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

The Dark Side

May 13, 2016

 

Hebrews 6:4-6

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 

The Dark Side

Perhaps the Lord has placed this scripture on my heart to encourage rather than discourage some of you.  In the course of our Christian journey there may be or have been times along the way, where we have gone astray.  Someone may be in that place today.  We have more or less left the faith and gone back into the world.  This even happens at times to men who were once quite spiritual, on fire for God and full of the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps they were hurt, became discouraged or fell into sin.  

There are those who read this passage or others like it and think that they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit or crucified the Son of God afresh and that even if they wanted to return to the Lord they no longer have any hope of salvation or forgiveness.  If there is still a conviction in your heart, and the desire and willingness to repent and turn your heart back to the Father I believe He can and will forgive you and restore you.  The people that this speaks of are those who have gone over to the dark side.  They have given themselves over to a reprobate mind, being unfit and not standing the test.  Now we have all missed the mark and failed on numerous occasions, but here it speaks of a person that even if they speak on a spiritual plane their heart is not for the Lord.  

Titus 1:10-14 says, “For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. 11They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.”  Romans 1:18-32 describes the mindset of such a people. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 

25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” These people of spoken of here have turned against the truth.  They may even be those who put on a spiritual pretense in order to deceive and lead astray the elect of God.  They have in their hearts now become the enemies of the cross, subjecting the Lord Jesus to public disgrace.  They no longer give place to a conscience or have a heart to repent.  As long as there is a heart of repentance in you and you will humble yourself and seek God’s forgiveness God will not rejected you.  It is you who have chosen to reject Him.  Eventually the Holy Spirit will withdraw and there will no longer be even the desire for repentance or relationship with the Lord.   The enemy has used these scriptures to condemn many who do still have a heart to return to the Lord even though they feel condemned, unworthy and have used these scriptures to believe that there is no more hope of salvation for themselves, the Father is calling you back to Himself.  

In Luke 15:11-32 Jesus gives the parable of the wayward son who took his inheritance from the Father, squandered it foolishly and then later found himself starving and eating corn husk with the pigs.  When he did decide to return to the Father, no longer as a son but as a servant, we see the Father rushing out to meet him and welcoming him back home as a son.  He celebrates his return, for once he was lost, but now is he found.  The Father wants any of us who have strayed from him, fallen back into sin or have turned our backs toward Him to know that He still loves you.  His love is unconditional toward you.  He doesn’t love our sin and our rebellion grieves His heart, but His love never fails.  If you will return to Him today with all of your heart He will receive you again unto Himself.  He will forgive you of your sins, wash you in the blood and in effect, kill the fatted calf as He rejoices that you have come back home.  

As long as there is a repentant heart, there is a Father who will take you back and restore you.  It is when the heart becomes hardened and closed, when it yields no fruit unto righteousness or repentance that the person has become reprobate and unfit for the kingdom. They are no longer willing to return to the Lord that loved them and gave His life for them.  That can be man or woman.  They can not be brought back to repentance, because there is no repentance in them.

If you are away from the Lord today and if you have felt condemned and without hope, know that with the Lord there is hope if you will but turn and give your heart back to Him.  He has the power, the love and the forgiveness to restore you. 

Blessings, 

#kent

Loving the Unlovely

May 10, 2016

 

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Loving the Unlovely

Perhaps nothing stretches us more than trying to love your enemy.  Your enemy is against you.  They may slander, betray, undermine, curse and hurt you, physically, financially, emotionally, relationally and even physically.  A true enemy is not your friend, their goal is to inflict as much damage upon you in whatever way they can and get away with it.  

