Growing Up

May 22, 2019

 

Growing Up

 

Galatians 4:1-2

Now I say, [That] the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

 

Is it time that God wants us to lay hold of a spiritually adult mentality and grow up out of our childhood and immaturity?   So often our thinking and our vision is earth bound.  We see only in terms of the law, tradition and religion.  What is God trying to tell us?  If we want to remain children then we will not experience anything more than a servant.  God desires sons that can step into His nature and likeness.  Romans 8: 14-21 tells us, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”  The Lord is exhorting us to grow up in all things that pertain unto life and godliness.  In order to walk in the maturity of full-grown sons, the Word says we must be led by the Spirit of God.  Galatians 4:6-7 goes on to tell us much the same thing, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”  We are told we have an inheritance in Christ, that we are joint-heirs with Him and that we have received the Spirit of Adoption.  The nature and Spirit of the Father has come in us, but not unlike the Galatians many of us are still living in the weak and beggarly elements of this world of the law, tradition and religion.  We are still striving in our immaturity to live up to outward forms and standards of righteousness.  We are not coming into and laying hold of the awareness that the Law Giver is within us.  He is writing His law upon the tables our heart. It is not in the outward forms that we lay hold of our inheritance.  In fact, it this mentality that is holding us back.  Paul was genuinely grieved with the Galatians; because they had taken the freedom He had imparted to them in Christ and traded it again for bondage.  In Galatians 4:19 he says, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you;” in other words “My little immature children.”  God is calling us to GROW UP!  It is no longer to the outward forms you are looking to bring you into maturity; it is the Christ within you.  It is that Spiritual impartation of divine life within you that will transform and conform you to the nature and likeness of your Father.  In order for that to happen we must make it our priority and purpose to be led by the Spirit of Christ within us.  Even as the Son of God walked not in His will, but in the will of the Father, we must become so attuned.  If we want to enter into the fullness of our inheritance then we must grow up into Him in all things, in every aspect of our lives; both religious and otherwise.  We are not separate from Him, we are one with Him.  Only in the unity of that oneness can we be the full expression of who He is.  It will never happen through any efforts or abilities of ours, but only as He is the fullness within us.

God is exhorting us to maturity and full Sonship.  We are pressing into our full inheritance as we give place to Him being the all in all within us.  In that inheritance there is not only freedom and deliverance for us, but for all of creation as well.  Let us grow up even as Ephesians 4:13-15 tells us, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ.”

Blessings,

#kent

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Time in His Presence

May 20, 2019

Time in His Presence

1 Chronicles 16:27

Glory and honour [are] in his presence; strength and gladness [are] in his place.

Psalms 16:11

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 world has little to offer in comparison to those times we come into the presence of our God.  There is nothing else that can be so humbling and yet so edifying as His presence.  It is a privilege we far too often forsake because it requires time, waiting and attending unto the Lord, praise, worship and adoration of His most worthy and holy Name.  The Lord doesn’t want us to take Him lightly or just address Him in passing.  The rich times are most often found as we approach Him with the right attitude of heart, with honesty, with true reverence and appreciation for all that we can comprehend Him to be. Think about the intimacy in our human relationships and how real bonding and closeness requires our time and attention to that other person, so that they know that our heart is set totally on them and they are the complete object of our affection and love.  Unfortunately we treat our relationship with God much like our human relationships where we pay lip service for a few minutes and give an outward show of affection, but our real motive is our own gratification and the fulfillment of our wants and desires.  The reality is it is centered on us not the person of our God we say we want to be in relationship with.  God knows our hearts and our motives.  We may fool people, but we won’t fool Him. 

