The Spirit that Sets Men Free

Mark 5:1-20

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”

9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Here is the account of a man so possessed of unclean spirits that he was no longer his own.  It is obvious from the story that the man didn’t have the goods or the means to contain or control this unclean spirit.  They had tried to chain him and control him, but no man could control or tame Him.  He had become no more than a puppet controlled and tormented by the spirits that inhabited him.  How he must have longed for deliverance and no doubt cried out to God for it.  One day the prayers and the cries of that captive spirit were answered.  Jesus showed up at his front door among the tombs and the dead things.   This man lived in death and death surrounded him.  I believe it was the spirit in the man that ran to worship Jesus.  Here was the deliverer who could deliver him from his tormented state.  I believe the unclean spirits would have ran from Jesus, but here at last was the answer he had cried out for.  Does it not seem strange that Jesus just happened to pick this destination to go to this day?  Was it not the tormented cries of the man’s heart that brought Him there?  This man was the extreme case of demonic possession, a man filled with an army of demons.  One word spoken by Jesus brought these unclean spirits to their knees.  His presence brought them to cry out, for His very presence was their torment and caused them to quake with fear. 

Such is the One that abides in you and I.  When it is the Christ in us that speaks forth an anointed word, then hell and the devil are helpless to stop it.  Jesus showed even a measure of mercy to the unclean spirits by allowing them to go into the swine. 

Jesus brought hope, deliverance and salvation into a man’s life and situation where a moment before there had only been despair.  He is still doing that today and often times, those of us with surrendered hearts and the sensitivity to hear His voice might be the channels He would use to touch some life and bring the miracle that they so desperately need and are crying out for.  Where would He take your life today and how would He use you to bring the spirits of men together with the Spirit of God?  Jesus came to set the captive free.  It is His Spirit that He desires to unite us too and all others must be cast out.  He wants to give us back a right mind, even the mind of Christ.  He wants us to take the good news of what He has done for us and share it with others.  Go forth and bring to others the deliverance of His salvation and the good tidings of peace and joy.

 

Blessings,

#kent

How much does Your Sin Cost Me?

James 4:1-6

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You 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.

    4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?[a] 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

We know that Jesus paid the price for our sin and the spiritual, eternal consequences they reap.  We know that through faith and calling upon the name of Jesus we can partake of the free gift of His great salvation and goodness.  We know also that through the power of His life that comes to reside within us we can overcome the strongholds and the power of the sin that has operated in our lives.  We also know that even though Jesus paid the price, sin still operates in our world and unfortunately it still operates in us as believers where we give it place.  Sin has natural consequences as well as spiritual ones.  As we survey our world we have no trouble seeing the devastating effects of sin that touches every life on this planet.  While God is merciful to forgive our sins, that sin still produces consequences.  It produces its fruit of destruction and death.  The sad thing about sin, whether it is ours or someone else’s, it doesn’t just cost us, it cost all who are touched by it.  Sin is like a rock thrown into a pond, it produces a big splash where it lands, but it also produces ripples that go out in all directions.  This begs the question, how much will your sin cost me and how much will my sin cost you? 

People ask the question, “How could a loving God allow war, hunger, sickness, disease, poverty and crime?”  I guess it could be said, because He loved us enough to give humanity a free will to make choices whether they were for Him or against Him.  The state of our world is the fruit of many poor choices where man chose sin over God.  God has loved us so much, that in spite of all those wrong choices and in spite of the ones we continue to make we have a way back to Him; back to His righteousness and perfect plan.  Meanwhile, as long we continue in this present evil age of man’s doing the consequences of sin will follow us. 

