Love that Binds

June 16, 2017

Ephesians 4:1-6

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Love that Binds

Unity in a family, a marriage or in the body of Christ is found when we are all operating out of a communication of love.  People are unique and we will always have our differences from one another.  That is the way our good Lord created us to be.  In our differences He poured into us the bonding and the glue of His love so that we are able to patiently bear the irregularities of all those people that God didn’t make just like me.  Love is never really exercised and grown unless it is stretched and challenged.  People will certainly do that to you.  I personally found that just keeping to yourself and doing your own thing makes it easier to love people, but that is a long distance love.  God’s love is most often up close and personal.  It is often a decision rather than a feeling.  Whatever our relationships with people God knows we are going to have our differences.  Obviously, outside of Christ, we are much different than God.  In fact, He says before we were saved we were His enemies.  Romans 8:7 says, “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”  What reconciled us to God was first His love for us, not our love for Him.  This is a key example that we forget in so many of our relationships.  We are most often reactionary, returning kind for kind and love for love or even hate for hate.  God does not just react to our rejection of His love.  If He did the human race would have been extinct long ago.  His love is deliberate and it has purpose.  His love is to gather you in His arms and impart Himself into you. 

That bring us to where God is bringing each of us in our expression of love.  If we are loving out of our human condition and our feelings of love, then our love will always be conditional and full of limitations.  God has called us to live out of His love which is unconditional and loves the unlovely as much as the lovely.   Living a life worthy of the calling is living life out of the foundation of love.  Who is love?  We know that God is love so if we are to love as He loved we can only do that as we submit to His love to reign in our hearts and find expression through our hands. 

The apostle Paul exhorts us here to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  He is not saying it is always easy, but in order to do it you have to lose your importance and your impatience.  Humility has been defined as “strength under control”.  That strength and humility of love learns to prefer others above itself.  It becomes more aware, concerned and active in meeting another’s needs than it does its own.  Love makes every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  We soon learn through life’s experiences that even among other Christian not all are willing or wanting to reciprocate your love for them.  Most of us are aware that even in our own selves we often are acting out of our flesh or giving place to an ungodly spiritual influence or spirit.  When that is present we can be quite confrontational, unfriendly and irreconcilable.  When we encounter that reaction towards us from others, even if they are our brothers or sisters, we have to see it with spiritual eyes of love and discernment, not getting caught up in the spirit of division that is at work.  Often times we end up taking some punches we don’t deserve and in love we learn to turn the other check.  It is not about us being right or winning an argument.  It is about the love of God triumphing even in an ugly situation.  Many of us get caught up in our emotions and feelings and if that soulish part of us is not being tempered by the Spirit we will get off into the flesh and certainly will not be known by our love in those moments. 

The stream of God Spirit takes a lot of rough jagged rocks in the river bed and rubs them together until over time they become smooth stones.  That is what we are becoming those smooth stones, but the process is brought about by agitation, irritations, irregularities and confrontations.   It is  the Love of God that is the fluid that heals, blends, forgives and ultimately loves through us in the unity of one Spirit. Perfection takes a good deal of practice.  God has put us with one another to learn to practice His love.  God’s love should be what binds us together until we work out our differences and that may just be loving and accepting the other for where they are at.  God has us all on different rows and we at different places in our walk with Him.  Above all let the love of Christ prevail in our relationships.  If the world is ever to know us by our love, then they first have to see it in action in though our lives and behavior towards one another.

 

Blessings,

#kent

John 1:12-13

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 

Conformed to the Image of the Son

“Who I am is not what I am in the eyes of the world, but who I am is what I am in the eyes of the Father.  He sees me completed in Him and conformed to the likeness of His Son, because I also have been given the privilege of sonship and He has placed His DNA in me.  I am growing up into His name, His nature and His likeness.” 

Is this your statement of faith, your belief and your conviction?

