Birthing the Promise

June 11, 2018

Birthing the Promise

 

Ecclesiastes 3:10

I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

 

Many of us have been believing and pressing into God for different needs and areas in our lives where we are trusting for a miracle or a breakthrough from the Lord.  Perhaps we have grown weary and have wanted to give up.  It may have seemed everything has been against us.  Though we have sought the Lord we may not have received any distinct word other than “just trust Him”.  Though we have been faithful to try and trust Him it doesn’t mean fear, doubt and unbelief haven’t tried to creep in to unsettle us, discourage us and defeat us.  Perhaps we have tried to do everything right.  We’ve even prayed about anything that may be hindering our answer to prayer.  Still it may seem nothing is coming together, there is no immediate answer in sight and when we do get a hopeful prospect to our answer it falls through and we are left empty and disappointed.  Still we encourage ourselves in the Lord.  We continue to praise Him in our adversity and trust Him in our need.  In the natural you wonder if this dream you have, this vision, this need for God’s touch will ever come to pass.

When a woman carries the promise of baby in her womb she has joy, not because she has seen the face of her promised seed, but she knows that life is growing inside her and in due season it will come forth.  God’s promises to us are often like that fetus in the womb of our soul.  All we have is the promise, the expectation, and the anticipation of what God has promised and quickened in us, that it will come to pass.  Every woman that has born a child naturally will testify that there comes a day when it is time to birth, but in between the promise and the fulfillment is this little thing called ‘labor or travail’.  In that place there is often extreme and intense pain to bring forth this promise that has grown in her womb.  At the time she may feel like there is no way she can handle the pain or that she will make it through the process.  It will often bring her to the end of herself.  This same principle is true for us who are trying to give birth to a vision, a dream or a need that we have in us.  In the process of trying to birth it, everything in the natural is telling us we are going to die and fail in the process.  We are pressed to the extremes of our faith and trust in God, as we are desperately trying to hold fast to His Word and our hope in Him.  The Lord wants to encourage us today to not give up, to continue to hold fast because you are in the stages of travail and our faith is being exercised and stretched like it never has before.  The Holy Spirit and the Word of God are our labor coaches encouraging us that we can make it, that God is faithful, don’t fear only believe.

When we look back through the Word of God we can see so many examples of the trying of men’s faith and the travail they had to pass through.  We see Abraham willing in obedience to sacrifice his only Isaac, Jacob wrestling with the angel, Joseph enduring betrayal, slavery, imprisonment and hardship to finally realize the fulfillment of his dream.  We see David running for his life from Saul and the enemies that sought his destruction.  We see Daniel in the Lion’s den; the three Hebrew children facing the fiery furnace and Jeremiah left in the miry pit.  The examples are many and numerous, but most pronounced we see Jesus enduring the travail of His Passion that He might give birth to the Church and the salvation promised to men.  We are no different in our personal lives than they.  We with patience and steadfast faith we’ll also inherit the promises if we faint not.

Ephesians 6:13 tells us, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”  Our God is raising His people not to be wimps that roll over in the face of adversity and look for the way of escape, but warriors who will stand in the day of battle and travail.  Perhaps you are in that day today with your circumstances.  2 Corinthians 2:14 exhorts and encourages us by saying, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”  Romans 8:37 reminds us, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Endure the day of travail for your joy comes in the morning.

Blessings,

#kent

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The Way of the Cross Leads Home

 

2 Corinthians 4:7-12

 

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  So then death worketh in us, but life in you”.

 

We, who are in Christ, are like the alabaster box that contains the precious ointment and perfume of the Life of Christ in us.  We may look pretty sitting on the shelf, but our value is not in the outward container, it is in the contents within.  We are like the man in 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.”  When we have found the treasure of heaven, the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, then next to Him, all else becomes worthless and of little value.  We are willing to forsake all to follow Him, to know Him and to possess His divine Life.  How wonderful!  We are all these earthen vessels that contain this treasure within them, but how does that make a difference to the world around us?  Like Mary with the alabaster box, she broke the box to release the treasure of the fragrance within.

Paul is explaining much of the same principle that was at work in their lives.  There is no strength or power in the vessel itself.  The power and life is only released in weakness, brokenness and total God reliance.  Our world and circumstances, life in general, often has a way of crushing and breaking us.  1Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” This is common and to be expected, especially among believers.  The true fragrance and essence of our life within is released most often in the place of suffering.  The fact is, it is the treasure within that sustains us, not with natural strength, but with divine and supernatural strength.  The enemy of our souls would crush us and destroy us, but in doing so he is only releasing the fragrance of the Christ in us.

Perhaps this sheds some insight into why we must suffer in life.  In those places of weakness and utter helplessness we find a strength and life not our own.  We are driven out of our self-reliance into trust and faith in our God.  He becomes then our life, our health, our supply, and our comfort.  As death works in our mortal bodies, it is only to give place to the life of Christ.

The even greater truth of this is that it works to a multiplication of His life in others through us.  Even as Jesus, being one man, through His death on the cross brought a multiplication of His Life to the world.  The harvest isn’t in the seed, it is in the seed dying to the outer shell and releasing the life within that grows up to produce multiple seed.  It is the principle of  John 12:24-25: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” The experiences that we go through in life are serving to develop us in faith, character and maturity in our walk with the Lord.  This, in turn, translates into our being poured out for others to minister life, encouragement and builds the faith of others to walk through their trials and testings in life.  The death of the cross works in us so that it might work for Life in others.

Don’t be discouraged if your vessel is being broken and you are being poured out on the altar of sacrifice.  You are becoming the sweet fragrance of Life to others.  It is the way of the cross that leads Home.

Blessings,

#kent

The Joy of Fools

May 29, 2018

 

The Joy of Fools

 

Proverbs 15:21

Folly delights a man who lacks judgment, but a man of understanding keeps a straight course.

 

 

What is folly but a fountain of foolish acts lived and acted out by one who lacks the practice of sound judgment and fails to embrace truth?  Many of us have had those times of foolishness in our lives.  Most of us look back and shudder at some of things we did and realize the consequences that could have followed those actions.  For many of us, God gave us grace to see the error of those ways and to see where they were taking us.  Was it fun?  Oh sure it was fun to party and to act out of the lust and impulses of the flesh.  It was fun to be wild and unrestrained, but it had no future and it didn’t produce what most of us desired out of life.

I can remember my college years.  It was a time of making the transition from my parent’s values to my own values.  I was becoming my own person and could now choose what I thought was right and wrong for me.  I remember some of the partying and the wild things that we did.  It was fun at the time, but then when you were alone the question would come, “Is this all there is to life?  What is my purpose?  What are my goals?  What happens when we leave this life and all that we have done is live for selfish pleasure?  Is there no more consciousness and we cease to exist or do we indeed have to give an account of our ways before an Almighty God?

I began to realize early on that foolishness is a dead end street.  Oh yeah, it may be like Bourbon Street in New Orleans and life can be like Madrigal, but where does it lead us and what is our end?  What I experienced was emptiness and lack of true fulfillment and joy.  My happiness was only temporal, but it never really satisfied and gave meaning to life.  Perhaps some of us are still trying to hold on to our areas of folly.  Perhaps those areas of folly and foolishness have become strongholds in our life that we don’t want to give up or let go of.  Fools and misery love company.  You will become like the people that you associate with.  You can never really come out of your foolishness until you are willing to depart company with the foolish and seek out the company of the wise.

The wise are not necessarily smarter than everyone else is, but they have come to the realization that wisdom and life is in seeking out the Lord and following in His ways.  He is the author of wisdom and His paths are straight, but they lead us unto life.  Proverbs 16:16-17 says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver! 17 The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.”  Folly will only delight a man who lacks understanding, because when we understands the high ways of the Lord, we will no longer delight in the lower road.  That road will only lead us to hell and destruction.

