The Value of Heart and Mouth

 

Psalms 19:14

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

 

The Psalmist speaks to the very root of our being in this verse, for our words and what we set our hearts upon are the reins and harness of our soul.  It speaks to the state of our life and the direction in which we are headed.  What are you most often thinking upon?  What occupies your thoughts, attention, your time and desires?  Whatever it is may be directly connected to the words that come out of your mouth and where you conversation is at; for Jesus says, “out of the abundance of the heart a man speaks”, and “where a man’s treasure is, there will his heart be also”.   What we set our hearts, minds and affections upon greatly influences, who we are, as well as the direction and purpose of our lives.

The enemy of our soul is always trying to divert our attention and our affections away from the things of God and onto the things of this world.  It is so often so subtlely and innocently that we are led away a little bit at a time.  It is always those series of little compromises in our judgment and decisions that lead us from our path of life.  This is why it is imperative that we make specific times for the Lord everyday in our lives.  That doesn’t insure that we won’t stray or set our meditations upon the wrong thing, but it keeps us before the Lord and allows that Holy Spirit place to deal with us.  Far too many of us don’t schedule this time into our day, and even if we do, for many of us it can become just routine and religious.  We need both time to speak to the Lord and time to listen.  We need time to meditate upon Him and His Word; carrying those thoughts throughout our day.  We need to truly appreciate, praise and thank Him for His goodness and faithfulness to us.  As the old hymn goes, ‘our hearts are prone to wander and to leave the God we love’.  That is why we must ask the question, “Is the meditation of my heart acceptable unto you oh Lord?”  Am I setting my mind first on the things above rather than the temporal things of this earth?  Our lives as Christians are purpose driven lives.  We exist for a purpose and a reason.  Each one of us will one day stand before the Lord and give account of what we did with our lives and the gifts and callings that the Lord has given to each one of us.  Are we fulfilling God’s destiny and purpose for our lives?  This should be a primary point that we meditate upon and purpose our lives to fulfill.  Ideally it should be our desire to practice the presence of Christ in our lives to where He is the constant meditation of our hearts and focus of our being.

What about the words of my mouth, how important are they?  Proverbs 18:21 tells us,  “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Words are what give expression to the meditation of our hearts.  Words have power and they bring about substance.  They have the power to bring about both death and life.  When we speak only out of the natural man, according to the thinking and logic of men, then we are only going to get natural results.  When we dare to speak the promises and scriptures by faith into a given situation, then we are expecting spiritual results.  The words that please the Lord are the words of faith, hope and love.  They are the words that don’t put their boast in man, but in the Lord.  These words are the seeds of life from which miracles spring.  We often don’t see immediate results when we pray or speak the word of the Lord, but when we have planted seeds of faith and properly watered and nurtured, we will eventually see a harvest.  Likewise, words spoken in harshness, anger, criticism and judgement will bring forth a harvest as well, but it won’t be one of life.

James 3:3-12 says this about the tongue, “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

The Lord wants to bring us to singleness of mind and purpose.  When the mind and the tongue are under the control and influence of the Holy Spirit then we are well on our way to seeing God’s purpose and plan fulfilled through us.  We come into agreement today with the prayer of the Psalmist David as we make His prayer our own, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Blessings,

#kent

James 5:12-16

Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.

13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

Wellness in the Body of Christ

 

Wellness in the body of Christ is maintained as we uphold the integrity of who Christ is in us.  The body of Christ is not unlike our physical bodies.  There are times when sin and disease can gain access to the body.  In the case of the body of Christ we know that the purpose of satan is to kill, steal and destroy the body of Christ.

We all understand that as of yet, in this natural man, none of us is walking in perfection.  It is true that we are to identify with Him who is perfect in us, but we are still in that state of transformation where body and soul are to line up with the Spirit of Christ.  As such we still see many imperfections in one another.  Satan often capitalizes on our weaknesses and imperfection to bring in division, dissention, disease and darkness.  James is calling upon us to act in such a way that we not only maintain individual purity and health, but health as the body of Christ.