You may be saying to yourself I would like it to be, but you don’t how I really am and how I struggle with some things.  Faith in Christ is not a statement of your circumstances and how things appear to be.  Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “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.”  What are you fixing your eyes upon today?  Is it your shortcomings, your sins, your failures, your inadequacies and all the reasons and condemnation as to why you don’t feel like a son or daughter of the Most High God?  The Father sees you in the righteousness of His Son, because He became sin for you so that you might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  If you can only see the negative things about yourself then you are only focusing on what the accuser is throwing up before you and not what God is saying and thinking about you.  Jesus Christ is the way past all that we can’t be in our old self.  His blood still stands to wash away all filth and shame, so that we might enter in and boldly come before our God in the righteousness of Jesus name.  A new creation man can make a statement like we began with, because he or she knows who they are in Christ and what their identity is.  Why do we still want to hold on to that which has been crucified with Christ when such a marvelous legacy and identity has been given to us.  Put on Christ and with the mind of Christ put away your former ways of thinking, especially about yourself. 

We are currently in concert with the Holy Spirit to live and bring our lives in alignment with the Christ within us.  Romans 8:12-13 says, “Therefore, 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.”  It is no longer you or I trying to overcome sin in the strength of our flesh.  We now have an ally that makes possible what was not possible under the law.  The law only exposed our weakness and inability to save ourselves.  But now we have the Spirit of God within to enable us in the areas of our weakness and failure.  It becomes evident that this is a journey in which God isn’t going to do it all apart from you just because you made a statement of faith.  That statement and commitment of faith is a covenant.  The covenant is between you and Him.  He will do His part, but it is dependent upon your commitment to do your part.  It is this marriage of your soul with His Spirit that produces sonship as we faithfully abide in Him.

Do you know who you are now?  You need to know who you are in order to become what you are.  He has made you privy to His mystery as revealed in Colossians 1:26-27: “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This a basic revelation truth you must lay hold of if you want to come into the fullness of who you are in Christ.  He has given you His NAME.  Everything He is is contained in that NAME, His character, His nature, His power, His authority and His love.  He has given us the most precious and powerful gift that could be had in the entire universe.  He has given us Himself.  Now He is asking that in the acceptance of that gift you begin to identify and walk in all that is contained in who you now are IN HIM.  

RISE UP IN YOUR SONSHIP AND BECOME CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF THE SON!

Blessings,

#kent

Psalms 22:24

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

The Despised and the Afflicted

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Lending

February 20, 2017

Lending

Exodus 22:25

If thou lend money to [any of] my people [that is] poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. 

What is the Lord’s heart toward lending and loans?  Deuteronomy 15:6-8 says, “For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee. If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, [in that] which he wanteth.”  God has promised blessing upon His people who are obedient to His ways.   It is His will that we are the lenders and not the borrowers.  It is His will that we are the head and not the tail.  In this position of blessing, He has given us abundance to be a blessing, especially to our brethren and the saints of God.  If we are in this position He gives us warning about how we conduct ourselves with regards to charging interest or otherwise extorting from those to whom we would lend.  It would appear, according to God’s Word that God has blessed those who are the lenders so that they may be a blessing to help and lend to those who are in a place of need.  With regards to the body of Christ the principle would be that we do not lend for personal gain, but to help our brother in need without charging interest upon the loan.  On the other hand it would be wrong of the borrower to take advantage of the lender and not make good on the loan by repaying it as promptly as possible.  Even if that were the case, the Lord would have us to forgive the debt rather than hold ought against our brother.  Jesus gives us this principle in Luke 6:33-36, “And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend [to them] of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”  Our lending is akin to our giving; it is a principle of the nature of who we are in Christ.  This is a different concept than how the world views things.  

