Foundation for Faith

June 16, 2020

Foundation for Faith

Psalms 18:2

The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower.

              We find in life that often we are a self-filling prophecy.  We become and are shaped in the image of whom we think and believe that we are.  Maybe we started out in our lives doubtful, fearful, with a lack of confidence and very little faith in ourselves that we could do much of anything or be anything.  As long as we hold on to that mindset and it is coming through in our outward demeanor, do you think we will see much success in our lives?  If we don’t believe in ourselves, then how could we expect others to believe in us?  What if, on the other hand, we dare to believe all that God says about us and dare to believe all that He said He would be for us?  Now we have a foundation for success.  As we believe and then act upon that premise by faith and those beliefs, will our life change? 

              King David was a man who is a prime example of one who spoke, sang and wrote what God was to His life.  Even in the deepest valleys of his life he dared not trust his soul, but rather He spoke out of His spirit and ministered to His soul the truths and the realities of God’s Word.  He was constantly meditating and reminding Himself of the goodness of God, His faithfulness, His power, His salvation and all of the attributes and benefits of God and His nature.  This is what makes the Psalms so powerful.  They are Spirit anointed sonnets and songs of who God is and why life is worth the living because He is in it.  David would recite the Word of God and encourage His soul.  His faith would then lay hold of the truth that He spoke and begin to act upon it. 

              Many of us see ourselves as weak, untalented, insignificant people.  That may be you and I outside of Christ, but what can we be in Christ?  Are there any limitation to what God can do in and through us, except in our own mind and thinking?   The foundation of faith is wrapping our mind and heart around God’s Word, assimilating it into our hearts and speaking into our doubtful and fearful souls.  It is so often good just to pray the Psalms, reading and speaking them to God as if they were your own.  It will inspire faith in your heart and courage to your soul as it did for David. 

              Who is the Lord and what is that to me?  When we answer that question we find the foundation for our faith.  Upon that foundation we can build a successful life, for our confidence is in Him who is able to do abundantly more than we can even ask or think. 

              What is the foundation of your life today?   Is it the Rock or is it the sand?

Blessings,

#kent

Forgiveness, Overcoming and Knowing

1 John 2:12-14

I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.

13I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.

I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.

14I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

              The Word of the Lord meets each one of us wherever we are in our spiritual development and walk.  Initially when we came to know Christ, we came to know Him in salvation and the forgiveness of our sins.  Fathers have a depth of experience and knowledge that they bring.  With Fathers it is not just what they know, but what they have walked in and experienced.  The Word from Genesis to Revelation is continually unfolding and making itself known and real to them.  They carry in them the seed of life.  The depth of the Word that is able to inspire, stir up faith and bring life to those they are with.  Father’s are the seasoned ones that have known God from the beginning of their Christian childhood.  They have known both victory and defeat and they bare the scars of battle.  They have not only known, as the young men do, the place of overcoming, but they have also found the place of God’s rest.  They can rest because they do know Him and His sovereignty is fixed in their hearts. 

The young men are walking through the experience stages of their walk.  They are exercising their faith.  They are not complacent or lethargic in regards to their relationship and walk with Christ, but are engaging and fighting the good fight.  They are becoming experienced in the Word and in the exercise of its authority and power as they discern the temptations and the deceitfulness of the enemy and overcome Him with the light of truth and walk of purity.  The young men are gaining a revelation of who they are in Christ and are learning to live out of that life and power within them rather than relying upon their own strength and goodness.  The young men are a joy to be around because of their zest for life. Their continual quest for a deeper faith and walk are contagious and an inspiration to all that are around them. 

              As children we come into the faith and knowledge of Christ.  We experience God’s goodness and faithfulness to us.  We begin to know Him in the sense that we are getting a revelation of who Christ is in us and what our purpose in God is.  The children are growing in the sincere milk of the Word.  They are becoming grounded in its doctrinal and eternal truths.  They are beginning to experience and walk in the principles of faith for their lives and they are comng to know God through a daily relationship.

