Thy Kingdom Come

January 17, 2019

Thy Kingdom Come

 

In Luke 11:20 Jesus says, “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.”  It is evident in this passage and others that Jesus was the kingdom of God come upon the earth.  If He was the kingdom come then why did He teach us to pray for it to come?  He was the dispensation of the kingdom of God in that age, but He was speaking to a greater dispensation of the kingdom of God in the earth, the manifestation of the Head and the body of Christ filling the earth.  In Luke 17:20-21 says, “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”  Even as the dispensation of God was seen through the life of Christ, our prayer should be that His kingdom come forth in this earth that we are and that His will be done in this earth as it is in heaven.  We are the light of God and the city set upon a hill.  The Kingdom of God comes not with observation, but the kingdom of God is within you.

Allow the King to be enthroned in your earth and His will to be done as it is in heaven, for Christ in you is the expression of His kingdom come.

Blessings,

#kent

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Greater Love

January 9, 2019

Greater Love

 

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

 

The major nervous system of God’s nature is Love.  Everything that God is and all that He does is birthed out of Love.  No other one thing so expresses the nature and heart of God as Love.

At the heart of all that God commands us to do is Love.  If you love God with all your heart and mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as you love yourself you have fulfilled God’s law.  It is all summed up in Love.  Jesus says if you love me, you will keep my commandments.  His commandments are rooted in love.  “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

Love is an entity that is greater than physical life.  A parent, without thought of personal safety, will often risk or sacrifice their life for that of their child’s if it is in danger of death.  That willingness comes out of the love that the parent has for the child.  That child is the expression of their love and is to be preserved at any cost.  As God matures us in His Love, our focus, our heart, our passion will not be about our life, but it will become the passion of God’s heart for others.  They are lost and dying in spiritual ignorance and sin that is leading them to spiritual death and separation from God.  God’s heart is for His creation, for His people.  What Jesus was willing to do on the Cross for all of us was motivated by the greatest expression of Love ever given and demonstrated.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).   If Christ has loved me to the point of laying down His life for me, to what extent does He want me to love others?

His heart is that we, His children become, the extension and continuation of His Love, even to the point of laying down our lives for others.  This is the heart of the King and Love is the essence and substance of His Kingdom.

Blessings,

#kent

Desire Wisdom

January 4, 2019

Desire Wisdom

 

Proverbs 2:1-11

1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom

and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

 

Among the things that we covet, desire and pursue in the earth, is wisdom one of the primary things?  Proverbs 8:11 says, “For wisdom [is] better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”  Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”  Godly wisdom is a much neglected thing and yet just the word “wisdom” is used some 234 times throughout the Word of God, so one might get the impression it is a more important aspect in God’s eyes than many of us realize.  It is far to exhaustive to cover thoroughly in this brief study, but let’s just let God’s Word instruct us in this area today.

First, what is wisdom?  Ecclesiastes 2:26 says, “For [God] giveth to a man that [is] good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to [him that is] good before God. This also [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.”  James 3:17 tells us, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”  It is godly guiding principles of life that helps one to produce the fruit of godliness in their life and walk.

How does one obtain it?  Job 28:28, Proverb 1:7 and Proverbs 9:10 pretty closely agree and bear witness to each other that, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy (to depart from evil) [is] understanding.” It says that fools will despise wisdom and instruction.  So, if you be among the wise, “So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding;(Proverbs 2:2) For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth [cometh] knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: [he is] a buckler to them that walk uprightly (Proverbs2:6-7).”

Why is it so important?  Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 15:33 tells us, “The fear of the LORD [is] the instruction of wisdom; and before honour [is] humility.”  It is so important, because learning wisdom is learning the way of the Lord.  It is our instruction and way of salvation.  It is the path that leads to life.   Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy the truth, and sell [it] not; [also] wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”  I think this is a key verse to understanding a couple of passages in the New Testament.  If we think about this wisdom as like the oil of godly understanding, of principled living, of the knowledge which leads us into relationship and intimacy with Him, then we might get a little insight into Matthew 25:1-13.  The parable about the ten virgins, five who were wise and five who were foolish.  We just learned that the foolish are those who despise wisdom.  The reason they despise wisdom is because wisdom demands great reverence and respect for God, as well as obedience.  The foolish want to go their own way, be complacent and do their own thing.  Proverbs 15:21 says, “Folly [is] joy to [him that is] destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly” Can any of us see that folly in ourselves?  They were all virgins.  They were all looking for Christ’s coming, but we see two different conditions of the heart, one acceptable and one not.   Wisdom is not something you have in a moment of time, it something that you cultivate, grow and mature into.  Wisdom is revealed to those that love her, cherish and respect her.  She is a relational creature and one you must grow in relationship with.   Proverbs 19:8 says, “He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.”  Ecclesiastes 2:13 says, “Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.”

