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

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When People Let You Down

December 26, 2017

 

When People Let You Down

 

2 Timothy 4:14-18

Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Without a doubt, most of us can think back in our lives when someone or some group let us down, has judged us, cast us out or otherwise hurt us.  There is a pretty good chance that in a lot of those cases these people may have been fellow believers, people we thought were our friends and people we trusted and put our confidence in.  There are many walking wounded out there who are still carrying the scares, the hurts and perhaps the unforgiveness for those times when we were hurt or forsaken.

There is a truth that we must always keep in mind; people will always disappoint you and let you down, but Jesus will never leave you or forsake you.  The evidence of this truth is in the scripture today where Paul stood alone against accusations, judgements and insults.  Those around him left him standing alone; none stood in his defense except Christ.  That’s hard when you’ve had friends that you have been close too, brothers and sister that you’ve loved and fellowshipped with and something comes up where your character is brought into question. Maybe it is something from your past and suddenly you’re standing alone.  You are on the outside of fellowship looking in.  For some reason others won’t believe you, but they will take without question, the words of your accusers.  How many precious brothers and sisters have had their faith shipwrecked because of so called believers who have stood in the place of judgement and condemnation?  Didn’t the same thing happen to Jesus?  Where were his disciples when He was falsely judged and condemned?   “And they all forsook him, and fled” (Mark 14:50).

There are times in life when all we have is Jesus and the Word of God.  While it is very hurtful, our hearts will be tested as to whom we really put our faith and reliance in.    God wants us to retain that spirit of love and forgiveness in those times of hurt and disappointment.  Our natural man wants to lash out, defending and justifying its self.  We want to share with everyone the great injustice that is being done to us.  I have seen times in our lives when we kept thinking a situation couldn’t get any worse and it would get worse and worse and worse.  It was quite obvious that we were under great spiritual attack.  Often that is the time when God asks us to do the hardest thing,  “Shut up and be still.”  We can miss the great salvation that Christ wants to work in our lives, because we are too caught up in trying to save and justify ourselves.  What He wants us to do instead is, “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)” The love of Christ alone, in us, is our only ability to be able to turn the other cheek, to render blessing for their cursing, to love our enemies and pray for them that despitefully use us and accuse us.  One of the most difficult things for us to do is to act out of the spirit of Christ, rather than to react out or our flesh and render evil for evil.  God has a higher way for us, but to experience the higher we must be willing to die to the lesser.

Through life we are going to encounter injustices and inequities.  How are we going to respond to these?  How are we responding to these now?  In these times, as painful as they are, hide yourself in Christ.  Put Him on as a garment and shield against the personal hurt and pain.  He is our vindicator and He will render righteous judgement in due time.  That may not be in our time, but we need to place it in God’s hands and trust ourselves to Him alone.

Today, if you have passed through this place, or you are in it now, or perhaps it is ahead of you, find your refuge, strength and peace in Christ.  Remember it is not about how you feel, it is about how you obey and respond out of faith and love according to God’s word and not your emotions.  Your feelings will probably be in total contradiction to what God is prompting us to do, but as we respond out of faith, obedience and prayer, he will help our feelings to line up with His will for us, but it may take some time.  People will always let you down, but the Lord will never leave you or forsake you.   “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.  (Colossians 3:13)”

Blessings,

#kent

Taking Love to the Next Level

December 20, 2017

Luke 6:32

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.

 

Taking Love to the Next Level

 

Most of us can get along with most people, most of the time, but there never fails to be those “irregular” people in your life that just rub you the wrong way.  Their attributes and characteristics may be many and varied, but bottom line, “its hard to really love them”.  In most cases we steer away from them in as much as it is possible, but like it or not, they are going to be there.  I think  Jesus was addressing our love for some of these irregular people when He spoke these words in Luke 6.  Let’s take a closer look at the context of what Jesus is saying here in Luke 6:27-36.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Jesus is calling us to a level of love that few have really walked in and put into daily practice.  We would like to think we are there, but how many of us truly love unconditionally?  When we love, it is human nature to want to have that love or goodness reciprocated.  How do we feel and react when it isn’t?  Looking at the divorce rate in our marriages, it obviously shows up there and just about as much in believers as non-believers.  That’s not to condemn anyone, because the point is very few of us are truly walking and responding in this level of love.  This is “agape” or God love.  It is this kind of love that is a decision, not just a feeling.  It is the kind of love that caused Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners and still His enemy.  It is the kind of love that gave us life, when we deserved death and saw past our faults to meet our need.  Is that the kind of love we are extending to the irregular people in our life?  Nothing has the power to change them like that kind of undeserved and unwarranted love.  What we often forget is that love is our greatest weapon against our enemies.  read how Romans 12:9-21 exhorts us to live and walk in love.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Isn’t interesting that this starts out with the phrase, “Love must be sincere” ?  A lot of us extend a pretense or token of love, but when it is pushed or tested it shows itself false or insincere.  I believe God wants to give us the grace of His nature to love the unlovely and to embrace the “irregular”.  Let’s learn to implement the weaponry of love.  Who is that irregular person or persons in your life.  Remember, we are not being asked just to extend our love, but God’s love through us.  Isn’t it time we take our love to the next level?  Supernatural love responds in supernatural ways.

