Runaway

June 18, 2020

Runaway

Matthew 5:25

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

              Perhaps one of our greatest downfalls is not dealing with something while it is a small matter.  Given time and left to itself, what started out as something that could have been controlled or averted gets out of control and results in a destination for catastrophe. 

              When I was in my teens I was working one summer at a grain elevator during harvest.  Railroad cars would sometimes be dropped off and we would block the wheels with a 2×4 so that they would not take off.  I remember one day for some reason one of cars started rolling.  I saw it and first tried to stop it by putting a 2×4 behind the moving wheel.   It wasn’t moving fast yet, but there was enough weight and momentum that it ran over that 2×4 like a toothpick.  After a couple of attempts and seeing that this was not going to work I instinctively climbed aboard the moving car and turned the brake wheel to bring it to a stop.  Because we were able to catch the moving car and deal with the potential problem quickly there were no adverse consequences, but what if that car had kept moving and picking up speed as it went?  What if it had become a runaway train car speeding out of control?  This is much how temptations and problems that arise in our life go.  Dealt with and averted early they can usually be resolved before they become out of control and are on a crash course with disaster. 

              When we let those little sins into our life, that are small and seem quite harmless at the time, and don’t deal with them, but perhaps hide them in darkness, they have time to germinate, grow and before we know it they are out of our control.  Sometimes we don’t know how to deal with them, but we won’t get help.  We keep thinking we can handle it while in reality it continues to pick up momentum taking us down the track to judgement and growing consequences.  Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He gave this parable in Matthew 5.  Our adversary is anything, that left unchecked and dealt with, will bring us to consequences and judgements that we don’t want to face. 

Perhaps there are areas that are moving out of control in our lives today.  Take a look down the tracks and see the potential disaster this runaway train can take you too.  Deal with it quickly, before it is too late and the consequences are too great.

Blessings,

#kent

Foundation for Faith

June 16, 2020

Foundation for Faith

Psalms 18:2

The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower.

              We find in life that often we are a self-filling prophecy.  We become and are shaped in the image of whom we think and believe that we are.  Maybe we started out in our lives doubtful, fearful, with a lack of confidence and very little faith in ourselves that we could do much of anything or be anything.  As long as we hold on to that mindset and it is coming through in our outward demeanor, do you think we will see much success in our lives?  If we don’t believe in ourselves, then how could we expect others to believe in us?  What if, on the other hand, we dare to believe all that God says about us and dare to believe all that He said He would be for us?  Now we have a foundation for success.  As we believe and then act upon that premise by faith and those beliefs, will our life change? 

              King David was a man who is a prime example of one who spoke, sang and wrote what God was to His life.  Even in the deepest valleys of his life he dared not trust his soul, but rather He spoke out of His spirit and ministered to His soul the truths and the realities of God’s Word.  He was constantly meditating and reminding Himself of the goodness of God, His faithfulness, His power, His salvation and all of the attributes and benefits of God and His nature.  This is what makes the Psalms so powerful.  They are Spirit anointed sonnets and songs of who God is and why life is worth the living because He is in it.  David would recite the Word of God and encourage His soul.  His faith would then lay hold of the truth that He spoke and begin to act upon it. 

              Many of us see ourselves as weak, untalented, insignificant people.  That may be you and I outside of Christ, but what can we be in Christ?  Are there any limitation to what God can do in and through us, except in our own mind and thinking?   The foundation of faith is wrapping our mind and heart around God’s Word, assimilating it into our hearts and speaking into our doubtful and fearful souls.  It is so often good just to pray the Psalms, reading and speaking them to God as if they were your own.  It will inspire faith in your heart and courage to your soul as it did for David. 

              Who is the Lord and what is that to me?  When we answer that question we find the foundation for our faith.  Upon that foundation we can build a successful life, for our confidence is in Him who is able to do abundantly more than we can even ask or think. 

              What is the foundation of your life today?   Is it the Rock or is it the sand?

Blessings,

#kent

Forgiveness, Overcoming and Knowing

1 John 2:12-14

I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.

13I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.

I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.

14I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

              The Word of the Lord meets each one of us wherever we are in our spiritual development and walk.  Initially when we came to know Christ, we came to know Him in salvation and the forgiveness of our sins.  Fathers have a depth of experience and knowledge that they bring.  With Fathers it is not just what they know, but what they have walked in and experienced.  The Word from Genesis to Revelation is continually unfolding and making itself known and real to them.  They carry in them the seed of life.  The depth of the Word that is able to inspire, stir up faith and bring life to those they are with.  Father’s are the seasoned ones that have known God from the beginning of their Christian childhood.  They have known both victory and defeat and they bare the scars of battle.  They have not only known, as the young men do, the place of overcoming, but they have also found the place of God’s rest.  They can rest because they do know Him and His sovereignty is fixed in their hearts. 

The young men are walking through the experience stages of their walk.  They are exercising their faith.  They are not complacent or lethargic in regards to their relationship and walk with Christ, but are engaging and fighting the good fight.  They are becoming experienced in the Word and in the exercise of its authority and power as they discern the temptations and the deceitfulness of the enemy and overcome Him with the light of truth and walk of purity.  The young men are gaining a revelation of who they are in Christ and are learning to live out of that life and power within them rather than relying upon their own strength and goodness.  The young men are a joy to be around because of their zest for life. Their continual quest for a deeper faith and walk are contagious and an inspiration to all that are around them. 

              As children we come into the faith and knowledge of Christ.  We experience God’s goodness and faithfulness to us.  We begin to know Him in the sense that we are getting a revelation of who Christ is in us and what our purpose in God is.  The children are growing in the sincere milk of the Word.  They are becoming grounded in its doctrinal and eternal truths.  They are beginning to experience and walk in the principles of faith for their lives and they are comng to know God through a daily relationship.

God’s Word is the bread of life to meet us at every level of life and every stage of growth in our walk with God.  It is the Believers Instructions Before Leaving Earth.  The BIBLE is our daily instruction manual to bring us from infancy, to youth and into fatherhood.  Every day it is a source of greater insight and understanding into who we are in Christ and how we fit into the purpose and the plan of the Almighty Father.  Our life is about abiding with Him and in Him always.  It is about knowing HIM from the beginning to the end.

Blessings,

#kent

Good Souls Hiding in Ugly People

Luke 19:1-10

And [Jesus] entered and passed through Jericho And, behold, [there was] a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that [way]. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw [it], they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore [him] fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

               There are a lot of people in this world, and perhaps in some degree or another we are some of them, who are living out a life of ugliness and sin that they don’t really want to be inside.  Perhaps they have been caught up in a lifestyle, or addictions, or behaviors that they really hate in themselves, but seemed trapped and unable to change.  There are a lot of people who really don’t like who they are or the ugliness that they can manifest through their actions.  Zacchaeus was such a man.  He was the chief of the publicans or the tax collectors the most despised and hated of people among his countrymen.  He was a little man in a big position, but it wasn’t where he was happy.  He had wealth and position, but He didn’t like who he was.  He was unhappy because he was living contrary to the nature that God had intended for him.  I looked up the meaning of Zacchaeus and it means, “pure or innocent”.  Now it is not hard to see that Zacchaeus’ life was anything, but that.  He had heard everyone talking about this Jesus and the extraordinary man that He was.  Something stirred in Zacchaeus’ heart as he sought to try and see this man.  Sometimes it is hard for us to see Jesus, because our stature has become so low, but he didn’t let this detour him. Even though the crowds of people who knew and hated him tried to prevent him from pressing through he was determined that he would see Jesus.  We are often crowded out by condemnation that says we are not even worthy of seeing Jesus.  The first step in changing the ugliness of who we are is seeking higher ground.  It is in seeking a higher vantagepoint where we can see Jesus and where he can see us.  There needs to be a determination to seek out the one who can change what we hate in ourselves.  God had created Zacchaeus to have a pure and innocent nature, as He has created us, but it had become perverted through sin, greed and the world.  When Jesus passed by and looked up in that tree where Zacchaeus was hanging out, He didn’t see that ugly little chief tax collector that everyone else saw.  He saw a man that needed to be returned to the nature of who he really was, pure and innocent.  Jesus basically invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house.  Now Zacchaeus could have said no, but like many of us we so desperately want to be different and changed from what we have become into what He has created us to be, we know that we need to accept His invitation. It is our only hope.

               It was the fellowship and the communion with Jesus that transformed Zacchaeus’ heart.  After He had been with Jesus, he recognized what had been missing out of His life.  Position, power, authority were no longer the compelling issues with Zacchaeus.  He just knew he wanted to be right with God and he was gladly willing to give up or restore whatever was necessary to maintain that relationship that he found with Christ that day.  It is in the presence and relationship with Jesus that our ugliness will be transformed.  As we are conformed not to the world, but transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus, we see change.  When Jesus becomes the sole object of our communion and companionship our lives will change from the inside out.  We are always trying to change the outward things, but until the inward attitudes of the heart and soul come into spiritual alignment with God’s heavenly purpose the rest of us can’t really change. 

               If you feel like that ugly person without, not necessarily in looks, but in attitude and disposition then seek higher ground.  Jesus is looking at you and seeing the inward man of the heart, that good and precious soul that He created in His image.  Come into His presence and give your life to Him so that God, by the Holy Spirit, can transform you into who you really are.  Come to repentance and make things right with God and with others.  Today God wants to truly bring salvation into your house and into your soul.  He wants to transform that ugliness into the beauty and the purity of soul that He has created you to be.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Good Pleasure

June 4, 2020

God’s Good Pleasure

Philippians 2:12-13

 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure

Aren’t you glad that it is God that puts His desires in our hearts and gives us the abilities to carry them out?  I know the heart of my natural man and it is deceitfully wicked.  It won’t choose God’s ways; it will choose the ways of selfishness and follow after it’s own desires and feelings.  There is no enemy of my soul greater than my own self.  That is why I make this scripture a continual part of my prayer life.  “God, put within me and work within me the will and the do of your good pleasure.”  That is the cry of the spirit man within me.  I know that without God’s Holy Spirit at work in me I can do nothing and I would be doomed to failure, because I can’t produce His life and His nature, but I can submit in obedience to the Holy Spirit, even as He strengthens and helps me.  I can desire and cry out for the Holy Spirit’s help and strength in my weakness. 

               Paul says in Philippians 12:13, “work out own your salvation with fear and trembling.”  What do you mean work out my own salvation?  I thought that got worked out when I asked Christ into my heart?  He would probably say, ‘no, that was just where it began.’  You didn’t come to full adulthood when you were born; it was a process of time and growth.  Likewise, we don’t fully appear in the image of God when we are born again, but it is a process of maturing and being conformed to the image of Christ, spirit, soul and body. 1Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 8 is a great chapter to read to better understand this process.   

               The key I believe the Lord would have us grasp here is that He has began a good work in us and He will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).   Like the loving Father and parent that He is, He is changing us and exchanging our old heart of stone for a heart of flesh with His laws written upon it.  Our joy is in submission and obedience.  Our transformation takes place much quicker with an attitude of humility and brokeness.   We find the desire to will and to do God’s good pleasure is so much more real and close to our hearts as we seek that place of intimate fellowship and relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit.  In that place He truly becomes that desire of our hearts.

               May God grant each of us, each and every day, to will and to do His good pleasure.

Blessings,

#kent

Is Christ at Home?

June 1, 2020

Is Christ at Home?

1 John 3:22-24

22And we receive from Him whatever we ask, because we [watchfully] obey His orders [observe His suggestions and injunctions, follow His plan for us] and [habitually] practice what is pleasing to Him.

23And this is His order (His command, His injunction): that we should believe in (put our faith and trust in and adhere to and rely on) the name of His Son Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and that we should love one another, just as He has commanded us.

24All who keep His commandments [who obey His orders and follow His plan, live and continue to live, to stay and] abide in Him, and He in them. [They let Christ be a home to them and they are the home of Christ.] And by this we know and understand and have the proof that He [really] lives and makes His home in us: by the [Holy] Spirit Whom He has given us. (Amplified)

               What is the area that we most struggle with in living for Christ?  For most of us, generally speaking, it would probably be the area of obedience.  Why? It is because we quickly loose touch with who we are and what our mission is.  Most of us struggle with continuing to fall back in the same old ruts of selfishness and self-reliance.  It takes reliance on the Holy Spirit, submission to His discipline and a continued focus and re-focus on Christ.  The power of our life in Christ is not about us just belonging to Jesus; it is about us abiding “in Christ”.  One of the areas that distance God from us is the perspective that perceives Christ somewhere up and away from us in an invisible heaven we can’t fully relate with and us down here on earth trying to live the best we can.  What we must understand is that this is an anti-Christ or Christ separating mentality.  That is not to say that you’re of the devil if you have had that way of thinking, but it is void of power.  The power of the Christian life is in one’s identification with who they are “in Christ”, not who they are apart from Him.  Much of the theme we get from the apostle John is the importance of understanding relationship and connection with Christ.  In John 15:5-8 Jesus brings out this about abiding relationship and what it produces.   “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”  That connection, that life flow between the branches and the vine is faith and obedience.  When we look at a tree do we view it in our minds as two different things; oh, this part is the tree and this part is the branches?  No, we see it as one unit.  We understand that it has a root system, a trunk, branches, leaves and even fruit, but we don’t see them separately we see them as one because that is how they function, as one organism.  That is what Christ is.  Jesus is the source the head of His body, but we are inseparably joined to Him and part of Him by His blood and by the Spirit.  As His body, as His parts, as His branches we must operate out of His mind and not ours.  We must become attuned to “who I am in Christ”.  This is the transformation and the renewing of your mind.  All that I am in Christ, I can ascertain through His Word as it is revealed and quicken by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is that Spirit of Christ in me that is helping my life to come into conformity with His. 

As we live and abide in obedience, seeking first His will and good pleasure, then are we empowered in our prayer life.  “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. (John 15:7)” “And we receive from Him whatever we ask, because we [watchfully] obey His orders [observe His suggestions and injunctions, follow His plan for us] and [habitually] practice what is pleasing to Him. (1 John 3:22)” The line of communication and empowerment is established when we covet what God covets, when our desires and will are one with His.  Even Jesus in His earthly ministry said He did nothing apart from what the Father spoke to Him.  There was that perfect flow of faith and obedience. 

               We are the home where Christ abides.  We are His temple and His residence, as He must be ours.  If Christ isn’t at home it is because we have become disconnected in our faith, in our thinking and in our obedience.  Paul speaks in Galatians 2:20 what must be the theme of our lives, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  We must become comfortable within the skin of who we are in Christ.  He is our home, our power, and our life; “in Him we live and move and have our being.”  Ephesians 4:17 says,” 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.”  We must come out of the futility of our thinking where we continue to view ourselves apart from Christ.  ‘What God has joined let no man put asunder.’  We are one body and one flesh.  Is Christ at home in you and you in Him?

Blessings,

#kent

 

God Will Take Care of Us

 

Matthew 6:25-30

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?

 

It was shortly after we were first married and I was called into the supervisor’s office where I worked.  There I was informed that the company was going bankrupt and they would have to let me go.  As I brought that sad news home to my young, then pregnant wife, she was devastated.  Suddenly all of her security was gone and future uncertain.  I remember it was this particular passage that God gave me to share with her that began to renew hope, faith and a confidence that God was there to take care of us even when I couldn’t.  No doubt many of you have experienced similar situations where the future looked bleak and no provisions were on the horizon.  All we could do is say, “God you are a ‘Way Maker’.  You make a way where there is no way.”

As I was reading through the many accounts of Jesus touching, healing and delivering people in need, it was evident that their need was met in response to their faith to believe.  Jesus would sometimes say to them, “be it unto you according to your faith”.  The Lord is continually stretching our faith to believe Him for greater and greater things.  Even in those things that don’t turn out the way we hoped or wanted we can know that, “God is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).”

David often found the way of provision was released through the voice of praise and thanksgiving.  This is the voice of faith and it stirs up faith within our souls as well.  Sometimes it is really hard for us to grasp and believe that such an infinitely wonderful and great God could care individually and personally so much for us, and yet He does.  If He can care and provide for all of the small creatures and His creation, then surely He can care for you and I as well.

Let’s say someone shows up at your door today and says, “Here is a check for a million dollars.  Take it and spend it anyway you want.”  Obviously, we are going to be pretty elated and our initial response is quite likely going to abound in praise toward God.  After a few weeks and all the bills are paid and the needs are met.  We are enjoying the good life.  Now, where is God in the light of our prosperity and good fortune?  Is our dependency, trust and reliance still as great then as it was before?  Is God still at the forefront of all our thoughts and activities as we use that money, or has He faded back to a lonely second position, as our new lifestyle compels us to think less of Him and more about us.  This is our human nature at work and as much as we say, “I wouldn’t be like that, we would be amazed at how quickly God can lose His significance in the light of our prosperity.”  Herein lies its danger, we begin to love and trust in the money more than our God.  God warns Israel about this when He promises to prosper them after they come through all of their trials in of the wilderness in Deuteronomy 8.  It is a great chapter to read and reflect on.  “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 (Deuteronomy 8:17-19).”  At the forefront of every blessing, of every trial, of every endeavor and circumstance in life, God must continue to reign as the Lord of all of our life.  Our reliance upon Him is not to change whether in much or in little.   The Son is forever to be the center of our universe and the One to bring life and warmth to each day, winter, spring, summer or fall, in good times or bad.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).”

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

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

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