Matthew 24:35

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

 

Trivial words fade quickly from the hearing,

as does the familiarity of life from our memory.

When that which is trivial and familiar is passed away,

is there the substance of faith and reality to take its place?

When all that is known, becomes unknown,

and the life we’ve known comes tumbling down,

is our foundation strong to build again upon

those things which can not be moved, eternally sound?

Heaven and earth will pass away,

but God’s Word will always remain.

He is the confidence that anchors our hope,

when all else is stripped from its context and frame.

 

When Life gets Turned Upside-down

 

There can come a time in our life, and it may have already occurred in yours, when either naturally or supernaturally, our world, as we know it, falls apart.  All that was familiar and comfortable becomes unhinged and discomfited.  We may lose our career, a loved one passes, we are bankrupted, our children run away or get in trouble; there are multitude of ways our life can get turned upside down.  While those transitions in life are rarely desirable, they may put to the test all that we have lived and believed.  All of sudden all the beliefs that we had neatly folded in our box become dumped out and the very fabric of all that we called faith is tested.  In those moments of turmoil, we may be desperately trying to find God in the midst and thick of it.

“How could He let this happen?”  “Why?” ” Where are you God?”

It is probably much the way Job felt when satan was allowed to touch his life in almost every area.  If we are only in our natural mind and reasoning, then all we can see and comprehend are our natural circumstances.  We may have grown so accustomed to the blessings of God that we thought we were immune to the trials of life, but God never promised us a life without trials.  Satan’s purpose through the trials might be to kill, steal and destroy.  Most of all, he wants you to doubt God’s love and faithfulness, so that you would turn from God and count Him unfaithful.  He wants to steal your identity in Christ.

We must ask ourselves in the story we see of Job, what was God heart and His ultimate purpose in allowing such calamity, pain and devastation in Job’s life?  In the end it gave Job a greater revelation of God in His holiness and majesty.  In the end, because Job retained his integrity and faith, God promoted him to a place of priesthood where he was interceding and making sacrifice for his accusers and fault-finders and he was brought into a double portion of all that he formerly had, as great as that already was.

Father isn’t out to make us fail or to make our lives miserable, but out of pain is often birthed a greater blessing that can bring us up higher into Him.  We won’t always understand its purpose at the time and it may feel like God has totally abandoned and forsaken us, but He is causing us flex our faith, not our intellect or natural abilities.  He is causing us to trust Him in what we can’t see.  Our response should be to bless the Lord in those times, not to curse Him and turn away.  Even Job, without the Word of God to draw upon had a revelation of this truth in his heart.

Job 1:21-22 says that after Job heard of all that had come upon his property and family, “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

Will that be our response when our world is turned upside down?  These will be the times when the true metal of our faith will be tested.  It may be so bad, we don’t think it could be any worse and then it gets worse and it continues to get worse, but God never ceases to be God or to sit upon the throne.  If we truly know Him, He will be the anchor in the storm that keeps us from running aground on the rocks of circumstances and unbelief.  He is still there in the boat with us as we are weathering our storm and it may seem He is asleep in the hull of the boat and oblivious to all that is happening around us.  We may be crying out, “Lord, don’t you care that we perish?”.

Just remember if you perish, Christ perishes with you, because He is in you.  In those times, can you still remember who you are, “IN CHRIST”?   Circumstances can change, but God’s word doesn’t change and Jesus doesn’t  change.  He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  You are anchored to eternity in Him.  Even if your outward man would perish, you have a building, a tabernacle made by God, eternal in the heavens.

What we must have as saints of God, is an immovable faith and trust that can not be shaken by heaven or hell.  A faith so grounded in Christ that even when our mind can’t wrap itself around it and our reason fails us, our faith remains steadfast and firm.  Either God is who He says He is or we have believed in vain.

There may be or come times in our life when nothing makes sense.  That is when faith in God’s Word is your anchor.  We may be in total disorientation and vertigo, but just as a pilot in darkness and storm must rely upon his instruments to give him bearing and orientation, so we must do so with the Word of God.  We can’t trust our senses, our feelings or even our intellect; to do so could prove fatal.  God’s Word must remain the anchor of our soul, because we know that even though all else would pass away, Gods’ Word remains.

