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

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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

How Desperate are You? Matthew 15:21-28 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 27″Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. How Desperate are You? If the testing of our faith is much more precious than gold, then should we be discouraged when it seems the Lord is ignoring us and refuses to hear us. This story of the Cannanite woman teaches us a valuable lesson about “great faith”. All of us move in a measure of faith, but it is interesting that in the New Testament Jesus saw great faith coming not from the Jews, but from the gentiles. Those that grasped who He was had an unshakable faith in what He could do. In Matthew 8:8-13 Jesus speaks again of great faith concerning the Roman centurion. “The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.” One of the things that we observe here in both the woman and the centurion is that they are not looking for proof of who Jesus is or if He can perform a miracle of even that He be physically present to perform a miracle. All they need is a word. If Jesus will speak the word then they know they have that which they have petitioned Him for. These stories should be somewhat sobering to us as Christians, because I think we now are where the Jews were then. We are God’s chosen and the blessings and promises are first to us, but we, like the Israelites then often fail to have a great faith to lay hold of and sieze what the Lord has already provided for us. These gentiles, even though they knew that promises were not directly or first to them, didn’t allow that to dissuade them in their quest for Jesus to meet their need. What is even more unusual is that neither one of these gentiles were seeking a miracle for themselves, but for someone else. Their faith was standing in the place of that other person who was too sick to stand for himself or herself. There are those that are outside of Christ today that may be actually exercising and demonstrating a greater faith than we who have trusted in Christ, but we have become lax concerning our faith. Jesus honored these gentiles’ faith because they seized the kingdom of heaven by force. They refused to be denied and they pressed in until the Lord acknowledged their plea. They don’t presume to be anything or deserve anything, but they obviously had a revelation of the nature of God in Christ. They knew first that He was able and they knew that He went about doing good. They prevailed upon His goodness. They knew that even the leftovers of God’s goodness and grace were sufficient to meet their needs. If the Lord is willing to do this for the gentiles what is He willing to do for us if we will exercise this great faith? If we are so desperate for God that we refuse to be denied, will He do any less for us? We have the wealth and the riches of the kingdom at our fingertips. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.” The promise is there, but what is our motive? Is our motive to make ourselves rich or to be the instrument to bring the riches of Christ’s love and promises to others? Great faith was seen in Abraham when he was willing to offer Isaac in obedience to God and He knew God would supply and make a way. Great faith was seen in Moses when he stood as an intercessor for the Israelites. Great faith was seen in Christ when He offered Himself up for the sins of the whole world. How will we operate in great faith? What are we willing to believe God for and act upon in behalf of others? Often our personal needs are met when we see past them and put others first. Be desperate for God. Seize the kingdom with violence and with the determination of Jacob when he wrestled with the angel. Don’t give up, PREVAIL! Blessings, #kent Matthew 15:21-28 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 27″Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. How Desperate are You? If the testing of our faith is much more precious than gold, then should we be discouraged when it seems the Lord is ignoring us and refuses to hear us. This story of the Cannanite woman teaches us a valuable lesson about “great faith”. All of us move in a measure of faith, but it is interesting that in the New Testament Jesus saw great faith coming not from the Jews, but from the gentiles. Those that grasped who He was had an unshakable faith in what He could do. In Matthew 8:8-13 Jesus speaks again of great faith concerning the Roman centurion. “The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.” One of the things that we observe here in both the woman and the centurion is that they are not looking for proof of who Jesus is or if He can perform a miracle of even that He be physically present to perform a miracle. All they need is a word. If Jesus will speak the word then they know they have that which they have petitioned Him for. These stories should be somewhat sobering to us as Christians, because I think we now are where the Jews were then. We are God’s chosen and the blessings and promises are first to us, but we, like the Israelites then often fail to have a great faith to lay hold of and sieze what the Lord has already provided for us. These gentiles, even though they knew that promises were not directly or first to them, didn’t allow that to dissuade them in their quest for Jesus to meet their need. What is even more unusual is that neither one of these gentiles were seeking a miracle for themselves, but for someone else. Their faith was standing in the place of that other person who was too sick to stand for himself or herself. There are those that are outside of Christ today that may be actually exercising and demonstrating a greater faith than we who have trusted in Christ, but we have become lax concerning our faith. Jesus honored these gentiles’ faith because they seized the kingdom of heaven by force. They refused to be denied and they pressed in until the Lord acknowledged their plea. They don’t presume to be anything or deserve anything, but they obviously had a revelation of the nature of God in Christ. They knew first that He was able and they knew that He went about doing good. They prevailed upon His goodness. They knew that even the leftovers of God’s goodness and grace were sufficient to meet their needs. If the Lord is willing to do this for the gentiles what is He willing to do for us if we will exercise this great faith? If we are so desperate for God that we refuse to be denied, will He do any less for us? We have the wealth and the riches of the kingdom at our fingertips. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.” The promise is there, but what is our motive? Is our motive to make ourselves rich or to be the instrument to bring the riches of Christ’s love and promises to others? Great faith was seen in Abraham when he was willing to offer Isaac in obedience to God and He knew God would supply and make a way. Great faith was seen in Moses when he stood as an intercessor for the Israelites. Great faith was seen in Christ when He offered Himself up for the sins of the whole world. How will we operate in great faith? What are we willing to believe God for and act upon in behalf of others? Often our personal needs are met when we see past them and put others first. Be desperate for God. Seize the kingdom with violence and with the determination of Jacob when he wrestled with the angel. Don’t give up, PREVAIL! Blessings, #kent

April 13, 2016

 

Matthew 15:21-28

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 27″Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

How Desperate are You?

