How Good God Really Is

December 4, 2018

 

How Good God Really Is

 

Psalm 107:1-2

O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so], whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

 

Sometimes it is easy for us to lose sight of who we are in Christ, that we are His redeemed and He literally has redeemed us from the hand of our enemy.  He has gathered us from every tribe and tongue and from the ends of the earth to set His name and His seal upon us.  We are the redeemed of the Lord purchased with the blood of the Lamb.  When we think back to the time we were sold under the dominion of sin, without hope, without eternal purpose, how empty we were in our souls.  Psalms 107: 4-6 says, “They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he delivered them out of their distresses.”  Even as the Lord’s redeemed, many of us have or are currently experiencing that wilderness place of a solitary way, outside of His perceived presence.  We have been in that place where we have tasted that the Lord is good, but our souls faint in that we hunger and thirst for more of Him.  We seem to have only distress and trials around us.  All we know to do is to cry out for more of Him, more of His grace, more of His power, mercy and deliverance in our lives.

Psalms 107:7-12 says, “And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, [being] bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and [there was] none to help.”  Many of us have known the way of the Lord.  We have known His desire to lead us in a right way. We have tasted of the age to come, of the promises and of the Lord’s goodness toward us, yet many of us have slipped back into the ways of sin and darkness.  We have rebelled with our self-will, desires and personal aspirations.  We’ve felt confined again in that place of bondage that always accompanies sin.  Down in our spirits we burn with hunger and desire for the Lord to descend and take us out of this state where the strongholds of sin have held us.  The Lord often will let us go our own way until one day we wake up out of our stupor of selfishness and find ourselves given over to the those things that Christ died to deliver us out of.

Thankfully, our God hears with compassion the cries of repentance and will bring us again out of our darkness if we will turn to Him with our whole heart.  We come to realize that unless He helps us there are none that can and we would perish in our sin.

Psalms 107:13-20 goes on to say, “Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he saved them out of their distresses.  He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men! For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder. Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.

Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.

Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he saveth them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered [them] from their destructions.”

The whole point of this is for us to realize how good God really is.  Even when we have played the fool and have been caught up again in the snare of sin and temptation, when we cry out unto the Lord He is there.  When He should have cast us away He still longs lovingly for us to return.  If we come again with the grief of our sin and the true repentance of a broken spirit, He will again heal us and restore us into fellowship with Himself.  In our trouble and in our distress we can still cry out to our God, for our Redeemer lives and continually lives to make intercession on our behalf.  He will send us His Word that will again lead us back into the paths of righteousness.  He will heal us and deliver us from our destructive ways if we will appropriate the blood of His forgiveness and mercy.

Come and return unto the Lord!  He desires to gather unto Himself His lost sheep.  He desires to heal the wounds inflicted by the enemy and deliver us out of their savage grip.  God loves you with an everlasting love and His love is greater than our sin.  Sin is a waster, a destroyer and a murderer, but Christ is a restorer, a healer, our salvation and great redeemer.  “Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. (Psalms 107:21-22)”

Blessings,

#kent

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Kingdom Principles (Part 2)

The Kingdom Within You

Luke 17:22

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

 

I believe the kingdom of heaven is not so unlike the make-up of man.  God so often works in threes and we can see the kingdom of heaven much the same way.  We know for instance that there is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  In a man there is spirit, soul and body.  In God’s tabernacle and temple there are outer court, inner court or holy place and Holy of Holies.  Much of God’s structure can be seen following this pattern.  In meditating upon the scriptures that pertain to the kingdom we can see the kingdom working in three aspects.  We are all pretty much settled on the fact and truth that there is a heaven beyond this natural realm where indeed God and His heavenly host reside.  We have come to see and believe that this a place of perfection where sin and corruption have no place.  When we’re redeemed through our faith and acceptance of Christ into our hearts and lives, the kingdom of God was brought into our spirits.  Our spirit is like the heaven of our beings.  It is the place of God’s resident presence through the Holy Spirit.  It is the one place we can presently know perfection and righteousness and it is this presence and indwelling of the Holy One that sets apart from the world and this natural realm of being.  When the gospel of the kingdom of God or heaven is preached; it is the gospel of salvation and of Christ redeeming and saving us from our body of sin and death.  Through that gospel we live in the hope of heaven and the kingdom of God fully being manifested in our life and being.