Blessings,

#kent

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Sound the Alarm in Zion

 

Joel 2:1

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble,

for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand-

 

Set your feet in righteous paths for the destruction is outside the walls of My protection and grace.  Return unto Me with your whole heart and not a divided heart.  Rend your hearts and not your garments.  The Lord’s love is toward His people and His compassion fails not.  Life is what He has called you too, but the destroyer has come to destroy and he will have his day.  Your safety is in the secret place, the place where I will hide you under the shadow of My wing.  Indeed a thousand will fall at your right hand and ten thousand at your left, but it will not come nigh unto you, if you are hidden in Me.  Fear and trembling will consume the earth, but where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace.

Come now to Me with your whole heart.  Fix your eyes upon Me now and lay down your encumbrances as the farmer leaves his plow.  It is a day of reckoning and judgement that is at hand.  Prepare the way of the Lord and prepare your hearts to receive Him.   Darkness will cover the earth as the water covers the sea.  You are My lights in the dark places.  You are the lamp by which many will find their way.  My life and presence within you will draw men from the darkness as they see your light shine.  It is a day to make ready, a day to buy and store up the oil and a day to buy gold refined in the fire.  Hear the voice of the Bridegroom as He is calling unto His bride to make ready the way of the Lord, for the time is near at hand.

The people that are called by My name shall be strong and do exploits, but not before the day of great testing and turning away.  It is a day when the love of many will wax cold.  It is a day to be either cold or hot for the lukewarm will not withstand the day of My abiding.  Many will fall away, for their hearts were wavering and divided.  The way of the cross calls for a full and total willingness to die to everything that is not of Me.  Many carry a cross of convenience, but the fire will reveal the true nature of one’s faith.  Set your heart to know Me in Spirit and in Truth.  The façade of Christianity will be torn down and thrown away and then will the true one stand.  My Church shall no longer be a religion, but a reality in the earth.  The earth will see it revealed for what it is and not what it has been perceived to be.

This is a call to the faithful and true.  Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit has to say unto the churches.  Let My ways be your ways and My thoughts be your thoughts, for you are a redeemed people, sanctified by the blood of the Lamb.  Put on the garments of righteousness and gird yourself with praise.  Rise up and let your worship be true and real from your heart.  I will inhabit the praises of my people and I will abide in those who enter into Me.  Come now, prepare your hearts while there is still time.  Cast off your complacency, for when men say, “Peace, Peace, then comes sudden destruction.”

Hear the trumpet in Zion and the sound that I speak in my holy hill, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.  Rend your hearts and not your garments.  Seek Me while I may be found.”

Blessings,

#kent

Blessing and Cursing

July 1, 2019

 

Blessing and Cursing

 

Deuteronomy 30:19

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

 

This scripture in Deuteronomy brings to light that as life is the opposite of death, so it is blessing and cursing.  The Lord is also teaching us that it is the choice of life that brings blessing and the choice of death that brings cursing.  In Deuteronomy 30:16-18 the Lord further qualifies this principle of life and death, blessing and cursing; “In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, [and that] ye shall not prolong [your] days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.”

Our God is calling us to Life today.  He is calling us back to a sanctified and committed walk with Him.  Even in the light of world events, we are beginning to see a greater distinction of light and dark, good and evil, godly values and worldly values.  The grays are fading into black and white and God is calling us to the place of no more compromise.  Our nation is in peril because we have become tolerant and complacent with sin, not only in our nation and its values, but foremost in our own lives.  Our nation is reflecting the values of our own hearts.  We, as a nation who has said our trust is in the Lord, have stopped honoring, reverencing and fearing Him in the way that is due His awesome name.  We like Aaron’s son’s, Nadab and Abihu, have been offering up strange fire in our sacrifice of worship to God.  We worship and serve God our way and not His way.  We count as common and ordinary that which is Holy and to be feared.  God is a wonderful and loving God who desires to bless us and bring us into the fullness of His blessing and inheritance for us, but we must never allow ourselves, as we already have, to become careless and sloppy about who our God is.  He is not a God that will wink at our sin and continue to allow us to go our own way.  Whenever we get careless and fail to truly fear, reverence and adore our awesome Lord and Father, judgements are soon to follow for we are making a choice for cursing and not blessings, we are choosing death and not life.  God says in the scripture in Deuteronomy, “But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear”.  Are you and I truly hearing the voice of the Spirit of God in this hour?

Joshua put a challenge before the children of Israel in 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.”  Our God is not honored by, nor will He continue to tolerate our religious, fleshly worship and way of life.  We have made His name a reproach, because the world so often sees in us, less of what they perceive God to be, and more of what they see in those of the world.  What we see in the general embodiment of Christianity is not the heart of God, but a strange fire of sin, self, flesh and Spirit, an unholy mixture.  God wants to visit us again with His glory and His presence, but if He does in the state that we are in, we will die.  Judgement will come swiftly upon us.  His presence must manifest itself in a sanctified and holy place that has been consecrated unto Him alone.  God is not interested in our religious trappings; He is interested in believers who want an intimate relationship with Him and are willing to pay the price to obtain it.  In the Song of Solomon there were virgins without number, but there was only one Beloved, only one bride with whom He would be intimate and lover.

Our blessing is His Life.  When we possess our Father’s heart and He fully possesses us we will not be turned away to other gods.  We will pursue His life and presence with all that is within us.  We will be His sanctuary, His priesthood and His beloved.  It is time for us to make the choice of life or death, blessing or cursing.  If we continue lukewarm and double-minded He will spew us out of His mouth. We must prepare the way of the Lord for He is coming to a bride as it says in Ephesians 5:27, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  Today is our day to repent and return unto Him with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength.  He is worthy.

Blessings,

#kent

Whirlwind

June 13, 2019

 

Whirlwind

 

Nahum 1:3

The LORD [is] slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit [the wicked]: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds [are] the dust of his feet.

 

Are things being stirred up in our lives?  Have you thought of having an orderly life only to find it going in more different ways than you ever thought possible?  There is a whirlwind moving through our lives, a force of separation that is stirring up and sifting all that is chaff in us.  Left to ourselves, we would be content to let the mud settle out in our lives and the water clear.  On the surface we would look pretty clear and clean, but God knows what lies down in the inner recesses of our hearts.  He is not going to leave it alone and let it stay there.  There is often a whirlwind that passes through our lives and circumstances that stir up things in our lives we might not have even known were there.  There are areas of our lives, feelings, emotions, passions, desires and appetites, that may lie suppressed but never dealt with.  Have you ever thought why is it that things are suddenly coming out of my mouth I would have never thought to say, or things are coming up in my soul I thought were gone.   God is often the whirlwind in the storms that moves through our lives and soul.  The purpose of the whirlwind is to deal with the hidden things in our hearts that have been forgotten, repressed or that we weren’t even aware that they had residence in us.  These whirlwinds that move through our soul can be very unsettling because the Holy Spirit is revealing and showing our true heart in areas.  Sometimes that can be a much uglier sight than we care to admit.  He doesn’t do it to condemn us or embarrass us, He does it to purify us and bring into the light those things in all of us that we have cloaked in darkness and tucked away in the closets of our heart.  The Lord is cleaning His house, He is getting into the closets of our hearts and pulling out all that junk that we had so neatly packed away.  We all know that when we clean something out, in the process we can have quite a mess as we sort through and separate the good from the bad, the needed from the unneeded.  Sometimes our lives can get in quite a mess as the whirlwind of the Holy Spirit is moving through areas of our lives and cleaning house.

Is it disturbing, is it unsettling, is it often bringing us shame or feelings of unworthiness?  Yes, it does all of these things.   Once it is out in the light, then we need to decide what we are going to do with it.  Luke 12:2-3 says, “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.  Therefore, whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

An unfortunate part of life to us, is that often, our pain reveals to us a problems that we would continue to ignore if it weren’t significant enough to draw our attention to it.  We know that we can experience more than physical pain.  It is often our heart felt pains, that bring to light our heart problems.  Praise God He loves us just the way we are, but too much to leave us that way.  Don’t despair if you going through this process in your life.   We must be willing to relinquish these areas to the Lord, lay them upon the altar, repent of them and find our right standing in His forgiveness and deliverance that He wants to bring to us.  In God’s process of cleaning us up our waters are going to get pretty murky at times as His whirlwind is passing through, but it is because He is working a deeper and purifying work in you.  1 Peter 4:17, “For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

Blessings,

#kent

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

 

What does this tree of knowledge of good and evil mean today?  I would suppose the same thing it meant when God told Adam not to eat of the tree of good and evil, but to partake of the tree of Life. The Word tells us, “The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord.” The Word of God defines what the fear of the Lord is, by telling us it means to hate evil.  When we live in this world, we live around good and evil each day of our lives. We are to live a life trying to find out what pleases the Lord and to avoid evil or the mixture of good and evil at all cost.

