Tragedy to Triumph

January 11, 2018

 

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.  Genesis 50:20

 

Tragedy to Triumph

 

In the process of life many of us will go through tragedies that will be “life changing events”.  These events are something we would never have chosen to experience or go through if given the choice.  They can be incredibly painful and they will forever stain our life.  While they are often horrific, they are a part of the fallen world that we live in.

Could God stop these things?

Yes, but then it would only be His choice and no longer the free will to make our own.  While God can’t remove all the tragedy in the world without violating our free will, He can and often does, take those things that satan meant for evil and turn them for good if we will allow Him to have His perfect work and way.  On the other hand we can circumvent God’s highest when in our pain, we choose to blame Him, others or even ourselves. We hold on to that pain in the form of bitterness, resentment and unwillingness to forgive our perceived offenders.  We hold those offenses in our heart to our own detriment and hindrance to experiencing God’s greater working of grace and good.

We often feel like God could have prevented this if He wanted too.  Yes, and He could have prevented His Son from going to the cross when Jesus cried out to Him to remove that cup of suffering from Him, but He was relinquished to the greater will and purpose of  Father.  Sin took Jesus through the intense suffering and crucifixion, and through His willingness to forgive His enemies and murderers He showed us a higher way of laying hold of God’s redemptive work even through our own tragedies in life.

Through the deep pain that we experience and the suffering we endure we often later find it to be the catalyst that brought us into a greater experience of grace and God’s working through our lives than what we ever would have known without that experience. We have been changed in such a way that it has given us a greater compassion, empathy and passion to change those things that often caused our pain or is causing that pain in others. We can relate with others in ways we never could before and often we find our life purpose out of such tragedies. God can take that which was meant for evil and turn it for good if we are willing to give it to Him, trusting Him to heal us and in the process transform us into someone better and more like Him through things we’ve suffered.

Jesus loves you and He totally relates with you in your suffering. Ultimately He wants to take your tragedy and turn it into triumph, even as the tragedy of the cross was turned into the redemptive triumph for all of mankind.

Blessings,

#kent

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Despair of Life

January 8, 2018

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

 

Despair of Life

 

There are times in our life when we can come to the place that we just don’t want to live any more.  Untreated depression is one of the major causes of suicide.  The pressure and trials of life can sometimes become overwhelming.  It can come through illness, divorce, loss, abuse, low self-esteem, the feeling of failure, chronic pain, even genetics, along with many other factors which can all bring despair, despondency, depression and hopelessness.  Even the apostle Paul describes a situation in his life where things became so hard that it seemed beyond his ability to endure.  He says that the pressure was so great that they even despaired of life.  He says that in their own hearts they felt the sentence of death.   I believe there are some of us that have been in this place and the Spirit of the Lord is wanting to minister to some that may be in it right now.  God sees your pain and feels your heartbreak.  He has heard your cry and He is here to tell you and show you like He did Paul that your reliance is not upon yourself, but upon God, who raises the dead.  Even though you have felt the sentence of death upon you, God is going to raise you up.  He is able to deliver you from such deadly peril and He will deliver you.  Continue to set your hope upon God even in the midst or your desperation and despair.  He is your deliver and He will bring you through the valley of the shadow of death.  Gather other believers around that can pray for you and minister to you.  You don’t have to be alone, God has provided someone that can help you, but you must reach out to them.

The Father, who is the author of life, is the one to decide when our life is done and as long as we have life He is able to give us the grace to endure it’s hardships and abuses.  Let faith arise in your heart and confidence that you are not alone, but the hosts of heaven surround you and His angels will minister to you.

There is someone today that needs this encouraging word so that you can go on and not give up.  God knows who you are.  He so loves and cares for you.  When you don’t have the ability to endure He becomes your ability.  In this place you are going to come to know, like the apostle Paul, that your reliance is upon God and not upon yourself.  Place your life in His hands, trust Him and hold fast.  He will see you through your dark hour and bring you again into the sunshine of His love and presence.  He is able to supply all of your need according to His riches in glory.  He is your life and you live for Him and not for yourself.  God is able to take seemingly hopeless and negative situations and turn them for good.  He does it all of the time.  As long as you have breath He is not through working in your life and as long as there is breath, there is hope.