Deuteronomy 23:20 says, “Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” While Old Testament teaches that it is acceptable to charge interest to those in the world, Christ would temper us by saying “let love, compassion and mercy rule your heart rather than greed and covetousness.  While it is not always easy to apply these principle in the world of business and commerce we must be mindful that our first priority above getting wealth and gain is to have the heart of the Father in all that we do.  There will always be those who have more and those who have less.  If we are in the place of having more then our greater reward in heaven is not by exploiting that advantage for personal gain, but by using it to help the poor and less fortunate.  If we groan about this responsibility, the Lord might remind us that He could quite easily let us switch places and we can assume the place of the borrower and the one in need if we think that would more desirable.  If you are in the place of the lender today rejoice that God has given you the privilege of being in the place of being a blessing to your brother.  He has blessed you in a place of stewardship over not what is yours, but what is His.   “He who is faithful over little, He will make faithful over much.”  

Perhaps there are some reading this today that need to bring these issues before the Lord and get His mind on how they are conducting their affairs in this area.  Philippians 2:4 gives us this principle to guide and live our lives by, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”  Simply put, we are all, “our brother’s keeper” and we all have a responsibility to take care of one another even when it doesn’t benefit us in the natural sense.  “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5)”

Blessings,

#kent

The Touch of God

January 24, 2017

The Touch of God

 Job 5:17-19

Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. 

What is contained in a touch?  A touch can communicate many things.  It can communicate tenderness or affliction, mercy or wrath, healing or wounding, virtue or hurt, both love and displeasure.  In the Law of Moses there were many commandments of touch not and taste not, but in Christ, righteousness is by faith.  Those that Jesus touched and those who sought to touch Him found the communication of His virtue, healing, power and life passed to them.  What is contained in a touch is what is in the heart of the one who touches.  

When God touches the lives of His beloved we know that His heart is love.  It is God’s love that desires to bring our hearts and will into conformity with His nature and purpose within us.  We have learned as parents and as children that love can be both tender and it can be tough.  God loves us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way.  The touch of God may not always appear to us to be of love, because sometimes it is severe and our understanding is limited.  While God may afflict us and correct us in one area, in another we may see His hand of blessing and deliverance.  I don’t begin to pretend I know the mind and counsel of God, but what I do know is that God is love, therefore all that He does is motivated out of the attribute of that character.  In Job 5 Eliphaz is giving His counsel to Job and He makes these remarks about His observation of the nature of God in verses 8- 27.  ““But if it were I, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. 9 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. 10 He bestows rain on the earth; he sends water upon the countryside. 11 The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. 12 He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. 13 He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away. 14 Darkness comes upon them in the daytime; at noon they grope as in the night. 15 He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. 16 So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.17″Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. 18 For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. 19 From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you. 20 In famine he will ransom you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword. 21 You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes. 22 You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the beasts of the earth. 23 For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you. 24 You will know that your tent is secure; you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing. 25 You will know that your children will be many, and your descendants like the grass of the earth. 26 You will come to the grave in full vigor, like sheaves gathered in season. 27 “We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.””  The Lord is our savior, healer, defender and deliver, but He is also our disciplinarian and the corrector of our ways.  We often attribute our trials and afflictions to our sins, but God isn’t just dealing with sin, that was dealt with in the blood of Jesus.  God is preparing us for a much greater calling, as He was Job.  Job wasn’t dealt with so severely because of His sin, it was God working a greater transformation and calling in Job’s life through the fire of testing and trials.  It was Job’s integrity and faithfulness through the trials that he came forth into a place of priesthood ministry and double-portion blessing.  God doesn’t touch you with affliction to bring you down, but rather to bring you up.  Keep your eyes upon His promises and trust His heart.

Maybe you are in that hard place today.  Maybe you don’t understand why and God seems slow to move on your behalf.  Find that place of faith, rest and trust in Him.  Just humble yourself and commit all of you ways to Him.  You can trust that rather in life or death, blessings or affliction, God’s heart for you is love and what He is working is to bring you up and not to bring you down.  Allow God to touch your life to your ultimate benefit that your end may be blessed and fruitful to His glory.

Blessings,

#kent

The Hard Place

January 5, 2017

Lamentations 3:17-25

I cannot find peace or remember happiness. 18I tell myself, “I am finished! I can’t count on the LORD 

to do anything for me.” 19Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable. 