Blessings,

#kent

Love that Binds

June 16, 2017

Ephesians 4:1-6

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Love that Binds

Unity in a family, a marriage or in the body of Christ is found when we are all operating out of a communication of love.  People are unique and we will always have our differences from one another.  That is the way our good Lord created us to be.  In our differences He poured into us the bonding and the glue of His love so that we are able to patiently bear the irregularities of all those people that God didn’t make just like me.  Love is never really exercised and grown unless it is stretched and challenged.  People will certainly do that to you.  I personally found that just keeping to yourself and doing your own thing makes it easier to love people, but that is a long distance love.  God’s love is most often up close and personal.  It is often a decision rather than a feeling.  Whatever our relationships with people God knows we are going to have our differences.  Obviously, outside of Christ, we are much different than God.  In fact, He says before we were saved we were His enemies.  Romans 8:7 says, “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”  What reconciled us to God was first His love for us, not our love for Him.  This is a key example that we forget in so many of our relationships.  We are most often reactionary, returning kind for kind and love for love or even hate for hate.  God does not just react to our rejection of His love.  If He did the human race would have been extinct long ago.  His love is deliberate and it has purpose.  His love is to gather you in His arms and impart Himself into you. 

That bring us to where God is bringing each of us in our expression of love.  If we are loving out of our human condition and our feelings of love, then our love will always be conditional and full of limitations.  God has called us to live out of His love which is unconditional and loves the unlovely as much as the lovely.   Living a life worthy of the calling is living life out of the foundation of love.  Who is love?  We know that God is love so if we are to love as He loved we can only do that as we submit to His love to reign in our hearts and find expression through our hands. 

The apostle Paul exhorts us here to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  He is not saying it is always easy, but in order to do it you have to lose your importance and your impatience.  Humility has been defined as “strength under control”.  That strength and humility of love learns to prefer others above itself.  It becomes more aware, concerned and active in meeting another’s needs than it does its own.  Love makes every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  We soon learn through life’s experiences that even among other Christian not all are willing or wanting to reciprocate your love for them.  Most of us are aware that even in our own selves we often are acting out of our flesh or giving place to an ungodly spiritual influence or spirit.  When that is present we can be quite confrontational, unfriendly and irreconcilable.  When we encounter that reaction towards us from others, even if they are our brothers or sisters, we have to see it with spiritual eyes of love and discernment, not getting caught up in the spirit of division that is at work.  Often times we end up taking some punches we don’t deserve and in love we learn to turn the other check.  It is not about us being right or winning an argument.  It is about the love of God triumphing even in an ugly situation.  Many of us get caught up in our emotions and feelings and if that soulish part of us is not being tempered by the Spirit we will get off into the flesh and certainly will not be known by our love in those moments. 

The stream of God Spirit takes a lot of rough jagged rocks in the river bed and rubs them together until over time they become smooth stones.  That is what we are becoming those smooth stones, but the process is brought about by agitation, irritations, irregularities and confrontations.   It is  the Love of God that is the fluid that heals, blends, forgives and ultimately loves through us in the unity of one Spirit. Perfection takes a good deal of practice.  God has put us with one another to learn to practice His love.  God’s love should be what binds us together until we work out our differences and that may just be loving and accepting the other for where they are at.  God has us all on different rows and we at different places in our walk with Him.  Above all let the love of Christ prevail in our relationships.  If the world is ever to know us by our love, then they first have to see it in action in though our lives and behavior towards one another.

 

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

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

Malachi 3:1

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 

When asking the Lord what is the most important message of this hour I believe “preparation” is what He is dropping into my heart.  It is the time of a John the Baptist ministry when He has sent His servants into the Land to stir the hearts of the people to repentance and preparation for the coming King.  