Isaiah 33:6 tells us, “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, [and] strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD [is] his treasure”  “My son, attend unto my wisdom, [and] bow thine ear to my understanding (Proverbs 5:1).”  Perhaps through these many passages and exhortations of wisdom we are given even more a sense and gravity to the exhortation of Revelations 3:15, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot.  So because thou are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and the miserable and poor and blind and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayes become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest cloth thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see.   As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.”  This is the exhortation to the foolish virgin to go get and buy wisdom before it is too late.

Let us pursue wisdom whereby our lamps are filled with oil and we are not filled with a false sense of security and riches, but with truth, with is rich in the wisdom and the mind of our God.

Blessings,

#kent

Endings and New Beginnings

December 31, 2018

 

Endings and New Beginnings

 

Deuteronomy 11:11-17

11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.

13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today-to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul- 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you

 

In this passage of scripture, the children of Israel, after forty years in the wilderness are crossing Jordan into the Promise Land of Canaan.  While this land is the inheritance of God’s people it has been possessed by the ungodly nations.  Now has come the time when Israel is to enter in, not by their might and their strength, but by faith in their God.  Many believers today have the mentality that all I need to do is believe in Jesus, live my life and die and go to heaven.  God has used the natural promise land of Canaan to show us that as believers in Christ Jesus we also have a Promise Land to enter into and possess, the kingdom of heaven, that which was lost to us in the fall of Adam. Jordan is a type of that baptism into the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.  As we are immersed in its water and come out the other side, we come out dead and no longer identified with ourselves, but alive unto the newness of life in Christ Jesus.  God is telling us that the land we have now entered into by faith, “It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.”  As we come to a year’s end and start a new beginning God wants us to know that we are walking in a blessed land, one He cares for and watches over.  He is telling us we can enjoy and partake of the blessings of this land in our spiritual walk if we will faithfully obey His commands.  It will be a productive and prosperous land for us if we are careful to always put God first.

This walk of the Spirit, this possession of spiritual Canaan is not without its pitfalls and dangers.  We are possessing a land that has formally been filled with idolatry and every evil practice.  Even as the Spirit of Christ is fully possessing our souls and we are seeking to yield every area in obedience to Him we come up against giants and strong spiritual forces in our lives that resist the Holy Spirit.  They are stronger than we are in ourselves, but ‘we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus’.  ‘In Christ we can do all things’, but God would warn us as He did natural Israel, to guard our hearts against idolatry, where we place other things, desires and pleasures before Him.  He desires to bless us, but He requires of us faithful obedience.  It is very easy after we have gone through spiritual battles and experienced measures of victory in our lives to then fall into complacency which in turn lets our guard down and opens us up to falling into sin and idolatry.  That idolatry is anything we put before Him.

God goes on in this passage to tell the people that the way they can guard against this idolatry coming into their hearts is to continually, in everything, in every way, everyday of the year, put the Word of God before them.   Read the Word, talk about it, tell your children continually about it, meditate upon it, even put it on your person or in conspicuous places where you will be continually reminded of your God and who you are in Christ.  This is imperative to maintaining a God perspective identity and in return, enjoying the fellowship you have with Him in the spirit and the blessings He has for you.  Our purpose in possessing this land is so that He might possess every part of us and we would experience the richness of His fellowship and presence, for that is indeed the manna and the taste of heaven.