God’s Word is the bread of life to meet us at every level of life and every stage of growth in our walk with God.  It is the Believers Instructions Before Leaving Earth.  The BIBLE is our daily instruction manual to bring us from infancy, to youth and into fatherhood.  Every day it is a source of greater insight and understanding into who we are in Christ and how we fit into the purpose and the plan of the Almighty Father.  Our life is about abiding with Him and in Him always.  It is about knowing HIM from the beginning to the end.

Blessings,

#kent

Good Souls Hiding in Ugly People

Luke 19:1-10

And [Jesus] entered and passed through Jericho And, behold, [there was] a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that [way]. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw [it], they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore [him] fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

               There are a lot of people in this world, and perhaps in some degree or another we are some of them, who are living out a life of ugliness and sin that they don’t really want to be inside.  Perhaps they have been caught up in a lifestyle, or addictions, or behaviors that they really hate in themselves, but seemed trapped and unable to change.  There are a lot of people who really don’t like who they are or the ugliness that they can manifest through their actions.  Zacchaeus was such a man.  He was the chief of the publicans or the tax collectors the most despised and hated of people among his countrymen.  He was a little man in a big position, but it wasn’t where he was happy.  He had wealth and position, but He didn’t like who he was.  He was unhappy because he was living contrary to the nature that God had intended for him.  I looked up the meaning of Zacchaeus and it means, “pure or innocent”.  Now it is not hard to see that Zacchaeus’ life was anything, but that.  He had heard everyone talking about this Jesus and the extraordinary man that He was.  Something stirred in Zacchaeus’ heart as he sought to try and see this man.  Sometimes it is hard for us to see Jesus, because our stature has become so low, but he didn’t let this detour him. Even though the crowds of people who knew and hated him tried to prevent him from pressing through he was determined that he would see Jesus.  We are often crowded out by condemnation that says we are not even worthy of seeing Jesus.  The first step in changing the ugliness of who we are is seeking higher ground.  It is in seeking a higher vantagepoint where we can see Jesus and where he can see us.  There needs to be a determination to seek out the one who can change what we hate in ourselves.  God had created Zacchaeus to have a pure and innocent nature, as He has created us, but it had become perverted through sin, greed and the world.  When Jesus passed by and looked up in that tree where Zacchaeus was hanging out, He didn’t see that ugly little chief tax collector that everyone else saw.  He saw a man that needed to be returned to the nature of who he really was, pure and innocent.  Jesus basically invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house.  Now Zacchaeus could have said no, but like many of us we so desperately want to be different and changed from what we have become into what He has created us to be, we know that we need to accept His invitation. It is our only hope.

               It was the fellowship and the communion with Jesus that transformed Zacchaeus’ heart.  After He had been with Jesus, he recognized what had been missing out of His life.  Position, power, authority were no longer the compelling issues with Zacchaeus.  He just knew he wanted to be right with God and he was gladly willing to give up or restore whatever was necessary to maintain that relationship that he found with Christ that day.  It is in the presence and relationship with Jesus that our ugliness will be transformed.  As we are conformed not to the world, but transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus, we see change.  When Jesus becomes the sole object of our communion and companionship our lives will change from the inside out.  We are always trying to change the outward things, but until the inward attitudes of the heart and soul come into spiritual alignment with God’s heavenly purpose the rest of us can’t really change. 

               If you feel like that ugly person without, not necessarily in looks, but in attitude and disposition then seek higher ground.  Jesus is looking at you and seeing the inward man of the heart, that good and precious soul that He created in His image.  Come into His presence and give your life to Him so that God, by the Holy Spirit, can transform you into who you really are.  Come to repentance and make things right with God and with others.  Today God wants to truly bring salvation into your house and into your soul.  He wants to transform that ugliness into the beauty and the purity of soul that He has created you to be.

Blessings,

#kent

Matthew 16:24-28

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

The Increase of His Kingdom

               John the Baptist says in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I [must] decrease.”  If we want to see the increase of His kingdom in our lives in this coming year this is how it will happen, you and I must decrease.  As you decrease, God will increase.  You must lose your head so that He might be your head.  Only as you experience the circumcision of your fleshly heart will you experience both the agony and the glory of the cross.  It is on the other side of the cross that you will begin to know and walk in resurrection life.  This is a John the Baptist ministry that declares “prepare ye the way for the King is coming.” ‘His kingdom come and His will be done in earth as it is in heaven.’ 

               God is leading us into a new season in our spiritual journey and experience.  We will begin to see His Spirit move frequently and in wonderful and mysterious ways.  You are a part of this movement if your life is drawn into Him.  Even as a moth is drawn into the light and gives up its life, we will give up our lives as we are drawn into the light of His presence and glory.  This body is simply a vessel in which we carry the presence of His glory.  Paul speaks of it this way in 2 Corinthians 4:6-12, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”  God’s paradox is that life issues out of death and death is the release of life.  

               Those of us who have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches must hear this.  “Great things are going to come out of great sacrifice.”  As we die, His life is going to be released through us to the nations.  We are standing on the precipice where we must make the decision to turn back to Egypt or to go all the way.  Discipleship comes with a cost.  We must count that cost for it may well cost us everything that we have held dear in this earth.  You can save and preserve your life, but in the end you will lose it or you can forfeit and lose your life now and know that He is your reward.  We are moving into the Valley of Decision.  Count the cost.  Once you start down this road you don’t want to turn back.  Judas Iscariot was a man that turned back. 

               Those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes will know His peace and provision, but it will not be without hardship and adversity.  God has called us to such a time as this and where He has called; His people must obey His voice.  We are crossing over Jordan into a new land.  It is our land, but the principalities, powers and rulers of darkness rule it.  In order to take our land there will be warfare of great spiritual intensity.  Do not waiver in your faith for He who has led us to this land is well able to deliver it into our hands.  ‘He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind.’

               If you want His kingdom to come and His will to be done then know that it first starts in your earth as it is in heaven.  He must increase and we must decrease. 

Blessings,

#kent

James 5:7-8

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

Prophetic Word of Rain and Harvest

               Are you beginning to sense the change and shift in the spiritual atmosphere?  Every place we look we are seeing the evidence of it.  We see it in the world economy.  We see in it in all of the natural events of nature that are taking place upon the earth.  We are seeing it as darkness and light are beginning to more and more polarize until we will see lightning and storms of the spiritual as well as the natural.  Fear not, this is what we have been so patiently waiting for.

Can you smell the rain with your spiritual nostrils and senses?  As the Lord dropped this scripture into my spirit this day I believe He is saying to us, “Get ready, for the rain is coming! It is not just any old rain and it is not just a spring shower.  It is the former and the latter rain, the autumn and the spring rain together.  It is not only rain for sowing into the earth, it is the rain for reaping from the earth the great harvest that God has prepared.  Even now we are feeling the raindrops as the Holy Spirit falls here and there; touching healing and restoring lives.  We are just beginning to taste and sense the outpouring of His Spirit upon the earth.  The Lord’s coming is near.  His Kingdom is about to rain down upon the earth in unprecedented ways.  Ways we have never seen or beheld before.  The Word of God asks, “Can a nation be saved in a day? Yea, says the Lord, You will see torrents and waves of salvation like the world has not seen before when My rain begins to fall.”  Your buildings will overflow with the souls that I will bring in.  Prepare yourselves for the harvest.  When My rain falls the ingathering will begin in unprecedented measure.  Your barns will not be able to contain them.  Even as the catch was so great that the nets began to break when I blessed Peter and his fishermen, so your nets will be strained and begin to break as I bring in the catch of heaven.

               Prepare your heart and rend your soul, not your garments.  Prepare your spirits for you will all have many to disciple and teach the ways of the Lord.  Humble yourself before my presence in this hour that I might do a quick work in you.  My Spirit is even now brooding over the earth.  It is stirring the deep.  It is bringing awareness of sin and depravity to the place where men’s hearts will be sickened by what they see.  They will long and cry out to be set free.  Prepare the nets my people, for you are the net and it is My spirit that networks you together and binds you to one another that you may be unified of Spirit and truth.  What I am bringing in the earth is not religion, it is My kingdom come and My will being done in earth as it is in heaven.  You have been created for purpose and my purpose is to gather in the nations before the time of great judgement.  You are my net to gather in the nations.  Circumcise your hearts and put away your differences.  This is so much greater than your petty divisions and quarrellings.  The Spirit of My Love is the order of the day.  That is how the world will recognize who you are, by your love.  

               The patience of the farmer is about to see his reward.  He is about to see this valuable crop come to fruition.  Prepare for the harvest for it is before you.  The fields are white unto harvest, pray the Lord to send forth laborers into the fields.  This is the season of ingathering. This is the season of the former and latter rain and the latter glory of My house shall be greater than the former.”

Blessings,

#kent

 

God Will Take Care of Us

 

Matthew 6:25-30

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?

 

It was shortly after we were first married and I was called into the supervisor’s office where I worked.  There I was informed that the company was going bankrupt and they would have to let me go.  As I brought that sad news home to my young, then pregnant wife, she was devastated.  Suddenly all of her security was gone and future uncertain.  I remember it was this particular passage that God gave me to share with her that began to renew hope, faith and a confidence that God was there to take care of us even when I couldn’t.  No doubt many of you have experienced similar situations where the future looked bleak and no provisions were on the horizon.  All we could do is say, “God you are a ‘Way Maker’.  You make a way where there is no way.”

As I was reading through the many accounts of Jesus touching, healing and delivering people in need, it was evident that their need was met in response to their faith to believe.  Jesus would sometimes say to them, “be it unto you according to your faith”.  The Lord is continually stretching our faith to believe Him for greater and greater things.  Even in those things that don’t turn out the way we hoped or wanted we can know that, “God is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).”

David often found the way of provision was released through the voice of praise and thanksgiving.  This is the voice of faith and it stirs up faith within our souls as well.  Sometimes it is really hard for us to grasp and believe that such an infinitely wonderful and great God could care individually and personally so much for us, and yet He does.  If He can care and provide for all of the small creatures and His creation, then surely He can care for you and I as well.

Let’s say someone shows up at your door today and says, “Here is a check for a million dollars.  Take it and spend it anyway you want.”  Obviously, we are going to be pretty elated and our initial response is quite likely going to abound in praise toward God.  After a few weeks and all the bills are paid and the needs are met.  We are enjoying the good life.  Now, where is God in the light of our prosperity and good fortune?  Is our dependency, trust and reliance still as great then as it was before?  Is God still at the forefront of all our thoughts and activities as we use that money, or has He faded back to a lonely second position, as our new lifestyle compels us to think less of Him and more about us.  This is our human nature at work and as much as we say, “I wouldn’t be like that, we would be amazed at how quickly God can lose His significance in the light of our prosperity.”  Herein lies its danger, we begin to love and trust in the money more than our God.  God warns Israel about this when He promises to prosper them after they come through all of their trials in of the wilderness in Deuteronomy 8.  It is a great chapter to read and reflect on.  “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish (Deuteronomy 8:17-19).”  At the forefront of every blessing, of every trial, of every endeavor and circumstance in life, God must continue to reign as the Lord of all of our life.  Our reliance upon Him is not to change whether in much or in little.   The Son is forever to be the center of our universe and the One to bring life and warmth to each day, winter, spring, summer or fall, in good times or bad.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).”

Blessings,

#kent

James 5:12-16

Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.

13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

Wellness in the Body of Christ

 

Wellness in the body of Christ is maintained as we uphold the integrity of who Christ is in us.  The body of Christ is not unlike our physical bodies.  There are times when sin and disease can gain access to the body.  In the case of the body of Christ we know that the purpose of satan is to kill, steal and destroy the body of Christ.

We all understand that as of yet, in this natural man, none of us is walking in perfection.  It is true that we are to identify with Him who is perfect in us, but we are still in that state of transformation where body and soul are to line up with the Spirit of Christ.  As such we still see many imperfections in one another.  Satan often capitalizes on our weaknesses and imperfection to bring in division, dissention, disease and darkness.  James is calling upon us to act in such a way that we not only maintain individual purity and health, but health as the body of Christ.

The first place he exhorts us here in James is regarding the integrity of our word.  “Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.”  One of the most important areas we must be careful to preserve and guard is our honesty and integrity.  Our whole reputation and character hang on these essentials.  There is stern warning to us here that if we don’t do that, we will be condemned.  I don’t believe it is talking here about our condemnation here just coming from man.

When we compromise our integrity and honesty it is not just man that we offend, but God Himself.  This is especially true regarding His body.  When we don’t allow our yes to be yes and our no be no, especially with regards to our brothers and sisters in Christ, then who are we really lying to, them or the Holy Spirit?   If we dishonor the body, then we dishonor Christ.

Ananias and Sapphira didn’t start out intending to lie to the Holy Spirit.  I think they initially had good intentions and they may have been well regarded within the early church.  Their fault wasn’t even in the fact that they sold their land and didn’t give it all at the apostles feet.  Peter even tells them it was your land to do with what you wanted, but your sin was in your conspiracy to lie about what you gave.  When they lied to the body of Christ, they lied to the Holy Spirit and we know the condemnation that came from that in Acts 5.  The Lord was showing us our body, soul and will are the land that we own.  It is ours.  The Lord gave it to us and he gave us power over it to give to Him or not.  Now if we come and say we have totally sold out to Christ, but conspire to withhold areas of our life from Him is that an Ananias and Sapphira complex?  Would we not be more honest in confessing our sins to one another as it exhorts us to do in James 5:16?  We realize that while it may be our desire to be totally sold out to Christ, there are areas in all of our lives that still need to be reconciled to Him.  It is not the standing in our strength that makes us strong and whole, it is in the strength of the whole body that we can be brought into alignment with wholeness.  It is in recognizing and confessing our weakness to faithful men or women so that they can pray with us and stand with us so that we may be healed.

One of the greatest tools the enemy uses to destroy us is isolation.  Sin can only work in darkness.  When it is brought into the light, it loses its power.  What we should all desire and pursue is transparency and accountability to one another.  That is not to say we judge, control or manipulate one another.  It means that we all understand that in this natural state, sin still is at work among our members trying to bring in disease and destruction of the body.  The way we war against that is by taking off our religious and self-righteous mask and being real with each other.  I never would consider someone that came to me to ask for prayer in an area of weakness, a person of weakness.  I would totally respect them and see that indeed they are spiritually mature in that they recognize their weakness and desire others to stand with them in their battle to overcome.  There is not enough of this happening in the body.  We have learned to be so independent and spiritual in our own right.  As a result many of us are truly sick and afflicted in our sin, but are too proud to confess for fear that we will be viewed as weak or unacceptable.  “A person that is transparent, even with their faults, is more pure than the person who portrays goodness outwardly, yet inwardly harbors darkness and deceit.”

Let’s bring the “real” back to the body.  Let’s come to the place where we are not afraid to be transparent with one another and to pray for one another.  When we do that in His love and with no condemnations or judgements in our hearts then the Holy Spirit can work through us to bring healing, deliverance and victory because we then stand in His strength and not our own.

Blessings,

#kent

Pray for One Another

May 4, 2020

 

Pray for One Another

 

James 5:16

Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

One of the most tremendous assets we have as a believer, functioning in the body of Christ, is each other.  Because Christ is in us and His power and grace can flow through us, there is a wealth of blessing, power and grace to be found in one another.  Each of us has different gifts and ministries that can help in different areas and situations in our lives.  Each of us has the power and the access to the throne of God to pray and intercede for others.

Yesterday, it struck me, as I had the privilege of sharing with several of my brothers and sisters, the fellowship and ministry we can have on different levels with others.  What a blessing to have them share with me about how they stand in a place of intercession and prayer for us and how they are standing in a place of faith, believing God not just for themselves, but for us as well.  It was wonderful to share the words of life with a brother over breakfast and talk about the things God is doing in our lives, our families and our careers.  We were able to break the Bread of Life and share in a real and personal way, not just our successes, but also our struggles and our weaknesses.  Through that exchange we could know better how to pray for one another.  We all go through our struggles in life, but sometimes there is just encouragement with others who empathize from a position of like struggles.  You end up building each other up in faith and confidence in God.

Some believers you may relate with on a less spiritual level, but nevertheless you, break bread together, share fellowship, friendship with and are blessed in the communion you have with them.  Still others target you in their prayers, intercede for you and call just to encourage and build you up.

It made me think, do we really tap into the resource we have in each other?  Is each of us ministering and effecting the lives, not only of non-believers, but the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ?  When we have those that we are investing our life, time and prayers into and they are doing the same for us, we mutually garden each others spiritual lives.  We have accountability to one another that helps us not to stray off into sin.  We need others to help balance us and us them.  We have a communion of body life where we are not just looking to one man to feed us and teach us, but we are actively ministering, teaching, exhorting, encouraging and praying for one another.  We are gathering and eating the manna and revelation that God is personally speaking into our lives through our time spent with Him and in turn we feed one another from that same manna.

This is a concept some may practice and experience more than others, but certainly one that we all need to be involved in.  Many or our churches are large and while we might be blessed in corporate worship and teaching, we need those daily interactions with our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us all live more productively and faithfully to Christ.  When we have that love of Christ in our hearts for one another, when there is sensitivity in our spirits to the needs of our brethren, then we can be unique and diversified channels of various blessings into their lives.   Perhaps our greatest downfall is that we tend to like to do our work and then hibernate in our own ceiled houses.  We become guilty of what the prophet Haggai said in Haggai 1:2-5, “2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ ”

3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.””  Don’t we often rob God and His people because we are content to do our own thing while the house of God lies in ruin?  What is worse is that we are robbing ourselves and our very lack may be do to the fact that we aren’t the channels of God’s blessing that we are to be in God’s house.  We know that God’s house is a people and not a building.  1Peter 2:5 says, ” Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” How much stronger could God’s house be and how much greater could it be built up if we are all are faithful to invest in one another’s lives.   Are we fulfilling our calling of ministry to impart our gifts, our lives and prayers into one another?  The body of Christ must be strong and living the standard of God’s righteousness, so that we can be a light in the world and have lives seasoned with salt.  That can start by us having the willingness and the commitment to invest in one another.  This is the way a truely healthy body functions.  Bless somebody’s life today, be their answer to prayer or even pray on their behalf.  We need the Christ in one another.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Out of a Thankful Heart

 

Romans 1:21

 

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

 

Have you ever given and done things for someone to bless them, only to have them either ignore and take for granted what you had made special effort or sacrifice to do for them or even worse, have them complain because it somehow didn’t suit their liking?  Remember the hurt and disappointment you felt, the lack of appreciation and insult it was to you?  How often has this been our attitude towards the Lord?  We may mutter an occasional thank you in prayer or in blessing our meal and often that is more out of habit than a sincere appreciation for what we truly have.  It is important that we take a minute to consider the true importance of thankfulness to the Lord and realize the implications of the lack of it.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  Our giving thanks isn’t something we should do on a whim.  It is the will of God concerning you and me.  Just the words “give thanks” occurs some thirty-nine times throughout the Bible, not to mention all of the other phrases of thankfulness.  Maybe this is something that we have taken rather lightly and we need to take a harder look at.

Is God an egotist that he requires our thankfulness?  It is not about God’s ego.  It is about His worthiness and the tribute of praise, worship and thankfulness due to His name as the Lord, Savior and Creator of all.  But even beyond that there are reasons we need to praise Him for our own sake.  As our key passage points out, there is something that happens to us when we fail to acknowledge all that God is and does and cease to be thankful.  It causes us to become vain in our imaginations, we start to become puffed up and guess who soon becomes the god upon the throne of our hearts?  Our foolish hearts do become darkened because they begin to acknowledge only self and our abilities rather than God’s.

There is a passage from Moses’ exhortation to the Israelites as they were about to come into the promise land that I think is very applicable to the people of God in any generation.  Deuteronomy 8:10-20 says, “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.  Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest [when] thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein];

And [when] thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, [wherein were] fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where [there was] no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;

Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”  God knows our hearts and how full of ourselves we can become.  If for no other reason, it is important that we keep God in perspective in our lives through thankfulness and praise.  We must always remember and acknowledge before Him that He is the source and provision for every good thing.  Not unlike the Israelites of the wilderness, we are much more prone to murmur and complain about all God hasn’t done for us, or how we think He has failed us and what He should have done that He didn’t do for us.  Are we idiots to make such accusations against our God?  What right or business do we, His created, have to tell Him how and what things should be done?  How arrogant and presumptuous on our parts, to correct or rebuke God.  This is truly when our hearts become darkened because we have gotten God out of perspective through our hardened attitude and lack of true thankfulness.

There are not a lot of things we can really give back to God, but thankfulness is one of them.  Let us take the time to really count our blessings, regardless of our circumstances, and truly offer thanksgiving from a grateful heart.  Let us be thankful not only for the things which we see already manifested, but even the more for the things we don’t yet see which we lay hold of by faith.  Thankfulness is truly an expression of faith that opens the doors and brings the answers to our prayers.

” So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations (Psalm 79:18).”

Blessings,
#kent

Core Values

April 30, 2020

 

Core Values

 

Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

 

There are those time of introspection when we look at our lives and evaluate what they have meant, what we have accomplished and where we are in relation to the values we place on our lives.  Some of us can be very proud of what we have accomplished in the world with regards to success.  Many of us are mediocre, having done moderately well, and others of us may feel and see our lives as failures or falling short of what we hoped and dreamed.  We can be either encouraged or discouraged by what we see as success in our lives.  Most of us who are in Christ know that, when all is said and done, it won’t be earthly success or failure that determines the worth and value of our lives.  What it comes down to is the core values of what kind of a relationship did we have with our God and how was that lived out in relationship with others.  In modern day, many of us can look at an individual such as Mother Teresa and admire the epitome of self-sacrifice, love for her fellow man and dedication to her God.  She demonstrated through her life the core values of what life had come to mean to her and yet, by the world standards of success, she was poor.  Her reputation came not from self-promotion, but from the extreme example of her piety and godly life.

The focus of all that we discuss and talk about here is centered in what our core values are and how we are living them out in our lives.  The hope is, that even if I am a failure by the world’s standards, I can still be of great success by God’s standards, but for that to happen He has to be at the forefront of all that I am and the motivation and direction of all that I do.

We used to see the bumper sticker a lot that said, “God is my copilot”.  Quite honestly, that is true of most of us as Christians.  We take God along for the ride to wherever we decide we are going.  We ask His assistance, guidance and blessing, but we don’t really relinquish the control of our life entirely to Him.  He is just there to help us out.  When we ever come to that place where He is truly the pilot of our lives, then we take the supportive role as we endeavor to move and live according to His direction and plan for us.  We know that God is well able to always reach His destination, but with us it may well be questionable.

After walking us through the many lives and examples of men and women of faith, Hebrews 12:1-3 starts out by giving us a strong exhortation.  “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”  We have to keep our core values central in our lives and pursue them with all our hearts.  Christ in us, is like our heart to the natural man.  Through careless living it can become clogged and restricted with fat and plaque, restricting the life flow through our spiritual man.  Many of have heart disease today, because we have misplaced our core values.  Paul defined our core value well when he made the statement in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  Can we make this statement along with Paul?  Are we living successfully our core values?

Blessings,

#kent

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