What does that mean to us on a personal level?  What happens for instance when a person allows alcohol or drug addiction to get a hold of their lives.  The hook is often innocent enough, but the underlying consequences are horrific.  How many of our lives have been affected by these.  A person lusts so much after these strongholds that they will cheat, steal, lie, con and they will become all the things that they once hated and detested in others.  They will beat the wife they say they love, they will abuse their precious children, they rob from their family to feed and satisfy their addiction and even though they hate themselves for it they can’t stop their destructive course.  They go on to beg, borrow, steal, and con their friends, family and loved ones, because of their lack.  They will loose their jobs, their reputation, their self-respect, their dignity and integrity until they either get help or completely destroy all that they had loved and held dear.  They will cost those closest to them untold grief, heartache, pain in many ways: financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and every other way.  That ripple will continue to radiate out and affect others even beyond their personal relationships.  How many thousands and millions of dollars does it cost a society because of crime and sin.  People are victimized and hurt continually because of someone else’s sin. 

How much does divorce, unfaithful and broken relationships cost, not only financially, but in terms of suffering, heartbreak, anger, unwillingness to forgive and shattered lives and hearts.  That is something nearly everyone has been touched by since it effects about half of our marriages today; all of it the result of our sin and selfishness.  How much will your sin cost me?  It doesn’t just cost you, it cost everyone around you.  If sin has a stronghold on you, get help!  As painful and humiliating as that may be, it is nothing compared to what your sin will reap.  Remember God loves you.  He is for you and not against you, but He will not make your choices for you.  Only you and I can make right choices.  Let us humble ourselves and return to Him, that we may receive His grace before it cost us all more that we want to pay.

Blessings,

#kent

Christian Behavior

April 24, 2017

Romans 12:9-21

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore“ If your enemy is hungry, feed him;If he is thirsty, give him a drink;

For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Christian Behavior

This passage is a basic guideline and checklist for the behavior and attitude that we should be living out of in Christ.  You will notice that all of its tenants are based on walking in love toward your fellow man and the saints of God.  Its first point is to let your love be without hypocrisy.  How often do we mask our true feelings with a smile and outward show of love and piety?  It is important that we be honest and transparent with one another even when our feelings or attitudes aren’t right.  Love doesn’t mean that we hide them or ignore them, but that we deal with them.  If our heart or our attitude is wrong then we must be willing to confess that and address it in order to correct it.  If someone else’s heart and attitude are wrong then we, in humility and love are honest with them about what we see.  Our function as the body of Christ is not to sit in judgement on one another, but to help each other.  There are things you see about me that I may be totally blind too, if you don’t help me in love then how am I suppose to know?  We all need the capacity and openness to receive correction as well as give it.  None of us are yet perfect or have all of the answers.  That is the reason that we function as a body and not as individuals.  Our end purpose is to fulfill what this passage in Romans 12 is exhorting us to do, basically walk in love toward all men.  Allow God to deal with those who abuse us with evil.  We are exhorted to walk as much in love toward our enemies as we do our brethren, but it does tells us to prefer one another.

We also notice that our Christian walk is not just a passive living.  It has purpose and direction.   It tells us to not be lacking in diligence, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfast in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints and given to hospitality.  We are processing and distribution centers for God’s love to flow through.  We have a relationship with the Lord and receive of His love and blessing so that we can process that through our lives and distribute it to the lives of those around us.  As we are each faithful to do this we meet the needs in one another and in our fellow man.  It is in this healthy relationship with God and man that others will see the love of God flowing through our lives and we will be fulfilling our purpose and calling in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

Eyes upon the Lord

April 21, 2017

Psalms 121

Lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD,

the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

What a privilege we have when we are in Christ.  Yes, the sun still shines on the just and the unjust alike, just like we all experience the storms of life as well.  When we are brought face to face with mortality and death looks back at us in the mirror, what a hopeless and empty feeling must be in those who do not have a relationship with Christ and know not where their help and their life comes from.  The loving arms of the Father are so awesome as He envelopes His own and draws them near to His heart.  When we can read scriptures like Psalms 121 and know in our hearts that our mighty God loves and cares for us so much, what a feeling of security and comfort that brings us.  We all have our bumps, spills and hurts in life.  It is inherent in the world we live in.  We live in a world that is still reaping the consequences of sin, but within us beats a resurrection, new creation, heart.  A heart that longs after God and has the assurance that nothing that we go through in life we must go through alone.  He is our Comforter, our Abba Father.  He feels and knows our heart.  He recognizes the frailty of frame, that we are dust.  In these few brief moments that we tread this earth, we have found the joy of a life with purpose and fulfillment in Christ.  What we have found in Christ, even physical death can not take that away from us, but simply releases our spirit from this earthen vessel so that we may come fully into His presence. 

