Practical Worship

June 14, 2019

Matthew 25:27-30

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

 

Practical Worship

 

I woke up this morning to an interview on the radio of a young man who purposely became a homeless person for five months as an experiment to see how the church responded to their needs.  I was convicted in my heart as I heard examples that were shared.  In one example there were men who came to the park and handed out sack lunches to the homeless and invited them to hang out with them as they shared the love of Christ. They invited him to church.  When he came, they afterwards gave him a couple of bags of groceries and some money to help him to get to Phoenix.  In another example he hadn’t eaten in about a day and a half.  He had a festering sore on his foot, but was unable to afford the medical attention he needed to treat it.  He went to a church where the people were raising their hands and worshiping the Lord. When he was sharing with some of the people in the church his need, he was told that this was a place to worship the Lord, it was not about meeting his needs.  None of these people knew his true identity and purpose, but he expressed that a part of our worship to God is in how we relate and minister to others.

I began to think about how much of my life is centered around my wants and needs.  I am always praying about how I want the Lord to meet this need and that need in my life, but how much of my energy is spent, how much sensitivity is given to the needs of those that the Lord brings through my life?  Like so many of us, we become hardened and callused at all of the requests we get from the multiple channels of people and organizations calling upon us for financial needs.  The question is, have we become cold and indifferent to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the needy, the sick and the imprisoned?  Have we become so vertical in our worship that there is no more room for a horizontal expression of what that vertical worship should be all about?  If I expect the Lord to meet my needs, what is He expecting of me in ministering to the needs of others?  Am I there and as sensitive to those needs in as much as I can be?  Do I see others as my responsibility or only as a burden and inconvenience?  I became painfully aware of how selfish and self-centered our lives can become.  Why are we so quick to forget it is not about me, but it is all about Him?  Him includes those hungry, thirsty, sick, orphaned, widowed, imprisoned and lost individuals who all need the expression of God’s love and kindness in a very real and practical way.  If I have been created and purposed to be the expression of Him, how is it that I mostly only seem concerned about me?

Perhaps some of you share this same conviction that I feel.  No, we can’t be everything to everyone, but we can be something to those individuals that God brings through our lives.  We can be sensitive to respond to His Spirit’s leading in giving to worthy causes or meeting other’s needs.  After all, this is our purpose and calling in Christ Jesus.

One day we also will stand before the Lord and what will be His response to us for our deeds?

Blessings,

#kent

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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

God of All Comfort

June 12, 2019

 

God of All Comfort

 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

 

Isn’t it such ironies that in the midst of tribulation and trouble we can have comfort and peace?  Has the Lord not given us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be our advocate, defender and to come along side us in our time of need?  The Lord never tells us there won’t be any hard places in life.  Much to the contrary, the way of the Lord is the way of the cross.  The cross crucifies our flesh it doesn’t pamper it.  Yet, in Christ, we see the High Way of Holiness, the road less traveled, the narrow way.  It is a way that we can only travel with the strength and grace of God.  While that road will have its tribulations, God has promised that He will also be our comfort.  This comfort can come in different forms.  It may come through exhortation, admonition or encouragement.  It may come through consolation, solace or that which affords comfort, strength and refreshment.  It is said the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter.  This is considered the Messianic salvation.  Indeed it is our salvation that is the source and well spring of our comfort.  The Holy Spirit is there to live in us, direct us and help us with our needs through life.  What’s more is He often allows us to go through trials and tribulations to experience His salvation, comfort and help.  As a result of what is worked in us through these times the Lord is then able to use us as a source of comfort, strength, exhortation and encouragement to others struggling in like areas.

