Some of us have been offended and hurt because we have felt the Lord disappointed us or failed to meet or do what we were praying and believing for.  No, we don’t always understand.  When Jesus asked His disciples in John 6:67, “Will ye also go away?”  Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.  And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Our walk is one of faith.  We continue on trusting even when we don’t understand or perhaps feel offended or hurt.  We, like Peter, know that there is no other that has the words and the ways of eternal life, so we continue to trust.  We share with the Lord our struggles, our brokenness and our pain, but no matter what we continue to cling to Him.  We know His heart and His heart is love.  He will do as Roman 8:28-30 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

Hold fast your faith even in those times when you don’t understand. He is faithful and just who has called you and saved you with His own life.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Feelings of Unworthiness

 

Luke 15:21-24

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put [it] on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on [his] feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill [it]; and let us eat, and be merry:  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

 

I think there are times when we all struggle with thoughts of unworthiness and condemnation as we approach and acknowledge the Lord.  Certainly there is no worth in our efforts or abilities to please God or appease Him for our sins.  Outside of the blood of Christ we could have no right standing and reconciliation with the Father.  Yet the heart of the Father stands at the window day after day and watches for His prodigal son to come home.  When the son came home the reconciliation that took place between the two of them was possible, because of the attitude of both of their hearts.  On the part of the Father there was the attitude of love, mercy, forgiveness and the strong desire for restored relationship.  On the part of the son, his attitude had changed from the arrogant, self-reliant, self-serving and selfish son that had left the Father to one who was broken through a revelation of his utter worthlessness and unworthiness that he possessed outside of the Father.  When we get a true revelation of what we are outside of the Father and the utter hopelessness and unworthiness apart from Him, we then have come to a condition and attitude that is right to approach Him.  This time we return in total humility, fearing and respecting our Father.  This time our heart is fully aware of its unworthiness of ever again being called a son.  This time we come with a heart that is broken by the awareness of our sin and repentant with the willingness to fully turn from it.  Both heart conditions were present for the full reunion and reconciliation of the Father and son to take place.

Even as believers we come to the times in our lives when we have rebelled, been self-willed or let sin enter in.  One day we wake-up spiritually and realize how bankrupt we have become because we have forsaken the relationship we had with the Father.  We have turned our back on our sonship for selfish pursuits.  Eventually we return to the realization that without the life and the blessing of the Father, we are spiritually blind, poor, wretched and naked.  We have become spiritually bankrupt and void of self-worth.  For a time we are willing to work in the pig pens and the filth of the world we have again partaken of.  Eventually, through the leanness and the spiritual hungering of our soul, we decide that we would like to return to the Father.  We find ourselves living under the cruel taskmaster of guilt, condemnation and unworthiness that is telling us you are totally unworthy and disqualified from ever having a relationship with the Father again.  Maybe you even felt like you had committed the unpardonable sin.  “How could Father ever again love and receive back a wretch and failure like me?”

Our Father is a God of love, forgiveness and reconciliation.  1 Timothy 1:15 says, “This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”  While we may still have to face the consequences of our sin and rebellion the Lord has not shut us out into the cold.  He says, “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psalms 34:19)” If we are willing to return to the Lord with the attitude of brokenness and repentance; then the Lord is willing to receive us and deliver from that taskmaster of condemnation and guilt.  John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Don’t allow the feelings of unworthiness and condemnation rob you from a restored relationship.  All who are in Christ Jesus have come to know that none of us have any standing or worth in God of ourselves.  Jesus paid the price for our sin.  He alone was righteous and worthy.  When we become identified with Him and the cross He makes us worthy through His righteous blood.  We must simply appropriate what He has already done by faith in the name of Jesus and the blood of the Lamb.  “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)”

If you are struggling with feelings of unworthiness or if you have strayed or perhaps have yet to find you way to the Father’s house.  Jesus is still the way.  He is the Restorer and the Redeemer of your soul.  With a right attitude of heart return to Him and He will receive you again to Himself.

Blessings,

#kent

Wounded Hearts

June 25, 2018

 

Wounded Hearts

 

Psalms 109:22

For I [am] poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.

 

All of us have known those times in our lives when we have experienced a broken heart; the deep emotional wound or pain that tears our world apart.  It most often comes when a strong emotional bond or tie is broken.  Someone we deeply love is taken away from us.  It could be through death or the breaking of a deep emotional friendship or love for another person.  It can also come from a spiritual separation that we feel from the Lord.  Whatever the reason or the cause of our heartbreak, most of us have experienced the immense pain and hurt we feel inwardly and emotionally.  In those times it seems that no words of comfort or sympathetic friends can really touch or remove the pain we feel within us.  Usually, only time can begin to fade and temper that pain we have felt so strongly and so deeply.  Time and God’s ministering Spirit are the two greatest comforters and healers that we have.  We are thankful for the friends and those who care about us and stand by us in those times.  They can try an offer us some perspective and comfort, but they can’t reach in and take away the tremendous pain and loss we feel when our heart is broken.

There is no one like a father, whose lap we can crawl up on when our world falls apart.  There is no one like the security and warmth we feel when our head is buried in His chest and he gently and lovingly holds us in his embrace.  It is a warm and secure place. Somehow, we know it will be okay eventually.  In the interim of that healing we are hid in that womb of love and security.  That is a description of how Father God is there for us who put our trust and confidence in Him.  A part of life, are both, the loves and the losses we experience.  Both bring with them strong emotional feelings in opposite directions, but both are a very real part of life experience.  The wonderful thing is that God is always there to add gravity and sanity to what can be an insane world.  He has given us the Comforter, His very own Spirit to be near to us and help us.  He has given us His Son, which has paid the price for all the pain of our sin sick world and ever lives to make intercession for us.  God is indeed near to the broken hearted.

There is an area in our lives where it is good that we have a broken heart.  When we come to that place of truth and revelation of who God is and what we have been, it breaks our heart.  We truly see what an offence we have been to the God that loves us so through our sin, rebellion and selfishness.   It brings us to a place that we need to all be far more often, the place of brokenness and humility before the Lord.  Psalms 51:17 tells us, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: “a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” When we maintain an attitude of true brokenness and repentance of our sin and failure before God, He looks compassionately upon us and lifts us up when we are bowed down.  This emotional and spiritual hurt within us is a good hurt that leads us to repentance and reconciliation with our Heavenly Father.  It keeps us in an attitude of reverence, respect and humility before Him.  It helps us to put Him in proper perspective in our lives as the sovereign Lord and Savior of all.  It helps us to grasp how great His love, how deep His grace and how merciful His loving-kindness towards us who were once His enemies, but now have experienced the wonderful adoption and inheritance of children of the Most High God through the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son!  Why should we not hate our sin and hurt for its offence to a God that has loved us so?  This wounded heart God will not despise, but He will receive the sacrifice of true repentance and remorse of our sins.   He will heal us, lift us up and set joy back into our hearts.  Only our God could love us and forgive us with such an everlasting and incomprehensible love.  Allow Him to anoint your wounds and heal your heart today.

Blessings,

#kent

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