We have come to know that physical death is not our greatest fear, but spiritual death, a life devoid of God’s Spirit and relationship with Him; that is the greatest tragedy of all.  Without Him what do we have but emptiness of soul, of purpose and a life that can only be lived for the present?  Without Him we only have the vain philosophies, religions and the devices of men.   What a sad and empty place to find ourselves in and then we die to face what?

It should never cease to astound us nor should we ever fail to appreciate the Lord and give Him praise for what a blessed and rich people we are who have come to know Christ.  We are not any better than the rest of the world in our own right, but God’s grace and salvation has and is taking us to levels of richness and blessing that we can not even fully comprehend. 

When we face adversity, trials and even death in our lives, we have a hope that is so precious to us.  It is our Lord we can cling too, depend upon and hope in.  He is not just a crutch for weak-minded Christians as the world may mockingly say; He is the substance of our life.  All that we now are is rooted and grounded in Him.  Whether we live or die we are the Lord’s.  The assurance we have in Christ is the Peace that Jesus spoke of that the world can not give. 

As you lift your eyes today, remember where your help comes from.  The Father loves you with a deep and unconditional love.  Your life is hid with Christ in God.  The world can never know the hope, the assurance and the security that we have because we are His own.  You are the apple of your Father’s eye.  He loves you.  He is proud of you and He sees the righteousness of His Son in you.  We are a very blessed and privileged people.  Never forget or lose sight of who you are and all that is yours in Christ. 

Thank You Father!  Thank You Jesus!

Blessings,

#kent

Extravagant Giving

April 6, 2017

Mark 14:3-9

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 

4Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 

6″Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” 

Extravagant Giving

The story presents us with an example of a woman that gave extravagantly to express to the lover of her soul the depth of her love, appreciation and commitment to Him.  Some saw this as a waste.  Some thought it should be sold and given to the poor.  Some were offended that such a woman as this woman used to be would even dare to approach Jesus in such a forward and unconventional way.  

Should she have sold this extravagant perfume and given it to the poor?  Sure that would have been a noble and worthy gesture.  Should we give to the poor?  Of course the Lord honors that and cares deeply for the needy, the widow and orphans.  But this woman brought a higher level of giving than even that.  This was an expression of physically anointing Jesus with the precious incense of His presence and love that filled her heart.  It was the deepest expression of praise and worship she knew how to give as she anointed Him and wiped His feet with her hair and tears.  It was an anointing of the King of Kings, the High Priest of our confession to enter into the Holy of Holies for us, ever renting the veil of separation for us to enter in.  It was the sacrifice most acceptable to the Lord, that of a broken and contrite heart.  He did not despise such an offering, but highly favored, honored and defended the woman.  What she had done was unique and significant above all other offerings.  She had demonstrated extravagant giving by giving her richest possession to express the treasure of life and relationship that Christ had placed within her heart.

Many of us give the Lord our due diligence, tithes and offering.  Many of us are very lax about doing even that. How can we have the heart of this woman?  How can we be extravagant givers that can some how express the gratitude we should feel for the eternal life and hope Jesus has placed within our hearts through the sacrifice of His mortal life for our sin and separation from the Father?  All that we have, all that we are and all that we are ever destined to be, we owe to our Jesus.  How can we find it in our lives to be extravagant givers?

Blessings,

#kent

The Protection of Light

March 10, 2017

The Protection of Light

Luke 12:2-3

For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

Light is the guardian and protector of our hearts.  As long as we keep our full face in it, then it will dispel all darkness.  When we begin to turn our face out of the light and regard darkness with our eyes and thoughts, then our body will follow where our eyes and heart lead us.   Outwardly we may maintain a position of light and righteousness, but inwardly light is fading from white, to gray, to black.  A book is often judged by its cover, but its pages reveal its content.  Pages written in the light will reveal light, but pages written in darkness will conceal it.   