The enemy has such a way of clouding and distorting the truth.  He can fill your head with every thought of why we should not live, but then he came to rob, steal and destroy.  Christ came that you might have life and that more abundantly.  Choose life.  Choose Christ to be your life.  He is with you even in the darkest hour and He sticks closer to you than a brother.

Father, help us in those times in our life when things look so bleak, so hopeless and so unbearable.  Help us in those times to enter into You and into Your hiding place where You would cover us with Your wings of mercy and protection.  Lord surround us in those times with Your power and love.   Encourage us and lift us up.  Set our eyes back upon You and restore the hope that we have lost.  You are our Hope, oh Lord, our Redeemer and our Deliver.  Just as David found consolation and strength as he reminded himself through the Psalms of Your greatness and Your faithfulness, even as he gave praise and worship back to You, he was strengthened in his inner man and given the courage to continue on.  Let all that are troubled and in despair find that in You today.  Amen.

Blessings,

#kent

God of All Comfort

January 4, 2018

 

God of All Comfort

 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

 

Isn’t it such irony that in the midst of tribulation and trouble we can have comfort and peace?  Has the Lord not given us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be our advocate, defender and to come along side us in our time of need?  The Lord never tells us there won’t be any hard places in life.  Much to the contrary, the way of the Lord is the way of the cross.  The cross crucifies our flesh it doesn’t pamper it.  Yet, in Christ, we see the High Way of Holiness, the road less traveled, the narrow way.  It is a way that we can only travel with the strength and grace of God.  While that road will have its tribulations, God has promised that He will also be our comfort.  This comfort can come in different forms.  It may come through exhortation, admonition or encouragement.  It may come through consolation, solace or that which affords comfort, strength and refreshment.  It is said the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter.  This is considered the Messianic salvation.  Indeed it is our salvation that is the source and well spring of our comfort.  The Holy Spirit is there to live in us, direct us and help us with our needs through life.  What’s more is He often allows us to go through trials and tribulations to experience His salvation, comfort and help.  As a result of what is worked in us through these times the Lord is then able to use us as a source of comfort, strength, exhortation and encouragement to others struggling in like areas.

Paul brings this out in the scriptures that follow our theme scripture: “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you [is] steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so [shall ye be] also of the consolation (2 Corinthtians 1:5-7).” It is so often the way of the cross and the sufferings we share in Christ that works the inner life and character of Christ in us.  We are forged in the furnace of affliction to be an instrument of comfort and life.  Perhaps you have experienced times when you were really low, discouraged or in the midst of a hard trial and another believer was able to come alongside of you and share like experiences where the Lord was their strength and salvation.  Through them sharing the experience that they had passed through and the faithfulness of God for them, you became encouraged.  You began to fix your eyes in faith upon Jesus to see you through your trial and your were comforted and strengthened through their testimony.  This is the way the Lord brings comfort and strength to His body.  A word spoken through other saints of God may give us just what we need in that crucial hour of our trial to speak faith and hope into our hearts and bring comfort to our souls.  This is the function of the Holy Spirit expressing Himself through others for our benefit.  We can all have this function and service and we may all benefit from the gifts and ministries of other believers who are faithful to function in the gifts and abilities the Holy Spirit has given them.  By the same token, you may be robbing the body of Christ because you are not operating in your gift or ministry.

Our God is the source of all comfort and He manifests it in many different ways.  As the Lord brings you comfort in the difficult areas of your life, you in turn may well be the instrument of comfort to others as you experience His salvation and provision in your need.  As we receive His comfort, let us be faithful to minister it to others.

Blessings,

#kent

When People Let You Down

December 26, 2017

 

When People Let You Down

 

2 Timothy 4:14-18

Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Without a doubt, most of us can think back in our lives when someone or some group let us down, has judged us, cast us out or otherwise hurt us.  There is a pretty good chance that in a lot of those cases these people may have been fellow believers, people we thought were our friends and people we trusted and put our confidence in.  There are many walking wounded out there who are still carrying the scares, the hurts and perhaps the unforgiveness for those times when we were hurt or forsaken.

