Runaway

June 18, 2020

Runaway

Matthew 5:25

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Good Souls Hiding in Ugly People

Luke 19:1-10

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

James 5:7-8

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

Prophetic Word of Rain and Harvest

               Are you beginning to sense the change and shift in the spiritual atmosphere?  Every place we look we are seeing the evidence of it.  We see it in the world economy.  We see in it in all of the natural events of nature that are taking place upon the earth.  We are seeing it as darkness and light are beginning to more and more polarize until we will see lightning and storms of the spiritual as well as the natural.  Fear not, this is what we have been so patiently waiting for.

Can you smell the rain with your spiritual nostrils and senses?  As the Lord dropped this scripture into my spirit this day I believe He is saying to us, “Get ready, for the rain is coming! It is not just any old rain and it is not just a spring shower.  It is the former and the latter rain, the autumn and the spring rain together.  It is not only rain for sowing into the earth, it is the rain for reaping from the earth the great harvest that God has prepared.  Even now we are feeling the raindrops as the Holy Spirit falls here and there; touching healing and restoring lives.  We are just beginning to taste and sense the outpouring of His Spirit upon the earth.  The Lord’s coming is near.  His Kingdom is about to rain down upon the earth in unprecedented ways.  Ways we have never seen or beheld before.  The Word of God asks, “Can a nation be saved in a day? Yea, says the Lord, You will see torrents and waves of salvation like the world has not seen before when My rain begins to fall.”  Your buildings will overflow with the souls that I will bring in.  Prepare yourselves for the harvest.  When My rain falls the ingathering will begin in unprecedented measure.  Your barns will not be able to contain them.  Even as the catch was so great that the nets began to break when I blessed Peter and his fishermen, so your nets will be strained and begin to break as I bring in the catch of heaven.

               Prepare your heart and rend your soul, not your garments.  Prepare your spirits for you will all have many to disciple and teach the ways of the Lord.  Humble yourself before my presence in this hour that I might do a quick work in you.  My Spirit is even now brooding over the earth.  It is stirring the deep.  It is bringing awareness of sin and depravity to the place where men’s hearts will be sickened by what they see.  They will long and cry out to be set free.  Prepare the nets my people, for you are the net and it is My spirit that networks you together and binds you to one another that you may be unified of Spirit and truth.  What I am bringing in the earth is not religion, it is My kingdom come and My will being done in earth as it is in heaven.  You have been created for purpose and my purpose is to gather in the nations before the time of great judgement.  You are my net to gather in the nations.  Circumcise your hearts and put away your differences.  This is so much greater than your petty divisions and quarrellings.  The Spirit of My Love is the order of the day.  That is how the world will recognize who you are, by your love.  

               The patience of the farmer is about to see his reward.  He is about to see this valuable crop come to fruition.  Prepare for the harvest for it is before you.  The fields are white unto harvest, pray the Lord to send forth laborers into the fields.  This is the season of ingathering. This is the season of the former and latter rain and the latter glory of My house shall be greater than the former.”

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Good Pleasure

June 4, 2020

God’s Good Pleasure

Philippians 2:12-13

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Is Christ at Home?

June 1, 2020

Is Christ at Home?

1 John 3:22-24

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

 

God Will Take Care of Us

 

Matthew 6:25-30

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Wisdom Leads to Life

May 13, 2020

Proverbs 15:24

The path of the wise leads upward to life, that he may avoid [the gloom] in the depths of Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead).

 

Wisdom Leads to Life

 

James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”  The Word speaks a great deal to us about getting wisdom, that wisdom which from God above.  That wisdom from above teaches us to fear God and hold Him in awesome reverence and respect.  It teaches us to mirror and follow God’s character, principles and precepts.  The benefit is that this is the wisdom that leads to life, prosperity and fruitfulness concerning spiritual and eternal matters.  Wisdom is a pathway; it is a road that we choose or refuse to travel.  Proverbs is a book that deals with many of the attributes of sound and godly wisdom.  Man’s wisdom doesn’t really comprehend God in a spiritual sense.  James 3:13-16 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”  As we learn to walk the path of the Spirit we are walking the path of the wise, because in all of our ways we acknowledging the Lord as we seek His direction and counsel.  If He orders our steps then we know that we will walk in the path of life and avoid the tragedies and the pitfalls that lead to death.

As a spiritual people we alone are the spiritual man and conscience of our society.  Unfortunately, just as we often shut out and ignore our own conscience, our society will often ignore us and eventually mute us.  Nevertheless, we must never cease to be the voice of godly counsel, reason and righteousness.   Without a conscience a person or a society becomes reprobate and the Spirit of God departs from them.  Wisdom is our teacher and it is our conscience to keep us from the path of the fool that leads to death.

I heard a quote this morning from C. S. Lewis that said, “The last expression of the sinner is the horrible enslavement of the sin that he desired.”  If we give full place for the freedom to sin, that sin we so desired will become our hell.  Wisdom sets its heart and mind on the things above, for it is wisdom that leads to life.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Value of Heart and Mouth

 

Psalms 19:14

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

 

The Psalmist speaks to the very root of our being in this verse, for our words and what we set our hearts upon are the reins and harness of our soul.  It speaks to the state of our life and the direction in which we are headed.  What are you most often thinking upon?  What occupies your thoughts, attention, your time and desires?  Whatever it is may be directly connected to the words that come out of your mouth and where you conversation is at; for Jesus says, “out of the abundance of the heart a man speaks”, and “where a man’s treasure is, there will his heart be also”.   What we set our hearts, minds and affections upon greatly influences, who we are, as well as the direction and purpose of our lives.

The enemy of our soul is always trying to divert our attention and our affections away from the things of God and onto the things of this world.  It is so often so subtlely and innocently that we are led away a little bit at a time.  It is always those series of little compromises in our judgment and decisions that lead us from our path of life.  This is why it is imperative that we make specific times for the Lord everyday in our lives.  That doesn’t insure that we won’t stray or set our meditations upon the wrong thing, but it keeps us before the Lord and allows that Holy Spirit place to deal with us.  Far too many of us don’t schedule this time into our day, and even if we do, for many of us it can become just routine and religious.  We need both time to speak to the Lord and time to listen.  We need time to meditate upon Him and His Word; carrying those thoughts throughout our day.  We need to truly appreciate, praise and thank Him for His goodness and faithfulness to us.  As the old hymn goes, ‘our hearts are prone to wander and to leave the God we love’.  That is why we must ask the question, “Is the meditation of my heart acceptable unto you oh Lord?”  Am I setting my mind first on the things above rather than the temporal things of this earth?  Our lives as Christians are purpose driven lives.  We exist for a purpose and a reason.  Each one of us will one day stand before the Lord and give account of what we did with our lives and the gifts and callings that the Lord has given to each one of us.  Are we fulfilling God’s destiny and purpose for our lives?  This should be a primary point that we meditate upon and purpose our lives to fulfill.  Ideally it should be our desire to practice the presence of Christ in our lives to where He is the constant meditation of our hearts and focus of our being.

What about the words of my mouth, how important are they?  Proverbs 18:21 tells us,  “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Words are what give expression to the meditation of our hearts.  Words have power and they bring about substance.  They have the power to bring about both death and life.  When we speak only out of the natural man, according to the thinking and logic of men, then we are only going to get natural results.  When we dare to speak the promises and scriptures by faith into a given situation, then we are expecting spiritual results.  The words that please the Lord are the words of faith, hope and love.  They are the words that don’t put their boast in man, but in the Lord.  These words are the seeds of life from which miracles spring.  We often don’t see immediate results when we pray or speak the word of the Lord, but when we have planted seeds of faith and properly watered and nurtured, we will eventually see a harvest.  Likewise, words spoken in harshness, anger, criticism and judgement will bring forth a harvest as well, but it won’t be one of life.

James 3:3-12 says this about the tongue, “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

The Lord wants to bring us to singleness of mind and purpose.  When the mind and the tongue are under the control and influence of the Holy Spirit then we are well on our way to seeing God’s purpose and plan fulfilled through us.  We come into agreement today with the prayer of the Psalmist David as we make His prayer our own, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Blessings,

#kent

James 5:12-16

Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.

13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

Wellness in the Body of Christ

 

Wellness in the body of Christ is maintained as we uphold the integrity of who Christ is in us.  The body of Christ is not unlike our physical bodies.  There are times when sin and disease can gain access to the body.  In the case of the body of Christ we know that the purpose of satan is to kill, steal and destroy the body of Christ.

We all understand that as of yet, in this natural man, none of us is walking in perfection.  It is true that we are to identify with Him who is perfect in us, but we are still in that state of transformation where body and soul are to line up with the Spirit of Christ.  As such we still see many imperfections in one another.  Satan often capitalizes on our weaknesses and imperfection to bring in division, dissention, disease and darkness.  James is calling upon us to act in such a way that we not only maintain individual purity and health, but health as the body of Christ.

The first place he exhorts us here in James is regarding the integrity of our word.  “Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.”  One of the most important areas we must be careful to preserve and guard is our honesty and integrity.  Our whole reputation and character hang on these essentials.  There is stern warning to us here that if we don’t do that, we will be condemned.  I don’t believe it is talking here about our condemnation here just coming from man.

When we compromise our integrity and honesty it is not just man that we offend, but God Himself.  This is especially true regarding His body.  When we don’t allow our yes to be yes and our no be no, especially with regards to our brothers and sisters in Christ, then who are we really lying to, them or the Holy Spirit?   If we dishonor the body, then we dishonor Christ.

Ananias and Sapphira didn’t start out intending to lie to the Holy Spirit.  I think they initially had good intentions and they may have been well regarded within the early church.  Their fault wasn’t even in the fact that they sold their land and didn’t give it all at the apostles feet.  Peter even tells them it was your land to do with what you wanted, but your sin was in your conspiracy to lie about what you gave.  When they lied to the body of Christ, they lied to the Holy Spirit and we know the condemnation that came from that in Acts 5.  The Lord was showing us our body, soul and will are the land that we own.  It is ours.  The Lord gave it to us and he gave us power over it to give to Him or not.  Now if we come and say we have totally sold out to Christ, but conspire to withhold areas of our life from Him is that an Ananias and Sapphira complex?  Would we not be more honest in confessing our sins to one another as it exhorts us to do in James 5:16?  We realize that while it may be our desire to be totally sold out to Christ, there are areas in all of our lives that still need to be reconciled to Him.  It is not the standing in our strength that makes us strong and whole, it is in the strength of the whole body that we can be brought into alignment with wholeness.  It is in recognizing and confessing our weakness to faithful men or women so that they can pray with us and stand with us so that we may be healed.

One of the greatest tools the enemy uses to destroy us is isolation.  Sin can only work in darkness.  When it is brought into the light, it loses its power.  What we should all desire and pursue is transparency and accountability to one another.  That is not to say we judge, control or manipulate one another.  It means that we all understand that in this natural state, sin still is at work among our members trying to bring in disease and destruction of the body.  The way we war against that is by taking off our religious and self-righteous mask and being real with each other.  I never would consider someone that came to me to ask for prayer in an area of weakness, a person of weakness.  I would totally respect them and see that indeed they are spiritually mature in that they recognize their weakness and desire others to stand with them in their battle to overcome.  There is not enough of this happening in the body.  We have learned to be so independent and spiritual in our own right.  As a result many of us are truly sick and afflicted in our sin, but are too proud to confess for fear that we will be viewed as weak or unacceptable.  “A person that is transparent, even with their faults, is more pure than the person who portrays goodness outwardly, yet inwardly harbors darkness and deceit.”

Let’s bring the “real” back to the body.  Let’s come to the place where we are not afraid to be transparent with one another and to pray for one another.  When we do that in His love and with no condemnations or judgements in our hearts then the Holy Spirit can work through us to bring healing, deliverance and victory because we then stand in His strength and not our own.

Blessings,

#kent

Pray for One Another

May 4, 2020

 

Pray for One Another

 

James 5:16

Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

One of the most tremendous assets we have as a believer, functioning in the body of Christ, is each other.  Because Christ is in us and His power and grace can flow through us, there is a wealth of blessing, power and grace to be found in one another.  Each of us has different gifts and ministries that can help in different areas and situations in our lives.  Each of us has the power and the access to the throne of God to pray and intercede for others.

Yesterday, it struck me, as I had the privilege of sharing with several of my brothers and sisters, the fellowship and ministry we can have on different levels with others.  What a blessing to have them share with me about how they stand in a place of intercession and prayer for us and how they are standing in a place of faith, believing God not just for themselves, but for us as well.  It was wonderful to share the words of life with a brother over breakfast and talk about the things God is doing in our lives, our families and our careers.  We were able to break the Bread of Life and share in a real and personal way, not just our successes, but also our struggles and our weaknesses.  Through that exchange we could know better how to pray for one another.  We all go through our struggles in life, but sometimes there is just encouragement with others who empathize from a position of like struggles.  You end up building each other up in faith and confidence in God.

Some believers you may relate with on a less spiritual level, but nevertheless you, break bread together, share fellowship, friendship with and are blessed in the communion you have with them.  Still others target you in their prayers, intercede for you and call just to encourage and build you up.

It made me think, do we really tap into the resource we have in each other?  Is each of us ministering and effecting the lives, not only of non-believers, but the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ?  When we have those that we are investing our life, time and prayers into and they are doing the same for us, we mutually garden each others spiritual lives.  We have accountability to one another that helps us not to stray off into sin.  We need others to help balance us and us them.  We have a communion of body life where we are not just looking to one man to feed us and teach us, but we are actively ministering, teaching, exhorting, encouraging and praying for one another.  We are gathering and eating the manna and revelation that God is personally speaking into our lives through our time spent with Him and in turn we feed one another from that same manna.

This is a concept some may practice and experience more than others, but certainly one that we all need to be involved in.  Many or our churches are large and while we might be blessed in corporate worship and teaching, we need those daily interactions with our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us all live more productively and faithfully to Christ.  When we have that love of Christ in our hearts for one another, when there is sensitivity in our spirits to the needs of our brethren, then we can be unique and diversified channels of various blessings into their lives.   Perhaps our greatest downfall is that we tend to like to do our work and then hibernate in our own ceiled houses.  We become guilty of what the prophet Haggai said in Haggai 1:2-5, “2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ ”

3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.””  Don’t we often rob God and His people because we are content to do our own thing while the house of God lies in ruin?  What is worse is that we are robbing ourselves and our very lack may be do to the fact that we aren’t the channels of God’s blessing that we are to be in God’s house.  We know that God’s house is a people and not a building.  1Peter 2:5 says, ” Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” How much stronger could God’s house be and how much greater could it be built up if we are all are faithful to invest in one another’s lives.   Are we fulfilling our calling of ministry to impart our gifts, our lives and prayers into one another?  The body of Christ must be strong and living the standard of God’s righteousness, so that we can be a light in the world and have lives seasoned with salt.  That can start by us having the willingness and the commitment to invest in one another.  This is the way a truely healthy body functions.  Bless somebody’s life today, be their answer to prayer or even pray on their behalf.  We need the Christ in one another.

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: