Our Father, Guardian and Instructor

Proverbs 13:1
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.

Why is it that God’s people should read and study the Word of God? Why is it that they should listen and read from Spirit Anointed men and women? Why are prayer and meditation so important?
As God has given us earthly parents that for a short time to teach and correct us, Our heavenly Father is continually our guardian, instructor and corrector. Hebrews 12:10 tells us, “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” Isn’t that our goal and destiny as people of God, to share in God’s holiness and nature? Isn’t this our new nature as we have been born again by the Spirit? As the wife and I read through the book of Proverbs we can’t help but be impressed with this message, ‘God will give us wisdom and life defining principles that will give us good success, long life and immortality. The condition is that we must take heed to listen and follow in these principles and ways of life. We all know that we have areas of weakness, failure and folly in our lives. We need correction, for without it we will perish. This is what distinguishes the wise from the foolish and the righteous from the wicked, the righteous and wise son will heed, receive and embrace correction and rebuke. He will not be offended by it because he knows that it is working life and godliness in him. Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” Now none of us are overly fond of correction, because it generally hurts our ego or our flesh. Many of the trials that we endure are a form of correction, not because we are bad, but because God is exercising us in faith and in application of the principles and tenants of His Word. How do we get good at anything? Isn’t it by much repetition and practice? We are in God’s boot camp and His training ground for developing and exercising righteousness and right living. How are we going to know the right responses and ways to handle our trials and the circumstances that life throws at us if we don’t study the manual and listen to instruction? This is why we want a close walk and relationship with the Lord so that we can hear and discern the Holy Spirit’s voice. He is our personal teacher and life coach. He will teach us through our everyday life experiences if we are tuned in and listening to Him. Most of us are so busy blasting through life our own way we rarely give time or attention to even inquire or listen for the Holy Spirit. I wonder why we struggle so?
The wisest and richest man in the earth wrote Proverbs. Much of what is shared in Proverbs is a contrast between wise and foolish, simple and knowledgeable, righteous and wicked and life and death. We are continually instructed on right response and behavior and wrong response and behavior. It makes plain to us the consequences of our response and choices.
If any of us have had rebellious or disobedient children then we can relate with what the Lord puts up with in us. Somehow they can’t receive the fact that you are telling them things and limiting them from things that will result in their hurt. They perceive it as you being overbearing, unfair and just out of touch. As a result they choose to go down the hurtful path that results in pain and suffering for all. Many of us are certainly no different when it comes to obeying God’s Word.
We want to challenge you to read a chapter of Proverbs every day for a least two years and see if it doesn’t change your life, your finances and your situation as you begin to put these principles and proverbs into practice. There are thirty chapters, one for each day of the month. What Sharon and I are doing is reading a new chapter and then we reread the chapter we read the day before to reinforce it. God’s Word will change us if we will not only read it and hear it, but seek to give it application in our daily lives and circumstances. This is what develops holiness in the fear of God. This is what gives us faith and life and hope in every situation. Take the challenge and prove God’s Word. His promises and His Word will not come back void, they will work positive changes in your life. God is a good God, a wonderful and loving Parent and One that is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Forgiveness is in the Forgiving