Are we an open book today that could be read of any man and no shame would be revealed or are there pages we are writing in darkness that we hope that no one else will see or read.  There is a day the pages of our heart and life will be open and be read of all men.  Regard humility that you do not suffer humiliation.  Fear the Lord, so that you don’t have to fear man.  God gives us grace and a time to repent from our evil and our darkness.  Turn back from darkness and run back into the light.  Let us repent of our darkness, lest our nakedness be exposed.  Let us clothe ourselves again in light and wash ourselves in the blood of His forgiveness.  We must judge ourselves quickly, lest we would be judged and our unclean ways be found out.  Judgement begins in the house of God and it has begun.

A great man who became the victim of his own words used to say, “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”  The word he spoke is true, but only each one of us can apply it to our own lives.  Today is a day to no longer conceal a matter but to repent, turn and run back into the light of God’s compassion and forgiveness.  May we be an open book, read of all men, concealing nothing in darkness.

Blessings,

#kent

Adversary to Avocate

March 9, 2017

Acts 9:31

Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Adversary to Avocate

The apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee, did great harm on the church in its early stages.  He was the adversary that went about breaking up churches and throwing Christians in prison, bringing great torment and affliction upon the body of Christ.  Just as we have seen examples of those who we are involved in witch-hunts, Saul was a Christian hunter.  He had a zeal to seek out and destroy the Church.  His name and his presence didn’t stir warm and fuzzy feelings if you were a Christian in that location and time.  

The great thing about God is that He has the wonderful ability to take something evil and turn it for good.  It must be a great source of frustration for satan to find a device that he can use to tear up God’s people and then God ends taking that same device and turning it around for His good and glory.  Such was the case with Paul or Saul of Tarsus.  God took this man who could strike fear in the hearts of Christians and turned him into a blessing and an object of His grace.  He took the devil’s tool, turned it around and beat the devil up with it.  Now only God can do that.

We see circumstances today that are like that in our world, our nation and our personal lives.  There are individuals or organizations that are antichrist by there very nature. I wonder what made the difference in Paul’s life?  Since God operates and moves through the prayers of His people, was it the people that were praying against him or those that prayed for him that made the difference.  Maybe instead of trying to pray someone out of our lives we need to be praying them into the kingdom of God.  It is often our adversary that moves us to action in prayer and in faith.  It is often our adversary that arouses us out of our sin of apathy and complacency and into a place of action in Christ.  Our rest and our comfort are still in the Lord.  

God took this vessel of wrath and turned him into a vessel of mercy and truth.  God is still in the business of taking evil and turning it for good.  In our adversity know that God is doing a deeper work in us.  He still sits upon the throne and is Lord of all.  He is still able to work all things after the council of His will and for our ultimate good.  Sometimes we have to weather the storms in faith and prayer, but afterward God is able to give us rest, edifying us as we walk in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,

#kent

1Timothy 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Today, is the Preparation for Tomorrow

There used to be a profound verse when I was growing up that said, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  It was a good thought for not living in the past, but realizing the importance of the moment that you were living in.  I was thinking that ‘today is also the preparation for your tomorrow.’  In the natural we may develop a ten-year plan or a plan for retirement, but what of our spiritual future?  How are we preparing for that?  