Have you given up those areas of foolishness that may be destroying your life and the lives of the ones that you say you love?  A truly wise man heeds counsel, he receives correction and departs from evil, but one who is truly a fool will not listen and he will not learn.  Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.“  Is the delight of our folly worth the consequences that it brings if you continue it?  Do we have enough wisdom to say, “enough, no more!”?

Blessings,

#kenta

The Gift

May 14, 2018

 

The Gift

 

1 John 3:16

Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.

 

 

Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. “  The greatest gift we can give one another is ourselves, our life, our time and our love.  Often we equate love with what monetary gifts we can give.  Those gifts are good and loving expressions, but they should be in addition too and not in place of the others.  Many of us don’t realize that we are a gift to someone else that loves and needs what we have to give.  Far too often we end up withholding our gift or using it on the demands that life puts on us, rather than on those who really need and would appreciate it.  Our quality time can be of more value than we can realize.  Our personal love and attention are often the only things that can meet the needs in others.  Especially in our society, we tend try and use a lot of substitutes, but there are hurting and lonely people for whom the greatest gift is our personal time, attention and love.

I know I have often been guilty of being so involved in my work or interested in other things, that I have neglected the greater needs in my family.  Many of us realize that we have done this.  When we come to the end of our lives it will be the relationships that we have built through the investment of our time and our lives that will matter most.  We all seem to think there will always be tomorrow, but tomorrows will run out and we will have never lived and loved for today.

The greatest reward we have in life is the satisfaction we have in giving, in making another’s life a little better, a little richer and ministering to those little personal needs that we all have.   Jesus gave us the most precious and priceless gift that anyone has ever given, His life.  That gift has perpetuated life now through millenniums of time.  It is the gift that keeps on giving.   God has placed a gift in us that we must be faithful in giving.  The more that we give it, the greater the increase.  Someone needs the love and personal attention that only you can give.  Let us not deny those needs wherein we rob not only them, but ourselves as well.  Give out the love that Christ has placed in your heart.  It is not for keeping, but for giving.

 

 

This an attachment with this writing that a friend had sent and I thought it so illustrated this point:

 

I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying

groceries. I wasn’t hungry. The pain of losing my husband of 57 years

was still too raw. And this grocery store held so many sweet memories.

 

He often came with me and almost every time he’d pretend to go off and

look for something special. I knew what he was up to. I’d always spot

him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands.

 

He knew I loved yellow roses. With a heart filled with grief, I only

wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was

different since he had passed on.

 

Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two.

 

 

 

Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and

remembered how he had loved his steak.

 

Suddenly a woman came beside me. She was blonde, slim and lovely in a

soft green pantsuit. I watched as she picked up a large package of

T-bones, dropped them in her basket, hesitated and then put them back.

She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks.

 

She saw me watching her and she smiled. “My husband loves T-bones, but

honestly, at these prices, I don’t know.”

 

I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes.

 

“My husband passed away eight days ago,” I told her. Glancing at the

package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice. “Buy

him the steaks. And cherish every moment you have together.”

 

She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the

package in her basket and wheeled away.

 

I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy

products. There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy.

A Quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream. If nothing

else, I could always fix myself an ice cream cone.

 

I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the

front. I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady

coming towards me. In her arms she carried a package. On her face was

the brightest smile I had ever seen. I would swear a soft halo encircled

her blonde hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine.

 

As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my

eyes. “These are for you,” she said and placed three beautiful long

stemmed yellow roses in my arms. “When you go through the line, they

will know these are paid for.” She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss

on my cheek, then smiled again. I wanted to tell her what she’d done,

what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked

away as tears clouded my vision.

 

I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue

wrapping and found it almost unreal. How did she know? Suddenly the

answer seemed so clear. I wasn’t alone.

 

Oh, you haven’t forgotten me, have you? I whispered, with tears in my

eyes. He was still with me, and she was his angel.

 

Every day be thankful for what you have and who you are.

(Please read all of this, it is really nice)

 

This is a simple request. If you appreciate life, send this to your

friends, including the person that sent it to you.

 

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings. Thank

you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.

 

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as

possible. Thank you, Lord , that I can see. Many are blind.

 

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising. Thank you, Lord, that

I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.

 

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost,

toast is burned, tempers are short, and my children are so loud.

 

Thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.

 

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the picture in

magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced.

 

Thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.

 

Even though the routine of my job often is monotonous. Thank you, Lord,

for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.

 

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my

circumstances were not so modest.

 

Thank you, Lord, for life.

 

Pass this on to the friends you know. It might help a bit to make this

world a better place to live, right? A friend is someone we turn to when

our spirits need a lift. A friend is someone to treasure.

 

For friendship is a gift. A friend is someone who fills our lives with

Beauty, Joy and Grace and makes the world we live in a better and

happier place.

 

YOU ARE MY FRIEND!

 

God bless you and yours.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Kingdom of Heaven  (Part 3)

A Matter of the Heart

 

Mathew 13:19

While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside.

 

“Our mind must bring our mortal man into agreement with who we are as a spiritual being.”  Jesus likens the gospel of the kingdom unto a seed planted in the ground.  The type of soil that it falls into has everything to do with its success in taking root, growing up and bearing fruit.  This has to do with the condition of our hearts.  In this parable from Mathew 13 Jesus describes a number of conditions in which the seed doesn’t take root or if it does, why it doesn’t remain and become fruitful.

Our hearts, spiritually speaking, are made up of our soul and spirit.  We have already discussed how Christ came to reside in our spirits when we asked him into our hearts.  Our souls are made up or our mind, will and emotions.  These constitute how we relate to the Lord both initially and throughout our relationship with Christ.  It is the realm of the soul wherein lies the battle for the kingdom of heaven.  A person who has received Christ and given themselves to God, has the desire to press in with their soul and possess what they already possess in the spirit.  This is what the Bible terms walking in the Spirit.  What was not possible before, is now made possible because of the power of Christ in us.  Romans 8:2-5 puts it in this perspective, “2For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], 4So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]. 5For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and  seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.”  Self has been dethroned and Christ has been enthroned in our hearts.  We now operate under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  What we could not do in ourselves, Christ has done for us, so it is now a matter of bringing the soul into alignment with the law that has been written upon our hearts.  It is the law of the kingdom and the Holy Spirit is its administrator.

In this lower realm of heaven where the souls of natural men abide we find that there is still a war going on for our souls.  In this realm we find principalities, powers and rulers of darkness still in operation and launching assaults first to keep us from coming into the kingdom of God, but then once we have, there is still the assaults to rob it from us.  It is our soul that is caught between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.  The difference is that now that we are in Christ we are equipped with spiritual armor, the Word of God and the power of God to do battle with this enemy of our soul.  Still there is a responsibility that lies with each of God’s children to utilize what God has provided us.  There is the need for continual vigilance to align our minds and our thinking with the mind of Christ and the Word of God.  If satan can deceive or get a hold of our minds then he can pull us down from our relationship and intimacy with Christ.  He can pervert and pollute our walk and put us again under the bondage of the flesh.  He desires to bring us back again under the mindset of the law of sin and death.  On one hand he seeks to corrupt us and on the other he seeks to condemn us when we step in his corruption.  The more condemnation we feel and give place too the less faith we have to lay hold of God’s promises and His Word.  There is a war in the heavenlies of our soul.  In this realm of the kingdom of heaven the battle is still going on.  We are in it and we must be mindful of it.  Ephesians 6:10-18 exhorts us, “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. 14Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, 15And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace, 16Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. 17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. 18Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).”  Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.”

The soul is the spiritual battleground where the war must be won and the kingdom of God established.  Christ has given us the victory and He has sat down at the right hand of the Father till His enemies be made His footstool.  We are the feet and the body that must carry out the victory and establish the kingdom of heaven in this earth through the power of Christ within.

Blessings,

#kent

April 5, 2018

1 Peter 1:3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

 

Scenario of Two Lives

 

There was once a man that lived up in the mountains at the top a steep spire that was very difficult to reach.  Up there he lived alone raising his gardens and small livestock, capturing his water from the frequent  rainfalls.  There he lived isolated from the world and separated unto God, studying his bible and praying daily.  There he endeavored to live his life without sin wholly unto God.

There lived another man who was part of a large family and had many children of his own.  He lived in a crowded city that was full people, commerce and neighbors pressing in on every side.  His means were meager as he struggled to feed and provide for his family.  There were many conflicts surrounding him.  There were many difficulties that beset him.  There were many people continually putting demands upon him and expecting from him.  He also was a godly man, given to God and spending time with the Father in the brief moments he had to himself.  In his life he wrestled with many trials, temptations, persecution and needs that never touched the first man.  Daily he would repent of his sins and failures of living for God, but he would also remind himself of all that Christ was to him, had done for him and was doing in him.  Daily he reminded himself that his righteousness was that of Christ and not his own, that the blood of Jesus covered Him and the Spirit of Christ indwelt Him.  Daily, amidst all of the trials and demands upon his life he endeavored to live in the love of Christ and to share that love with others.

In the end which man accomplished the greater holiness and was most effective for the kingdom of God?  Which man had been perfected more into his image and likeness?

Having that vertical relationship with God is undeniably important.  It is where we draw from the source and the well of His life and strength, but if we never have the horizontal stretching through our relationship with humanity then we can only selfishly accumulate to ourselves, but never give out that which the Holy Spirit is imparting into us.  We can never know the growth we gain through the stretching that we go through in our relationships and the trials of this world.

Through Jesus, we see both the vertical relationship of communion and oneness with the Father and the willingness to be poured out for others that He might release that love into humanity, eventually giving the ultimate sacrifice of His physical life, not for Himself, but for us.  It is all of the trials of our faith that make us much more precious than gold.  Don’t be discouraged by all of life’s problems, demands and woes; this is the place where your faith is exercised, matures and grows.  This is the place where you have the opportunity to live out the things you say that you believe.  If you have your failures, as we all do, know that you are not condemned, but you have an advocate and intercessor with the Father, Jesus Christ, The Righteous.  As we confess our sins and failures He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  That overcomer lives in you, because Christ is in you.  As we continue to daily identify with Him, we also learn to walk in an overcoming life.  We, like Jesus, learn obedience through the things that we suffer (Hebrews 5:8).

Count it all joy in the race that is set before you.  Run to win and win by faithfully walking in what the Father has called you to be, the continual expression of Him.  He has enabled us by the Spirit of His power and strength to be more than conquerors through Christ that loved us and gave His life for us.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Failures that don’t end in Defeat

 

Micah 7:7-10

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. 8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. 9 Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. 10 Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will see her downfall; even now she will be trampled underfoot like mire in the streets.

 

 

We have all known times of failure in our life and most of us have experienced the Lord’s rod of correction.  There are times when we have stubbornly pursued our own interests and pleasures to only find bitterness and sorrow at the end of what we thought we had to have.  Our sin has consequences and many of us can testify of the great pain and suffering we have had to endure because of our foolish disobedience.

In those moments of failure, when the house that we have built upon the sand is washed away, we may stand in utter shame and humiliation that we have come to this point in our lives.  We may almost think the world and the ones that we loved would be better off without us.  We have had to fully confront our iniquity and the failure which has resulted from it.  How can we even face God or the ones who loved and respected us?   We see failure written all over us, what do we have to live for and have to offer now?

Our scripture today is one of hope and encouragement to the person who feels like a failure. In this scripture we have a nation of God that failed Him and had to suffer the reproach and the discipline of His correction.  The one thing we have to know about our God is though He will discipline us; He will never stop loving us.  He has a tender heart for the one who is truly repentant and will set their heart upon Him again.  After all, that is what discipline is for, to show us the error of our ways and bring us back to righteousness.  No matter how low we go, God never stops loving us, but a man without hope or faith is dead.  Without hope there is no way but down.  Hope causes us to look up into the loving eyes and heart of our Heavenly Father and say; “Can you still use this broken pot?”  It is our hope and faith in the Lord that believes that though we sit in darkness the Lord will be our light.  Christ will plead our cause and will be our advocate.  He will lift me again out of my place of darkness and bring me back into the light of His salvation.  All those who cursed me and judged me will be put to shame for though I was defeated I don’t have to fail.  The Lord is our victory and He is our good success.  When we were willing, through repentance, to relinquish the failure that we were; God begins to form a new man fashioned in the form of victory and uprightness.  He is a man that rises out of the ashes of failure to find victory and purpose again in His God.

Only God can take our failures and defeats and turn them for good.  When our enemies thought they had nailed our coffin shut, then God will raise us up to their shame.  You can trust that it won’t be in our time, it will be in His time.  No matter how bad we mess up and no matter how bad we fail God, our loved ones and even ourselves, all hope is not lost if we will put our eyes back on Jesus.  His love and forgiveness can reach into the deepest hell and depravity and set the captive free.    No one else and no other God can do that but Him.  Our failures don’t have to end in defeat, in fact they may be what bring us to our ultimate victory in Christ and our enemies will be put to shame before us. God can still brings us back into the light of His salvation and grace.  ‘As long as there is life, there is hope.’

Blessings,

#kent

Are there Any Who Understand?

Psalms 14:1-3

The fool says in his heart,

“There is no God.”

They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

2The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand,

any who seek God.

3All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good,

not even one.

 

Are there Any Who Understand?

 

While God has made Himself known in so many ways, often men will not acknowledge and worship a God that they can not bring to their own level. So they make false gods after the imaginations of their own minds and thinking. They worship even their own corrupt ways and become a law unto themselves. The fact is, we all have been conceived in iniquity.

“The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” In Romans 3:23 Paul says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” In Ezekiel 22:30 God says, ““I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” “All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalms 14:2).”

Do you suppose God ever feels like the rejected parents who have poured out their life, their love and their very best to their children only to be despised and rejected? The children rebel and that which you poured your heart and soul into now turns to rebel, despise and reject you. Parents that have experienced this from their children know the heartbreak experience of that person which was created in your image now turning their back on you and rejecting the love you have for them. How grievous and wounding it is.

The fact that the human race is still in existence today is a tribute to God’s unconditional love and grace toward mankind. Thank God, He had a Son that was willing to stand in gap for us and intercede on our behalf. He was not only willing to intercede for us, but to take His own Holy life and become sin for us that He, who alone was able, might receive upon Himself the just recompense of our sin and in turn impart unto us by faith His very own righteousness. Romans 5:6-11 declares, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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

Father is looking for those who will return to Him. He is looking for a heritage and a legacy of those who live by faith and obedience to His name. Those He can call His sons and daughters. Those who will honor, fear and revere the Mighty God of their salvation and redemption.

You who have embraced Christ with all of your hearts are such a people. 1 Peter 2:4-5 describes us, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” If we truly recognize the destiny unto which we have been called then we realize the high and holy calling that is upon our lives. By God’s grace let us live into the sons and daughters of the Most High that God has called and created us to be. We have the privilege of honoring and worshiping the Wondrous God that so many others have despised and rejected. Yet we know as parents that the heart of a father always longs for the return of his wayward children. We are Father’s instruments of love and reconciliation to that wayward world that we might extend again Father’s great love and forgiveness for them. His heart never stops beating for them, because His love is without condition. May we be the ones that stand in the gap today, ever making intercession and proclaiming God’s love and reconciliation to them that whosoever will may come in.

Blessings,

#kent

A Heavenly Perspective

March 1, 2018

A Heavenly Perspective

 

Colossians 3:15-17

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

 

Today is a day to be glad, rejoice in life and embrace your life with hope.  We are a blessed people.  Some would say, “if you saw my condition you wouldn’t think I was very blessed.”  I can certainly appreciate all that life throws at us sometimes.  Outward circumstances can get incredibly harsh, cruel and difficult to bear.  The apostle Paul says this, in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  For most of us, our biggest stumbling block is that we are always focusing on what is seen, rather than what is not seen.  We tend to base our life, our success, our happiness and our worth on what we see as reality in the natural world around us.  What the Word is teaching us is, if that is the case, you are living out of a wrong perspective and viewpoint.  Colossians 3 gives us some perspective in where our mindset and viewpoint of life must now come from.   “1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”  If we are living in discouragement and defeat it most likely has to do with the perspective of our minds and our hearts.  This present life can offer some crushing blows and some real discouragement, but when we begin to understand that if we are in Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father, then nothing can really touch our life without first going through the Father.  If these things are allowed to touch our lives then it is our opportunity and privilege to know that as we keep our eyes upon Him, He is giving us the grace to walk through whatever it is.  Often times, we come to the point where there is really nothing more that we can do outwardly.  The Words tells, “Having done all, stand.”  Stand in the faith that the Lord is God and He is upon the throne of our lives working all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.   Perhaps the Lord allows us to go through some of these things so that we can begin to practice living out of the mind of Christ, rather than the mind of our flesh.  The mind of Christ will look with the eyes of faith, resting in the Lord to work all things out according to His will and purpose.  It will rejoice in hope and confidence in the God of its salvation.  The mind of the flesh will be agitated, fearful, and full of worry, anger, frustration and doubt and discouragement.

Many of the saints of old went through great times of trials and testing.  It was their faith and confidence in the Almighty that sustained them and brought them through.  Most of us would rather avoid and run away from our problems, but that is not where growth is or that which builds our faith. Like the song by Andre Crouch goes, “if I never had a problem, I would never know that God could solve them. I’d never know what faith in His Word can do.”

Don’t allow your countenance to fall today.  Look up and make the decision to have joy in your life in spite of any circumstances that may be pressing on you.  God will see you through.

Blessings,

#kent

The Loving Hand of Correction

February 26, 2018

The Loving Hand of Correction

Hebrew 12:5-8

 

5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.  6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  8 )  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

 

Most of us would rather run away from discipline and correction.  Especially when things are going well the last thing we want is someone to rock our boat, especially heavenly Father.  Every motive and action of God is birthed in love, for He is love.  For God to leave us to our own devices and ways would not be very loving on His part since we are His children and His responsibility is to raise us as such.  While many of us say we love God we can be just as stubborn and rebellious about spiritual things as we can about natural things.  Out of God’s great love for us, because we are His children, He corrects and disciplines us in many different ways.  Even though that goes against the grain of our flesh, what is the greatest hindrance to our spiritual walk if it is not the old natural ways of living and thinking?  The trials and tribulations that touch our lives are exercising our true faith, spiritual obedience and substance.  I find I can think I’m pretty a good egg until the Lord allows me to tested in an area and what comes out of me or how I respond is often a pretty good indicator that a definite work of grace and correction is needed in that area of my life.  Unfortunately for most of us God has to keep taking us around and around some of the mountains in our life, because we still can’t seem to get it right.  How often have we read about the Israelites of the Old Testament and shook our heads at the fact we saw a continual cycle of rebellion and disobedience to God, His warnings and exhortation to turn from sin, their continued path of disobedience, God’s rod of discipline and correction, the repentance and turning again to God.  Then it would start all over again.  1 Corinthians 10: 11 says, “Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”  Here we have 20/20 hindsight, but do we make any better choices and demonstrate a greater measure of obedience and submission to the Lord than our Israelite predecessors?

Those who have trusted God for their salvation are at the heart of God’s love.  Even Jesus is our example, for it says, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered (Hebrew 5:8).” Let us not take the discipline of the Lord as a sign of His displeasure or anger toward us.  Though our discipline is not pleasant while we are going through it the Lord does it for our profit and good.  The end result is that it works the peaceable fruits of righteousness in us when we have been exercised by it.  Like the loving Father that He is, He is not allowing us to grow up spiritually being the self-willed, self- serving children we would be inclined to be, but the children that are being conformed to image of the Father by His loving hand and correction.

Let’s thank God He loves us the way we are but loves us too much to let us stay that way.

Blessings,

#kent

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