If the testing of our faith is much more precious than gold, then should we be discouraged when it seems the Lord is ignoring us and refuses to hear us.  This story of the Cannanite woman teaches us a valuable lesson about “great faith”.  All of us move in a measure of faith, but it is interesting that in the New Testament Jesus saw great faith coming not from the Jews, but from the gentiles.  Those that grasped who He was had an unshakable faith in what He could do. 

In Matthew 8:8-13 Jesus speaks again of great faith concerning the Roman centurion.  “The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 

10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.”  One of the things that we observe here in both the woman and the centurion is that they are not looking for proof of who Jesus is or if He can perform a miracle of even that He be physically present to perform a miracle.  All they need is a word.  If Jesus will speak the word then they know they have that which they have petitioned Him for.  

These stories should be somewhat sobering to us as Christians, because I think we now are where the Jews were then.  We are God’s chosen and the blessings and promises are first to us, but we, like the Israelites then often fail to have a great faith to lay hold of and sieze what the Lord has already provided for us.  These gentiles, even though they knew that promises were not directly or first to them, didn’t allow that to dissuade them in their quest for Jesus to meet their need.  What is even more unusual is that neither one of these gentiles were seeking a miracle for themselves, but for someone else.  Their faith was standing in the place of that other person who was too sick to stand for himself or herself.  There are those that are outside of Christ today that may be actually exercising and demonstrating a greater faith than we who have trusted in Christ, but we have become lax concerning our faith.  Jesus honored these gentiles’ faith because they seized the kingdom of heaven by force.  They refused to be denied and they pressed in until the Lord acknowledged their plea.  They don’t presume to be anything or deserve anything, but they obviously had a revelation of the nature of God in Christ.  They knew first that He was able and they knew that He went about doing good.  They prevailed upon His goodness.  They knew that even the leftovers of God’s goodness and grace were sufficient to meet their needs.  

If the Lord is willing to do this for the gentiles what is He willing to do for us if we will exercise this great faith?  If we are so desperate for God that we refuse to be denied, will He do any less for us?  We have the wealth and the riches of the kingdom at our fingertips.  Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.”  The promise is there, but what is our motive?  Is our motive to make ourselves rich or to be the instrument to bring the riches of Christ’s love and promises to others?  Great faith was seen in Abraham when he was willing to offer Isaac in obedience to God and He knew God would supply and make a way.  Great faith was seen in Moses when he stood as an intercessor for the Israelites.  Great faith was seen in Christ when He offered Himself up for the sins of the whole world.  How will we operate in great faith?  What are we willing to believe God for and act upon in behalf of others?  Often our personal needs are met when we see past them and put others first.  Be desperate for God.  Seize the kingdom with violence and with the determination of Jacob when he wrestled with the angel.  Don’t give up, PREVAIL!

Blessings,

#kent

The Worth of a Child

April 8, 2016

 

The Worth of a Child

Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 

There is no knowing the potential that each child holds.  Every one of us is unique and special.  God has His purpose and design for each one.  Most all of us are made up of a mixture of strengths and weaknesses.  We can be so outstanding in one area while very lacking and needy in another.  

We are God’s children, children of destiny and purpose.  How many of us are living up too and into the purpose and destiny that the Lord created us for?  So often it is our will that God has given us that can subvert the desired purpose of God in our lives or yield to His design and plan through us.  Most of us seem to have this concept that we can do things in our lives better than God and we are always wanting to get our hands in His kitchen and change the recipe.  

The first thing that all of us must realize is how valuable we are to the Lord.  He couldn’t have stated that any better than His willingness to come into humanity and pay the price for our sins.  It is important that we are not proud or arrogant in who and what we are, but some of us want to perceive ourselves as of little or no worth or value.  We develop a self-defeated attitude.  We devalue in ourselves what God has created for His glory and purpose.  Often it really takes on the form of self-pity and a “woe is me” type of syndrome.   We need to realize that the source of that attitude is selfishness and sin.  That may surprise a lot of people in this category, because this is their view of humility.  It doesn’t glorify God to take what He made and talk down about it whether it is someone else or us.  Our potential is in Christ and not in ourselves.   The fullness of who we are and who we become is never going to realized in any of us in our own merit.  It is realized in who we are in union with Christ that transforms this lump of coal into a diamond.  

My grandson recently got a gift from his babysitter.  He is 8 years old and she gave him a necklace with that said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  That faith in that scripture is our power and our calling.  We all need a necklace or bracelet or just to remind ourselves daily of who we are in Christ.  The enemy’s victory is in getting us to forget that.  When we forget who we are in Christ we get out of Christ-reliance and into self-reliance.  We either get full of ourselves or we get discouraged and defeated in ourselves.   That phrase, “in Christ” is used some 224 times in scripture, do you suppose that the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate to us that this phrase is a pretty important part of who we are?  We are so prone to forget that our life is not about us, it is about Him.  We all have the potential and ability to love and serve God in whatever means and abilities He has bestowed upon us to do it with.  It is not about how much we have or how gifted we are; it is about what we do with what the talent God has given us.  You may be as the widow who had nothing and yet gave more, in the eyes of God, than all that had wealth and riches.  It is within God the Father and in Christ that that all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid as it says in Colossians 3:2; those treasures become a part of us as our lives are hid in Him as well.  

God has not created you and called you to be something that you are not able to be, but to live by His strength, to the potential that He has called you to be.  That must be the legacy of our lives, to live well the life He has called us to live in the faith and confidence in Him.  

You and I are children of worth as are our children and their children.  We just must always remember that our worth is only fully realized and invested into the kingdom of God as we invest the fullness of ourselves in loving the Lord our God with all of our hearts, our minds, our soul and our strength.  It is the Lord that gives our lives value, purpose and a reason for being.  Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanshipcreated in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  You are of great value and worth, live accordingly. 

Blessings,

#kent

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