We have all grown so complacent with the lifestyles that we lead.  We truly have far greater riches and blessing than the majority of the rest of the world.  That is wonderful in some ways, but in others we have fallen into the snare of self-reliance and contentment.  I see this in my own heart as well as others.  In the spirit, God is speaking, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”   He is exhorting and warning us to stir ourselves to faith and action.  It is a time to really seek the Lord and what His purpose and plan is.  We may still be in the stages of preparation, but we should be no less diligent in seeking God’s highest for our lives.  Things are boiling beneath surface and there will soon come a time when things will be released upon the earth, no doubt in both realms of light and darkness.  Lethargy and mediocrity will prove to be the ropes that have tied our hands and feet.  Over and over in what we hear the Lord speaking He is saying, “press into Me, repent of your sinful ways and start pressing into the high calling that is yours in Christ Jesus.”  

The book of Proverbs teaches that it is the wise man that listens and takes heed to reproof, but the fool only despises it.  May the Lord heighten our spiritual senses and accountability today as we endeavor to walk the closer to Him and pursue His righteousness.  A shaking has already begun and a judgement has come upon His house, for God first judges His own house.   He is exposing our sin and our corruption.  He is shouting from the rooftops those things that have been done in the closet.  

This is the day for us to get our hearts right again, to purify ourselves and put away our iniquities.  Can we hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches?  More importantly are we willing to act upon and prepare the way of the Lord by first preparing our hearts?  If you had one month to put your life and your house in order what would you change?  What are our priorities in the light of eternity?  The decisions and the choices we make today will ripple through our eternity.  They may make the difference in whether we stand or fall, whether we are honored or dishonored before the Lord.  Many of us are compromising ourselves as King Jehoshaphat did in the Old Testament.  He was a good king and he loved the Lord, but in 2 Chronicles 19:1-3 we see God sending a prophet to warn him about compromising with evil.  “When Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem, 2 Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD ? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you. 3 There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God.”  While many of us embrace and believe the principles of righteousness we embrace alliances with those walking in darkness.  The Lord is calling us today unto separation and preparation.  Jehoshaphat met his end because he was in an alliance and relationship that was not in the will and purpose of God.  Be careful whom you build your relationships with.  

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:19-22)

Blessings,

#kent

You are the Seasoning

July 26, 2016

Mark 9:50

Salt [is] good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. 

You are the Seasoning

Throughout our lives we are often among people or in places that aren’t necessarily our choice.  Many of us have jobs that are unpleasant or the people that we work around have ways that really challenge us and try us.  Often life places us in those scenarios that wouldn’t be our choice, but we are stuck with them.  Remember that old adage that says, ‘when life offers you only lemons then make lemonade’?   We are surrounded in a strange land with a good many of the people in this land not really knowing God, His life and His salvation.  You and I are sojourners in this strange land.  We look for a city, which has foundations, whose builder and maker, is God.  We are God’s salt brought to a bland, tasteless and unsavory world.  If you are one of those blessed ones in those unpleasant places then know that God has chosen you to be the seasoning. 

We often have a choice.  We can become the victims of our circumstance or the masters of them.  No, we don’t always get to choose the things that affect and touch our lives, but we do make the choice of whether these circumstances rule over us or we rule over them.  When ugliness, darkness and calamity greet us, we have the choice to respond in the beauty of Christ, giving forth His light and maintaining His peace.  That is what it means when our life is hidden in Him.  That’s what it means to be the salt and the seasoning of God.  We don’t respond the way the world responds.  We don’t fall into the pit of self-pity and faultfinding.  When light comes into a dark place it dispels the darkness, because light is greater than darkness and darkness simply fills the voids where light is not present. You are the torch of God and where you go, you bring with you light.  Now we can obviously hide that light or we can let it shine.  

Darkness can only overcome light by putting it out.  What does the enemy do to us?  Doesn’t he try and condemn us, discourage us and tempt us into sin.  Isn’t he there to ridicule, mock and demean us whenever he can?  Those are all devices to put out your light.  If we walk in the flesh, then we will respond in the flesh, but if we walk in the Spirit then we will respond and act out of the light.  We will bring the seasoning of God and His life to every situation, environment, workplace and gathering.  Others will see and take note that the Spirit of Christ is among them.  They will often test the light and the seasoning of God to see if it continues to hold its brightness and flavor.  Once they know that you have the real thing, that it isn’t just words, or religion, then they will be drawn to that light and they will want to partake of that seasoning of God’s life and blessing.  

