The Spirit of a Jackass

September 14, 2015

Jeremiah 14:6
“Wild donkeys stand on the barren heights and pant like jackals; their eyesight fails for lack of pasture.”

The Spirit of a Jackass

Oh that men would praise Him rather than sing mournful hymns and songs. Oh that men of the cloth would have restored to them spiritual vision and insight. The religious man perishes and is made like dry bones. He pursues God only with his mind and intellect while his heart is far from Him. He has not the faith to embrace and hold the things of God because he stands upon the barren heights of man’s religion and tradition. It is what he has been handed down from his fathers and it is what he has learned to embrace. Now, as a wild donkey, he stands upon the barren and desolate heights of religious intellect and the traditions of his fathers to find he like the jackal is looking for some dead thing to feed upon. His spiritual eyesight fails to see that God is so much more than the cathedrals of theology and learning. He is not only the God of the past, but of the here and now. He doesn’t know how to find and relate with God in his own present tense. His soul is lean though his head is full of knowledge. He dwells in the land of famine and feeds upon the fodder of human reasoning. He has a form of godliness, but denies the power thereof. Thus, he finds no pasture and rest for his soul, but wrestles with fears, doubts and unbelief. The product of this man is found across the landscape of religion. They have their structures, their forms, their incantation, ceremonies and holy words, but their lives are devoid of the life giving power of true relationship and fellowship with Father God. There God is kept in their holy box instead of being a living fire in their hearts.
Though the truth is spoken to them they can not hear. They will not receive for they are like the wild donkeys, stubborn and set in their ways. They, in fact, resent and despise those who live in and speak the truth, for they are the heretics of their religious box. The religion and their tradition have become their idol and indeed it is the religion and form that they worship and not God.
Jeremiah 14:10 says, “This is what the LORD says about this people: “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” The strongholds of religion will fall. Their religious walls have only served to hide the hypocrisy and sin of those who inhabit them. The Lord Almighty has judged the form and tradition of religion, because like the law of Moses it has become an instrument of death and not life, it has only condemned with judgement and fear instead of giving life, liberty and freedom. God does not dwell in edifices and structures of men, but in the living stones of His peoples lives and hearts. “Unless the Lord build the house they that labor, labor in vain.” The Lord will establish His house. 1 Peter 2:4-10 speaks the mind of God concerning His house, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” 8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” This is God’s temple and this is His house that He has built through the hands of His Son, Jesus Christ.
God is calling His true people out of the former traditions and forms of men into the relationship with Him whereby you may cry “Abba Father”, Papa God. Our God is a God of relationship not of form and dead letter. He is desiring to bring you into the fellowship of His family and communion with His Holy Spirit. That relationship is not one of ceremony but of knowing Him in the intimacy of your heart and life through Christ. Wild Donkeys will not hear this word for they are stubborn and stiff-necked, determined in their own way even when it leaves them in famine and desolation, but those who have spiritual ears will hear and come out from among her to find that true and living church which isn’t in an organization, but is a living, functioning organism of His life, love and fellowship. This is the word of the Lord to His people this day.
Blessings,
#kent