There is a truth that we must always keep in mind; people will always disappoint you and let you down, but Jesus will never leave you or forsake you.  The evidence of this truth is in the scripture today where Paul stood alone against accusations, judgements and insults.  Those around him left him standing alone; none stood in his defense except Christ.  That’s hard when you’ve had friends that you have been close too, brothers and sister that you’ve loved and fellowshipped with and something comes up where your character is brought into question. Maybe it is something from your past and suddenly you’re standing alone.  You are on the outside of fellowship looking in.  For some reason others won’t believe you, but they will take without question, the words of your accusers.  How many precious brothers and sisters have had their faith shipwrecked because of so called believers who have stood in the place of judgement and condemnation?  Didn’t the same thing happen to Jesus?  Where were his disciples when He was falsely judged and condemned?   “And they all forsook him, and fled” (Mark 14:50).

There are times in life when all we have is Jesus and the Word of God.  While it is very hurtful, our hearts will be tested as to whom we really put our faith and reliance in.    God wants us to retain that spirit of love and forgiveness in those times of hurt and disappointment.  Our natural man wants to lash out, defending and justifying its self.  We want to share with everyone the great injustice that is being done to us.  I have seen times in our lives when we kept thinking a situation couldn’t get any worse and it would get worse and worse and worse.  It was quite obvious that we were under great spiritual attack.  Often that is the time when God asks us to do the hardest thing,  “Shut up and be still.”  We can miss the great salvation that Christ wants to work in our lives, because we are too caught up in trying to save and justify ourselves.  What He wants us to do instead is, “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)” The love of Christ alone, in us, is our only ability to be able to turn the other cheek, to render blessing for their cursing, to love our enemies and pray for them that despitefully use us and accuse us.  One of the most difficult things for us to do is to act out of the spirit of Christ, rather than to react out or our flesh and render evil for evil.  God has a higher way for us, but to experience the higher we must be willing to die to the lesser.

Through life we are going to encounter injustices and inequities.  How are we going to respond to these?  How are we responding to these now?  In these times, as painful as they are, hide yourself in Christ.  Put Him on as a garment and shield against the personal hurt and pain.  He is our vindicator and He will render righteous judgement in due time.  That may not be in our time, but we need to place it in God’s hands and trust ourselves to Him alone.

Today, if you have passed through this place, or you are in it now, or perhaps it is ahead of you, find your refuge, strength and peace in Christ.  Remember it is not about how you feel, it is about how you obey and respond out of faith and love according to God’s word and not your emotions.  Your feelings will probably be in total contradiction to what God is prompting us to do, but as we respond out of faith, obedience and prayer, he will help our feelings to line up with His will for us, but it may take some time.  People will always let you down, but the Lord will never leave you or forsake you.   “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.  (Colossians 3:13)”

Blessings,

#kent

All Dried Up

October 31, 2017

Joel 1:7-12

7He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.

8Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.

9The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD’s ministers, mourn.

10The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.

11Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.

12The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.

All Dried Up

The time is coming when the Church as we know it will be dried up.  She will be stripped bare clean.  Her ceremonial functions will cease and God’s people will mourn.  The vine will appear barren and wasted, unfruitful and cast off.

“Lo, the day is at hand, the great day and terrible day of the Lord when the earth and the heavens will be shaken by spiritual forces and sounds.   The waster will come, the destroyer will mount his horse and death will ride in fury and darkness.  As the paps have ceased to suckle so my outward Church has ceased to bring forth the sincere milk and the meat of the Word.  The priest and ministers mourn, for what they once knew is gone. 

The true Church is not that which seen with the outward eye, but that which is hidden in Me.  It is the bubbling streams, fountains and brooks beneath the surface of the ground and hidden from the natural eye.  When all looks lost, when the enemy gloats in his victory then the water of My divine life and power will break forth to water the earth and life will spring forth in the desert places.  First, the wasting must come and the waster will have his season.  Just as the appearance of life is gone in the day of drought and famine, it is not gone but simply hidden awaiting the rain.  When the former and the latter rain do come they shall come with such life that they will dispel and cast out the spirit of death.  Life shall reign, fruitfulness shall abound and your enemies will be driven into the sea. 

Prepare for the day at hand.  Buy from Me true gold tried in the fire.  Get the oil of My Spirit and anointing and fill your vessels, for only the Spirit of Christ in you will sustain you in that day and those that know not my Spirit will perish.  Prepare and make ready.  Set your houses in order and enter into the temple of My presence, under the shadow of the Almighty.  Come and hide yourself in Me till the darkness is past.  The life that you have known shall pass away, but the life that I shall bring forth shall so surpass it.  Remain faithful and true, steadfast and obedient, for I the Lord am the Rock of your salvation and with a mighty hand I will cover My faithful ones.”