The first place he exhorts us here in James is regarding the integrity of our word.  “Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.”  One of the most important areas we must be careful to preserve and guard is our honesty and integrity.  Our whole reputation and character hang on these essentials.  There is stern warning to us here that if we don’t do that, we will be condemned.  I don’t believe it is talking here about our condemnation here just coming from man.

When we compromise our integrity and honesty it is not just man that we offend, but God Himself.  This is especially true regarding His body.  When we don’t allow our yes to be yes and our no be no, especially with regards to our brothers and sisters in Christ, then who are we really lying to, them or the Holy Spirit?   If we dishonor the body, then we dishonor Christ.

Ananias and Sapphira didn’t start out intending to lie to the Holy Spirit.  I think they initially had good intentions and they may have been well regarded within the early church.  Their fault wasn’t even in the fact that they sold their land and didn’t give it all at the apostles feet.  Peter even tells them it was your land to do with what you wanted, but your sin was in your conspiracy to lie about what you gave.  When they lied to the body of Christ, they lied to the Holy Spirit and we know the condemnation that came from that in Acts 5.  The Lord was showing us our body, soul and will are the land that we own.  It is ours.  The Lord gave it to us and he gave us power over it to give to Him or not.  Now if we come and say we have totally sold out to Christ, but conspire to withhold areas of our life from Him is that an Ananias and Sapphira complex?  Would we not be more honest in confessing our sins to one another as it exhorts us to do in James 5:16?  We realize that while it may be our desire to be totally sold out to Christ, there are areas in all of our lives that still need to be reconciled to Him.  It is not the standing in our strength that makes us strong and whole, it is in the strength of the whole body that we can be brought into alignment with wholeness.  It is in recognizing and confessing our weakness to faithful men or women so that they can pray with us and stand with us so that we may be healed.

One of the greatest tools the enemy uses to destroy us is isolation.  Sin can only work in darkness.  When it is brought into the light, it loses its power.  What we should all desire and pursue is transparency and accountability to one another.  That is not to say we judge, control or manipulate one another.  It means that we all understand that in this natural state, sin still is at work among our members trying to bring in disease and destruction of the body.  The way we war against that is by taking off our religious and self-righteous mask and being real with each other.  I never would consider someone that came to me to ask for prayer in an area of weakness, a person of weakness.  I would totally respect them and see that indeed they are spiritually mature in that they recognize their weakness and desire others to stand with them in their battle to overcome.  There is not enough of this happening in the body.  We have learned to be so independent and spiritual in our own right.  As a result many of us are truly sick and afflicted in our sin, but are too proud to confess for fear that we will be viewed as weak or unacceptable.  “A person that is transparent, even with their faults, is more pure than the person who portrays goodness outwardly, yet inwardly harbors darkness and deceit.”

Let’s bring the “real” back to the body.  Let’s come to the place where we are not afraid to be transparent with one another and to pray for one another.  When we do that in His love and with no condemnations or judgements in our hearts then the Holy Spirit can work through us to bring healing, deliverance and victory because we then stand in His strength and not our own.

Blessings,

#kent

Pray for One Another

May 4, 2020

 

Pray for One Another

 

James 5:16

Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

One of the most tremendous assets we have as a believer, functioning in the body of Christ, is each other.  Because Christ is in us and His power and grace can flow through us, there is a wealth of blessing, power and grace to be found in one another.  Each of us has different gifts and ministries that can help in different areas and situations in our lives.  Each of us has the power and the access to the throne of God to pray and intercede for others.

Yesterday, it struck me, as I had the privilege of sharing with several of my brothers and sisters, the fellowship and ministry we can have on different levels with others.  What a blessing to have them share with me about how they stand in a place of intercession and prayer for us and how they are standing in a place of faith, believing God not just for themselves, but for us as well.  It was wonderful to share the words of life with a brother over breakfast and talk about the things God is doing in our lives, our families and our careers.  We were able to break the Bread of Life and share in a real and personal way, not just our successes, but also our struggles and our weaknesses.  Through that exchange we could know better how to pray for one another.  We all go through our struggles in life, but sometimes there is just encouragement with others who empathize from a position of like struggles.  You end up building each other up in faith and confidence in God.

Some believers you may relate with on a less spiritual level, but nevertheless you, break bread together, share fellowship, friendship with and are blessed in the communion you have with them.  Still others target you in their prayers, intercede for you and call just to encourage and build you up.

It made me think, do we really tap into the resource we have in each other?  Is each of us ministering and effecting the lives, not only of non-believers, but the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ?  When we have those that we are investing our life, time and prayers into and they are doing the same for us, we mutually garden each others spiritual lives.  We have accountability to one another that helps us not to stray off into sin.  We need others to help balance us and us them.  We have a communion of body life where we are not just looking to one man to feed us and teach us, but we are actively ministering, teaching, exhorting, encouraging and praying for one another.  We are gathering and eating the manna and revelation that God is personally speaking into our lives through our time spent with Him and in turn we feed one another from that same manna.

This is a concept some may practice and experience more than others, but certainly one that we all need to be involved in.  Many or our churches are large and while we might be blessed in corporate worship and teaching, we need those daily interactions with our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us all live more productively and faithfully to Christ.  When we have that love of Christ in our hearts for one another, when there is sensitivity in our spirits to the needs of our brethren, then we can be unique and diversified channels of various blessings into their lives.   Perhaps our greatest downfall is that we tend to like to do our work and then hibernate in our own ceiled houses.  We become guilty of what the prophet Haggai said in Haggai 1:2-5, “2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ ”

3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.””  Don’t we often rob God and His people because we are content to do our own thing while the house of God lies in ruin?  What is worse is that we are robbing ourselves and our very lack may be do to the fact that we aren’t the channels of God’s blessing that we are to be in God’s house.  We know that God’s house is a people and not a building.  1Peter 2:5 says, ” Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” How much stronger could God’s house be and how much greater could it be built up if we are all are faithful to invest in one another’s lives.   Are we fulfilling our calling of ministry to impart our gifts, our lives and prayers into one another?  The body of Christ must be strong and living the standard of God’s righteousness, so that we can be a light in the world and have lives seasoned with salt.  That can start by us having the willingness and the commitment to invest in one another.  This is the way a truely healthy body functions.  Bless somebody’s life today, be their answer to prayer or even pray on their behalf.  We need the Christ in one another.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Out of a Thankful Heart

 

Romans 1:21

 

Because 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.

 

Have you ever given and done things for someone to bless them, only to have them either ignore and take for granted what you had made special effort or sacrifice to do for them or even worse, have them complain because it somehow didn’t suit their liking?  Remember the hurt and disappointment you felt, the lack of appreciation and insult it was to you?  How often has this been our attitude towards the Lord?  We may mutter an occasional thank you in prayer or in blessing our meal and often that is more out of habit than a sincere appreciation for what we truly have.  It is important that we take a minute to consider the true importance of thankfulness to the Lord and realize the implications of the lack of it.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  Our giving thanks isn’t something we should do on a whim.  It is the will of God concerning you and me.  Just the words “give thanks” occurs some thirty-nine times throughout the Bible, not to mention all of the other phrases of thankfulness.  Maybe this is something that we have taken rather lightly and we need to take a harder look at.

Is God an egotist that he requires our thankfulness?  It is not about God’s ego.  It is about His worthiness and the tribute of praise, worship and thankfulness due to His name as the Lord, Savior and Creator of all.  But even beyond that there are reasons we need to praise Him for our own sake.  As our key passage points out, there is something that happens to us when we fail to acknowledge all that God is and does and cease to be thankful.  It causes us to become vain in our imaginations, we start to become puffed up and guess who soon becomes the god upon the throne of our hearts?  Our foolish hearts do become darkened because they begin to acknowledge only self and our abilities rather than God’s.

There is a passage from Moses’ exhortation to the Israelites as they were about to come into the promise land that I think is very applicable to the people of God in any generation.  Deuteronomy 8:10-20 says, “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.  Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest [when] thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein];

And [when] thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, [wherein were] fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where [there was] no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;

Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”  God knows our hearts and how full of ourselves we can become.  If for no other reason, it is important that we keep God in perspective in our lives through thankfulness and praise.  We must always remember and acknowledge before Him that He is the source and provision for every good thing.  Not unlike the Israelites of the wilderness, we are much more prone to murmur and complain about all God hasn’t done for us, or how we think He has failed us and what He should have done that He didn’t do for us.  Are we idiots to make such accusations against our God?  What right or business do we, His created, have to tell Him how and what things should be done?  How arrogant and presumptuous on our parts, to correct or rebuke God.  This is truly when our hearts become darkened because we have gotten God out of perspective through our hardened attitude and lack of true thankfulness.

There are not a lot of things we can really give back to God, but thankfulness is one of them.  Let us take the time to really count our blessings, regardless of our circumstances, and truly offer thanksgiving from a grateful heart.  Let us be thankful not only for the things which we see already manifested, but even the more for the things we don’t yet see which we lay hold of by faith.  Thankfulness is truly an expression of faith that opens the doors and brings the answers to our prayers.

” So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations (Psalm 79:18).”

Blessings,
#kent

Core Values

April 30, 2020

 

Core Values

 

Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

 

There are those time of introspection when we look at our lives and evaluate what they have meant, what we have accomplished and where we are in relation to the values we place on our lives.  Some of us can be very proud of what we have accomplished in the world with regards to success.  Many of us are mediocre, having done moderately well, and others of us may feel and see our lives as failures or falling short of what we hoped and dreamed.  We can be either encouraged or discouraged by what we see as success in our lives.  Most of us who are in Christ know that, when all is said and done, it won’t be earthly success or failure that determines the worth and value of our lives.  What it comes down to is the core values of what kind of a relationship did we have with our God and how was that lived out in relationship with others.  In modern day, many of us can look at an individual such as Mother Teresa and admire the epitome of self-sacrifice, love for her fellow man and dedication to her God.  She demonstrated through her life the core values of what life had come to mean to her and yet, by the world standards of success, she was poor.  Her reputation came not from self-promotion, but from the extreme example of her piety and godly life.

The focus of all that we discuss and talk about here is centered in what our core values are and how we are living them out in our lives.  The hope is, that even if I am a failure by the world’s standards, I can still be of great success by God’s standards, but for that to happen He has to be at the forefront of all that I am and the motivation and direction of all that I do.

We used to see the bumper sticker a lot that said, “God is my copilot”.  Quite honestly, that is true of most of us as Christians.  We take God along for the ride to wherever we decide we are going.  We ask His assistance, guidance and blessing, but we don’t really relinquish the control of our life entirely to Him.  He is just there to help us out.  When we ever come to that place where He is truly the pilot of our lives, then we take the supportive role as we endeavor to move and live according to His direction and plan for us.  We know that God is well able to always reach His destination, but with us it may well be questionable.

After walking us through the many lives and examples of men and women of faith, Hebrews 12:1-3 starts out by giving us a strong exhortation.  “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”  We have to keep our core values central in our lives and pursue them with all our hearts.  Christ in us, is like our heart to the natural man.  Through careless living it can become clogged and restricted with fat and plaque, restricting the life flow through our spiritual man.  Many of have heart disease today, because we have misplaced our core values.  Paul defined our core value well when he made the statement in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  Can we make this statement along with Paul?  Are we living successfully our core values?

Blessings,

#kent

A Pure Heart

April 28, 2020

 

A Pure Heart

 

Psalm 24:3-5

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

 

Titus 1:5 says, “Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”  The purity of our hearts and our relationship with God has so much more to do with the condition of our hearts than it does with just outward acts, or dos and don’ts.  Many of us are concerned with how others perceive us and how even God perceives us.  We spend much of our life and efforts trying so hard to project the right image or performing the outward works of righteousness.  The Lord wants us to focus on the truth that purity and righteousness are a condition of our heart.  If our heart isn’t right nothing else will be either, no matter how religious or pious we wish to present ourselves.

Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”  It stands to reason then that the condition of our heart toward God is the measure of our purity.  Impurity takes place when there is a mixture of unclean and clean.  With regard to our spiritual state, that could be a mixture of impure thoughts, desire, emotions, actions, or motives.  If we are God’s kids, His desire in us is purity of heart.  He wants every thought and motive of our hearts to be centered in Him, in His nature and character.  If the Lord is the treasure we are laying up in our hearts, then our motives, and that which is spoken out of our mouths, will reflect that.

One of the ways the Lords helps us achieve purity is by fire.  It is the tribulation and trials of life that reveal our true heart.  How do we act in stressful situations?  How do we handle sin and temptation?  The Holy Spirit within us discerns the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  If we want to be pure then it is by exercising the knife or the sword of the Word of God in our hearts through skillful instruction and conviction of the Holy Spirit that cuts us to the quick concerning the areas of impurity in our lives.  Hebrew 4:12 says, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  The Word is able to cut into the gray areas of our lives and reveal true heart motive.  Then it is our will and choice to purify and cleanse ourselves by relinquishing these areas of our lives to the Lord.  If we are the Lord’s, then we must always be mindful that this why Jesus came, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)” Jesus has saved us to deliver us from iniquity.  The purification is a process by which He is pruning us, cutting away the unproductive ways of our flesh and baptizing us into fire that is constantly dealing with the issues of our heart.  Why?  The Lord is desiring a peculiar, separated people unlike the world.  They are as Peter puts it in 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

In order to have purity, we must by the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, be willing to deal with the impurity.  This will come in that place of relationship and desire for all that He is, counting all that we value in this earth as dung in comparison.  James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.”  The motives of our hearts must be centered in His Love.  It is not out of legalism or ceremonial ritual or practice that we will be purified.  1 Timothy 1:5 says the end of the commandment is this, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:”

What is the condition of our heart today?  Are we operating out of a pure heart and pure motives generated and birthed out of the love of Christ within us?  It is in that continual, life-giving union with Him that the exchange of His nature for ours is taking place and purity of heart is the cream that rises from His love within us.

Blessings,

#kent

Preach the Gospel

April 27, 2020

Preach the Gospel

Luke 10:3  Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

 

The context of the verse above is taken from the account of when Jesus sent out seventy disciples to go in His name and authority.  They were not to depend on their resources, and they were only to stay and let their peace come upon those who received them.  The very powers of hell had to give place to them.  Just before this verse Jesus says, ” The harvest is great, but the laborers are few, pray that the Lord of the harvest would send more laborers into His harvest.”

This passage stands a preview of the great commission, which Jesus gave just before His ascension when He gave the command to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  We know as believers that we are expected to share our faith with others.  It is often easier for some than others to verbalize their faith.  The message you carry must be preceded by an attitude.  Jesus said I send you forth as lambs.  What is a lamb nature?  Is it wishy-washy, mealy mouthed, timid, weak, kick-me-around attitude?  Was that the nature of the Lamb of God?  He was humble, why, so others could be lifted and built up.  He was meek, which is not weak, it is strength under control.  He was willing to suffer offense and wrong not because of fear, but because of love.  He saw past the wolf type nature that is prompted by the god of this world, satan, and into the heart of man that desperately needed the liberating love and forgiveness God wanted to give them.

The demeanor of our lives often speaks as loud or louder than our words.  Many people speak words, but the power behind your words is your demonstration to carry out what you say.  God has given us a commission and I believe He has given us the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out that commission.  Let us be faithful to step out not just in word, but in action to profess Christ name and our faith in Him.  Then trust the Holy Spirit to do the convincing and the convicting that will bring them to Him.  He has prepared the harvest; we must be faithful to bring it in.  You can be sure that He has not given us a task, but what He has not empowered us to do it, even to the point of supernatural acts.  Let us not limit God by our unbelief, but go, as He sends us as lambs among the wolves.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Intent

April 24, 2020

 

God’s Intent

 

Romans 8:28-31

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?

 

God says His intentions for His people are to conform them to the image of His Son.  Jesus is the pattern and prototype, the standard and the likeness of what we are becoming.  All things in our lives should be working to this end that in all things we are like minded with Christ.  The Lord Jesus sits in heaven’s throne, not idly, but as the High Priest of our confession, ever living to make intercession on our behalf.  All that Christ has done and is still doing is to bring us into the likeness of who He is.  The Holy Spirit is working out those intercessions to accomplish in us the good and perfect will of the Father.  Thus, it says, “that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and to them that are called according to His purpose.”  Most of us have circumstances and times in our lives when we struggle with the fact that this can actually be working together for our good.  Then, we have to understand that life is not just about good things happening to us, but whatever does happen to us God is working it to do a work of goodness in us.  Often it is the most negative things that work the greatest positive in us.

God has called us out of darkness and predestined that we should be the children of light.  We are the vessels through whom His divine light would shine.  As Jesus revealed God to humanity, so we reveal Christ to our world.  Though we were lost in sin, now Christ has justified us, made us just as if we had never sinned.  After that justification is complete then He will glorify us, even to the image and likeness of Himself.

Though the forces of hell and death come against us nothing or no one is able to separate us from the Love of God.  We are not in this battle alone.  It is God that is determining our victory as we pursue His purposes in hope and faith.

Be encouraged today wherever you find yourself in your spiritual walk.  These may be dark days or blessed days, but wherever we are, even in the face of death, our God stands with us.  The Romans that Paul wrote this letter to were standing at death’s door for the sake of their faith and we may one-day stand there with them.  Romans 8:32-39 goes on to encourage us in such a powerful way, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?   Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth. Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It doesn’t matter who condemns us, belittles us, and tries to intimidate, criticize and ridicule us.  It doesn’t matter who robs our possessions or takes away our livelihood.  God Almighty is for us!!!  God” spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?  We are destined for greatness.  We are destined for the fullness of God.  We are His children that are being made conformable to His likeness.  All the curses of hell and death may come against us and we may lay down our lives for our faith, but nothing is powerful enough to separate us from our God.  “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that has loved us.” Our DADDY is stronger than anybody else’s and our security, love and completeness is sealed in Him.  It doesn’t matter what our circumstances, just as it looked like Jesus was defeated when they nailed Him to the cross.  His death became life and victory and power.  The death that works in this life can only work the power of the resurrection life in us as we fix our eyes on Him “who is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).”

Take heart that He is working in you and I so much more than we will ever see come from what this world and what its goods have to offer.   We are a Kingdom People set apart for Kingdom purposes.  Hold fast to your confession of faith and waiver not in your commitment, no matter what obstacles come against you.  He will see you through and bless your latter end even more than your former.  Nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Blessings,

#kent

The Pearl of Great Price

April 23, 2020

 

Matthew 13:45-46

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

 

The Pearl of Great Price

 

There are many oysters gleaned from the sea, but the only ones worth remembrance are those that contained the precious pearl within them.  Our natural lives are not so different than those oysters.  Millions of people have lived and died upon the earth, but those that were remembered fondly are those that left something of value to others.  A life spent for self is like buying an ice cream cone; it is enjoyed for the moment and then forgotten.  A life invested and spent in blessing others is a legacy and memorial which lives on.  It often outlives our mortal existence on earth and is the basis of our reward in heaven.

Why did the merchant in this scripture sell all that he had to purchase this pearl of great price?  Because that is what his life was about.  What is our life about?  What statement and what remembrance will our life have?  What is our legacy that we will leave behind?  These questions and there subsequent actions are what define our life.  When we found Christ as the answer to what our life was about then our lives took on new purpose and meaning as we embraced Him as our pearl of great price.  If we truly have a revelation of Christ then we too are willing to sell all that we have to obtain this pearl.  Why, because He defines our life, our being and our reason for living.  When we are remembered in earth and in heaven, we want to be remembered for what this Pearl was in us and through us.  It wasn’t the outer shell of this oyster and flesh that mattered.  What mattered was that the reason it existed was to house and cultivate this pearl of great price.  It is the pearl that gives it value and meaning.

As we think upon what our lives have meant and what they will mean to others, think upon how Christ is remembered through your life and what you spent to obtain this pearl of great price.  Yes, salvation was free when we received the seed of His life within us by faith, but the layers of that pearl were built upon through years of growth and maturity in which there was an exchange of our life for His.  That is how the pearl grew within us.  Often it was not an easy or painless process.  It may well have come through much tribulation, trials and affliction, but faithfulness kept building upon our hope one layer at a time.  At the end, may we have as our legacy, a pearl of great price.

Blessings,

#kent

Spiritual Mindset

April 14, 2020

 

Spiritual Mindset

 

Romans 8:5

5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

 

            If we ask ourselves today, “what is my mind most often filled with, what are the predominate thoughts that are foremost in my heart?”  Take just a minute to meditate on that question and try and arrive at an honest answer.  Generally, it will be about what we are most passionate about, whether it is our family, our job, our spouse, our sports, hobbies or pleasures.  The spiritual man may enjoy and appreciate a lot of things, but the one thing he is passionate about is God.  His or her heart will continually be in state of meditation, thinking, singing, praising, worshipping and fellowship with the Lord.  The Lord is the lover of the spirit’s heart.   When we read the Song of Songs we are reading a love story, a passion story of the soul in pursuit of Christ.  If He is not fully the passion of our hearts and souls, then He must become so.  Nothing will ever do more to deliver us from sin and conform us to His nature than continually abiding in His presence.  Psalms 16:11 declares, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.”  The richest place of contentment, joy and fulfillment is in the Lord’s presence.   When we truly taste of His presence, we understand that there is not a replacement for it on earth.  Nothing can take us higher, nothing can bring us greater joy, and nothing can have as great an emotional and spiritual impact as encountering His presence.  It can be somewhat elusive as it was for the Shulamite maid in pursuit of her lover, but once she found His love, she would settle for no less, nor no other. She would pursue Him, no matter how far or what the cost.  Songs 6:3 says, “I [am] my beloved’s, and my beloved [is] mine: he feedeth among the lilies.”  For us the lily has become a symbol of resurrection life and that is exactly where we find Christ.  We want to feed and eat with Him in that place of resurrection, Spirit Life.  Songs 7:10 reveals to us, “I [am] my beloved’s, and his desire [is] toward me.”  As much as we may desire Him, He desires us more.  He is passionately in love with us and is wooing us into His bedchamber.  He desires to impart into us His divine life; the life that lifts us above the natural realms of earth and living into the realms of His glory and presence. 

            We so often think of spiritual life in terms of life and death.  “When I die and go to heaven then I will be with Jesus.”  Why are we waiting for death, when we can press into Life now?  Jesus never taught that we had to die before we could become spiritual.  He taught us that when we came to Him we already died; we already became identified with that cross and at the same time we became identified with His Life.  We stepped out of natural thinking, living, being, into a new creature formed in His image and likeness.  His desire is that we unwrap its mystery and begin to taste of it now.

            The Lord has called us to a spiritual mindset where our minds, our hearts, our souls are continually in love and pursuit of Him.  Do we love Him like He loves us?  Are we willing to give our all for Him as He did for us?  This is the place of abiding in Him; this is the place fellowship and relationship.  We will never find the intimacy with Christ that we desire in the midst of other lovers.  Will He still love us?  Yes, always and forever, but He is looking and earnestly desiring the soul whose heart is single toward Him, who has forsaken all other lovers and He is the sole passion and love of their hearts.  Are we that person?  Is Christ really everything to us, our all in all? Are we the ones “who live in accordance with the Spirit and have their minds set on what the Spirit desires”?  Do we find ourselves falling short of the love relationship Jesus desires with us?  I think, in truth, most all of us fall so short of the spiritual men and women that He has called us to be.  We are but a phantom of the real.  We don’t have to stay that way.  Look into the yearning eyes of your loving Lord.  He is calling us unto His heart and bosom today.  He is calling us to come up higher, to be a partaker of His divine life, to be the spiritual men and women who walk and live in the Spirit. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Blessings,

#kent

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