My Friend, Billy

June 4, 2015

John 14:15-20
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

My Friend, Billy

John was a middle-aged man of medium height. He lived on a street called Marigold Drive in a small house that his mother had left to him after she died. John was a reclusive man, with few friends and outside interests. John was an auto mechanic by trade and he worked on cars in his garage accessed by the alley behind his house. His work came from word of mouth and he kept relatively busy as he was conscientious about his work and his prices were quite reasonable.
John had never married or had kids. He had been a loner all of his life. Some thought John a bit eccentric and strange, but most saw a gentle and quite man who had just never really engaged with the society that surrounded him.
John had some customers come in one day that had a young boy, about eight, named William. His friends all called him Billy. Billy was very engaging and outgoing. He seemed to take to John right off when they came in. He was fascinated with the mechanics and workings of a car, so he had a barrage of questions for John as John was assessing the problem with their vehicle. For a lot of people, Billy would have been a bit of a nuisance and agitation, but the boy’s curious nature and vivacious personality really impressed John. He patiently answered and explained question after question that Billy had for him. The folks lived relatively close to John, so John invited the boy to come over and help him if he would like. Billy was very excited about the prospect of being an auto mechanic and launched a massive plea for his parent’s approval and permission. They agreed that after Billy had gotten his chores done around that house he could ride his bike over to John’s and help him out. John and Billy seemed to just hit it off from the start and Billy became to John that close friend that he had never really had. Billy respected and accepted John for just who he was and John appreciated in Billy all the things that he wasn’t.
As John and Billy’s friendship grew, Billy was over John’s at every opportunity, hanging out with his new best friend. John was teaching him what he knew and Billy was helping John better grasp the world around him. They were good friends that met needs in one another.
Now Billy’s parents were strong Christians who had raised Billy up in the Lord and Billy had a strong faith and personal relationship of his own with Jesus Christ. Every Sunday morning he was gone to church, but in the afternoon he loved to go over and just hang out with John. John had never been around religious people or grown up with a knowledge of the Lord. He was a good, honest, hard working individual, but he didn’t know the Lord in a personal relationship. When Billy would come over on Sunday afternoon, he would excitedly share with John all that he had learned that day at church. John saw in little Billy qualities and attributes that he desired and wished were in himself. He admired his faith and Billy would always want to say the blessing whenever they shared a meal together. Billy began to ask John if he would come to church with him. John was reluctant and negative about going at first, but Billy could be quite persistent in his own eager way, so John finally agreed to go. This was a totally new and strange environment for John. He felt totally uncomfortable and out of place. He didn’t understand all that was taking place and much of what was said was like a foreign language to him. The only real comfort he had was his friend Billy sitting next to him, smiling at him whenever he looked over. As he listened to the sermon, his heart was touched that there could be this One called Jesus that could love him so much that he would be willing to die for his wrong-doing. After several Sundays of going to church with Billy, John walked up that aisle and gave his heart to Jesus. With the love of Christ welling up in John’s heart, now it was John that became like a sponge soaking up all that Billy could tell him about this Jesus.
Meanwhile, next door to John lived an older widow woman who liked to always have her nose in someone else’s business. When she observed Billy always over at John’s and the close friendship they had, she began to gossip with her neighbors and make accusation and suggestions about what must be going on between them. After all, that John had never gotten married, so he was probably some sort of pervert or pedophile. John’s neighbors stopped speaking with him and began to look on him as some sort of criminal. John began to notice his business was dropping off and fewer people were coming to him.
Then, one day the worst thing of all happened. Billy came over in the car with his parents. They came in and talked to John about the accusations and rumors that were circulating around town. When John looked over at Billy, he had obviously been crying and was very upset. Billy’s parents felt it wasn’t a good idea for Billy to come around John anymore as people were apparently getting a wrong impression about what was going on. They said they were sorry, but the friendship had to end. When they left, John just sat there for hours with a blank stare on his face. He had never felt such hurt and pain in all of his life. His heart was broken and he didn’t know what to do. Finally as he looked over he saw his Bible setting on the table next to him. He picked it up, looked up to heaven and said, “Why God, did you take my best friend away?” He opened his Bible at random and it fell open to John 14:15-20 and he read, ““If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
John heard the Lord speaking to him that He had not left him alone. Billy had brought him into a friendship that no one could take away from him. Even if Billy could not be there, the Lord would be there with him and would reveal Himself to him. John began to break down and cry as he realized that the Lord had brought Billy into his life to reveal Himself to him. John was never the same after that. He refused to allow the accusations and rumor destroy him. He chose to forgive his neighbor who had created them. He became active in his church, eventually teaching Sunday school and growing in favor with God and man. He in turn began to share the love and truth of Jesus Christ with all that came around him all because one little boy was willing to share that great love with Him.

Blessings,
#kent

God’s Toolbox

May 27, 2015

God’s Toolbox

Romans 12:4-8
4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

We have often heard the analogies of how we are members of one another in the body of Christ and how as such we serve one another. Perhaps another way of looking at the body of Christ and its members in particular is that we are God’s toolbox. He has a world of broken people down here, and many Christians are among them. They are broken, hurting and in need of attention and fixing. We know that God is a Master Craftsman concerning His creation, but He has chosen to work with and through His tools. Think today that you are a unique and special tool of God. God has given you characteristics, gifts and abilities He didn’t give to everyone else. There are ways and areas you can operate in that others can’t. Those gifts and abilities He has placed in you, some naturally and some divinely, are so that He can use you as His tool to do a work that perhaps no other tool can do quite as effectively. What’s more, He will put you in circumstances and with people that need the ministry of those gifts and abilities. Obviously, you are most effective as your life is yielded to the Holy Spirit so that He can direct and use you to fix, mend and encourage the broken, damaged and discouraged. Sometimes we often take for granted what our lives can mean to the well being and spiritual health of others if we are truly yielded and available to the Holy Spirit to use. How often we miss it because of our self-will. We take ourselves out of God’s hand to pursue our agenda and our priorities. We often rob others of God’s ministering, healing touch through us. We rob God from doing a divine work of grace in some broken person’s life and last but not least, we rob ourselves of being that tool in God’s hand that could have made the difference, that could have brought the healing and the restoration. We didn’t have the time, or the energy or our own agenda was more important. Haven’t we all been guilty of that?
God wants each of us to realize how important and vital each one of us are to His Kingdom coming forth in the earth. Isn’t that what we pray? “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done; in earth as it is in heaven.” If God’s kingdom isn’t fully come in us, possessing us and living through us, then how can it come in the earth? Jesus says the “Kingdom of God is within you.” We are the vessels and the conduits through which His kingdom flows out to the earth and waters the dry ground. The kingdom must first come and be revealed in us. Christ must have expression and license through us and through our will to perform His. That means to be effective tools, we must be yielded to the Master’s hand. As readily as He will use someone else to work grace in your life, He wants to use you to work the work of grace in another’s. We are created for a purpose and that purpose is to fulfill what God has fashioned us for. Everyone is different, but everyone is just as important to the whole.
Take time to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Be careful that we don’t blow past those divine appointments we have in life and the opportunities to minister the love, grace and gospel of Christ. A tool that is not used eventually becomes rusty, stiff and of no use. Be that tool at the top of God’s toolbox that He can lay hold of and use often in His work of grace in the lives of others. Be that yielded vessel that God can perform the will and do of His good pleasure in and through. We are God’s toolbox and He deserves only the best tools.

Blessings,
#kent

Four Wells (Part 2)

May 8, 2015

Four Wells
(Part 2)

When Isaac dug the third well they didn’t contend with Isaac for it. This was called Rehoboth or ‘the wide places or streets’. Isaac said, “Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land.” There are times of peace and stability within our Christian walk, but the Holy Spirit is a dynamic force and if we are walking in the Spirit then we won’t remain idle for long. We will continue to move and grow in one dimension or another. The well as Rehoboth is like the well of salvation that has been placed in the wide place of humanity. It is open to all who believe and wish to partake of it. It is a well of peace for it excludes no one who wishes to drink of its waters.
Finally we see Isaac moving up to Beersheeba. At Beersheba God speaks to Isaac and he builds altar there to God. This is a place where we dig a well beyond our salvation experience. This is a place of personal revelation and purpose in God. It is a well dug in a place of worship and encounter with the Lord. It is a place where people will recognize and acknowledge the blessing and the anointing of Christ in your life and they will come to you. You are the representative of God to them and they will desire to make peace and covenant with God. You are in Christ and He is in you to the point that others will acknowledge His presence. Where they were hostile before now they come in peace to make peace with God.
We see Abimelech coming to Isaac and we see represented with him the whole man. There is Abimelech the spirit, Ahuzzath the adviser as the soul and Phicol the commander of the forces like the body. Isaac stands now in the place of priesthood to bring those without the covenant, into covenant and peace with God. This covenant is for the whole man, spirit, soul and body. It is interesting that immediately after the covenant was made they found water that same day. The Spirit will produce the life if we will dig the well and the well will become a source of life to sustain and keep us.
Beersheba means, ‘well of the sevenfold oath’. There is no doubt a great deal more truth that this well holds than what we are sharing here. Perhaps what we are seeing as Isaac moves from well to well is a progression and growth in spirit. Gerar, the land in which Isaac had been dwelling, means just that, ‘dwelling place’. God had sent Isaac there during a time of famine rather than allowing him to go back to Egypt. In times of need God doesn’t want us to go back to the world, but He places us in a dwelling place where we can grow in our faith and in our relationship with Him. What we see in Isaac is that He was producing life wherever he was. He was always redigging the wells of His Father. That is what God wants in us, to be well diggers, searching out His truth and becoming that source of truth for others. There will be those who strive and contend with us over it. That’s okay, just move on to dig the next well. Keep uncovering the truths of God’s word. They have been there all of the time, but they have been covered over. God has wells He wants you to dig in your life.

Blessings,
#kent

Jesus Wept

January 13, 2015

John 11:32-40
When Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she dropped down at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
33When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who came with her [also] sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. [He chafed in spirit and sighed and was disturbed.]
34And He said, Where have you laid him? They said to Him, Lord, come and see.
35Jesus wept.
36The Jews said, See how [tenderly] He loved him! 37But some of them said, Could not He Who opened a blind man’s eyes have prevented this man from dying?
38Now Jesus, again sighing repeatedly and deeply disquieted, approached the tomb. It was a cave (a hole in the rock), and a boulder lay against [the entrance to close] it. 39Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead man, exclaimed, But Lord, by this time he [is decaying and] throws off an offensive odor, for he has been dead four days! 40Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?

Jesus Wept

As the Lord dropped this scripture into my heart I came to it trying to understand the heart of Jesus in this moment. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were no doubt some Jesus’ closest and dearest friends. They acknowledged and received Him for who He was as Lord and Christ, but now the revelation of that knowledge is tested through the sickness and death of Lazarus.
“Jesus wept” is the shortest verse in the bible, but it can make a strong statement if we seek to understand the heart of Jesus in this moment. Jesus is not weeping because he is sad for Mary or Martha or because He is mourning the loss of Lazarus. Jesus saw the grief and sobbing in Mary and Martha. Then he hears from Mary in an almost mournful rebuke, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Perhaps Jesus is thinking, “What are you saying Mary, because I didn’t come in your time and in the way that you thought that I should that I failed you?” I believe it was these loved one’s disappointment in Him that grieved Him so. In their grief they were saying, “Jesus, you failed us. You didn’t come through. You didn’t show up in time.” This disappointment communicated through Martha, Mary and even the mourners that were with them greatly disturbed and disquieted the spirit of Jesus. I believe that this truly hurt the heart of the Lord that they had these scruples and doubts about His love and faithfulness to them. There was such a tremendous upheaval in the spirit of Jesus that He groaned and wept. This was a very disturbing moment of Jesus. He already knew that Lazarus, though he had been dead for four days, was a good as alive, but to see the disappointment and the feelings of His failure in the hearts of those who loved Him the most was tremendously hurtful and troubling.
What it shows us is that we have a box of our own human reasoning and understanding. We so often want to put Jesus in that same box. When He doesn’t fit within our boxes we can often become offended with Jesus and feel that He has somehow failed us. In our grief and disappointments we sometimes want to blame Him and hold Him responsible because we feel that He failed us. We often carry those hurts and they create a breach in our faith and trust in the Lord. Sometimes it causes us to turn from Him altogether. We can see here how this grieves the heart of the Holy Spirit. We must learn to trust Him and count Him faithful even in what we don’t know and fully understand. We must know that His love for us is so much greater. If Jesus had showed up sooner and healed Lazarus, He would have still been known as only the healer. This is a time and place where Jesus is going to manifest an even greater dimension of Himself as the resurrection and the life. There is a power in Christ that is even greater than death. Even death has to bow to His power and authority.
When Jesus commands the stone to be rolled away from the tomb, Martha speaks out of her natural thinking as she says, “But Lord, by this time he is decaying and stinking, for he has been dead for four days.” Natural reasoning often speaks out of doubt and unbelief. Jesus replies to her, “Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God.” What a powerful statement this is, to her and to us. When we deny him through unbelief, we are denying ourselves of His manifest glory. The glory of God is beyond our comprehension and so far beyond our limitations.
The Lord would say to us, trust me even when you don’t understand me, even when I haven’t come through the way you thought I should. Do not murmur against me in unbelief and doubt. Trust me, for I will do what I have promised even in ways that you do not understand.

Blessings,
#kent

Seedtime and Harvest

May 27, 2014

Seedtime and Harvest

Genesis 8:22
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Mankind is not so different from the other elements of nature. We are born into the earth, we grow up into maturity and fruition, we give birth, raise children, grow old and pass on giving place to the proceeding generations. 1 Peter 1:23-25 states it this way, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” We know that our lives on earth are not much longer than a breath of God. He inhales, exhales and we have expired. Our flesh is but a short season, but it is a critical season to us. It is the time that we come to cognizance and understanding of life and its purpose and our purpose in the midst of it all. Do you ever remember wondering when you were outside of a relationship with God, what life meant to you and what its purpose was for you? Do you remember wondering, “Do I just live my life the way I want too or the best I can, then die and that’s it? Soon I would be forgotten and remembered no more. My life would have just been a little blip on the radar screen of time. Then, somewhere in our lives, we made an amazing discovery; we discovered the meaning of life when we discovered Christ and the gospel. When we accepted Him into our hearts, suddenly our lives had new meaning and purpose. We no longer had just this life and our earthly carnal existence. We discovered that we also had a soul that contained a spirit and Almighty God wanted to come and live in it. He gave the hope of an eternity, of a heaven and of a revelation that through faith in Christ we were now a part of His family and His household. Wow, who can really phantom that? More than just making us a part of His household, we are His Children and His purpose is to work in us His nature and character and being. Suddenly we came to the understanding that this outward man is just the haul of the seed that contains perpetual life and blessing. The true and everlasting life is contained in His Spirit and in His Word. These abide forever and we are to abide forever in them. This is the manna of heaven that gives place to eternal life; it is the eternal Word in us through Christ.
No longer are our lives insignificant little pebbles of sand. Through Christ in us we become a pebble tossed into the pond of life and humanity and we realize that a Christ filled and Spirit led life can create ripples from our little splash that can effect generations to come. In Christ, our lives can make a difference and they should make a difference to those with whom we communicate and come to know.
Are we living now in the eternity of God’s Word? Is the Spirit of God impacting the lives of others as we give place for it to live through us? You are bigger, greater and more important than you know, not because of you, but because of Him who lives in you. Have a relationship with Christ that will spill over into your human contacts and acquaintances. Allow your life to impact the world you live in. Send some ripples of life and blessing through the pond of humanity. Allow Christ to make a difference through you because in the few short years that you walk the earth you have an eternal purpose and destiny in God, be faithful to fulfill it.

Blessings,
#kent

The Radiance of His Glory

Matthew 25:31
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

The glory of the Lord is an awesome thing. It is the outshining of God’s very presence, being and life. No mere mortal man can stand before it. Even the mighty men of God that experienced it, like Moses and Daniel were completely undone and prostrate before it.
When Jesus came and walked among us we were able to view the glory of God, but it was veiled in human flesh. When our Christ comes again there will be no concealing His glory. It will be fully manifested. A few of the disciples briefly beheld Him in the fullness of His glory on the mount of transfiguration.
2 Thessalonians 1: 5-12 reveals, “All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.” When the presence of Christ is revealed in His glory, His glory will be made manifest in the earth. The fullness of the Head will come in union and fully be enthroned within His body. The glory that is resident in the Head will be manifested throughout His body as He comes to rule and judge the earth. Isaiah 60:1-5 prophesies, “”Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. 5 Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.” The radiance of God’s glory will not only shine forth from the Son, but from those who are enthroned with Him. Revelations 20:4-6 says, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Thrones are the symbol of authority and power. This is the full expression of this King-Priest ministry that rules and reigns with Christ. They are fully as one. They express even one mind and one heart, that of the Father.
The Word of God teaches us that there are two resurrections. Those partaking in this first resurrection are those who will rule and reign with Christ. After the thousand years there will be a general resurrection in which all of the nations will be judged. We can glean that those who partake in this first resurrection are those that don’t partake in the mark of the beast and refuse to worship him. While we may not see this beast yet manifested the way that we might one day expect; his spirit still presides over the earth and the affairs of men. Our being caught up in the worldliness of this present time and our dependence upon the world can represent a partaking of that mark. This company of first resurrection saints are those who are willing to lay down their lives for their witness of Jesus. Their lives are not seated here; they are seated with Christ in God. They do not seek here any lasting city, but they are sojourners, foreigners, looking to a city whose builder and maker is God.
Where are our lives today? Is this earth our home? Is our glory found here? Are our hearts truly set upon the King of Glory and lived out in the hope of Him. There is no earthly comparison to the radiance of God’s glory. Let us not sell ourselves short of the great and glorious calling we have in Christ Jesus even if it cost us everything in this life and physical life itself.

Blessings
#kent

Our First Love

February 14, 2014

Revelations 2:3-5

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

 


Our First Love


Many times our marriages and our relationship with Christ have a lot in common.  They both are built upon love and relationship.  They generally start out with great commitment, emotion and passion to love and serve the Lord or to love and serve our spouse.  Through the course of life with all of its trials and demands the polish and gold tends to wear thin on the feelings and commitment we first felt and lived toward the Lord and toward our spouse. Many of us have endured many hardships together and we have trusted the Lord through many of them.  

Even though we are good people, who have worked hard for our marriage and for our spiritual relationship the dynamics have changed.  We’ve somehow lost the closeness and the intimacy of relationship we once had.  

This word “forsaken” in verse 4 in the Greek means, “ to depart, as of a husband divorcing his wife, yield up, expire, let go, let alone, to disregard, to leave, to omit, neglect.”  Do any of these words speak to our hearts as to our relationships in our marriage and in our walk and relationship with Christ?  We are still here in body, going through the motions of marriage and relationship, but have our hearts left the room?  Have they grown cold with complacency?  Sometimes our marriages are measured by how well we tolerate one another rather than how well we really love and bless one another.  Even in our Christianity we so often get in the rut of being religious, going to church, giving our tithe or doing our duty, but our heart and passion are no longer in it.  

It is a time for stirring up the embers and throwing on some new wood.  It is a time we must blow and breathe new life back into the fire of our relationships.  I’ll admit I have been bad about becoming so caught up in my business and the things that concern me, that I have neglected the weightier matters.  Somehow we come to take for granted that this loved one will always be there and everything will be fine, meanwhile we allow the foundation to rot out from under us.  One day we wake up and our house is in ruin.  The signs were all around but we didn’t heed them until our lampstand had been plucked from us and suddenly we found ourselves shut out.  

Here the Lord is warning us about our relationship with Him and also what can happen in our marriages.  We must return to that first love, the courting, the dating, the intimacy and attention that we gave to our partner then.  It can be no less with Christ.  It is not our works that save us in our marriage or our Christianity, it is the relationship that we maintain and cultivate with the one that we say we love. For me, it is often my communication that fails the most.  I get caught up in my own little world and when I fail to communicate, I find I am failing in my relationship.  That communication, especially that which shares my heart, is what my wife needs from me.  She has to feel that connection with my heart to feel close to me and a part of me.  I think this often comes more naturally to women as a general rule than men, but it doesn’t mean that we as men can neglect it.  We have to cultivate it, even when it doesn’t come naturally to us.  It is always remembering that love is not about us, it is about the object of our love.  When we love the Lord or our spouse the way they need to be loved, we will find that our needs are met in our giving and loving.  Let us endeavor to return now to our first love, not just in word, but in deed and with all of our heart. 

 
Blessings,
kent

What does this New Man Look Like?

Colossians 3:9-11
9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

We have been talking about what this new man, who we are in Christ, is. What does this “new man” look like? Well, we know that this new man who is being renewed in the image of Christ is what we generally term a “Christian” or a “born again believer”. If you went out on the street or to different parts of the world and took a poll of random people, what do you think they would say a Christian should look like? No doubt we would get multiple answers and opinions. Some might say it can only be a certain race people, or only males can be Christians, or only certain religions or denominations can be Christians. What does the Word say a Christian is? It says it is a person that “is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” In other words it is one that looks in their behavior to be like Christ. It is one who doesn’t think like the world thinks, but is aligning their thoughts, goals and lifestyle with the Word and the will of God. It plainly says here that there is no outward distinction or discrimination of sex, color, race or creed that defines you as a “new man or person in Christ”. The transformation is within and is expressed without. The defining factor is that Christ is all and is in all. In the Christian’s mind and heart this should be at the forefront of all of our thinking, all of our plans, all of our goals and in all that we are. Is Christ everything? If He is everything in you and I, then what are we going to look like, what are we going to reflect, emulate, and express? What is going to be our nature and character? It is Christ for He is all and in all. He is what our life is all about. He should now define who we are.
Now being honest for just a moment, how many of us can say that is totally where we are at in our thinking, in our lifestyles and in our behavior? What we have to grasp and get a hold of is that Christ wants Christians who are wholly identified with Him. In other words He is to become our identity. What does Christian mean? It means “little Christs”. In the Old Testament to be one of God’s people you had to be one of the circumcision, that defined you as set apart for God. The New Testament tells us in Philippians 3:3, “3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— ” Natural circumcision could only apply to males, but spiritual circumcision, which is the removal of our fleshly heart and attitude, giving place to the headship of Christ in our lives, knows no gender, but is applicable to all. This new garment we are putting on is a spiritual garment that is in the likeness of Him who created us. That is our purpose and our reason for being. We are to be the expression of Christ in the earth. It is Him living through us. Is that what our world is seeing in the majority of Christianity today? Do they really see anything that looks much different than them except in name only? Are they able to see the difference in our behavior, our integrity, our divorce rate or family life? The truth we face is that most all of us are missing the mark. Christ really isn’t our all in all, He is only part of our all. We must all come to the place of prayerfully, honestly, and with a broken and contrite heart defining who we really are. Maybe we are somewhere between dirty underwear and blue jeans and a clean shirt, but we haven’t fully put off the old man with his former deeds. There is a tremendous work of transformation that needs to take place in most of us. God can only work in us, as we are willing to relinquish our will to His. James says, “a double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.” How many of us are abiding in that place of only being lukewarm for God? He is not our everything; He has become our occasional, our “when I feel like it”, if it is convenient, and when it is acceptable in my circle of friends. What is Christ to us? Is He the garment that we put on every morning and wear everyday or has He become something much less? God has called us and provided for us to be so much more than we have been. It is time for us to rise up and answer the trumpet that is sounding and calling us back to our faith, our full commitment and confidence in Christ. He must be our all and who is in all. Christ in us, is our hope of glory.

Blessings,
kent

God gives more Grace

June 7, 2013

God gives more Grace

James 4:4-10
You 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 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

There is no reason in the man without a season,
There must be a time and purpose for all reasons.
Things spent upon our own desires and pleasures,
Seldom yield a spiritual fruit of any good measure.

Darkness often looms beneath our spiritual light,
Hypocrisy often turns our day to night.
Our envy, lust and striving are seldom for the higher good,
Often we find ourselves not living in the spirit we thought we would.

Outwardly we wear our religious and righteous attire,
Inwardly, struggles with sin burn in our belly like a fire.
There is hope if in humility we cry out to God in our need,
But many are the proud, blinded to the life that they lead.

Oh God, what wretched men we so often are,
Shunning the grace and Lord that is our redemptive star.
Yet you give more grace, so let us humble ourselves anew,
Help us resist the devil, submit our hearts and draw near again to You.

Help us draw nigh to you, oh God, that you might draw nigh to us,
Give us grace, strength and power to forsake our envy, pride and lust.
Let us weep and mourn when in our sin we’ve failed,
But help us overcome our failures and by your strength, prevail…
Kent Stuck

Blessings,
kent

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