As a side note I have wondered about what is the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven.  It appears that in the gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John where this terminology is most used that Matthew likes to use the term “kingdom of heaven”, whereas the other gospels seem to predominately us the term “kingdom of God”.  We can see these terms used in reference to the same parable in different gospels with one using one term and the other using the other term, so they would appear to be interchangeable and of the same in meaning.

Returning to this idea of a three-part kingdom of heaven, we can relate to our spirits actually dwelling in a heavenly state.  When Christ came into our heart or our Spirit, the kingdom of God came within us.  Colossians 3:1-4 exhorts us concerning the state of salvation we have entered into and how that is to influence us outwardly.  It says, “IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God, 2And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. 3For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.”  Our relationship with Christ should be bringing us into a realm of heavenly mindedness.  Our mind must bring our mortal man into agreement with who we are as a spiritual being.  Lets look a little further into how this heavenly indwelling is to impact our former man and nature.  Ephesians 2: 1- 6, “AND YOU [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins 2In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God]. 3Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind. 4But God–so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, 5Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). 6And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”  Here we see that in Christ we currently sit in heavenly places with Him.  So the seat of our spirit is in heaven.  Obviously we would love to see the rest of our being in this place also, but in this realm of the rest of our being we see a progress of salvation at work which will bring us to next realm of the kingdom.

Blessings,

#kent

The High Places

April 19, 2018

 

The High Places

 

2Chronicle 20:23

Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers.

 

In Old Testament times post dating Moses we know there was an altar of the Lord that dwelt in a tabernacle and later, through David, came to rest in Jerusalem.  For us, who are New Testament Christians, this altar has become the equivalent of Calvary and the Cross.  It is the central altar around which our faith rests and where we find communion with our fellow believers and the Lord Himself.  It is our place of worship.  It is the place where we committed our hearts and souls to the Lord and ask Him to come into our hearts, cleanse us and be the Lord of our lives.  It is that place as Romans 12:1-2 puts it, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”   It is that altar where we consecrate ourselves, our worship, our affections and our commitment, first and foremost to Jesus Christ, our Savior.  He alone is the object of our worship, before whom there should be no other Gods.  For it is written, “thou shalt worship the Lord God and Him only shalt thou serve (Matthew 4:10).”

Once again we are asked to go to the places we would rather leave hidden and obscure from the Holy Spirit’s observation.  Today He comes to us to address the “high places” in our hearts and souls.  These were the places, other than the altar at Jerusalem where the Israelites went to worship.  They were places not designated or ordained of God. They were often places of cultic activity, idol worship and perhaps the places more convenient than the altar at Jerusalem.  What are they for us today?  Could they be the places of inordinate affections: our sports, our play, our work, our lust and sensuality, our harbored attitudes of unforgiveness, our movies, computers, games and any number of things that have come into the high places of our heart.  If we are to prepare our hearts before the Lord as our scripture indicates we must deal with and take down the high places.  These things are not easy to let go of.  Our flesh craves and covets them, but they have become an abomination and have brought a separation between our God and us.  They are the idols in our lives, rather we recognize them as such or not and with them we are breaking covenant with God.   These are often things and areas we just as soon stay ignorant of because it will cause us to face areas of our lives we don’t want to face.  It is really those areas where our flesh makes provision for itself to stay alive and active in us rather than going to the cross.  Are we willing like King Josiah, after hearing the Word of the Lord, to go into the high places of our heart and soul and tear down the idols and affections we have built there?  We must be willing to come honestly and openly before the Holy Spirit and ask Him to show us any unclean way in our heart. Then, as He begins to reveal these things, we have to be obedient to put them away from our lives.  Our flesh will cry out and we will still want to harbor and keep some part of it, but when we do we are leaving seed for it to return and it will.   2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong-holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  What are the high things in our hearts that exalt themselves against God today?  We must, by the Spirit pull down the strongholds and bring every thought into obedience to Christ.  We must guard where our thoughts take us, because they may well be the seed for disobedience, rebellion and idolatry.  We must guard our hearts and keep them tender in the light of God’s grace and truth.

“God, give us grace and strength to lay it all on the altar of sacrifice and let go of all that would offend You.”

For us to live an uncompromised life we must tear down the high places and deal with the hidden issues of our hearts.  This is what the Holy Spirit is speaking to us, it is to prepare our hearts to be pure, consecrated and in right relationship with our Lord.