As we end another year and begin anew, remember that the eyes of the Lord are upon it from the beginning to the end.  Make this New Year a year for drawing nearer, living a deeper and more committed life in the Spirit and coming to know your God in a greater and more personal way.  May this coming year be blessed with the rain and the waters of His spiritual blessing and presence in each of our lives

Blessings,

#kent

The Spirit of the Overcomer

December 26, 2018

 

The Spirit of the Overcomer

 

1 John 4:2-4

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

 

Did you know that you have already overcome the spirit of this world?  All victory has been granted unto us in heaven and in earth.  Our deficiency comes when we fail to step into who we are.  Christ has gone before us to conquer and now we must come behind Him and possess.   We still have the illusion that we are called to do something that is beyond our power to do.  Our victory is in getting a revelation and lining up with God’s program.  Christ has provided all that we need for life and godliness, but like clothes laid out upon the bed we have to put on the spiritual garments He has given us to wear.  We can’t do that if we are still wearing the garments of the flesh and self-dependency.  As the one is put off the other can be put on.  Faith and obedience are the means by which we change into the garments of the overcomer, fashioned in the likeness of Christ.

Again, for us to come into who we are we have to see ourselves for who we are.  We have to see ourselves as Christ sees us.  We have to see ourselves as more than conquerors, as the head and not the tail, as sitting with Christ in heavenly places.  You are the overcomer because of the One who is in you and He has conquered and defeated the one who is in the world.

Now obviously that doesn’t mean the world is going to embrace us.  It is still antichrist in nature and behavior.  It will hate us as it hated Jesus if we are truly walking in Christ.  Jesus told us, “ In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”

This is where we have to have the spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart that is tender before the Lord.  John tells us here to discern the spirits.  It is because we don’t discern and embrace the right spirit that we are struggling in defeat and compromise.  We are mingling clean and unclean.  It is defiling our walk and is a stumbling block before us, because it will turn us out of the Way.  Just as the Canaanites that were left in the land brought the Israelites into idolatry, those wrong spirits left in our lives will be our source of stumbling.  This is why John is exhorting us to take a good look at the spirits that influence and touch our lives.  Don’t receive and embrace every spirit that comes along no matter how good it sounds, but test those spirits if they be of God.  Any spirit that is robbing you and denying you of who you are in Christ is not of God.  Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, but He has also come in the flesh of your humanity to be manifest in you.  Embrace the spirit of Christ in you with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, because He is the essence of your being and life in God.  He is the victory in you that overcomes the world; that delivers you out of darkness into His marvelous light and truth.  The assurance we have in Christ gives us the peace and the confidence to go through whatever this life brings against us, because our hope is not in this world or its temporal treasures.  We are aliens, spirits of another world, dwelling and sojourning on this earth.  This is not our home.  We are not just earthly beings with a spirit; we are spiritual beings living in earthly bodies.   Our bodies are just to facilitate who we are in Christ while we dwell on this earth, even as the body of Jesus facilitated the Spirit of God while He was in the earth.

Put on your spiritual vision and see that you are in the Mountain looking down upon the valley and not in the valley looking up to the mountain.  Don’t allow the spirits of this world to cloud your vision and hinder you from being the overcomer that Christ has destined you to be.  We don’t boast in ourselves, we boast in the One who is mighty in us, who imparted His Spirit and His Life into us.  Out of that Life we live and move and have our being.

“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1John 5:3-5).”

Blessings,

#kent

A Loving Moment

December 24, 2018

 

A Loving Moment

 

1 John 3:18

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

 

How do we show our love?  Do you find that in the fast paced society we live in?  We are constantly on the move, meeting demands, deadlines and obligations?  In today’s society especially, time is a commodity we seem to have the least of.  Everything around us is in competition for the little bit we have.  I know from personal experience that this is an area we easily get most out of balance within our lives.  Time becomes a day to day scheduling of priorities and often what we put at the top of our list would not be what God would put at the top of His.  God tells us in His Word to seek first the Kingdom of God.  What is the first thing on your priority list each day and where do you spend that time?  While some of us hardly have time for God, others of us are so absorbed with spiritual things we may be failing to really meet the needs of those closest to us for trying to meet the needs of everyone else.   Time management is an issue that I wrestle with even as I am writing this and I am sure it is an issue with many of us.  It is hard for us to be everything to everybody.  While we can tell people and loved ones that we love them, nothing really communicates that like our personal time and attention.  We have all seen instances where childcare, TV, electronic games, computers and other modern day conveniences and inventions raise our children.  Many of us are guilty of this to varying degrees ourselves.

