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

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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

Comfort One Another

May 9, 2019

 

Comfort One Another

 

Philippians 2:1-4

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

There is such a power in the body of Christ to come along side of those who are weak, suffering and hurting.  Even as the natural body addresses all its attention to a deep wound or injury to itself and then subsequently there are agents of the body that continue to attend and bring healing to a wound or injury, so it is in the body of Christ.

We recently attended a funeral in which one of our relatives’ only son had been tragically shot and killed by police.  As we set through the service of this young man’s funeral there must have been three or four hundred people in attendance.  This young man, while he had been in trouble with the law, apparently had “a real heart of gold” as those that knew him described him.  He cared about people and their souls.  He was active in His church and loved God’s Word.  Somewhere things went wrong, either through wrong associations or other influences and it led to his death.  I was impressed that through the circumstances, people could have judged him or his parents, but they didn’t.  They saw who he was in his heart and saw him through the eyes of Jesus.  There were numerous testimonies to the special qualities that this young man possessed as well genuine compassion and shared grief for the loss of the parents.  Even in all this, the focus wasn’t on the death, but it was upon the life of Christ and throughout that service, the Lord was magnified.  I thought, “what a strong expression of comfort and support this church has given along with the attending relatives and friends.”  Throughout the day people were continually expressing their support and love through hugs and encouraging words.  I was impressed that this should be what we see operating in the body of Christ all the time, not just at funerals, but whenever and for whatever reason another member is suffering and hurting.  We are the instruments of His comfort because we possess the words of life and the Holy Spirit of Life to communicate them.

When we have this same love for one another and are being like-minded, unselfishly serving the another’s best interest, then we are going to feel one another’s joys and sufferings.  We are going to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those that rejoice, because we are of one body and one mind in Christ.  It is important that we stay in tune and sensitive to the needs, the trials and the sufferings of those around us.  We want to be the heart and hands of Jesus to those who are hurting or in need.  Jesus says to us, “they will know you by your love.”  It is a sacrifice many times for us to give ourselves to others through our time, our finances and emotions.   Sometimes I forget that the reason I exist is to express the Christ that lives in me, not to fulfill my own agenda or just to be concerned about what is best or easiest for me.  Our selfishness can rob us and others of ministry and of being the instruments of comfort that God has called us to be.  Our living for Christ is seen in how we live for one another and how we express that love to the humanity that lives around us.

“God help us to be the instruments of your peace, of your comfort and of your great, genuine love and salvation.  Help us to be Your hands of ministry and healing and allow our words to bring comfort, hope and encouragement.  Please allow others to see You living through us in word and deed.”

Blessings,

#Kent

The Person of Wisdom

April 30, 2019

Ecclesiates 4:13–16 (Amplified)

Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive counsel (friendly reproof and warning)–  14Even though [the youth] comes out of prison to reign, while the other, born a king, becomes needy.

15I saw all the living who walk under the sun with the youth who was to stand up in the king’s stead.

16There was no end to all the people; he was over all of them. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity (emptiness, falsity, vainglory) and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it.

 

The Person of Wisdom

Character and wisdom in a person are more noble than age and position.  What benefit is age and position if you have not benefited in character to know how to rule and lead.   Wisdom is in knowing that you don’t have all of the answers, or always have a proper perspective and you are a fool if you can’t listen to any of the wise counsel around you.  Wisdom is in recognizing the right answer and responding to it.  Foolishness will brush aside the wisdom of others to indulge its own arrogance.

Wisdom can come from many non-conventional places.  It can come from youth, or those in poverty or prison.  Proverbs 14:33 says, “Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding, but it makes itself known even in the midst of fools.”  A person’s wisdom makes place for them and brings them into the place of honor.  Proverbs 18:16 says, “A man’s gift makes room for him And brings him before great men.”  While those who observe the wisdom and see how it exalts the one in possession of it, those who follow may not appreciate the path wisdom has taken a person or honor the position they hold.  Wisdom is honored by those who discern and observe its presence.  What is honored as wisdom by one generation may be despised and rejected by a following one.

We see the wisdom of those who started and founded this nation and yet many in this day despise and reject the wisdom that has stood the test of time.  The wisdom of that day saw the need and the value of trusting in God; many in this day do not.  Perhaps that is why the preacher says, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity”, because all of the wisdom of men will come to naught, but only the righteous wisdom of God will prevail.

Blessings,

#kent

A Little can do a Lot

April 29, 2019

John 6:5-12

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9″Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

 

A Little can do a Lot

 

Most all of us, I am sure, are familiar with this story of the little boy whose five loaves and two fishes, fed over five thousand people.  What would have been a staggering task, logistically and monetarily, was taken care of by a little boy’s willingness and a mighty God’s faithfulness.  The message I hear pressing on my heart today in this message is that if we are willing to unselfishly give the little that we have, God is willing to increase it to give back the abundance of what we need.

How many times are we robbed because our vision of faith isn’t great enough to see past the fear of not having enough?  What if the little boy would have refused to give up his meal for fear that he would go hungry, after all, his mom had made it for him, not for everyone else.  Are we willing to put in the Master’s hands what is just provision enough for us?  Are we willing to not only trust Him for our own needs, but the needs of others met through us?  Those are questions we might all like to answer yes, but in reality, when it comes down to it, we are reluctant to let go of what is in our hand.

Five is the number of grace and the bread represents Christ, who is the bread of life.  It is His grace that is sufficient for all of our needs according to His riches in glory.   Two is the number of witness and fish are those which carry provision.  The great fish carried Jonah to Nineveh  and the fish had in its mouth the money to pay the tax for Peter and Jesus.  The fish bear witness that Christ is our provision to do impossible things in impossible ways.  Our eyes have to be opened and our faith vision increased to see what God can do through our apparent little if we are faithful to give it to Him.

This is where we will learn kingdom economy and kingdom living as we are the supply for one another’s needs.  As we meet the needs in others we will see our needs met.  Let us have the faith of this little boy to trust God with our five little loaves and two little fishes.  It is not in seeking the miracles, it is in the relationship that we have with the Person of miracles.  Let us have the faith to put our lunch in His hands.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Love People Where They Are At.

 

1 John 4:11

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

 

Thumbing back through the files of our life we will probably remember at least a few instances where we treated others with contempt, disdain, dislike or felt we were in some way a bit superior or above them.  There are always those who don’t live within the standards of our values or have characteristics we find annoying and irritating.  Then we can jump over into the memory files of the times when we were treated in this manner.  Maybe we still remember the emotional pain and humiliation we suffered at the comments or treatment we received from those who judged us and treated us in an unbecoming and hurtful manor.  Most of us have been on both sides of the coin at some point in our lives.  What we have experienced or what we have conveyed was a lack of God’s love.  It takes God bringing us beyond ourselves to experience a love that is higher than soulish emotion or feeling.  When we survey the wondrous cross and all of the humanity God’s love reached out too, including our wretched selves, we begin to see an unprejudiced love.  It is a love for the imperfect, the undesirable, the sinner, and even that, which is repulsive to us.  What compels us to love deeper than this shallow human level of love?  It is when we observe God’s unfailing and constant love for us, even when we were at our ugliest, most vile and undesirable state, how He still loved us.  When everyone else may have turned his or her back on us, God’s love was there.  The Word then tells us, ” Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”  God’s love is so much higher, so much deeper, and so much wider than our own.  But then we are not our own anymore, are we?  We have made an exchange of our life for His and everyday God wants to work that transaction into the reality of our everyday lives.  Often, at the most inconvenient times and places undesirable people and situations approach us.  It may be the salesman, using up our cell time to persuade us to buy something from him.  It may be the beggar asking for a handout and we’re thinking, “You just need to get a job.”  It may be that critical and demeaning boss, co-worker or even our spouse reminding us how worthless and what a failure we are.  Constantly it is something, that makes us want to act in number of different ways, but love isn’t real high on that list.   In order for us to have God’s love, we have to have God’s mind and His heart for people.  I sometimes think of how many undesirable people came across the path of Jesus.  He was like a magnet for undesirable people, from fault finding religious leaders who sought after His life, to lepers, to sinners and public outcast, to demon possessed.  You name it; Jesus lived anything but a sheltered life.  He was exposed to the darkest and ugliest mankind had to offer.  In each one Jesus didn’t see just a sinner or just the ugly characteristics.  In each person, he saw a spiritual candle that needed to be lit.  His love compelled Him to look past all of the faults and see the tremendous need.  Jesus came as the great light of God’s love to light the light of men’s spirits with truth and salvation.  We have become His light bearers, lifting up the light of God’s unconditional love before men.  Do they see that in us?  Have we shed our prejudices and our superficial “Christian” love for God’s real love?  Why do you think little Mother Teresa made such a powerful statement to the world?  Because she lived God’s true love before men, before the most undesirable of people and she loved them to the laying down of her own life and comforts.  Even unbelievers had to acknowledge something supernatural in the love she displayed.  We need spiritual eyes that see past the outward man, we need ears that hear the inner cry of a person deepest need.  We need understanding of how to effectively minister the true love of Christ to each one.  Sometimes that can take unconventional and unreligous ways.  Most of all it takes us living out of the heart of God and demonstrating a love not our own, but that which was freely and unconditionally bestowed upon us.

Blessings,

#kent

Change

April 18, 2019

Mark 6:12

And they went out, preaching the need for a change of heart in men.

 

Change

 

When you think about it a great deal of life is about change.  One thing that is certain in life is that nothing will stay the same.  While that is true in this realm.  It is not true of God.  Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.”  There is no need to change that which is already perfect.  Our God, who does not change or waiver in His ways and character gives us the stability and confidence to know that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.  His ways are right, good and perfect.  It is in this character, exemplified through the life of the Lord Jesus, that we desire to be changed.  As believers the goal of our change is to be transformed into the likeness, image and character of Christ.  We have come to realize through the Word and through personal experience that the ability to make this change or transformation does not rely solely in our ability to do so.  Thus, we were given the Holy Spirit to indwell us, teach us, correct us and empower us to walk in the direction of change and transformation that is bringing us more and more into the likeness and image of Christ as we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

Now, it should go without saying, that not all change is good.  We can change for the worse as well as the better and we can be as Paul describes in Ephesians 4:14, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”

Our change began with a heart of repentance, when we came to knowledge that our ways were wicked and out of alignment with the will and purpose of God.  We came to understand that the “wages of sin is death” and the only way to change that is by our repentance from our former life of sin and acknowledgement by faith that Jesus paid the price to redeem us out of that sentence of death and judgement.  We came to understand that by aligning ourselves with Him and the Word of God we could begin to affect change in our life that would bring us more and more into His image and likeness; aligning us with His purpose and design for our lives.  We changed our thinking.  We changed the law and the principles that we live under from the law of sin and death to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

One of the hardest things for us as humans, is to change our old habits and ways.  We so often operate out of that definition of insanity that says, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”  We get in these ruts in our lives that are hard for us to break out of.  One preacher said, “A rut is like a grave with both ends knocked out.”  It keeps you in a place of inability to change out of your circumstance.  These ruts or graves, so to speak, are the areas we all contend with and struggle to break free from.  What holds us there are mind sets and dynamics that we may not even fully comprehend or understand.  We may need to go back and seek to discover what it is that inhibits us from moving out of this place.  Sometimes it is a poverty spirit or a spirit passed down from previous generations or any area the needs to be recognized, renounced, repented of and deliverance appropriated through the power and the blood of Christ.  Then we need to begin walking in these right changes by recognizing any time that “old mind set” wants to manifest that it is no longer a part of us and no longer has power over us.  We are free in Christ, we count it as dead and walk in the other direction from how it formerly influenced us.  It goes beyond just our thoughts and regrets to positive action that appropriates that power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and the authority we have in Christ that we have been given over every spirit and stronghold that is not of God.  We begin to walk out of these ruts, graves and bondage, affecting change by our actions, choices, confessions, faith and appropriation of who we are in Christ, because of who He is in us.

Paul says this in Philippians 3:12-14 and 20-21, “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.”  “But 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.”  As we fix our eyes upon our Lord and Savior, we walk each day out in the transforming power of His Spirit within us and we know that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” and is able to change us into His glorious likeness.

Blessings,

#kent

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