God doesn’t want us to be a people that just react to our circumstances, especially when they are negative.  He wants us to act out of His life, strength and nature.  That is hard to do when we are still too full of ourselves, because then it is still all about us.  When it is Christ living through us, then we act and speak more as Jesus did.  We will take authority to speak the mind of Christ and not simply respond and react to the prodding of men.  When men asked questions of Jesus to try and entrap and snare him, He looked past the surface of the question and into the heart of the asker.  He responded and addressed heart issues, not falling into the trap of human reasoning.  One of the reasons that we maintain a close relationship and fellowship with the Father is not just for our benefit, but also that the fragrance of His life might emanate from us and fill the atmosphere with the aroma of His presence. 

Are you in a difficult place today?  Maybe you are there because God wants to spice it up and you are the seasoning.  Be sensitive to His Spirit in the midst of the spirits that you are surrounded by.  You are the priest of God, His ambassador and the administrator of His peace and life, so spice up your world. 

Blessings,

#kent

Where We Live

July 12, 2016

Romans 2:1-4, 17-24

1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? 

Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; 18if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Where We Live

I believe the Holy Spirit wants to meddle in our hearts today where a lot of us have issues, but choose not to recognize and acknowledge them.  I see them in myself and I see them in my wife, so I know a lot of others have the same issues to one degree or another.  

The first part of Romans here is speaking to this attitude that was in these self-righteous Jewish people.  Let’s take the Jew out of it for a moment and insert Christians.  Have you ever known any judgmental Christians?  More importantly, have you ever recognized this quality in yourself?  If we are truly honest and real, how many of us hide behind our spirituality while we criticize and judge others?  We may call it discernment or spiritual insight.  We must justify sharing the faults of others as, “God showed me we need to pray for this person or situation.”  Even if He did He probably didn’t tell you that you needed to share it with every person in the bible study or the hair salon.  

Let’s get personal and just look within our own marriage relationships.  How often do we use spiritual credentials or intimidation, if you will, to manipulate and control one another?  How often are we critical, cutting and demeaning because we feel we are spiritually justified or superior?  We must realize we are often guilty of the very things that we condemn others for.  Instead of love and grace, we are rendering judgement and condemnation.  Instead of truly finding the other’s heart in a situation we have already made up our minds and rendered our judgements.  For the other person to give an opinion or advice is futile.  We don’t realize how much and many times we control others and judge others with our religious spirit.  

Sometimes it is passive-aggressive.  To my shame, I often find it is in the company of others that I want to expose my wife’s weaknesses or faults, even though it may be in the guise of jesting or fun.  I should be her greatest advocate, defender and protector.  I am being real, because I believe the Holy Spirit wants us to be real with ourselves today as we take a good hard look into our hearts and ask ourselves, “How guilty am I of this and how am I going to change it.”  Perhaps our spouse or others have identified this in us before and we didn’t want to hear or receive it.  Perhaps we only became offended, defensive or hurt instead of truly examining our heart in the light of the Holy Spirit and His Word.  

If we are to be life-givers, many of us must first deal with this religious spirit in us that communicates to others that we more righteousness, have more gifting, spend more time with God or have more revelation than someone else.  We don’t often realize how we speak down to others through our actions and words rather that humbling ourselves, getting under them and lifting them up.  If we truly are more spiritual this is the way that it will be manifested to others far more than our self-righteousness, our condescending tone and our judgmental words.  

If you consider this might be in you and you truly have a heart to get it right before the Lord and others then you need to humble yourself, put your emotions in check committing yourself to not getting emotional, angry or hurt.  The truth is something many of us have a struggle coming to terms with, especially when it deals with our issues.  Make a safe place for your close friends and loved ones to be able to share their true perception of you in these areas.  They are your mirror, if you have the guts to look into it.  They won’t go there if they believe they are going to set you off, or hurt you or offend you.  The truth is that many of us fit this description of Romans 2 and if we want to change it we have to be willing to face the truth about ourselves, repent of our judgements and other offenses in regards to how we deal with others, especially those of our own household.  God wants us to be free to communicate His love and grace in a way that truly expresses His character.  Verse 24 tells us that His name is blasphemed among the gentiles because we haven’t truly done this.  Sometimes it is blasphemed among those of our own household because have used God like a big ugly stick to beat up on those who didn’t line up with our thinking.  Our words and judgements have killed instead of giving life. Where we live is often judging and criticizing the very things that may still be in our own hearts. It is always so much easier seeing the faults in others before our own. Jesus reminds us in Luke 6:37,”Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”

Holy Spirit, show us our true heart today and help us to get these things right before you and with others, in Jesus Name.  Amen.