20That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed. 21Then I remember something that fills me with hope. 22The LORD’s kindness never fails! If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed. 23The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning. 24Deep in my heart I say, “The LORD is all I need; I can depend on him!” 25The LORD is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys him. 26It is good for the LORD to save us. 

The Hard Place

As I was waiting upon the Lord for what to write this morning, He brought this song to my mind.  “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.  His mercies never come to an end.  He is new every morning, new every morning.  Great is your faithfulness oh Lord, great is your faithfulness.”  This led me to this scripture in Lamentations, where the prophet Jeremiah is being sorely afflicted.  He feels cast down, abandoned and like the Lord Himself has even turned against him.  In the midst of his discouragement, he does like David; He sets his mind on the goodness of God and His faithfulness.  He remembers that though the Lord may allow affliction and hard times to come upon us, He will never forsake us or leave us.  His mercies are new every morning.  

There are those of us that are standing in the furnace of afflictions today.  There are those of us that will be there tomorrow and there are those of us that have recently come out of that place.  It is a difficult place and a hard place.  It is a place that tries and stretches our faith and questions the goodness and the love of God.  Isn’t it wonderful that as we look back through God’s word we see so many examples of God’s people who were in this place?  They felt the same things you have.  They cried out to God, and many times it may have seemed liked the Lord had become deaf to their cries.  Yet, there was something down in their spirit that wouldn’t let go, they just couldn’t curse and forsake the Lord.  Even Jesus came into the midst of those that mocked Him, cursed Him, spit upon Him, beat, wounded and bruised Him.  Ultimately they crucified Him.  As He hung on the cross, He cried out, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”  Have we ever felt that, like you were all alone and God had turned His back on you?  

Paul tells us in Colossians 1:21-24, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”  In this place of affliction I believe God is tempering the steel of your godly character and faithfulness.  In this place God’s purpose is not to destroy you, but only your flesh which hinders you.  In this place you truly grasp the meaning of what it is to be crucified with Christ, yet nevertheless you live, yet not you, but Christ in you.  It forces you to reach down for something greater than yourself and to find a strength that is not your own.  This is when you begin to lay hold of the resurrection life of Christ that is more powerful than the death and pain that surrounds you.  This is the place where you are pressed into Him and a dimension of life you could have never discovered when everything was going well.  It is in that place of death that you find life and faith that sustains you and keeps you in the midst of the fiery furnace.  That is where you look over and find that other person standing with you in the furnace of affliction, like unto the Son of man, that won’t allow the fire to singe your faithfulness, but only consume from you the natural ropes that had bound you.  It is in this hard place that God is raising you up into a life not your own.  What the enemy had determined for evil, God will use for good.  What the enemy thought would discourage and separate from the Lord has only caused you to enter in and experience a greater dimension of His life and grace.  

If you are in this place, don’t be discouraged and don’t give up.  God loves you and He hasn’t forsaken you.  He is simply perfecting in you the pure gold of His nature and character.  You are precious in His sight and whom the Lord loves He chastens and purifies.  Remember, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases and His mercies are new every morning.

Blessings, 

#kent

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

Malachi 3:1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

The Substance of a Life

December 20, 2016

1 Corinthians 3:11-13

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 

The Substance of a Life

2 Corinthians 5:13 says, “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We who are in Christ are new creatures.  We have a new recipe and it is not the same as the man of the earth, our flesh and our natural man.  We are now a creation of the Spirit of God, birthed into the nature of God, ‘old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.’  

I remember an illustration once given by a pastor’s wife who had a neighbor that loved her cake and wanted the recipe.  She gave the recipe to her neighbor and her neighbor went home to bake the cake.  Later when she talked to the neighbor the neighbor told her that her recipe was terrible and the cake didn’t taste good at all.  Now the pastor’s wife was surprised at this and began to inquire about how she baked it.  

She asked, “Did you use real butter?” 

The neighbor said, “No, I didn’t have any butter so I used margarine.”  