 

Blessings,

#kent

Divine Health

October 17, 2017

Divine Health

Isaiah 53:5

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.

There are a spectrum of belief about divine healing across Christendom today, ranging from it doesn’t exist to every aspect of health is a matter of faith.  It is not the intent to debate these points, but to communicate what the Word of God has to say on this subject and how the Holy Spirit would help us to believe and appropriate it’s truths.  Most of us, as believers in Christ, if indeed we are believers, have no problem accepting by faith that Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins. We embrace by faith in Him that He has washed away our sins, casting them as far as the East is from the West, into the sea of forgetfulness, never to be remembered anymore.  I dare say many of us probably struggle more with forgiving ourselves than God does with forgiving us.  This is probably true of the aspect of our healing as well.  If indeed we believe in the cross and the power of Christ to forgive our sins and the truth that we are saved by His grace.  If we can truly believe that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus as the Word declares we are then we can no more deny the other aspects of our salvation.  Isaiah, written hundreds of years before the crucifixion of Christ, prophesies very accurately of this great act of sacrifice and salvation that would come through our Christ.  Part of that salvation encompasses divine healing as our scripture today indicates.  If we don’t want to believe that, then we can make attempts to explain it away as we do with other passages that don’t fit our theology, but the fact is ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).’ 

God in his covenant with Israel, when He was about to bring them into the promise land was this in Exodus 15:26: “He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”” If this promise was true of the old covenant how much more so by the new covenant of Christ blood?  The Word of God bears witness that our God is a healing God, healing us physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Jeremiah 17:14 says, “Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou [art] my praise.”  David says of the Lord in Psalms 103:3, “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;” He shows how health and salvation are tied closely together.   

Now some of you may be saying, “well I prayed and God didn’t heal me”.  Why, Because you don’t see the evidence of it?  You believe that you are saved, do you see yourself fully walking without sin and in the full manifest nature of Christ?   This is probably not the case.  We have the foretaste of the Spirit, but it’s fullness we still await.  What can take place in the spiritual realm is not always immediately revealed in the natural realm.  This is where we struggle, because we have to see it to believe it.  Treat your healing as you do your salvation.  If you do not doubt that Christ can and has saved you, then accept and receive healing the same way.  Praise and thank Him for what He has done, not just what you see with the natural eye. 

1 Peter reiterates what Isaiah says in 1Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” As much as the nails purchased our salvation, those stripes paid for our healing.  How God works in this area is varied and different.  We can’t put God in a box and regulate his miraculous working with a magic formula, God is God and He works all things after the council of His will and purpose.  This we do know, God is healing and raising people up from sickness and even death, every day.  What He has done for others, He can do for you.  Lay hold of His Word, confess, believe and rest in His promises.  He is the Lord your God that heals you.  May our health trials be but the greater motivation to praise Him, to remember and declare all of the areas of His faithfulness.  The greater our pain, the higher our praise as we declare the light of His truth in the face of our darkness.  The victory is won in the heavenlies, before it is revealed in the earth.  God is faithful to see you through. 

 

Blessing,

#kent

Be Angry and Sin Not

July 19, 2017

Be Angry and Sin Not

Ephesians 4:26-27

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.

 

Anger is a God given emotion.  While it is not a sin to be angry, it carries with it the potential for sin.  On the other hand it can be an emotion that motivates us out of a place of passivity and complacency.  Any emotion or feeling we give place to has the potential to lead to sin if it is not brought under the control of the Holy Spirit within us.  Most all of us are aware of what uncontrolled anger can do and the harm it can cause both emotionally and physically.  Many marriages are broken and people reside in prison as a result of anger.  The Word of God gives us some insight into the right place of anger through the example of Jesus when he saw the misuse and abuse of the temple of the Lord by the money- changers.  He saw the greed and corruption at work in the Temple, which was to be a place that was to bring relationship and connection with God.  Jesus didn’t just immediately fly off the handle.  He took the time to make a whip of cords to be the instrument of His wrath to drive the moneychangers out of the temple. His anger had a purpose and was God directed. (John 2:14-17 “And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting.   And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.  And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up”)  We often think of Jesus as just being a man of love and compassion, but there was another side of Jesus that didn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, hypocrisy and abuse of others.  There was a holy anger and zeal of God that rose up in Jesus against such things.  It is this kind of anger that often rises up in God’s people to bring about change in lawful ways.

What about the issues of anger that we may deal with on a daily basis?  They may not be so noble in their cause.  Anger can not always just be ignored or repressed.  That can just place more powder in a powder keg that will one day result in even more extreme consequences if we don’t deal with it.  At the same time anger can’t just be reacted too unchecked.  It should be filtered through the Spirit within us to judge our motives in each circumstance as it arises.  While anger may arise at times and can actually cause us to deal with and address issues that we may otherwise avoid, the scripture says it is not something we want to hold on too.  The Word gives us about a day to deal with it.  But it tells us if it is still there when the sun goes down it is time to let it go.  Anger held onto becomes unforgiveness.  Unforgiveness removes us from right relationship with God and blocks the flow of His forgiveness to us.

The spirit of anger and wrath is a fruit of the flesh and not the Spirit and cannot be given place in our hearts because it is sin. (Ephesians 4:31″Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: “)  The theme of the passage in Ephesians 4 that addresses the subject of anger is primarily about being renewed in the spirit of our minds.  While we have emotions, they cannot rule us.  The Spirit and the peace of God must rule in our hearts.  The former areas of emotion and sin that ruled us must do so no longer.  Now we put off these former attitudes and behaviors as we put on Christ and that mind that is in Him.

 

Blessings,

#kent

How much does Your Sin Cost Me?

James 4:1-6

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?[a] 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

We know that Jesus paid the price for our sin and the spiritual, eternal consequences they reap.  We know that through faith and calling upon the name of Jesus we can partake of the free gift of His great salvation and goodness.  We know also that through the power of His life that comes to reside within us we can overcome the strongholds and the power of the sin that has operated in our lives.  We also know that even though Jesus paid the price, sin still operates in our world and unfortunately it still operates in us as believers where we give it place.  Sin has natural consequences as well as spiritual ones.  As we survey our world we have no trouble seeing the devastating effects of sin that touches every life on this planet.  While God is merciful to forgive our sins, that sin still produces consequences.  It produces its fruit of destruction and death.  The sad thing about sin, whether it is ours or someone else’s, it doesn’t just cost us, it cost all who are touched by it.  Sin is like a rock thrown into a pond, it produces a big splash where it lands, but it also produces ripples that go out in all directions.  This begs the question, how much will your sin cost me and how much will my sin cost you? 

People ask the question, “How could a loving God allow war, hunger, sickness, disease, poverty and crime?”  I guess it could be said, because He loved us enough to give humanity a free will to make choices whether they were for Him or against Him.  The state of our world is the fruit of many poor choices where man chose sin over God.  God has loved us so much, that in spite of all those wrong choices and in spite of the ones we continue to make we have a way back to Him; back to His righteousness and perfect plan.  Meanwhile, as long we continue in this present evil age of man’s doing the consequences of sin will follow us. 

What does that mean to us on a personal level?  What happens for instance when a person allows alcohol or drug addiction to get a hold of their lives.  The hook is often innocent enough, but the underlying consequences are horrific.  How many of our lives have been affected by these.  A person lusts so much after these strongholds that they will cheat, steal, lie, con and they will become all the things that they once hated and detested in others.  They will beat the wife they say they love, they will abuse their precious children, they rob from their family to feed and satisfy their addiction and even though they hate themselves for it they can’t stop their destructive course.  They go on to beg, borrow, steal, and con their friends, family and loved ones, because of their lack.  They will loose their jobs, their reputation, their self-respect, their dignity and integrity until they either get help or completely destroy all that they had loved and held dear.  They will cost those closest to them untold grief, heartache, pain in many ways: financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and every other way.  That ripple will continue to radiate out and affect others even beyond their personal relationships.  How many thousands and millions of dollars does it cost a society because of crime and sin.  People are victimized and hurt continually because of someone else’s sin. 

How much does divorce, unfaithful and broken relationships cost, not only financially, but in terms of suffering, heartbreak, anger, unwillingness to forgive and shattered lives and hearts.  That is something nearly everyone has been touched by since it effects about half of our marriages today; all of it the result of our sin and selfishness.  How much will your sin cost me?  It doesn’t just cost you, it cost everyone around you.  If sin has a stronghold on you, get help!  As painful and humiliating as that may be, it is nothing compared to what your sin will reap.  Remember God loves you.  He is for you and not against you, but He will not make your choices for you.  Only you and I can make right choices.  Let us humble ourselves and return to Him, that we may receive His grace before it cost us all more that we want to pay.

Blessings,

#kent

Extravagant Giving

April 6, 2017

Mark 14:3-9

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 

4Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 

6″Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” 

Extravagant Giving

The story presents us with an example of a woman that gave extravagantly to express to the lover of her soul the depth of her love, appreciation and commitment to Him.  Some saw this as a waste.  Some thought it should be sold and given to the poor.  Some were offended that such a woman as this woman used to be would even dare to approach Jesus in such a forward and unconventional way.  

Should she have sold this extravagant perfume and given it to the poor?  Sure that would have been a noble and worthy gesture.  Should we give to the poor?  Of course the Lord honors that and cares deeply for the needy, the widow and orphans.  But this woman brought a higher level of giving than even that.  This was an expression of physically anointing Jesus with the precious incense of His presence and love that filled her heart.  It was the deepest expression of praise and worship she knew how to give as she anointed Him and wiped His feet with her hair and tears.  It was an anointing of the King of Kings, the High Priest of our confession to enter into the Holy of Holies for us, ever renting the veil of separation for us to enter in.  It was the sacrifice most acceptable to the Lord, that of a broken and contrite heart.  He did not despise such an offering, but highly favored, honored and defended the woman.  What she had done was unique and significant above all other offerings.  She had demonstrated extravagant giving by giving her richest possession to express the treasure of life and relationship that Christ had placed within her heart.

Many of us give the Lord our due diligence, tithes and offering.  Many of us are very lax about doing even that. How can we have the heart of this woman?  How can we be extravagant givers that can some how express the gratitude we should feel for the eternal life and hope Jesus has placed within our hearts through the sacrifice of His mortal life for our sin and separation from the Father?  All that we have, all that we are and all that we are ever destined to be, we owe to our Jesus.  How can we find it in our lives to be extravagant givers?

Blessings,

#kent

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28 

Tragedy Comes Knocking

      My oldest son just lost his wife.  She was still fairly young and what appeared to be in good health, when she died suddenly of a heart attack.  His wife was the love of his life and best friend. They had grown incredibly close over the past 6 months. Now, suddenly, with no warning, she’s gone.  

None of us are immune to the tragedies in life, but how we handle them and grow from them is tremendously important.  Usually, the first thing we try to do is blame ourselves for something we should or could have done to change the outcome.  Then many us want to blame God.  After all, He is sovereign.  Why did He let this happen.  Sometimes we are angry with God and we want to abandon whatever faith we had, because in our ignorance we believe it is His fault.  None of us have the wisdom or insight to always know and see how God moves and why things happen, but faith is really the definition of trusting what you don’t fully understand. 

When I arrived at my son’s the next morning he was totally broken, devastated and in shock. His heart was broken and his pain was deep.  As the day and time progressed on, he would go to his room, fall on his knees and say, “ God, I just need your strength.  Help me!”

        He would get up and every time after He leaned into God, God would meet him with a person or answer that met his need.  He would just shake his head and say, “Really God, did You just do that?”

God’s finger prints were all over this tragic time in the way He ministered personally to the needs. Healing and restoration of relationships that had been broken for years began to take place and in the midst of our darkness we saw God’s light, HIs love, His comfort and faithfulness. 

Later, in the week, we had a meeting with His pastor and my son shared his testimony of how God had prepared and given them time together before this tragic event.  It was truly powerful and moving.   Finally, the pastor leaned into Sean and asked him if he could pray for him.  I was amused by son’s answer.  He said, “You might want me to pray for you.  God and I are pretty tight right now.”  

Nothing can take away the pain, when we lose a loved one or tragedy strikes, but what a testimony to the power of leaning into God when these times and events touch our lives.  He is there to comfort and strengthen those who call upon Him, lean on Him and trust in His name. 

        God truly can work and bring good things out of bad situations, if we have the faith to continue to trust Him. 

Blessings,

#Kent

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