Matthew 6:12-15
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Forgiveness is a subject we have talked about before and while we accept the words of Jesus here in theory, how are we at practical application? When someone really wrongs you, hurts, betrays, cheats or deceives you, how quick are we to release forgiveness. Most all of us go through those times in our lives when we have every justification to really hate someone and not forgive them in the natural way of thinking.
Allow me to use myself as an example here that may not be so different from something you have experienced and quite possibly you have experienced worse. Recently I met a lady and did some work for her. She is a professing believer, her dad she has told me, is a preacher and her mom a missionary. She is a businesswoman running several companies. She hires me last minute to do some work for her the same day and then the next day. Each time she keeps me waiting three or four hours before her and her people are ready to go. Both days we work quite late. Now I have asked for a $500 retainer up front which she has her assistant pay me with a check. Making a long story as short as possible she owes me over $1500 dollars for the work I have done for her. While she has made many promises to pay she hasn’t. What is worse is, I have since found out that a number of other people, including other photographers are owed money they haven’t been paid. What is even worse is the check for the $500 came back after about two weeks with insufficient funds. This is about the time I reached the end of my patience, put in a call to lawyers, and let the lady in a stern and blunt way know that I was ready to take action if she didn’t get this resolved. Her promise was to pay me half in cash the next day and then the other half a few days later. Well, again she didn’t follow through. Do I have every right to be angry and sue her? You bet, in the world I do, but what is God’s way? If I pursue a legal course of action and do all that I can to expose her fraudulent behavior, have I really forgiven her? Here is the practical place where our faith and trust in God and obedience to His Word has to override our natural feelings, emotions, anger and lack of forgiveness. Does she deserve for me to forgive her? Did I deserve for Christ to forgive me? If I harbor that unforgiveness who is the one that is damaged most by it, her or me? The Word says if I don’t forgive others, neither can God forgive me. My personal forgiveness from God is dependent upon my forgiving others who have offended and wronged me.
There are areas where some of you have been deeply wounded and hurt, far more than I was. Perhaps, you may feel it is impossible for you to forgive that person or persons. We often have to leave the judgement and the vengeance to God, that is His and not ours. The key to our emotional and spiritual healing in these times begins with us simply confessing and giving it over to the Lord. Our emotions and feelings may not be there yet, but if we can begin to take the step of faith to release those who have offended us, then we have taken a step toward our own emotional healing and recovery.
Matthew 5 is full of principles that are utterly contrary to natural thinking and reasoning. In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus says, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
I have shared this today so that in a practical way we all might see that God is wanting us to conform to the higher standard of His Word. These kind of experiences are where the rubber meets the road and we have to live what we say we believe, otherwise how are we any different than those who have offended us?

Blessings,
#kent

You are the Luminary of God’s Life

Genesis 1:14-15
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

Did you know that God’s redeemed and called out ones are the lights of heaven that divide the day and night of earth? We are God’s sign for the days and seasons of His plan and we are the lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. God has forever had a presence in this world since it turned to sin and darkness. His presence has been revealed unto and through the people that He has shown and made Himself known too. They in turn became the light of revelation and the truth of God to the world of the darkness around them. If any of you ever wanted to be a star, then know that you are one of the stars of God’s heavens. He has set you as a luminary, a diadem of light, in the midst of a dark world.
Luke 12:34-36 says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and [your] lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.” Lights burn with varying intensity. The intensity of our spiritual lights are directly proportional to our relationship with the Son of God who is the great light of the world and to His spirit living through us. John 1:4-5 tells us of Jesus, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” We comprehend it because the Spirit of God has quickened our hearts to receive the truth. Truth known is not truth revealed. For truth to be revealed is has to have expression through action. It has to have an embodiment to express itself through. As Jesus was the daystar that was the light of the world and expressed through His life the life and love of God, we, as believers are the embodiment of His truth and life. We have received light and truth that we in turn might become the transmitters of that light and truth to a world still lost in darkness and ignorance of who God really is. In John 8:12 Jesus says, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Again in John 12:46 He says, ” I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” We can now not only walk in the light, but we can be light, because of the Spirit of Truth that abides within us is the oil and the Word of Truth is the lampstand upon which we rest. Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:14-16, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The light that this world has is revealed through you, His people, as you are faithful to let that light shine before men. It is revealed not only by what we say but also by what we live. It says, “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The world has too long heard Christians saying one thing and living another. We have all been guilty of that, but that it is not what brings God glory. Hypocrisy is like polluted water, it holds the promise of quenching our thirst, but then sickens us when we go to drink. We all have a sphere and circle of influence through which the people in darkness walk through. What effect will the light of your life have upon them?
We often murmur and complain about the difficulties and trials in our lives. We must realize that these are but opportunities for the application of God’s truth and the opportunity to see our faith in that truth produce substance in our lives and consequentially in the lives of others as well. Jesus gives a parable in Matthew 25 of ten virgins representing His church, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five [were] foolish They that [were] foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” A lamp without the oil is useless for producing light, so are our lives if we do not allow the Spirit of God to live through us as we exercise ourselves by reason of the Word of God and faith in that Word. You and I must be workable, functioning lamps that can and are producing the light of God’s truth through our lives. The wise virgin, accepted by the Lord, is seen in her diligence and preparation. Our lives, daily lived out in faith and relationship with Christ, by the power of the Spirit is producing in us the oil that will make our lamps acceptable to Him. In the mean time they will provide a light by which others may find their way to Him. You are the light of God, set in heavenly places, be faithful to be the life giving light of your solar system and realm of influence.

Blessings,
kent

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