 

The Word also tells us we are to “Put on the Mind of Christ.” We are to “Renew our minds in Christ Jesus.” In fact, we are to be so identified with Christ, Paul tells us, “It is no longer I that lives, but Christ Jesus who lives within me.” How about, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.”

The Word also exhorts us to “Not walk after the flesh but after the Sprit.” It also tells us “Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely and of good report, think on these things.” I believe when the Word tells us to put on the Mind of Christ, it is so important to understand that it is an act of our will…and act of our choice. Adam and Eve both had the same choice and because of their wrong choice, look what it has cost all of mankind.

 

We have but one lifetime to live for God so we in turn will live out eternity in His presence…with all Adam and Eve had before they chose to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and lose His presence in their lives. When Jesus came, He led the way back to the Father, showing us, He came only to do His Father’s will and we have the same choice. We should strive to live as Christ out of the Spirit of Christ in us. Because man could not earn for himself God’s approval, Jesus came to not only live His life doing God’s will…but yielded up His life of His own choice to pay the price so we wouldn’t have to try and earn God’s approval.

 

In the book of Exodus, just as the death angel passed over all the houses in Egypt who bore the blood of a lamb over the door posts, so also eternal death will pass by all who are covered by the Blood of Jesus. When we have chosen to be identified with Christ and what Jesus did for us on the cross, this is finding God’s approval; this is the mindset we are to live for. If man could have saved himself, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come and pay the high price He paid for our sin.

 

Blessings,

Sharon

Spoiled Leftovers

May 28, 2019

 

Spoiled Leftovers

 

Colossians 3:5-11

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.  7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

 

When we were saved and came into Christ we may have experienced a wonderful salvation and deliverance experience.  While we by faith stepped into Christ and heavenly places not all of our old baggage fell by the wayside at that moment.  While we were forgiven and all of our sins were washed away, it didn’t mean we never sinned or fell short again.  The reality is that God didn’t just take all of the responsibility away from us and say now you are all pure, holy and you are just like me.  In our spirits He did.  In that inner man there is one in the likeness of Christ.  But for that “Christ in us” to possess all of us it is a life-long process and one only fully consummated at His presence or coming.

Meanwhile we are caught up in the battleground of the mind and soul.  Our inner man is intent on holiness, righteous and conformity to Christ, but sin still wants to work in our outward members.  Did you ever have a beautiful refrigerator with great food in it, but you keep smelling this stench and wonder where is that odor coming from?  You keep digging and digging and finally you find a baggy with an old rotten onion, so you throw that out, but it still stinks.  You look some more and you open up this yogurt container that has more hairy mold than you’ve got whiskers.  You grimace and wrinkle your nose as you throw it out.  Still there is this smell, but what you find is that some of the foods you really like are the culprits.  Oh man, you don’t want to throw those out, because you really like them, even if they aren’t good for you, so you tuck them away so they will be less noticeable, but you can still munch on them when you get the urge.  Likely it is not the spirit man that wants to hold on to them, it is the flesh.  We have ways of justifying our flesh and our little stashes where we make provision for those things we outwardly love, crave or don’t want to let go of.

What we deal with is that if we are maintaining a relationship with Christ and seeking to please Him in all of our ways we run into conflict.  The Holy Spirit only allows us to indulge in our little hidden treasures for a time until He begins to put His finger on them.  Now it comes down to our will or His.  The truth is, that to His nose, these things are spoiled leftovers of our past nature and they are a stench to Him, but will we let go of them?  The Cross takes no prisoners in its process of holiness.  It exercises extreme prejudice on those things our flesh holds dear, because they represent idolatry to the Lord.  They are the place where our affections, commitments and loyalties often diverge from the Spirit as we make provisions for the flesh.

Most all of us deal with strongholds, these giants in our land, in one area or another that keep defying the living God.  Only as the Spirit of God rises up in us with dominion and authority will we conquer and overcome the strong will of rebellion that still abides in us.  It must to be our will in union with His.  Only as we relinquish everthing, every emotion, and every desire, can Christ be fully Lord of the land.  Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  What are we going to do with our spoiled leftovers?

Blessings,

#kent

Affectionately Loving One Another

Romans 12:10

 

[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

 

Did you ever notice that the people that you end up neglecting and abusing the most are usually the ones you say that you love the most?  They are most often your family, close friends, or even your brothers and sisters in Christ.  The ironic thing is, that we often give preference to the ones or the things that are putting the more demands and abuses on our lives, but in the scheme of things are less in importance.  Somehow, we just expect those we love and prefer to understand when we put them last on our agenda or speak or treat them harshly.  Perhaps many of you, like myself, find your lives out of balance with your priorities and preferences.  In a society in which we find ourselves running like crazy in a thousand different directions, with people and pressures pressing in on us on every side, when something has to give, it is usually our family.   That can apply to both our immediate families as well as the family of God.  Isn’t it strange that we are doing all of these things that in our minds we consider for the benefit of our families and yet they are often suffering as a result of them?  What’s wrong that picture?

I speak this first for my own benefit and then for the benefit of anyone else who thinks it may apply to them.  I find I get an agenda set in my mind and I’m not real tolerant of interruptions to that agenda.  Some of you, like myself, may find that you have created walls of hurt and wounded the ones closest to you.  You have communicated to them so many times through your actions and words that they aren’t as important or as valuable as so many other things in your life.  My feeling is that this is a major problem with good many of our families and relationships.  We all need to get our priorities in order.  God and his people are often at the forefront of our offense list.  It is not usually something we do intentionally and often quite subtly these neglects and abuses creep in to undermine our most precious relationships and destroy one of the most valuable commodities we possess, our families, friends and brethren.  We often put up our pretty fronts around others, but the loved ones so often see a whole different face and attitude.

Those closest to us rub us the hardest.  We would most like to blame them for being the problem with us, but in reality, if we didn’t already have a problem then a lot of what they did wouldn’t irritate us so.   Like the old saying goes, “You can’t get a person’s goat unless they have a goat to be got.”

The unconditional love of God prefers the other above themselves.  It displays that preference by being affectionate.  The connotation of our theme verse is to be tenderly reciprocating love and caring in a relational way as with a parent and child, or husband and wife.  It is preferring the other above yourself.  Please join with me in making it our goal to set the priorities of our relationships and commitments straight.  Let our God be at the forefront of all that we do, then our family, our relationships with each, then those outside and then us.   Let’s make our first priority to invest in the eternal things and then the temporal.

Blessings,

#kent

Time in His Presence

May 20, 2019

Time in His Presence

1 Chronicles 16:27

Glory and honour [are] in his presence; strength and gladness [are] in his place.

Psalms 16:11

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

The world has little to offer in comparison to those times we come into the presence of our God.  There is nothing else that can be so humbling and yet so edifying as His presence.  It is a privilege we far too often forsake because it requires time, waiting and attending unto the Lord, praise, worship and adoration of His most worthy and holy Name.  The Lord doesn’t want us to take Him lightly or just address Him in passing.  The rich times are most often found as we approach Him with the right attitude of heart, with honesty, with true reverence and appreciation for all that we can comprehend Him to be. Think about the intimacy in our human relationships and how real bonding and closeness requires our time and attention to that other person, so that they know that our heart is set totally on them and they are the complete object of our affection and love.  Unfortunately we treat our relationship with God much like our human relationships where we pay lip service for a few minutes and give an outward show of affection, but our real motive is our own gratification and the fulfillment of our wants and desires.  The reality is it is centered on us not the person of our God we say we want to be in relationship with.  God knows our hearts and our motives.  We may fool people, but we won’t fool Him. 