She asked, “Did you use real vanilla extract?”

“No,” said the neighbor, “I didn’t have that so I used imitation vanilla flavoring.”

“You did use the condensed milk didn’t you?

“No, I didn’t have that either so I used powdered milk.” 

Throughout the whole recipe the neighbor had substituted something else for the true ingredients called for, but in her mind it was the recipe that was bad.  How many times do we do that with God’s Word and His recipe for our lives? We want to substitute natural ingredients for spiritual ones.  We want to do things our way rather than His, then when things don’t turn out we blame God for the bad recipe.  

There is an old adage; “The proof is in the pudding.”  Simply put the proof is what is produced in something.  Our works and our life will one-day stand the fire and judgement of God’s scrutiny.  What proof will be in our pudding?  What will be left standing will be what was built upon the incorruptible life of God.  It will be the ingredients of His recipe.  If we have or are building our life on any other substance than His Word and His Life then the day will reveal it.  We may be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.  

We must ask ourselves, “What is our life’s work producing.”  Is it producing a godly seed in our children?  Is it the opportunity to minister and demonstrate Christ in the workplace?  Is it the opportunity taken to pour into the lives of our neighbors and others through acts of kindness and love?  Is it ministering to the needy and less fortunate and supporting ministries that are?  Is it centering our life on the foundation of Jesus Christ and becoming that new creature as we follow the recipe of His Holy Word?  

We all like to hear and interrupt things our way.  We all like to act in our best interest and for our benefit.  When we start building the house of God with the tools of the flesh we aren’t going to get spiritual results.  We are going to get a mixture of flesh and spirit, a pollution of what God has intended.  Many of us can see the results of those mixtures in our lives today.  They have not produced for us lives of power and victory.  Often it has produced shame and defeat.  What is even worse is that so often it has brought shame and reproach upon the name of our Lord.  

God has a recipe and if we want our lives to come forth in the light of His glory, then we need to follow it the best we can as we rely upon the Holy Spirit to direct and help us in implementing His Truth.  For the best results of seeing the promises of God’s Word fulfilled in your life, follow the recipe.  It will produce the substance of His Life in you.

Blessings,

#kent

Unfeigned Love

December 13, 2016

1 Peter 1:22-23

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Unfeigned Love

As the Holy Spirit dropped this phrase into my heart this morning, I thought, “What does that mean, “unfeigned love?”  It is described as love without disguise, hypocrisy or ulterior motive.  It is a love that truly operates in the best interest of another and not just one’s self.  It is a sincere love.  So often there is such a difference in what people portray to others through what they say and how they act, but their heart and motives don’t line up with what they are portraying.  We know that as hypocrisy, which is an act of pretending to be something you really aren’t.  

Part of the fruit and action of purifying our souls in obedience to the truth through the Spirit, is to really love others as we would love ourselves. It is to love them out of a pure heart free from bitterness, malice, jealousy, unforgiveness or covetousness.  We are to love one another as Christ has loved us, unconditionally and honestly.  It is important in that relationship of love that we have with our brethren that we can be forthright with one another.  So often we have gotten into the habit of covering our true feelings with some excuse or explanation rather than really being able to share our heart and true feelings.  We find ourselves being deceitful rather than saying anything that might upset somebody and yet we may be speaking evil, gossiping and maligning them behind their back, because of what is truly in our hearts.  When we speak the truth in unfeigned love, our heart and our motives are going to be pure.  We need to be able to work, live and speak to each other in a level of honesty that doesn’t seek to hurt others, but doesn’t hide or disguise the real issue.  We all deal with emotions and feelings about people and situations.  They may not be right, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to deal with them.  Our relationships with one another are the same way, we often need to work through issues we are having with someone concerning anger or selfishness or any number of things.  If we only continue to suppress it, but never deal in love with the problem it only serves to create a root of bitterness that gives the enemy access.  God’s love is honest, open and it lays itself on the line.  When we disguise, hide and conceal our true heart then we create and atmosphere of darkness.  That is the atmosphere that grows the bacteria of satan’s workings.  Honest and unfeigned love keeps us in the light and helps us to work through our issues and struggles with a right heart and a right spirit. 

When we view who we are and what we have been called to be in the light of God’s Word we all need to examine this area of unfeigned love and ask ourselves, “what kind of love am I operating out of in my relationship with others”?  Am I honest and open or am I feigned, disguised and not living in full disclosure.  Ask the Lord to disclose your true heart to you and show you the true attitude and honesty of your love.

Blessings,

#kent

Philippians 3:12-21

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained. 

17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Are You Looking for a Welfare God?

God’s kingdom is not a welfare state.  It is a state of well being.  It is a state that even in the midst of trials, tribulations, temptations and persecution we find His peace that passes understanding.  We can have a state of well being, because His being inhabits us and is present with us in all that we endure.  

Often we don’t quite understand why God doesn’t release all of the resources of His kingdom upon us, after all we are God’s kids and joint heirs with Christ, so why does God often seem to make it so hard for us?  

One thing we can observe from the structure and paradigm that has been developed from our own welfare system and it recipients is this.  Instead of a system that temporarily assists people to get them back into being productive in society, in so many cases it becomes the end in itself.  People draw from it on a permanent basis with a feeling of entitlement that the government owes this to them.  That paradigm is then passed on to the children who grow up with that same sense dependence and entitlement.  If God gave us everything at our whim, we would soon adapt this same attitude of entitlement, as if God really owes us anything.  It is us who owes Him everything.  God gives many blessings and gifts out of His great goodness and generosity, but truly He owes us nothing.  It is His very nature of love that compels Him to love us and provide for us not only the way of salvation, but also His exceeding great and wonderful promises.  If God operated from our every will and desire, it would be us who would the gods and He would simply be our servant.  We can readily see that this is a child mentality.  The child wants to rule the parent and in some cases they do, but that is not God’s design.  The parents will provide for the child what they think is best, not only for the short term, but also for the long term and there won’t always be a meeting of the minds between the child and the parent.  

In Hebrews 5:7-10 we learn something about Jesus as the son of man.  “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”  When Jesus went to the cross it wasn’t the will of His flesh that Jesus followed and obeyed, it was the will of the Father.  He was made perfect through what He suffered.  He is our pattern.  Are we above the master?  Perfection wasn’t an acquisition given by right because he was a Son; it is what He entered into through obedience to the way of suffering and sacrifice.  We are being made perfect, not simply because Christ indwells us, but because of His grace and presence in us, we also are learning the walk of obedience often through the things that we suffer.  It is this reverent submission on our parts that is bringing us into the spiritual maturity as fathers and instructing us in the ways of perfection.  In Matthew 5:48 where Jesus says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  He is instructing us to come into maturity of the spirit by reverent obedience and submission to the Holy Spirit.  We are not children gathered around God’s Christmas tree, we are His sons and daughters being trained up to possess the divine nature and to walk in the love and servant nature of our Most High Father.  Because He loves us so, He trains us through His discipline that may not seem pleasant for the moment, but will work in us the peaceable fruits of righteousness.  

Our lives are not always going to be easy and without trials and adversities, but it is in the hard places that we learn to excel in our faith and dependence in the Lord.  It is there that He proves our hearts and perfects us in His righteousness. 

If you are in the hard place then rejoice, because God is preparing you for greater things.  In the days to come many will be totally unprepared for what will come, but those who have been trained and exercised in their faith will know their God and His faithfulness.  They won’t be offended when everything doesn’t go according to their will or thinking.  They will know how to trust and depend upon Him to lead them and provide for them in the days of desolation.  Thank God that He loves you so much, that He does discipline you, correct you and teach you His highest ways.  Be willing to learn obedience through the things that you suffer.  James 1:4 exhorts us, “But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  Christ in us is our perfection and completion, but it is a work in progress even as it was in Jesus. 

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: