Finding the Beauty

November 16, 2018

 

Finding the Beauty

 

Isaiah 68:1-3

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD

 

There are a lot of people out there who see their lives as a mound of ashes.  They feel like life has dealt them a bitter hand.  They feel crushed, in despair and discouragement.  They have been hurt, disappointed, and have felt forsaken.  They may have experienced broken relationships, or rejection from others.  If they were to evaluate their lives to you they may only see failure and hopelessness.  Perhaps this might even feel like a good description of someone’s life reading this today.  If it is, the good news is that there is hope.  Ecclesiastes 9:4 reminds us that, “Anyone who is among the living has hope -even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!”   We must never come to the place where we allow despair and discouragement to cause us to want to take our life.  Our hope is among the living and not among the dead.  God has written a book of hope and life.  He sent His only Son to preach, live and die for a message of hope and life.  Our very scripture today is the prophetic word that spoke of His coming and His mission.  Jesus has come and His ministry right now is to the poor of spirit, the down and outers who have come to their end.  His mission is giving the hopeless, hope again, to comfort those in heartache and mourning and to provide for those who are spiritually or emotionally bankrupt.  He is here to give you beauty instead of ashes and the oil of joy for mourning, a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness and despair.  Jesus came to bear our infirmities.  Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  Jesus literally became ashes for us that we might receive the beauty and hope of His promise and life.  He wore our thorns that we might wear His crown.  All that He suffered on that cross and leading up to it was all on our behalf so that we could have life and have it more abundantly.

Some of us have found our lives, at some time or other, in the throes of despair and hopelessness.  The Lord wants us to know that nothing is hopeless as long as He sits on the throne.  It only becomes hopeless when we take it out of His hands and try and bear it all ourselves.  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.” There is a beautiful Savior who is here to help us and give us beauty in those ugly times when life seems so bad and meaningless, so hopeless and barren.

Jesus is the redemption that is near to your heart today.  Reach out and receive that hope through faith in His word.  He has given us His Holy Spirit to comfort and help us through.  He will give you the beauty for ashes.

Blessings,

#kent

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In Times of Discouragement

October 29, 2018

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16Therefore 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.

 

In Times of Discouragement

 

As believers we all face those times of discouragement, testing and trial where in the natural we would want to give up, give in and walk away from our faith.  Perhaps none faced more assault in the spiritual arena than did Paul.

How did he make it through?

It was because he knew his identity in Christ that he was able to endure all the assaults of darkness and the daily trials of life.  He knew the “all surpassing power” that didn’t come from self, but from “Christ in him.”  He had a revelation that being identified with Christ is not just about the blessing, but drinking from the same cup that He drank from.  The cup of suffering.

I had a glimpse of revelation the other day as I was listening to the passage of James and John’s mother asking if her sons could set upon each side of the throne of Jesus. Jesus replied in Matthew 20:22-23 with this statement, “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

“We can,” they answered.

23Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

Jesus’ disciples, like most of us, have the perception that serving Christ is all about the glory.

When Jesus said, “now am I a glorified” in between where he stood and the glory was the cross.  Romans 8:17-18 Paul declares, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  The suffering, the death and the cross are all elements that precede the glory.

Jesus finishes this passage in Matthew by saying, “and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Our faith in Christ is not first about getting, but about giving.  It is not about us being served, but about us becoming the servants of Christ in serving others.  It is in the death of our carnal and mortal man that the life of Christ is released, which we carry.  Paul realized that the troubles, the trials, the distress, the hardship, the death to self are merely the bridge that leads to the surpassing glory of our inheritance in Christ.

When we read this passage in Corinthians most of us have no idea or comprehension of that kind of suffering and sacrifice.  We are so easily discouraged by someone who has offended us or some trial that we pass through.  Men like Paul virtually lived in the place of trial and hardship and they did so because of who they were in Christ and who Christ was in them.  They did so because in the pouring out of their life, others were able to receive the gospel and live.  They truly were living sacrifices poured out to the glory of Jesus.  They didn’t live for the momentary blessings  and substance of this world like so many of us do. They were willing to be totally spent in life and  substance for the kingdom of God because they saw a greater eternal weight of glory before them that so outweighs these momentary earthly afflictions.

Paul says, “So 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.”

If Paul heard what our complaints are and where our discouragement comes from he would probably laugh and tell us we need to suck it up.  We need to get over ourselves and realize it is not about us, it is about Christ in us and the kingdom that we serve.  We have been so pampered in our faith and theology that we know very little about what it is to drink from the cup of suffering and yet this is a very real part of our faith.

When we are going through our momentary trials and feeling a little discouraged, let’s just look back at Jesus, Paul, the apostles and saints and what they endured and gave up.  Let us remember who we are in Christ and who He is in us that we  may be willing to face whatever is before us with our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.  Let us be encouraged by the lives of the saints that went before us and willingly gave so much at such a great price.  They did not lose heart, how much less should we?

Blessings,

#kent

Finding the Beauty

September 28, 2018

 

Finding the Beauty

 

Isaiah 68:1-3

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD

 

There are a lot of people out there who see their lives as a mound of ashes.  They feel like life has dealt them a bitter hand.  They feel crushed, in despair and discouragement.  They have been hurt, disappointed, and have felt forsaken.  They may have experienced broken relationships, or rejection from others.  If they were to evaluate their lives to you they may only see failure and hopelessness.  Perhaps this might even feel like a good description of someone’s life reading this today.  If it is, the good news is that there is hope.  Ecclesiastes 9:4 reminds us that, “Anyone who is among the living has hope -even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!”   We must never come to the place where we allow despair and discouragement to cause us to want to take our life.  Our hope is among the living and not among the dead.  God has written a book of hope and life.  He sent His only Son to preach, live and die for a message of hope and life.  Our very scripture today is the prophetic word that spoke of His coming and His mission.  Jesus has come and His ministry right now is to the poor of spirit, the down and outers who have come to their end.  His mission is giving the hopeless, hope again, to comfort those in heartache and mourning and to provide for those who are spiritually or emotionally bankrupt.  He is here to give you beauty instead of ashes and the oil of joy for mourning, a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness and despair.  Jesus came to bear our infirmities.  Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  Jesus literally became ashes for us that we might receive the beauty and hope of His promise and life.  He wore our thorns that we might wear His crown.  All that He suffered on that cross and leading up to it was all on our behalf so that we could have life and have it more abundantly.

Some of us have found our lives, at some time or other, in the throes of despair and hopelessness.  The Lord wants us to know that nothing is hopeless as long as He sits on the throne.  It only becomes hopeless when we take it out of His hands and try and bear it all ourselves.  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.” There is a beautiful Savior who is here to help us and give us beauty in those ugly times when life seems so bad and meaningless, so hopeless and barren.

Jesus is the redemption that is near to your heart today.  Reach out and receive that hope through faith in His word.  He has given us His Holy Spirit to comfort and help us through.  He will give you the beauty for ashes.

Blessings,

#kent

Dealing with Pain

September 24, 2018

2 Corinthians 4:7-11

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

 

Dealing with Pain

 

Pain forces us to pay attention to the members that hurt.  Without it they would be ignored and instead of healing we would have loss.   Pain often causes us to slow down and focus on areas that we have taken for granted before.   It is pain that reminds of us of our weakness and causes us to look to God for strength.  Pain is something that none of us really want, but all of us need to balance and care for those areas that are weak and hurting.

As you go your way be aware of the pain around you and know that you may be God’s instrument and medication to bring comfort and help to that person that is hurting.

Perhaps you are the one that is in pain today, physically, emotionally or spiritually.  Don’t miss what God sends you in the simple things.  Allow your pain to move you into Him.  It is in our place of weakness that we find our greatest strength and it is not in us; it is in the Lord.  Don’t murmur or complain, but begin to rejoice and praise God in the midst of that pain.  Often it is this smith that is firing us and shaping us for our destiny and purpose.  Trust the Lord through those times of tribulation, pain and affliction.  Allow the pains of life to shape you in a right direction and attitude.  Allow it to make you stronger and not weaker.  It is often your pain that makes you most sensitive and responsive to the pain in others.   Pain is sometimes our prison, but praise is our liberator.  If satan would bruise God’s people, then let it release the precious incense and perfume of praise and worship.  Pain often causes us to reach deep within for strength and grace that only God can give us.  Pain and suffering often do a work that perfect health, prosperity and blessing could never do.  The preparation to rule and reign is often through the pain and suffering.

Don’t be discouraged and don’t give up.  Don’t receive the enemy’s condemnation or the thoughts that God is angry with you or doesn’t love you.  Whom He loves, He chastens that they might bear the precious fruits of righteousness.  Be encouraged if you are going through pain and suffering today.  The way up is through the way down and if you suffer in Christ, you shall also be glorified with Him.  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.”  Keep your eyes upon Jesus rather you are in much or little, health or sickness, heartache or joy.  Know that the Lord is sufficient, so find your contentment and grace in Him.  Keep an eternal perspective and not just a temporal one.  ‘Though the outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.’  Live out of the inward man.  Let that which works death in our outward members release the life inwardly and let us become the fragrance of Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

Joy Cometh in the Morning

September 14, 2018

 

Joy Cometh in the Morning

 

Psalms 30:5

For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

 

Where is your life spiritually today?  Would you characterize it as nighttime or daytime?  Most all of us, who have been walking in Christ for a time, know that we go through seasons in a spiritual sense.  There are times we go through such close intimate times with our Lord and sense His presence and love in such a wonderful way and then there are those nighttime experiences.  It may come as a result of allowing sin to come into our lives.  It may be the result of God’s chastening or dealings in our lives.  It may be through persecution or tribulation.   Whatever the reason it is nighttime experience, one in which we fail to sense God’s presence in our soul.  Our prayers may seem hollow and of none effect.  These are times when spiritually we cry out for God, perhaps it is in these times we really begin to seek God’s help, His presence, His deliverance through a trial or tribulation we are facing.  There are times our lives can feel pretty bleak.  Our circumstances are overtaking us.  Where is God?

King David experienced this nighttime ordeal before He became King.  Psalm 30:7-9 says, ”

LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, [and] I was troubled. I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.  What profit [is there] in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.”  Perhaps you and I have prayed prayers similar to this.  One thing that is so admirable about David and I think a spiritual key to us overcoming in these dark times is that David, no matter how low, remembered the goodness and the faithfulness of GodHe continually brought God’s promises and His benefits before the Lord in his prayers and psalms.   And he never ceased to praise and thank God even in those dark times.  He was quite honest with God about what he was going through and the emotions that wanted to overtake him, but he always brought his thoughts and focus back to a place of faith in the faithfulness of God.  We may go through some long nights that may go for years, but learn those principles that David learned.  They will sustain you in those times. David even says an interesting thing in this passage, he says, ” by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face.”  Have you ever thought of your mountain as favor from God?  Remember that what God is allowing in your life is designed to press you into Him.  He wants us to learn and trust Him for who He is, not what He can do for us.  This is the place of maturing faith where the rubber meets the road.  God has to become very real to us or we give up and turn away.  God is processing us through the hardships of our life.   “The trial of your faith is much more precious than Gold” (1 Peter 1:7a)

In this scripture David says “joy does come in the morning”, our trials, darkness and seeming separation from God won’t last forever.  He is faithful to bring us through if we faithfully hold fast to Him.  David’s next expression after talking of how severe the trial says, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”

If you are in your night season, don’t be discouraged, have hope, God has not forsaken you.  He is proving you and bringing you into whom you really are in Him.  Stand the test, stay the course, for joy comes in the morning.

Blessings,

#kent

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

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

The Kidron Brook

May 8, 2018

 

The Kidron Brook

 

2 Chronicles 30:14

And they arose and took away the altars that [were] in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast [them] into the brook Kidron.

 

 

There is a valley and stream that runs east of Jerusalem called the Kidron brook.  As the Lord began to unfold some things it is interesting that Kidron means “dark”.  What was interesting also was that I was seeing that when there was a purging of idolatry, idols and altars of incense, it was the Kidron brook they brought them too and disposed of them.  The scripture we read above is from Hezekiah’s reign when he was restoring the Passover in Jerusalem.  During King Josiah’s reign we read in 2 Kings 23:4-6, “And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped [it] small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.”  Again in 2 Chronicles 15:16 King Asa deals with his idolatrous mother, “And also [concerning] Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from [being] queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped [it], and burnt [it] at the brook Kidron.”

We can see here from several examples that when a righteous king came upon the throne in Israel that there was a purging of idolatry and those idolatrous things were disposed of in the brook Kidron.  As interesting as that is, what does that have to do with you and me?  We know that it is the bride of Christ that is the New Jerusalem.  Revelations 21:2 says, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  We know that it is the “true church” that is the bride of Christ.  When I say ”true church”, we do not speak with regards to Protestants, Catholics or any denominations thereof.  We speak of those who have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb, who have received Him as their Savoir and abide in relationship with Him.  Jesus is the King of righteousness that has come to reign upon the throne of our hearts and lives.  What kind of groves, idols and altars of incense might He find within our hearts and lives?  The edict has gone forth and the Holy Spirit is carrying it out in our lives.  He is cleansing His house.  He is cleansing us individually and corporately.  He wants to smash our idols to dust and cast them back into the dark places that they came from.  That Kidron Brook in our lives is in that valley of our will, it is on the East where the Son of God arises in our hearts.  He is shedding His divine light upon the areas of darkness, rebellion and idolatry in us.  This is the day of His purification.  If we are not willing, as many in those days weren’t, to come and relinquish our idols, then instead of the baptism of fire, we will experience that baptism of judgement.  Our idols, those things that we covet and hold so dear will not be able to save and deliver us in that day.  Many of them scoffed and said, “Oh they have been talking about this for years and nothing has happened.”  2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  God is calling His people to repentance in this hour.  As we are willing to tear down the strongholds that we have permitted to exist in our lives and grind them to powder, casting them into that Kidron brook it is the act of relinquishment of our will to His.  It is where we cast the sins of our separation into the dark waters that carry them forever away from us.  Today is our day to sanctify and purify our temples.  What idols and strongholds am I not willing to let go of?  What is hindering me in my relationship and fellowship with my Savior King?  What is it I need to throw into the Kidron brook?

blessings,
#kent

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