When we truly come into God’s presence it is all about Him.  It is about loving and ministering to Him strictly based on who He is and because He is so worthy of our highest praise and love.  It is about losing ourselves in worship and as much as is possible forgetting the time constraints that so often rob us of what we could have.  God is certainly not insensitive to our need, but the fact is He has already provided for it.  Isn’t it time that we spent more time appreciating and thanking Him for what He has already provided whether we see it manifested in this world or not.  Hebrews 11:6 says, ” But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  Notice God is a rewarder of those who “diligently” seek Him.  That means we are seeking with earnest and determination.  When He rewards us with His presence, when His glory even rains lightly upon us, there is no greater reward we could ask.  It is the wellspring of joy; the peace that passes understanding and the unspeakable love that fills our hearts.  It is so worth the time we spent seeking Him.  The precious thing is that we have touched His heart as well as Him having touched ours.  We have met the Lord’s desire for intimate fellowship and relationship.  This is what He is calling His bride into in this hour, that place of intimate relationship with Him.  Eventually God wants to bring us to the place that these times are not just an occasional happening, but they become a lifestyle of living in the presence of our God; where we practice His presence everyday, in every activity, from the most mundane to the most glorious.  He is always there in our hearts, in our thoughts, in our continual expression of worship through the continual prayer and praise we breathe and through our daily routine of work and life.  No greater reward can this life hold than God’s presence.  When He is there we are walking in heavenly places.  We have “come up hither” as the Lord speaks to John in the book of Revelation.  We find there a new dimension of life and purpose this present life can not offer.  We will find there strength, power and provision to carry out the calling God has for each one of our lives.  Take the time to find His presence.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Forgiveness

May 16, 2019

 

Forgiveness

 

Ephesians 1:7-10

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.

 

Forgiveness is a word that we use a lot and often fail to really consider the depth of what it implies and what it accomplishes.  Forgiveness is a necessary ingredient before any true restoration and reconciliation can take place in a relationship where an offence has occurred on the part of one or both parties.  Where an offence remains not forgiven, it may be pushed down or ignored by the offended one, but when forgiveness is not released it is like getting a splinter under the skin.  Even a small splinter that is not released will begin to fester and be a constant source of agitation until it is removed.

God, in His great wisdom, saw all the offences we committed toward Him as human beings.   While we might have good intentions, we have come to realize that God’s standards of holiness and righteousness are not obtainable in our fallen state and so we are a constant source of offense to Him.  We have come to realize that under God’s mandate and law we are all destined for judgement and the eternal consequences for our sins.  This was not God’s plan.  His plan was to provide for us forgiveness.  Through the sacrifice and the shedding of the blood of His perfect Son, He could extend release and pardon to us for our offences and sin.  God’s heart is to reconcile, redeem and restore His creation back to Himself and He paid the ultimate price to do so.  We all know what we deserve, but the mercy and grace of God said, “no”.  He has extended to us the olive branch of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation through the blood of His own precious Son.  God, in Christ, has done all the hard part for us and all we have to do is extend the hands of faith and receive this great and precious gift of forgiveness and pardon.

Imagine that you have murdered someone in the heat of passion, and you have been tried, found guilty and sentenced to death.  Nothing you can do can undo the consequences of your sin.  Then one day the son of the president comes to you and says, “You know that you have committed a crime and the debt and punishment for that crime has to be paid.  I am here to take your place; pay for the crime and let you go free.  It will be just as if you had never committed that crime.  It will be erased from your record.”  If you accept this exchange, then the doors to the prison open and you are free to go.  As if that were not great enough, the president’s son tells you that now that you are free, he wants you to assume the position of the president’s son with all of its rights, powers and privileges.  Wouldn’t we be a fool not to accept such an offer?  Obviously, in turn we would owe the president and his son our lives for that exchange.  Obviously, what he is offering is far better than what we were facing.  We don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.  The point is that if we never accept the pardon and we hold on to our offence then it can never be pardoned or released.  With every gift given there is an exchange, but for the exchange to be complete it must be received.  The gift isn’t mine till I accept it from you, and I can never open it and experience its contents until I am willing to reach out, take it and open it.

In our human relationships forgiveness is an important part of our interactions with one another.  We offend and hurt one another rather intentionally or unintentionally all the time and we need to ask and extend to one another forgiveness.  As Christians we are commanded of God to forgive others as Christ has forgiven you and gave Himself for you.  Many of us are struggling with our relationship with both God and man because we have been unwilling to release forgiveness.  It doesn’t mean that we extend forgiveness and are expected to continue in a hurtful or destructive situation given a choice, but we need to forgive to set ourselves free.  It is the only way we can get those splinters of offense out of us.  When we withhold forgiveness, we create a dam that withholds the love of God from flowing through us.  We close our heart and emotionally detach ourselves.

Many of us need the restoration and the reconciliation that can only come, as we are willing to release forgiveness.  We can’t always be responsible for the other party accepting it, but we can release it and thereby release ourselves.  Often pride, on both sides, is the greatest hindrance to our reconciliation.  You can see why God loves humility in us, because it is not too proud to say when it is wrong and it is not to proud to forgive someone, even when they don’t deserve our forgiveness.

Unfortunately, our unwillingness to forgive can become for us a puddle of self –pity that we continue to wallow in and feel sorry for ourselves.   We can do the same thing with our unwillingness to receive forgiveness.  We remain in the bondage of our offenses.

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful instruments of love that the Lord has ever given to us.  We all need to take it, use it and exercise it often.  Nothing can set us free and restore right relationships like forgiveness.  It can unlock the many prison doors of our hearts and sets us free to love and be loved with the love of God.

Search your heart and if you find their a hurt, a wound and offense that someone has committed either intentionally or unintentionally, exercise the gift of Father’s love and forgive them.  You are right.  They may not deserve it, but then neither did we.  When we set others free, we free ourselves and become again, an instrument and a heart that God’s love can flow through.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The God of all Comfort

 

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

 

We don’t always have explanations for the things we go through in life.  God does not always move in the realm of our time or our way of thinking.  We obviously would pray ourselves out of every trying and suffering circumstance, but God doesn’t always remove those hardships and the unpleasantries of life from us.  It is reassuring when we look at Paul and the apostles lives to see that though none probably walked closer and nearer to God than they did, they were not immune to hardship and suffering.  Yet here in this passage Paul speaks of our God and Father as being the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Yet the God of all comfort spared not His own Son.  Hebrew 5:7-9 tells us, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Even God’s own Son offered up strong prayers to be delivered from death and yet He had to go through it.  It tells us that even Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered “being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.”  So, is God sadistic?  Does He enjoy seeing people suffer?  You know, Adam and Eve didn’t have any trouble obeying and living sinless lives as long as there was no temptation or trials.  The difference is, where they failed in that they had never known hardship or suffering, Christ, the last Adam, overcame through death and suffering.  Trials and hardships are a part of our lives, but they aren’t there because God is mean and sadistic.  The fact is, that there are many times we wouldn’t be able to survive them if it weren’t for His comfort and grace.  Opposition is the element that forces us into a place of strength.  When we face oppositions that are beyond our strength, it forces us into someone stronger than we are.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul tells us what the Lord spoke to Him in that place.  “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  It is in our weakness that we find our true strength, which is our God.  Our natural inclination is to want to be delivered and get out of the place of hardship, suffering and pain, but in that place is often the greatest work of transformation in our lives.  As we experience death outwardly, it forces us into life inwardly.  We begin to trust and rely upon God in ways we never would have otherwise.  And God is not insensitive to your pain.  He indwells you, so He is sharing your sufferings, your trials and your hardships.  His Word and the Life of His Spirit are there to comfort and encourage you.  Likewise others who have traveled this road come along side of you and identify with you, encouraging you in the place where you are.  What is being worked in us through our suffering and hardships is working in us the nature of comfort and compassion that we could not have had if we never walked that way.  With our suffering, God gives us comfort and reassurance.  We know that we are His; that He purchased us with a great price of suffering.  We have been privileged to share in that suffering as well as in the blessing, so that we also might learn obedience through the things we suffer and might be made perfect as Christ perfects us.

No precious vessel of honor becomes that way instantly or naturally.  There is a process that takes it from a place of rough raw materials, through crushing, purification and separations, to tooling, hammering crafting and polishing, till finally from the Master’s hand immerges the prize of such intense dealings and pain.  Is God preparing you as His mantle piece today?  See through the suffering into His heart of compassion and love, for whom the Lord loves He chastens.  Know that He is there with us in those hard places and He shares in our hurts, disappointments, sorrows and sicknesses.  See through the darkness of the hardships of this life into the light of His eternal love and comfort.  He has not left you or forsaken you, but is mighty in you to bring you through to victory.

Blessings,

#kent

Kingdom Calling

May 3, 2019

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

Kingdom Calling

 

Romans 12:1-2 is a scripture that many of us are quite familiar with and yet it is so key to what God is bringing us into in this hour.  The majority of us in the body of Christ aren’t really that much different in our thinking and purpose than the rest of the world.  We hold many of the same values, the same passions, and the same desires to excel and succeed in life.  In many ways we think and act much like the world that we live in.  If we wonder why the church is powerless and ineffectual in so many areas, we have to look at our values and priorities as Christians.  Many of us have compartmentalized God into our God box; that part of our lives and thinking we reserve for God and spiritual things, but then we have all these other compartments that are outside of God.  We may have to be tough in the marketplace so we can’t take God there.  We may be another way socially and so maybe God doesn’t fit so well there.  Our God is relegated to our convenience but He has not been our purpose for living.

God wants to do something through His people in this hour, but He not looking to a luke-warm church of half-baked and half-committed Christians, He is looking for those that are sold out to Him, body, soul, mind and spirit.  That place of full commitment is a place of sacrifice where our will is laid upon the altar and it is no longer my will, but thy will be done, in this earth as it is in heaven.  That place of sacrificial commitment requires a daily maintenance program.  It is a choice and decision we don’t make just once, but every day.  Everyday we give ourselves afresh to Him and we are not praying that God fulfills and meets our purpose, but that He reveals and enables us to fulfill His purpose.  That requires a tremendous paradigm shift and change of mindset for many of us.  Quite honestly, many of us love and want to have a relationship with God, but we want to do what we want to do.  It can no longer be about us.  We are a “called out” people and the destiny that God has called us to is a higher calling requiring a greater discipline.  It is not about dos and don’ts; it is about where our heart and affections lie.  As we purpose our lives to become this daily living sacrifice we are going to see ourselves moving away from the things that formerly held our affections.  Our love of God and His purpose will become so much stronger within us that He is the obsession and full affection of our soul.  Instead of television and movies we will desire the fellowship of the saints and the breaking of bread with our fellow believers.  We will desire to be in His service giving out in the areas of service that express His love for those that are lost, hurting, dying and in need of a Savior.  What is more, He is going to become our fullness of joy.  We are going to become so blessed and enriched through our walk and relationship that we will wonder what these earthly things ever had that attracted us to them.  This comes through the renewing of our mind in the Word and the Spirit of the Lord.  In this place we no longer think like the world or operate out of its mind.  Our mind is set upon things above.  We have caught the vision of the higher purpose and plan of God for us and for those He has called us to minister too.  There needs to be a major shift in the thinking and mind of the body of Christ.  For example, we think of having a business, that it is for us to succeed and get ahead.  Often we find that our business begins to consume our life and everything we do is to make the business succeed and us to prosper.  I learned an interesting concept when I attended a Christian business class one time.  The instructor said, “Don’t allow your business to be your priority, rather let it be the outlet for your priority.”  This is the same type of paradigm shift we need in many areas of our life.  The purpose of God is that our lives might be the expression of Him.  Do our lives express Him or do they express us?  We must define our priorities and line up our lives to fulfill those priorities.  God’s Word offers the definitions of what our life is to be about.  The truth is we are living in an unwholesome and unholy mixture of flesh and Spirit.  God is now defining us in Spirit and the flesh is getting left on the altar.  They say that the biggest problem with living sacrifices is that they want to keep crawling off of the altar.  All the more reason we must reckon ourselves as dead unto sin, but alive unto Christ.

As we travel to Zion the way will become narrower and the path more confining.  We are the King’s kids, but we were birthed for kingdom purposes.  May our hearts be drawn to living out this daily sacrifice and the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus.  He is the reason that we live, move and have our being.  Let all that we are, and each day that we live, be to His glory and praise.

Blessings,

#kent

May 1, 2019

 

Romans 8:2

 

Romans 8:2

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

 

Natural and Spiritual Laws

 

One of the things we become aware of as we embrace Christ and believe on Him through faith is that there are more than just natural laws at work in our universe and in the earth.  We begin to become aware and somewhat knowledgeable that there is a dimension of spirit as well as the dimension of the natural.  Many have a problem with this because the spirit world is not something we can see and yet we see the effects it can have as it comes into the natural realm.  We know that there are evil spirits, as well as good spirits.

In Christ we become more in tune with the spiritual part of our being.  In the natural we understand everything on the linear scale of time, a continuing cycle of birth, life and death. The natural is a sense realm, measured by physical senses and input.  In the spiritual realm we come to understand a dimension that is not governed by time and natural laws.  There are still laws that govern this realm, but they are different than those of the natural.  In the natural realm we have experienced a separation from the God of the spiritual realm through the law that now governs in the natural realm, the law of sin and death.  God, in Christ Jesus, has disannulled the power of this law, so that through faith in Christ we may be translated and brought into a dimension that is governed by another law that supercedes the first.  It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  Those who live out of this law, live by a different standards and a different dictate.  In the former law of sin and death we lived under the dictates of natural desires and fleshly impulses, but under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, we live out of the Spirit of Christ in us.  That is the dimension of eternal life, power and grace.  We are currently in the midst of these two laws in this body of both flesh and spirit, but we make the choice which law we choose to abide under.  The one results in death, the other in eternal life.  ‘The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death’, if we abide in that law.  We are governed and judged under the law in which we abide.

Many of us are still content to abide in this natural dimension, remaining relatively ignorant of our spiritual calling and being.  We need to explore and come into a greater revelation and understanding of this spiritual dimension that we now have open to us in Christ.   How can we come into the fullness of the power and life that dwell in this dimension if we still have our heads in this natural dimension?  The Lord is calling us up into the knowledge of Him.  Let us press into this dimension of Spirit and Life.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Forgiveness begins with Yourself

 

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

The Word speaks often to the area of forgiveness and the necessity of forgiving others that we in turn may be forgiven.  That it is imperative that we release and forgive others, but for some the most difficult area of forgiveness is with one’s self.  There may be things in your past that you feel such condemnation and guilt about that you can’t even believe that God could or would or should forgive you.  Constantly it may eat at you and feed upon your self-worth until you may have convinced yourself that God could never love someone like you.

What you are believing is a lie of the devil to enslave you to condemnation.  Every time you have tried to reach out to God that sin or sins have come up in your face to make you feel ashamed and unworthy.  It is time for you to recognize the lie for what it is.  It is not God who is condemning you, it is the Lord that wants to heal you, release you and forgive you.

We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, but the blood sacrifice of Jesus upon that cross was so powerful and so great and so righteous that it is powerful enough to forgive even the vilest of sin.  God came in Christ to deliver you and me out of that stronghold of death and to offer us life in its place.

Jesus dealt with several situations in which sinful people were brought to Him.  The law demanded condemnation, but what did Jesus say His purpose was in coming to earth?  John 3:17-18 says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  The one thing that can keep us from being forgiven is a lack of faith and trust that Jesus has and will forgive you.  It is the condemnation of the accuser that seeks to rob us of our faith and reliance in Christ to forgive us our sins if we are faithful to confess them and ask for His forgiveness.  When we fail to accept and believe that we are forgiven we are in affect calling the Lord a liar.  We are grieving the Holy Spirit.  If then Christ has forgiven our sins and they are under His blood, then we must accept that we are washed from it and forgive ourselves as He has forgiven us.  We all live with regrets and we all have things we would do differently if we had them to do over, but we don’t.  We all need the love and grace of God, because without His love and forgiveness we would have no hope.  It is our faith in the finished work of Christ that gives us the confidence to embrace salvation, forgiveness and release from all our past sins and failures.

A sinful woman once came into the house of Simon the Pharisee and wept as she washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.  She anointed Him with the most precious and fragrant ointment that money could buy.  She, through her actions, communicated to Jesus her deepest love, thanks and appreciation for what He had done in her life.  The account in Luke 7:39-48 goes on to say, “39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41″Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The fact that Jesus has forgiven us of much should only make us love Him more.

Jesus loves you more than words can describe.  He has seen your broken heart and the torment you have experienced over your mistakes.  Take these offences and release them to Him right now in faith believing that His blood has washed them from you and you are forgiven.  Now tell Him that you accept His forgiveness and you release yourself from this condemnation and sin, even as He has released you.  What did he say to the woman caught in adultery after all of her accusers had left?  “Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11″No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10-11)

Jesus doesn’t condone or justify our sin, but His mercy and grace will forgive us.  Receive the richness of His love and forgiveness today.  Most importantly, forgive yourself.

Blessings,

#kent

Change

April 18, 2019

Mark 6:12

And they went out, preaching the need for a change of heart in men.

 

Change

 

When you think about it a great deal of life is about change.  One thing that is certain in life is that nothing will stay the same.  While that is true in this realm.  It is not true of God.  Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.”  There is no need to change that which is already perfect.  Our God, who does not change or waiver in His ways and character gives us the stability and confidence to know that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.  His ways are right, good and perfect.  It is in this character, exemplified through the life of the Lord Jesus, that we desire to be changed.  As believers the goal of our change is to be transformed into the likeness, image and character of Christ.  We have come to realize through the Word and through personal experience that the ability to make this change or transformation does not rely solely in our ability to do so.  Thus, we were given the Holy Spirit to indwell us, teach us, correct us and empower us to walk in the direction of change and transformation that is bringing us more and more into the likeness and image of Christ as we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

Now, it should go without saying, that not all change is good.  We can change for the worse as well as the better and we can be as Paul describes in Ephesians 4:14, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”

Our change began with a heart of repentance, when we came to knowledge that our ways were wicked and out of alignment with the will and purpose of God.  We came to understand that the “wages of sin is death” and the only way to change that is by our repentance from our former life of sin and acknowledgement by faith that Jesus paid the price to redeem us out of that sentence of death and judgement.  We came to understand that by aligning ourselves with Him and the Word of God we could begin to affect change in our life that would bring us more and more into His image and likeness; aligning us with His purpose and design for our lives.  We changed our thinking.  We changed the law and the principles that we live under from the law of sin and death to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

One of the hardest things for us as humans, is to change our old habits and ways.  We so often operate out of that definition of insanity that says, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”  We get in these ruts in our lives that are hard for us to break out of.  One preacher said, “A rut is like a grave with both ends knocked out.”  It keeps you in a place of inability to change out of your circumstance.  These ruts or graves, so to speak, are the areas we all contend with and struggle to break free from.  What holds us there are mind sets and dynamics that we may not even fully comprehend or understand.  We may need to go back and seek to discover what it is that inhibits us from moving out of this place.  Sometimes it is a poverty spirit or a spirit passed down from previous generations or any area the needs to be recognized, renounced, repented of and deliverance appropriated through the power and the blood of Christ.  Then we need to begin walking in these right changes by recognizing any time that “old mind set” wants to manifest that it is no longer a part of us and no longer has power over us.  We are free in Christ, we count it as dead and walk in the other direction from how it formerly influenced us.  It goes beyond just our thoughts and regrets to positive action that appropriates that power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and the authority we have in Christ that we have been given over every spirit and stronghold that is not of God.  We begin to walk out of these ruts, graves and bondage, affecting change by our actions, choices, confessions, faith and appropriation of who we are in Christ, because of who He is in us.

Paul says this in Philippians 3:12-14 and 20-21, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”  As we fix our eyes upon our Lord and Savior, we walk each day out in the transforming power of His Spirit within us and we know that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” and is able to change us into His glorious likeness.

Blessings,

#kent

Labels are for Cans

April 17, 2019

John 8:31

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

 

Labels are for Cans

 

Do you ever notice how our culture always likes to put labels on people, as if by a label we can accurately judge the content.  We label people by race, color, creed, religion, denomination, by what your job or career is and by who you hang out with.  Maybe it is just in our nature to categorize people by labels, then we can generically place them where they fit best in our thinking and even our prejudice.

I always hated labels, because every individual is different and while we may share certain commonalties that doesn’t make me a this or a that.  Even in the religious world everyone feels more comfortable if they categorize you by faith, church or denomination.  Immediately, that somehow qualifies us to judge rather this person is on my side or the other side.

Multitudes of people wear the label of “Christian”.  What does that mean, that they were raised to believe in a God or that they really follow Christ?

Jesus didn’t come to gather Christians, He came to make disciples.  A disciple is someone who has more than a casual belief in something; it is a person that follows a certain discipline.  What was the discipline of Christ?  According to John 8:31 it is abiding in His Word, then are you truly a disciple.  It is a lifestyle, not just a belief.  It is the fabric of what you live out of.

In John 13:35 Jesus gives us another qualification and evidence of being His disciple.  “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  Wow, we don’t always see that working among a lot of the so-called body of Christ.  Do your really love your brothers and sisters or just the ones that fit under your label and even there, there is further divisions and discord.

Here is another qualification that Jesus gives us as a disciple in Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continuously.””  Again in Luke 14:27 He says, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”  We have to be willing to go where Jesus went and to suffer what Jesus suffered.  It means, as Paul said in Galations 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

How are we doing so far?  Are we just “Christians” by label or disciples by action and lifestyle?

Luke 14:26 gives us another hard one, “”If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.”  That means that in comparison to our love and commitment to Jesus, not even the ones we treasure and love most in the earth can compare, not even our own selves.  Our service, love, allegiance and commitment is first and foremost to Him.  In comparison to that love, we hate all else.

It is easy for us to get comfortable under the label of Christianity, but that is not what Jesus called us to and that is not what He called us to do.  In Matthew 28:19 Jesus gives us this commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  He didn’t tell us to make Christians or even believers or sell everyone on this ideology.  He told us to go make disciples and how can we do that if we aren’t one?

This should convict all of us of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus and the cost of what He asks us to pay.  Do we just embrace it with our minds or are we walking it out in our lifestyle as we abide in Him?  True Christianity is so much more than just labels it is the content of who we are in Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

The Planting of the Lord

April 11, 2019

 

The Planting of the Lord

 

Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

 

Have you thought about yourself as being a tree planted in the garden and orchard of God, a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord?  Many years ago when we first had moved into our home, I had planted a number of young trees and saplings in a portion of my yard I wanted it to be like a little forest.  As I was looking out the window at it one evening I felt I heard the Spirit of the Lord say, ” Some of those trees you think will live will die and some that look like they will die will live.  If you will faithfully keep your eyes and heart on me and let your roots go down in the good soil of my Word then I will make you like a mighty Oak tree.”  Over the years that has held true, some of the tree grew up mighty and strong, while others wilted and died.  All of those trees were planted in the same ground, but not all of them reacted the same way.

Perhaps some of you today have felt that the tree of your spiritual life has become diseased or is wilting and dying.  Perhaps the winters have been harsh with trials and the summers have only brought drought and dryness to an already wilting faith and life.  Perhaps those around you have been hurt or died and it has brought despondency and sorrow.  There may even be some of you that feel you are already dead or just hanging by a thread of faith.   God’s got a word for you today.  “Though you were dead, yet shall you live.”  God has come to comfort you who mourn and are broken hearted.  He is come to bring you beauty for what you have considered burnt up with nothing but ashes remaining.  He is come to restore in you joy and hope and confidence.  You say, ” how can it be, look at my failures, my sins, my unfaithfulness.”  He says,  ” Look at Me, my son, my daughter, I am the ever Faithful One.  I have planted you to be trees of righteousness, my righteousness, not yours.  Look up, for your Redeemer lives and ever makes intercession on your behalf.  Though you were dead, yet shall you live.”  If you will put your eyes and your heart back on the Lord today and let your roots go down again into the soil of His Word, He will establish you as the mighty Oak of Righteousness, for you are the planting of the Lord.

Blessings,

#kent

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