How do you love someone like that?  Certainly our natural love falls short in its response to such attempted perpetration of injury.  Our natural response is, defend ourselves, hit back and return an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  

Why would Jesus lay such an instruction like this upon us?  Perhaps it is because it causes us to appropriate a love that is not naturally ours.  If we are not walking in the Spirit and in the Spirit of His love how can we possibly be successful at truly loving our enemy.  It could be difficult enough to just tolerate him, but no, Jesus says love him.  Jesus didn’t ask us to do what He wasn’t willing to do.  He gave His life just as much for those that betrayed, mocked, scourged, falsely accused and eventually crucified Him as did for you and me.  If Jesus didn’t love His enemies He could have never came and willing gave Himself to be sacrificed for mankind.  Romans 5:6-11 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”  

What we don’t see is that in our enemy is someone that God loves and His love is greater than all of their hate, sin and ugliness.  We are that expression of His love and just as Jesus laid down His life for us while we were yet sinners, God wants us to love our enemies no less.  Part of being transformed into the image of Jesus is learning this principle.  Nothing teaches it to us like practical experience.  So thank God for our enemies, thank God for those that persecute and slander you, because they are the instruments that will bring forth the deeper working of God’s love through your life if you are yielding it to Him.  Through the death they bring, can come forth the greater revelation of God’s love through the Christ in you.  Remember, it is not about our being right, it is about laying hold of God’s righteousness.  

Enemies can do a deeper work of transforming us into the image of Christ than any other tool.  They can also reveal where we are not.  Thank God for your enemies, they are your friends in disguise to bring you more into the image of Christ and to manifest His love through you. 

Blessings,

#kent

The Trust of an Office

April 27, 2016

 

1 Corinthians 4:2-5

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. 

The Trust of an Office

As we know God has imparted to each one of us gifts and offices or positions of trust both in the natural and in the spiritual.  With our position of trust comes responsibility to honor and obey God, honor those in authority or position over us and carry out the responsibilities of our particular office to the best of our abilities as God enables us to do so.  That office or position of trust is not given to lord it over those beneath us or to exploit them.  It is to help and enable them to carry out their office and position of trust and authority.  All of us are ultimately accountable to God for how we do this.  The greater our office or position, the greater is our accountability to those we are over. 

Let’s take Moses for an instance.  Here is a man that God has ordained and raised up to lead His people out of bondage.  It is obvious that God is with him and has empowered him to carry out his commission.   What we see time and time again is that he is judged, ridiculed, mocked, slandered, condemned, criticized and murmured against when things get tough or there is a trial facing them.  Who this is really directed against was not Moses, but it was God in Moses.  These insults and dishonor were really directed at God.  That is why God dealt so harshly and severely with some of this murmuring and complaining, which is nothing short of rebellion and disobedience.

Whatever our office or position of trust is today, we are accountable to God, those in authority over us and to the people that we serve and have accountability for.  We must be faithful where we are to carry out that office to the best of our God given ability.  Meanwhile, those of us that are under authority need to guard against our judgements, condemnations, criticisms and the rebellious nature that we can develop against those who over us.  Paul basically says, it doesn’t matter what you think or even what I think, what matters is what God thinks.  Don’t judge a thing before its time.  It is before God that we stand or that we fall.  

There will be those in authority over us in life that we may not respect, consider competent, and feel they are totally wrong.  Does that give us the right to judge and condemn them?  When we murmur and complain against them are we really murmuring against them or against God who placed them in that place?  Sometimes, rather we can receive it or not, what seems all wrong about the person in that place is the very thing that may be working in us exactly what God wants us to develop in.  

Romans 13: 1-7 helps put some of these principles into perspective.  “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. God has established the authorities that exist. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”  It matters not what walk of life we are in, God always has an order.  If you are children then respect and honor your parents.  If you are a wife, honor and respect your husband. If you are husband and father, honor and respect the Lord.  Let us yield and honor the offices that are over us.  Let us pray for those in authority over us rather than murmuring and complaining against them.  They need our prayers, encouragement and support; not our criticism and condemnation.  The same holds true in the workplace, business, government, schools and the church.  Honor those in authority over you, as you would have those in submission to you, honor you.   

Romans 2:1-4 teaches us, “You, 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? 

Let us, with humility and trust in God, carry out the office of trust where He has placed us to His glory and honor.  Let us also be careful to honor the office that God has placed others in and be careful and fearful in our judgements against them.  One of the greatest detriments of our society today is our lack of honor and respect for others.  

Blessings,

#kent

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