Paul brings this out in the scriptures that follow our theme scripture: “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you [is] stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so [shall ye be] also of the consolation (2 Corinthtians 1:5-7).” It is so often the way of the cross and the sufferings we share in Christ that works the inner life and character of Christ in us.  We are forged in the furnace of affliction to be an instrument of comfort and life.  Perhaps you have experienced times when you were really low, discouraged or in the midst of a hard trial and another believer was able to come alongside of you and share like experiences where the Lord was their strength and salvation.  Through them sharing the experience that they had passed through and the faithfulness of God for them, you became encouraged.  You began to fix your eyes in faith upon Jesus to see you through your trial and your were comforted and strengthened through their testimony.  This is the way the Lord brings comfort and strength to His body.  A word spoken through other saints of God may give us just what we need in that crucial hour of our trial to speak faith and hope into our hearts and bring comfort to our souls.  This is the function of the Holy Spirit expressing Himself through others for our benefit.  We can all have this function and service and we may all benefit from the gifts and ministries of other believers who are faithful to function in the gifts and abilities the Holy Spirit has given them.  By the same token, you may be robbing the body of Christ because you are not operating in your gift or ministry.

Our God is the source of all comfort and He manifests it in many different ways.  As the Lord brings you comfort in the difficult areas of your life, you in turn may well be the instrument of comfort to others as you experience His salvation and provision in your need.  As we receive His comfort, let us be faithful to minister it to others.

Blessings,

#kent

Vessels unto Honor

June 11, 2019

 

Vessels unto Honor

 

2 Timothy 2:20-21

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

 

We who are in Christ are the articles and the vessels of the Lord’s house.  The question before us today is what kind of vessel are we, and what is our function? Am I the toilet brush or the golden vase upon the mantle?   The Word is making it clear to us that we have a say in the kind of instrument and vessel we are by how we present ourselves before the Lord.

Let’s get real again, we all live around each other.  We have our game face, the one we put on when we are in a spiritual or religious environment.  Is it the same face that we have on when we are out socializing, or at work, or in dealing with our family, the issues of life and the agitations that go on there?  Who are we, what are we?  Many of us have had a real experience with Christ, but we haven’t had a real experience with the transformation of our lives from what we used to be.  If a person is around us for short period of time, do they recognize that there is anything different in me than in any other person that is in the world?  Is my language different, are my attitudes and demeanor different or are my goals and purposes different from that of the world?  If the Lord took us into His house today and assigned us a position to function, what would it be?

Psalms 84:10 says, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”   If we are functioning and living in a life of righteousness then that is a reflection of the kind of vessel that we are, because even now we make up the house of the Lord.  On the other hand if I am not dealing with the areas of unrighteousness and worldliness in my life then I am not positioning myself for the Lord’s highest purpose.  What is life’s purpose?  Is it not to love and honor God with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength, then to love my neighbor as myself?  If you and I are missing that then we are missing being the vessels of honor.  Our honor is in honoring the King of Kings.  Our status as a vessel of God is seen in how we honor and live our lives for Him.  Are you and I a vessel and an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  This is an exhortation for us to become vessels of honor, by the presentation of ourselves and our wills to God and the turning of our hearts from evil. The Lord’s economy is the Lord working in us to empower and help us.  We, in turn, come to Him, yield to Him and obey Him.  The Lord goes no further than our will permits Him.  If we maintain a self will we in turn hinder and disqualify ourselves from the position of God’s honor.  Honor Him through a life of obedience and submission and He will in turn honor you as a vessel of noble purpose.  It is not God who disqualifies us from becoming that, it is ourselves alone.  What is your position going to be in eternity and what is your function in the kingdom of God?  This little dash between the date we were born and the date our body is no longer living, will mark our position and place in eternity.  We don’t want to miss the importance of that little dash.

Blessings,

#kent

Tenderhearted

June 5, 2019

 

Tenderhearted

 

Ephesians 4:32

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

 

We live in a hard world, especially in the market place, where it is most often every man for himself.  It is usually all about competition and getting ahead, a place where we assume nice guys come in last.  What about when we go home, what is the attitude we carry there as a father or mother?  How do we deal with others that we rub shoulders with or come into contact with in our daily lives?

Tenderhearted is a word that I feel the Lord would have us to take a look at and reflect on for a few moments, because in our world it is easy for our hearts to get hard and callused by the world we live in and the mentalities that surround us.  We are bombarded with somebody trying to get to us on every level from the little Girl Scout selling her cookies to the boss who may want all of our time and energy for his agenda and service.  That certainly is nothing against Girl Scouts.  The point is that because everybody wants something from us we can retreat into a hardened shell that says “NO!” to everybody.  We have grown tired of filtering it all out.  This is the real world and we do have to make decisions everyday about what and how much we can give of our finances and ourselves.  The Lord doesn’t want us to lose our compassion in all of that.  He still wants us to be servants in our attitudes toward people and certainly that has to be in balance with the rest of our life.   He wants His kindness to reach out through us in our dealings with others, even if we must say no.   Psalms speaks much about the tender mercies of God.  He wants that tender, compassionate, heart alive and well in us towards the world around us.  Even when others offend or hurt us we must be willing and able to release it and forgive them.  Our success in this world as Christians is not based on the market place, finances or wealth; it is based on service.  “The greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the servant of all”.   It is hard for us to have a servant nature without a tenderhearted spirit that feels and moves with the heart of God.  We are His hands and feet and expression in the earth.  God is merciful and tenderhearted toward the world around us.  As His people we must be the expression of that characteristic of His divine nature.

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

Growing Up

May 22, 2019

 

Growing Up

 

Galatians 4:1-2

Now I say, [That] the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

 

Is it time that God wants us to lay hold of a spiritually adult mentality and grow up out of our childhood and immaturity?   So often our thinking and our vision is earth bound.  We see only in terms of the law, tradition and religion.  What is God trying to tell us?  If we want to remain children then we will not experience anything more than a servant.  God desires sons that can step into His nature and likeness.  Romans 8: 14-21 tells us, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”  The Lord is exhorting us to grow up in all things that pertain unto life and godliness.  In order to walk in the maturity of full-grown sons, the Word says we must be led by the Spirit of God.  Galatians 4:6-7 goes on to tell us much the same thing, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”  We are told we have an inheritance in Christ, that we are joint-heirs with Him and that we have received the Spirit of Adoption.  The nature and Spirit of the Father has come in us, but not unlike the Galatians many of us are still living in the weak and beggarly elements of this world of the law, tradition and religion.  We are still striving in our immaturity to live up to outward forms and standards of righteousness.  We are not coming into and laying hold of the awareness that the Law Giver is within us.  He is writing His law upon the tables our heart. It is not in the outward forms that we lay hold of our inheritance.  In fact, it this mentality that is holding us back.  Paul was genuinely grieved with the Galatians; because they had taken the freedom He had imparted to them in Christ and traded it again for bondage.  In Galatians 4:19 he says, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you;” in other words “My little immature children.”  God is calling us to GROW UP!  It is no longer to the outward forms you are looking to bring you into maturity; it is the Christ within you.  It is that Spiritual impartation of divine life within you that will transform and conform you to the nature and likeness of your Father.  In order for that to happen we must make it our priority and purpose to be led by the Spirit of Christ within us.  Even as the Son of God walked not in His will, but in the will of the Father, we must become so attuned.  If we want to enter into the fullness of our inheritance then we must grow up into Him in all things, in every aspect of our lives; both religious and otherwise.  We are not separate from Him, we are one with Him.  Only in the unity of that oneness can we be the full expression of who He is.  It will never happen through any efforts or abilities of ours, but only as He is the fullness within us.

God is exhorting us to maturity and full Sonship.  We are pressing into our full inheritance as we give place to Him being the all in all within us.  In that inheritance there is not only freedom and deliverance for us, but for all of creation as well.  Let us grow up even as Ephesians 4:13-15 tells us, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ.”

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

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