Blessings,

#kent

Stepping Up

April 6, 2018

 

Stepping Up

 

Ephesians 4:15

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:

 

Our walk in Christ is a progressive one; it is a journey that each day should bring us a little more into His character and likeness.  If we charted it on a graph I doubt that for very many of us it would look like this smooth sloped line starting at zero and going up.  The truth is we would probably see dips and rises.  Sometimes it is like we go two steps back to take one forward.  Some days we can be so discouraged with life or ourselves that we just want to give up and sometimes we may even do that for a time.  Life is a series of ups and downs and we all know that on the surface it is easier live a sweet Christian life when things are going well. When we are caught up in the Spirit and we are feeling and experiencing the Lord’s presence and blessing in our lives it can be like we have heaven on earth.  The reality is, we know that we can experience hell on earth well.  There can be those times in life when all that we know and held dear is pulled out from under us.  Our world can be turned upside down in a heartbeat.  One thing you can count on in life is that nothing stays the same.  It is these experiences in our lives that are the testing and proving grounds of our faith.  The adversities in life are what exercise our muscles of faith and sound the depths of our character and integrity.  Often it is when we feel the least spiritual, that we grow the most.  Our Father always sees the big picture where we can only see the next hundred feet.  The one thing we have to be committed too is that come heaven or hell, our lives are wholly His.  We are His garden, to prune, to dig around, to water or however He decides to deal with us individually.  What we can hold fast too are the facts and truths that ‘He loves us with an everlasting love’, ‘He is able to complete the good work He began in us’, ‘He will never leave us of forsake us’ and ‘all things work together for the good of them that are called according to His purpose.’ 

            The important thing for all of us in Christ is that we maintain a focus and vision of continual faithfulness toward the Lord.  The enemy of our souls has continual roadblocks, diversions, disasters, and snares to discourage, get us off track and get us back into that mindset of the flesh and the world.  We must maintain a continual vigilance of our souls and we need one another to help us see the things that we often don’t see in ourselves.  Our spiritual transformation and progression is not something we accomplish in and of ourselves.  Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  That is why our walking in the Spirit is so important.  Walking in the Spirit is where we experience His righteousness, His freedom, His strength and power through us to overcome sin and temptation and deliverance from evil.  It is where we walk in the company of the Strong One, the Wise One, and the Faithful One.  It is in Him and our continual union and fellowship with Him that we experience growth from glory to glory as 2 Corinthians 3:18 puts it, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

            Every day should be a progressive walk in the Spirit, regardless of what life circumstances are.  Each day should be a stepping stone of faith and trust that brings us up higher and transforms us into His likeness.  Keep your eyes upon Him and your walk in the Spirit.  Let each day be another step up into the glory that is before us.

Blessings,

#kent

April 5, 2018

1 Peter 1:3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

 

Scenario of Two Lives

 

There was once a man that lived up in the mountains at the top a steep spire that was very difficult to reach.  Up there he lived alone raising his gardens and small livestock, capturing his water from the frequent  rainfalls.  There he lived isolated from the world and separated unto God, studying his bible and praying daily.  There he endeavored to live his life without sin wholly unto God.

There lived another man who was part of a large family and had many children of his own.  He lived in a crowded city that was full people, commerce and neighbors pressing in on every side.  His means were meager as he struggled to feed and provide for his family.  There were many conflicts surrounding him.  There were many difficulties that beset him.  There were many people continually putting demands upon him and expecting from him.  He also was a godly man, given to God and spending time with the Father in the brief moments he had to himself.  In his life he wrestled with many trials, temptations, persecution and needs that never touched the first man.  Daily he would repent of his sins and failures of living for God, but he would also remind himself of all that Christ was to him, had done for him and was doing in him.  Daily he reminded himself that his righteousness was that of Christ and not his own, that the blood of Jesus covered Him and the Spirit of Christ indwelt Him.  Daily, amidst all of the trials and demands upon his life he endeavored to live in the love of Christ and to share that love with others.

In the end which man accomplished the greater holiness and was most effective for the kingdom of God?  Which man had been perfected more into his image and likeness?

Having that vertical relationship with God is undeniably important.  It is where we draw from the source and the well of His life and strength, but if we never have the horizontal stretching through our relationship with humanity then we can only selfishly accumulate to ourselves, but never give out that which the Holy Spirit is imparting into us.  We can never know the growth we gain through the stretching that we go through in our relationships and the trials of this world.

Through Jesus, we see both the vertical relationship of communion and oneness with the Father and the willingness to be poured out for others that He might release that love into humanity, eventually giving the ultimate sacrifice of His physical life, not for Himself, but for us.  It is all of the trials of our faith that make us much more precious than gold.  Don’t be discouraged by all of life’s problems, demands and woes; this is the place where your faith is exercised, matures and grows.  This is the place where you have the opportunity to live out the things you say that you believe.  If you have your failures, as we all do, know that you are not condemned, but you have an advocate and intercessor with the Father, Jesus Christ, The Righteous.  As we confess our sins and failures He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  That overcomer lives in you, because Christ is in you.  As we continue to daily identify with Him, we also learn to walk in an overcoming life.  We, like Jesus, learn obedience through the things that we suffer (Hebrews 5:8).

Count it all joy in the race that is set before you.  Run to win and win by faithfully walking in what the Father has called you to be, the continual expression of Him.  He has enabled us by the Spirit of His power and strength to be more than conquerors through Christ that loved us and gave His life for us.

Blessings,

#kent

The Loving Hand of Correction

February 26, 2018

The Loving Hand of Correction

Hebrew 12:5-8

 

5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.  6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  8 )  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

 

Most of us would rather run away from discipline and correction.  Especially when things are going well the last thing we want is someone to rock our boat, especially heavenly Father.  Every motive and action of God is birthed in love, for He is love.  For God to leave us to our own devices and ways would not be very loving on His part since we are His children and His responsibility is to raise us as such.  While many of us say we love God we can be just as stubborn and rebellious about spiritual things as we can about natural things.  Out of God’s great love for us, because we are His children, He corrects and disciplines us in many different ways.  Even though that goes against the grain of our flesh, what is the greatest hindrance to our spiritual walk if it is not the old natural ways of living and thinking?  The trials and tribulations that touch our lives are exercising our true faith, spiritual obedience and substance.  I find I can think I’m pretty a good egg until the Lord allows me to tested in an area and what comes out of me or how I respond is often a pretty good indicator that a definite work of grace and correction is needed in that area of my life.  Unfortunately for most of us God has to keep taking us around and around some of the mountains in our life, because we still can’t seem to get it right.  How often have we read about the Israelites of the Old Testament and shook our heads at the fact we saw a continual cycle of rebellion and disobedience to God, His warnings and exhortation to turn from sin, their continued path of disobedience, God’s rod of discipline and correction, the repentance and turning again to God.  Then it would start all over again.  1 Corinthians 10: 11 says, “Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”  Here we have 20/20 hindsight, but do we make any better choices and demonstrate a greater measure of obedience and submission to the Lord than our Israelite predecessors?

Those who have trusted God for their salvation are at the heart of God’s love.  Even Jesus is our example, for it says, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered (Hebrew 5:8).” Let us not take the discipline of the Lord as a sign of His displeasure or anger toward us.  Though our discipline is not pleasant while we are going through it the Lord does it for our profit and good.  The end result is that it works the peaceable fruits of righteousness in us when we have been exercised by it.  Like the loving Father that He is, He is not allowing us to grow up spiritually being the self-willed, self- serving children we would be inclined to be, but the children that are being conformed to image of the Father by His loving hand and correction.

Let’s thank God He loves us the way we are but loves us too much to let us stay that way.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Call to Repentance and Preparation

(A word from the Lord)

 

Jeremiah 33:14

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.

 

 

Leave the ways of Baal behind you.  Walk out of the darkness and into the fullness of light.  Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and He will direct you paths.  Open up your heart of compassion and feel the need of humanity, hear their groans and reach out to the down trodden, the poor, the widow and the fatherless.  Be a father, be a mother, be what the need requires you to be.  You dwell in your ceiled and comfortable houses while my house lies in ruin.  See My purpose in that I am about to build my temple and my house of prayer to all nations.  You lack blessing because you focus only on your wants and on your needs.  What is your commitment to Me says the Lord?  I have not birthed you and brought you into the kingdom to serve only yourselves.  I have blessed you and I will bless you to be a blessing.  Christ did not come to do His will, but the will of the Father.  That is your calling as well.  Fear the Lord and despise evil.  Humble yourselves before Me and repent of your ways and your pleasures that you might be to me sons and daughters bearing the mark and the nature of My Son.  You have been called out of darkness into the light that you may be light bearers, torches and flames of truth and righteousness.

When will you put Me first?  When will you love Me as you say you do with all of your mind, strength, heart and soul?   I have called out a people after My name to rebuild My house.  It is a house of prayer for all of the nations and all of the nations will come to My light.  Humble yourselves before me.  Look for the opportunity to share Me with those I am bringing into your life.  Within your lips are the words of life, speak them and live them before all men.  Be not be double-minded and forsake your duplicity of heart.  You have been called out and separated unto me for such an hour as this.  Put on the garment s of praise and righteousness.  Put on Christ.  Shake the dust from your feet and come and follow Me.  You are the servants of the Most High.  This is not a calling that you should dismiss lightly.  I privileged you to be my vessels of living water and to bring the waters of refreshing and salvation into the earth.

Arise my beloved, shake the dust and the earth from you.  Wash yourselves in the water of the word and in repentance from dead works.   It is a time to dress and prepare yourselves for what I am bringing to pass in the earth.  Listen to My call and to My warnings that the day might not catch you unawares and unprepared.   Have you not heard that I come as thief in the night?  Don’t be as the foolish virgins who had no oil.  Prepare your lamps that they may be trimmed and lit in the hour of My coming.  Rise up and prepare for Your master is returning from His journey and will soon take account of His house.  Have it in order that you would be not put to shame.  Faithful is the one who hears these words and does them.

Blessings,

#kent

Amber Alert

February 15, 2018

 

Amber Alert

 

Mark 10:14

But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

 

We have instituted a wonderful system in this country, so that when a child is abducted or kidnapped or lost, announcements are made everywhere concerning their situation.  Information is gathered and distributed to allow people to be on the lookout for the things that might identify this child or their abductor.  It is wonderful how there is information, coordination and cooperation on a wide and often national scale to recover our little children.

If we were to look at this from a spiritual perspective for a moment many of us recognize that there has been a mass abduction of our children spiritually, mentally and morally.  We need a spiritual Amber Alert to awaken us to the fact that our society is being taken spiritual captive and it starts with our children.  Most of us realize the need to monitor the television that they watch, because it can be a strong instrument and influence to ungodly and wrong thinking.   We see agendas being promoted every day that have messages coming through every venue possible to dumb us down spiritually and morally to lifestyles and that are contrary to Biblical principles and values.  The innocent and inquisitive mind of a child is the most susceptible to the influence and the persuasion of the enemy.  Especially if we as parents and adults become careless and complacent concerning our duties to protect them and give them right values.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”  This exhortation still stands for us today.  It is so easy in our busy society and the demands of life to allow our children to go unguarded and unprotected simply from the lack of instruction and the influence we can have in their lives.  It is not practical to isolate our kids and keep them from any physical contact with the world.  We can’t practically do that even for ourselves, nor is that God’s intent.  He wants us to be lights in our world.  We must start by lighting a candle in our children, instructing them daily in the Word, and continually talking about the things of God and the goodness of God.  Don’t fall into the trap of using God and His Word like a big stick to threaten, condemn and coerce our children when they sin.  Let them know it is the sin that brings consequences for wrong actions and leads to our hurt.   Instruct them in who they are in Christ and help them daily to grow in a personal relationship with Him as we pray with them and teach them the Word.  Discuss with them these attitudes of the world they are hearing and give them sound Biblical principles as to why they are wrong and the consequences of what they bring.

We must have a spiritual Amber Alert sounding right now.  It has to start with us as adults recognizing and addressing the very real attacks and abductions that are taking place with our children everyday in all of the areas that influence them.  Their protection is in bringing them to Jesus and having them sit at His feet.  Instill that Word and the love of God in their hearts daily.  We must be their covering and protection through the influence we have over them.  If we don’t influence them, then we better know that someone else will.  1 Peter 5:8 says,”Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” Our children’s young innocent minds are prime targets for spiritual influences of darkness.  As parents, grandparents and adults that have influence in children’s lives, we must be the spiritual guardians of their souls and the protectors of their little spirits.  We want to wake up to the Amber Alert of the Spirit and take action to preserve and instruct our children in righteousness and the ways of Life.

Blessings,

#kent

Tragedy to Triumph

January 11, 2018

 

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.  Genesis 50:20

 

Tragedy to Triumph

 

In the process of life many of us will go through tragedies that will be “life changing events”.  These events are something we would never have chosen to experience or go through if given the choice.  They can be incredibly painful and they will forever stain our life.  While they are often horrific, they are a part of the fallen world that we live in.

Could God stop these things?

Yes, but then it would only be His choice and no longer the free will to make our own.  While God can’t remove all the tragedy in the world without violating our free will, He can and often does, take those things that satan meant for evil and turn them for good if we will allow Him to have His perfect work and way.  On the other hand we can circumvent God’s highest when in our pain, we choose to blame Him, others or even ourselves. We hold on to that pain in the form of bitterness, resentment and unwillingness to forgive our perceived offenders.  We hold those offenses in our heart to our own detriment and hindrance to experiencing God’s greater working of grace and good.

We often feel like God could have prevented this if He wanted too.  Yes, and He could have prevented His Son from going to the cross when Jesus cried out to Him to remove that cup of suffering from Him, but He was relinquished to the greater will and purpose of  Father.  Sin took Jesus through the intense suffering and crucifixion, and through His willingness to forgive His enemies and murderers He showed us a higher way of laying hold of God’s redemptive work even through our own tragedies in life.

Through the deep pain that we experience and the suffering we endure we often later find it to be the catalyst that brought us into a greater experience of grace and God’s working through our lives than what we ever would have known without that experience. We have been changed in such a way that it has given us a greater compassion, empathy and passion to change those things that often caused our pain or is causing that pain in others. We can relate with others in ways we never could before and often we find our life purpose out of such tragedies. God can take that which was meant for evil and turn it for good if we are willing to give it to Him, trusting Him to heal us and in the process transform us into someone better and more like Him through things we’ve suffered.

Jesus loves you and He totally relates with you in your suffering. Ultimately He wants to take your tragedy and turn it into triumph, even as the tragedy of the cross was turned into the redemptive triumph for all of mankind.

Blessings,

#kent

The Backside of Love

January 5, 2018

Hebrews 12:14-11

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

 

The Backside of Love

 

When we speak of love it often the warm fuzzy feelings that come rushing to the forefront of our minds and emotions.  Certainly God’s love can be there to warm us with provision, blessing, intimacy with Him and the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit’s presence.  What we don’t so often recognize or care to acknowledge is the backside of God’s love.  Love’s desire is to bless, but often in order to bless it has to correct, instruct, discipline and train.  Such is God’s love for us as sons.  We love all of the glory and power that is associated with being sons, but to get us to the nature and character of sons there has to be the Father’s discipline and correction.  God tells us if we don’t go through this then we aren’t really sons; for whom the Lord loves He disciplines and corrects.  This is no less a part of His love than the warm and fuzzy part.

Sometimes it is hard to comprehend with the natural mind how pain, discipline and suffering could be associated with love and yet it is.  These are the tools of our perfecting and instruction.  It is in this humbling place of discipline that we lose ourselves and begin to take on Him.  We learn to identify with the pain and suffering of others and out of that place develop hearts of compassion to minister the love and life of God to a hurting and dying world.  It is not in the high places of recognition, worldly honor, power and position that we carry the image of Christ.  It is in the low places of people’s needs, their hurts, their wounding and brokenness.  There, in these low places, do we learn how to administrate justice, healing, deliverance and restoration to the identity that God has for His humanity.  It says, “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.”  His holiness is to be wholly like Him in our being.

Let’s face it, our flesh is self-serving, self-preserving and self edifying.  It is all about me, what I like, what I want, what feels good and what looks good.  The Cross is our instrument of discipline that brings us to the end ourselves and begins shaping us in the image and the nature of Christ.  In order to come into His likeness, my likeness has to be done away with.  “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Job 5:17-22 says, “Blessed is the man whom God corrects;

so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

18For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.

19From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you.

20In famine he will ransom you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword.

21You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes.

22You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the beasts of the earth.”

God disciplines us to take our confidence out of ourselves and put it into Him.  Hebrews 2:10-11 it says,  “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”  If the author of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, are we better than He?

Let us bear up under our discipline manfully, acknowledging and praising God in whatever we are called upon to endure.  The closer we are drawn to the bosom of the Father the hotter the flames of His holiness burn, but they will only burn away in us what is corruptible, temporal and what must perish anyway.  For what is burned is only the ropes that have bound us as it was for the three Hebrew children in the Bablylonish furnace in the book of Daniel.

1 Peter 4:12-14 exhorts us, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

19So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”

The backside of Father’s love is not always pleasant, but it is needful for us to come into the sons He has called us to be.  Endure patiently and faithfully, for in due season it will yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness.

Blessings,

#kent

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