When we truly come into God’s presence it is all about Him.  It is about loving and ministering to Him strictly based on who He is and because He is so worthy of our highest praise and love.  It is about losing ourselves in worship and as much as is possible forgetting the time constraints that so often rob us of what we could have.  God is certainly not insensitive to our need, but the fact is He has already provided for it.  Isn’t it time that we spent more time appreciating and thanking Him for what He has already provided whether we see it manifested in this world or not.  Hebrews 11:6 says, ” But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  Notice God is a rewarder of those who “diligently” seek Him.  That means we are seeking with earnest and determination.  When He rewards us with His presence, when His glory even rains lightly upon us, there is no greater reward we could ask.  It is the wellspring of joy; the peace that passes understanding and the unspeakable love that fills our hearts.  It is so worth the time we spent seeking Him.  The precious thing is that we have touched His heart as well as Him having touched ours.  We have met the Lord’s desire for intimate fellowship and relationship.  This is what He is calling His bride into in this hour, that place of intimate relationship with Him.  Eventually God wants to bring us to the place that these times are not just an occasional happening, but they become a lifestyle of living in the presence of our God; where we practice His presence everyday, in every activity, from the most mundane to the most glorious.  He is always there in our hearts, in our thoughts, in our continual expression of worship through the continual prayer and praise we breathe and through our daily routine of work and life.  No greater reward can this life hold than God’s presence.  When He is there we are walking in heavenly places.  We have “come up hither” as the Lord speaks to John in the book of Revelation.  We find there a new dimension of life and purpose this present life can not offer.  We will find there strength, power and provision to carry out the calling God has for each one of our lives.  Take the time to find His presence.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Forgiveness

May 16, 2019

 

Forgiveness

 

Ephesians 1:7-10

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.

 

Forgiveness is a word that we use a lot and often fail to really consider the depth of what it implies and what it accomplishes.  Forgiveness is a necessary ingredient before any true restoration and reconciliation can take place in a relationship where an offence has occurred on the part of one or both parties.  Where an offence remains not forgiven, it may be pushed down or ignored by the offended one, but when forgiveness is not released it is like getting a splinter under the skin.  Even a small splinter that is not released will begin to fester and be a constant source of agitation until it is removed.

God, in His great wisdom, saw all the offences we committed toward Him as human beings.   While we might have good intentions, we have come to realize that God’s standards of holiness and righteousness are not obtainable in our fallen state and so we are a constant source of offense to Him.  We have come to realize that under God’s mandate and law we are all destined for judgement and the eternal consequences for our sins.  This was not God’s plan.  His plan was to provide for us forgiveness.  Through the sacrifice and the shedding of the blood of His perfect Son, He could extend release and pardon to us for our offences and sin.  God’s heart is to reconcile, redeem and restore His creation back to Himself and He paid the ultimate price to do so.  We all know what we deserve, but the mercy and grace of God said, “no”.  He has extended to us the olive branch of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation through the blood of His own precious Son.  God, in Christ, has done all the hard part for us and all we have to do is extend the hands of faith and receive this great and precious gift of forgiveness and pardon.

Imagine that you have murdered someone in the heat of passion, and you have been tried, found guilty and sentenced to death.  Nothing you can do can undo the consequences of your sin.  Then one day the son of the president comes to you and says, “You know that you have committed a crime and the debt and punishment for that crime has to be paid.  I am here to take your place; pay for the crime and let you go free.  It will be just as if you had never committed that crime.  It will be erased from your record.”  If you accept this exchange, then the doors to the prison open and you are free to go.  As if that were not great enough, the president’s son tells you that now that you are free, he wants you to assume the position of the president’s son with all of its rights, powers and privileges.  Wouldn’t we be a fool not to accept such an offer?  Obviously, in turn we would owe the president and his son our lives for that exchange.  Obviously, what he is offering is far better than what we were facing.  We don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.  The point is that if we never accept the pardon and we hold on to our offence then it can never be pardoned or released.  With every gift given there is an exchange, but for the exchange to be complete it must be received.  The gift isn’t mine till I accept it from you, and I can never open it and experience its contents until I am willing to reach out, take it and open it.

In our human relationships forgiveness is an important part of our interactions with one another.  We offend and hurt one another rather intentionally or unintentionally all the time and we need to ask and extend to one another forgiveness.  As Christians we are commanded of God to forgive others as Christ has forgiven you and gave Himself for you.  Many of us are struggling with our relationship with both God and man because we have been unwilling to release forgiveness.  It doesn’t mean that we extend forgiveness and are expected to continue in a hurtful or destructive situation given a choice, but we need to forgive to set ourselves free.  It is the only way we can get those splinters of offense out of us.  When we withhold forgiveness, we create a dam that withholds the love of God from flowing through us.  We close our heart and emotionally detach ourselves.

Many of us need the restoration and the reconciliation that can only come, as we are willing to release forgiveness.  We can’t always be responsible for the other party accepting it, but we can release it and thereby release ourselves.  Often pride, on both sides, is the greatest hindrance to our reconciliation.  You can see why God loves humility in us, because it is not too proud to say when it is wrong and it is not to proud to forgive someone, even when they don’t deserve our forgiveness.

Unfortunately, our unwillingness to forgive can become for us a puddle of self –pity that we continue to wallow in and feel sorry for ourselves.   We can do the same thing with our unwillingness to receive forgiveness.  We remain in the bondage of our offenses.

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful instruments of love that the Lord has ever given to us.  We all need to take it, use it and exercise it often.  Nothing can set us free and restore right relationships like forgiveness.  It can unlock the many prison doors of our hearts and sets us free to love and be loved with the love of God.

Search your heart and if you find their a hurt, a wound and offense that someone has committed either intentionally or unintentionally, exercise the gift of Father’s love and forgive them.  You are right.  They may not deserve it, but then neither did we.  When we set others free, we free ourselves and become again, an instrument and a heart that God’s love can flow through.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The God of all Comfort

 

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

 

We don’t always have explanations for the things we go through in life.  God does not always move in the realm of our time or our way of thinking.  We obviously would pray ourselves out of every trying and suffering circumstance, but God doesn’t always remove those hardships and the unpleasantries of life from us.  It is reassuring when we look at Paul and the apostles lives to see that though none probably walked closer and nearer to God than they did, they were not immune to hardship and suffering.  Yet here in this passage Paul speaks of our God and Father as being the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Yet the God of all comfort spared not His own Son.  Hebrew 5:7-9 tells us, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Even God’s own Son offered up strong prayers to be delivered from death and yet He had to go through it.  It tells us that even Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered “being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.”  So, is God sadistic?  Does He enjoy seeing people suffer?  You know, Adam and Eve didn’t have any trouble obeying and living sinless lives as long as there was no temptation or trials.  The difference is, where they failed in that they had never known hardship or suffering, Christ, the last Adam, overcame through death and suffering.  Trials and hardships are a part of our lives, but they aren’t there because God is mean and sadistic.  The fact is, that there are many times we wouldn’t be able to survive them if it weren’t for His comfort and grace.  Opposition is the element that forces us into a place of strength.  When we face oppositions that are beyond our strength, it forces us into someone stronger than we are.  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.”  It is in our weakness that we find our true strength, which is our God.  Our natural inclination is to want to be delivered and get out of the place of hardship, suffering and pain, but in that place is often the greatest work of transformation in our lives.  As we experience death outwardly, it forces us into life inwardly.  We begin to trust and rely upon God in ways we never would have otherwise.  And God is not insensitive to your pain.  He indwells you, so He is sharing your sufferings, your trials and your hardships.  His Word and the Life of His Spirit are there to comfort and encourage you.  Likewise others who have traveled this road come along side of you and identify with you, encouraging you in the place where you are.  What is being worked in us through our suffering and hardships is working in us the nature of comfort and compassion that we could not have had if we never walked that way.  With our suffering, God gives us comfort and reassurance.  We know that we are His; that He purchased us with a great price of suffering.  We have been privileged to share in that suffering as well as in the blessing, so that we also might learn obedience through the things we suffer and might be made perfect as Christ perfects us.

No precious vessel of honor becomes that way instantly or naturally.  There is a process that takes it from a place of rough raw materials, through crushing, purification and separations, to tooling, hammering crafting and polishing, till finally from the Master’s hand immerges the prize of such intense dealings and pain.  Is God preparing you as His mantle piece today?  See through the suffering into His heart of compassion and love, for whom the Lord loves He chastens.  Know that He is there with us in those hard places and He shares in our hurts, disappointments, sorrows and sicknesses.  See through the darkness of the hardships of this life into the light of His eternal love and comfort.  He has not left you or forsaken you, but is mighty in you to bring you through to victory.

Blessings,

#kent

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