The point of this is not to condemn us for what we have failed to be or where we have failed to demonstrate our love in action.  What we want to do is bring our time and agendas before the Lord and examine them in the light of His purpose and will for us.  It is the investments of our time that are the true currency in making a difference in the ones we love.  When the Word says we are to love “in deed and truth” isn’t it really talking about “quality giving,” whether it is of our time or our substance?  In order to improve the quality of our love, we have to improve the quality of actions and demonstration of what we say with our words.  The greatest testimony against Christianity today is that we are not demonstrating what we say with our words.  We are all talkie, talkie and no walkie, walkie.  As we sincerely begin to seek to move in the Spirit of God, we must constantly be willing to change our thinking, our priorities and our plans.  God is not always going to move according to our agenda and schedule.  We must learn the flexibility of moving to His.  That means we may have to let go of what we are doing, at the most inopportune times.  If you are a person that likes structure and consistency in your life you will find this tuff.  The Lord is shaping and molding our lives to move with the leading of His Spirit and will, not ours.  We have to become like the harnessed horse that is willing to submit to the direction of the bit.  Our life is all about service and surrender.  When Jesus taught His disciples, He didn’t recruit them and send them off to seminary to get a good theological education.  He showed and mentored them through day to day, moment to moment life experience how to walk out the love of God in a practical way.  We see times Jesus and His disciples desperately needed some rest and space to themselves and how Jesus gave up His needs to meet the needs of others.

Time is a precious commodity and we all have accountability for how we use it.  The Word tells us to “redeem the time for the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).”  Let us make the moments of our lives count as we invest them wisely in the lives of others rather than just the business of life.  What is it that we do that will matter a week from now, a year from now, a lifetime from now?  It is my prayer that the Lord will give us all a greater wisdom when it comes to how we spend and invest our time.  We must remember that it is our time that can both build and make a meaningful relationship or the lack of it, which can destroy it.  May our time become a series of loving moments that translate into a lifetime of loving in deed and in truth.

Blessings,

#kent

Freedom of Spirit

December 21, 2018

Freedom of Spirit

 

The free man in the Spirit is the one who has lost His desire for the things we call sin.  Romans 6:22 says, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

Romans 8:2 declares, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” True freedom in the Spirit lives and breathes out of the Word and promises of God.  It is the place where in liberty we find responsibility.  It is much like growing up into adulthood.  While we experience freedoms that we never had as a child we also accept the responsibilities that go with those freedoms.  The ironic thing about freedom is that the more free we are of old selfish ways the more we become servants out freedom to give our life in service to God and others.  Are we living in our freedom?

Blessings,

#kent

A True Spirit of Giving

December 19, 2018

Luke 14: 12-14

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

 

A True Spirit of Giving

 

The holidays are a wonderful time for most.  They are filled with fun, parties, dinners, presents, friends and family.  For some they can be the most miserable times of the year, because they are filled with poverty, want and loneliness.  Many of us tend to close an eye and turn a deaf ear to those, because we don’t want to put any damper on the spirit of our season.  If it is truly a season for giving then who is more deserving and needing of our love and gifts than those who have been less fortunate?  If our giving is a blessing, we may be missing one of the greatest blessings of all by ignoring those who need to be blessed the most.  This is not to condemn any of us.  It is just to remind us all that the heart of Jesus is for the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, the person without a job and the person living alone with no real family.  Let us open our arms wide in this season and find the joy in giving to those who are so often forgotten and neglected.  Often it is the little things that we give of ourselves that mean the most.  Let us make a difference in our world through a true spirit of giving.

Have a wonderful Christmas.

Blessings,

#kent

The Tender Presence of Jesus

December 18, 2018

 

The Tender Presence of Jesus

 

Song of Solomon 7:10

I [am] my beloved’s, and his desire [is] toward me.

 

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:8). For those outside of God’s will and salvation, the presence of the Lord can be a fearful thing.  Even we, His beloved people fear Him in loving reverence, adoration and awe.  Psalms 114:7-8 says, “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.”  Our God and Lord is so awesome.  He is so powerful that the simple exhalation of His breath could blow us all away and yet He has a love so great and tender it is like unto a vast ocean with no beginning and no end.  This love is why the presence of God intrigues us so.  We desire to swim out into the depths of His love and mercy, splash in His grace and bath in His wonderful, wonderful presence.  This why we desire the place of intimacy and relationship where we may more personally know Jesus.  1 Chronicles 16:27 says, “Glory and honor [are] in his presence; strength and gladness [are] in his place.” We never experience God like those times of intimacy in His presence when He just floods our hearts with Himself.  Psalms 16:11 expresses it so well when it speaks,  “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Beloved, we are so precious in the sight of God.  We are the heartbeat and the passion of the Christ.  We are His love.  His focus, His eye and His desire is toward His bride.  We run and hide from His presence, because we, like Adam and Eve, are so self-conscious of our nakedness, our sin, our shortcomings and our unworthiness of His love and compassion.  Yet God sees beyond the outward filthiness and nakedness of our humanity.  He sees into the very depths of our heart.  He sees our true desires and longing for Him.  He comes, spreads over and covers us with His righteous garments; those that He has provided through his own sacrifice and the shedding of His blood.   Adam and Eve only had the skins of animals that had been sacrificed so that they could be covered, but we have the blood and the righteousness of the Lamb of God to cover and clothe us.  God sees His Son in us.  1 Corinthians 1:30-31 tells us, “But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.”  Indeed this is what we glory in, His love, His salvation and the multitude of His benefits that would fill volumes.  How blessed and privileged we are in our Lord.  We have an access into the presence of God and the heavenlies that many only imagine.  Those of us that enter into that place of His tender presence know that there is nothing else like it in all of the earth.  In that place our tears of joy flow as we feel the love the Lord just bathing and caressing our soul.  This is what the people of God are longing for so much.  They have set at the table of man’s religion and have always left with a lean soul and a longing for more.  This is where many of us are at today.  We are looking for the real.  We are looking for that tender presence of Jesus, the lover that is like no other.  When He meets with us we leave satisfied, fulfilled and changed by His presence.

Many people have entered into a second marriage and probably understand when I say that often you bring a lot of baggage with you from that previous relationship.  That was your point of reference.  That was the standard by which you measured what relationship was about.  We who are in Christ have died to that former relationship we had under the law of sin and death.  We still try and compare and measure our relationship with Christ by those lower standards.  He won’t fit in our box.  Christ loves you with an incomprehensible and incomparable love.  We have only touched and skirted the fringes of the love that God has for us.  “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God (1Corinthians 2:9-10).” It is the communion, the fellowship and the intimate relationship we have with Christ that is unveiling and taking us deeper into the revelations of who we are in Christ and how rich He is in us.

As we are the passion of His Love, He must be no less in our sight and our desire.  As a love impassioned woman we must pursue our lover, wherever He leads and however that love is tested, it must remain determined, committed and undaunted in its passion.  Many things come before us to turn our eye and heart from our Love, but we must remain true and settle for nothing less than His highest love for us.  This love will be rewarded with His tender presence as we are brought into the intimate place of His Love.

Blessings,

#kent

My Rights

December 14, 2018

James 4:2-3

You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

 

My Rights

 

Isn’t it interesting that James would be writing this, not to the people in the world, but to God’s people?  James isn’t mincing any words.  He is speaking to attitudes that can be found today in the heart of believers.  How do we approach our world?  Is it about getting our way whatever means that it takes or is it about each day kneeling in surrender before the throne of Jesus and saying, “Lord have Your way, not my will, but Yours be done.”

Many of us, especially as Americans, are really big on “our rights”.  If we think we have a right, God help the person that tramples or violates it.  We’ll be all up in their face big time.  After all, you aren’t going to get anything if you don’t fight for it.  So we will do whatever that takes, we’ll slander and kill with our words, we’ll gossip and turn others against those who oppose us.  We’ll even often reject those who won’t pick up our offense and take our side.  After all, that is our “right”.

We do exactly what James is talking about here.  “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.”  You can go to a lot of churches and see the division and the dissention, because someone isn’t getting their way.

Do you think we might have missed something when we read what Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount?  ” “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)”.  “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:21-24)”

What do you think should come first, “our rights” or God’s righteousness.  When we wonder why our prayers are so impotent and God doesn’t seem to hear us or be close to us perhaps we should examine more closely the spirit and the attitude we are living out of.

I believe God has given us some rights that are precious and worth fighting for, but it is not just about our self-rights.  Jesus had rights as well, far more than we do, but what did He do?  He willingly laid down those rights.  Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—

even death on a cross!”  Was Jesus more concerned about preserving His rights or in imparting His righteousness to us?  Our attitude, it says, should be the same as His.

Before we get on our high horse and go to battle for our rights, perhaps we should ask the question of God, “Father what is going to best work your righteousness?”

Don’t allow the lack of character in others cause you to lose yours.

Forgive them and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

It’s not always about being right, but about being righteous.

Blessings,

#kent

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