Blessings,

#kent

The Valley of Decision

June 27, 2016

Joel 3:13-14

13Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. 

14Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 

The Valley of Decision

I believe the day is fast approaching where the line of demarcation is becoming more sharply defined and we all must decide if we are in or out when it comes to our faith and trust in Christ.  We are coming to the valley of decision before a day of judgement that must come.  We have come to the threshing floor where the wheat is being separated from the chaff.  Hopefully we know with assurance where we stand in Christ and if that would cost us our life then so be it.  Many others are not so decided.  They are the fair weather Christians or believers in God that are here for the blessing, but are very questionable when it comes down to the sufferings.  

I see the Lord having a tremendous harvest of souls before His coming so that all that will may come in.  The valley of decision is where we choose not only physical life and death, but more importantly, our spiritual life or death.  The Lord wants to prepare our hearts and our lives to be the instruments that would bring in this great harvest of souls.  He has prepared many of us for such a time as this.  These many new believers will need someone to mentor and disciple them.  Their lives depend upon it.  

The Word of God is sharper than a two edged sword, let us use it in the love of God to bring in the harvest of souls that are prepared.  We will see the Spirit of God begin to move in a mighty way upon the face of the deep. The seas of humanity will be stirred up and the hearts of many will turn to Christ and the hearts of many will become hardened against him.  Then will come the day of the Lord and judgement will be pronounced, justice will be brought forth. On which side of the valley do we stand and what will we do to help others to reach the Lord’s side.  Let us ready our hearts for the day at hand. 

Blessings,

#kent

Moral Compass

June 20, 2016

Ephesians 4:17-24

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 

20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 

Moral Compass

Sin and the passions of our flesh distort and corrupt our moral compass.  It is like putting a magnet near a compass, it can pull and distort the true direction of where we are heading.  It causes us to loose our bearings, our right ways of thinking and then it causes us to loose our way.  Our understanding, meditation and the implementation of God’s Word into our life are what keep us in the path of the upright and the righteous.  It imparts unto us the ways of wisdom and life.  We see more clearly from God’s heart and perspective.  When our heart is drawn away in sin and vanity, which here is defined as “devoid of truth and appropriateness, perverseness and depravity”, it darkens our heart to God’s light.  It clouds our understanding of God and His ways and then separates us from the life of God, because of the ignorance that comes through the hardening of one’s heart by sin.  

We are exhorted that this is not the way we were taught in Christ or how we came to know Him.  We were enlightened and brought into the light through the knowledge of Christ, through the repentance from sin and through our commitment to live unto Him.  Following the weakness of our sinful passions causes us to loose our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and the conviction that brings us to repent of our sins.  We begin to habitually shut out the voice of God and His Word in our hearts till our hearts have become hardened and our spiritual ears deaf so that we no longer have the moral compass of God’s Word and Spirit directing our lives.  Instead we have changed our heading and started down another course that leads us to greater depravity, sensuality and impurity.  This lasciviousness has become the direction of our hearts.  The more we have fed this monster of our lust the more it has grown till we are no longer our own, but we are now the slaves of our own impurity and depravity.  

I watched a TV program the other day, which I think is a part of Dateline, called “Predators”.  It was about a sting operation that was set up on the Internet to catch sexual predators.  Then it filmed these people coming to a house where they thought they we meeting some child for sex.  The commentator who confronts them with the transcripts of their Internet chats then confronts them and he asks them about their motives.  Some of the men caught in this were rabbis, teachers and such.  They sat there realizing that their life was over, as they had known it.  There sin and depravity had caught up with them and now they were exposed for what they were.  One person said, “ You know, I am almost glad that I was caught, because my life was out of control.”  That is where the depravity of our sin and lust can take us.  Before we judge someone else we had better start with our own hearts.  It is God’s grace that keeps us from the snares and the pitfalls of our sin.  

Perhaps some of us are loosing or have lost our moral compass.  We need to find our way back to who we are in Christ.  God doesn’t stop loving us, even when we get caught up in sin, but if we continue the consequences will follow. If we find ourselves too weak to get free, then find those to whom we can make ourselves accountable too.  Men, find a brother or ladies, another sister that will pray with you and hold you accountable in your life.  There are times our passions and lust can become stronger than we are to deal with them and we need help.  We need the body of Christ to come along side of us and help us “to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Only we can make the decision to get back on course and again find our moral compass.

Blessings,

#kent

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