I believe it is very easy for all of us to get caught up in the day to day living of our lives, but we may be neglecting the prophetic warnings and exhortations of the Lord to prepare our hearts and spirits toward Him.  Is our house in order?  If we were gone from this earth tomorrow are things like we would want them to be.  What do we need to get right in our relationships with others and our family?  Is our faith rock solid and ready for whatever may come?  Is our relationship with the Lord and our walk with Him where it ought to be?  I believe God has given us today as a time and preparation for tomorrow.  What we do know is that Jesus tells us in Luke 12:35-40, “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  The Word says that when the Lord came most of the world was conducting business as usual and were not prepared for His coming.  In Luke 17:24-30, Jesus tells His disciples, “For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. 25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

What I feel in my spirit is that God has given us today as a day of preparation for His coming tomorrow.  Redeem the time at hand and use it wisely.  Prepare your heart and your lives for His presence.  In that day the man of the flesh will be destroyed, but the man of the Spirit will be raised up.  Allow today to be a day of spiritual preparation for what the Lord is bringing forth tomorrow.

Blessings,

#kent

The Little Things

March 3, 2017

The Little Things

Colossians 3:17

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 

Speak words of kindness and praise,

Speak softly and not with a voice that is raised,

Give hugs and gentle kisses,

It is acts of love that a person misses.

Surprise someone in an unexpected way,

It is the sunshine that will make someone’s day.

Forgive offenses and those that done you wrong,

Forgiveness releases within you a freedom’s song.

Tell someone how much they mean to you,

You have no idea what appreciation can do.

Enter and share someone’s hurt and pain,

A burden that is shared is like a gentle rain.

Encourage someone to be more than they think they are,

Help them see that to God, they are a bright and shining star.

Give something to someone that has less than you,

Plant those seeds of blessings and more than just a few.

Most important, Don’t forget to give the Lord your all.

Come into His presence and worship Him with awe.

By the power of His name we can do all things

You are His expression, one of His priests and kings.

Blessings,

Kent

Psalms 22:24

For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

The Despised and the Afflicted

Have you ever looked down on someone who was weaker than you, not as talented, not as good looking or not as good or righteous?  Have you ever despised another because they offended you in some way?  Have you ever regarded yourself above others in your station or position in life?  If we are really truthful and search our hearts I would imagine that we all have had these prejudices.  I am sure for all of us there are people we prefer to not be around or associate with for various reasons.  Maybe there are good reasons that we shouldn’t associate or be around them. 

What the Lord is speaking today is concerning the despised and the afflicted.  Many times we can’t really appreciate or identify with where others are at, because we have never been there or had to really walk in their place or we have forgotten where we have come from.  We judge and make assumption from afar and think that we judge rightly and fairly.  What is God’s heart concerning the afflicted and those whom others may despise?  He certainly doesn’t condone any of us in our sin or favor the unrighteous, but He feels and knows the heart of the afflicted.  He knows their pain and their torment.  He knows their rejection and their low esteem.  Without realizing it we can become like the Pharisees that dwelt in their sterile environment where they didn’t have to dirty their hand or touch the unclean things.  It is safe there and we don’t have to deal with all of the unpleasantness of the humanity that is sick and dying all around us.  We often despise the afflicted because they cause us to deal with unpleasant things; things we would rather ignore and not be concerned with.  Our religious, righteous and sanctimonious heart is not the heart of the Father, because he doesn’t despise or abhor the afflicted.  He doesn’t hide His face from them, but He loves them and cares about them.  Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘it is not the well who need the physician, it is the sick.’  Jesus has a heart for the despised and the afflicted, because He walked in their place.  Isaiah 53:3 speaks concerning Jesus, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”  Many of us have become quite comfortable with our religious trappings and comfortable surroundings.  We dress nice, we talk nice and we rub shoulder with like-minded people, but how do we view those who don’t fit within our circle and our standards?  Do we thank God that we are not like them?  Jesus addresses this in a parable that He gives in Luke 18:9-14, “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10″Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 

13″But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 

14″I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Some of us have forgotten who we were when the Lord called us unto Himself.  1 Corinthians 1:26-32 says, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

James 1:5-7 puts this question to us, “Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?”  Let us be careful whom we despise, reject and judge.   Our ministry and our outreach are to such a people.  Let us honestly search our hearts and our attitudes.  Many of us need to get over ourselves and get the heart of the Father for the despised and the afflicted.  If we are missing that, then we are missing Him. 

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: