God’s Love though You

July 14, 2015

1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

God’s Love though You

Inherent in the nature of God is love. Jesus Christ is the personified expression of God’s love towards us. God is “agape” love, unadulterated, pure, undefiled, unselfish expression of affection and good will. 1 John 4:9-12 goes on to exemplify this love that God wants to see manifested in our lives, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” We see expressed in this love of God the sacrificing of what is most precious to Him on our behalf. God is looking first to our interest and need. This love is not earned or deserved, it is simply expressed and freely given. Through this love we see the true heart of God toward us. He is working in our best interest and in what will bring us out of death and into life. Now He is saying this same love that you see exemplified from Me through Jesus Christ My Son, is to be your expression and your nature. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 defines for us the attributes of this love, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.” As the children of God this is our legacy and the expression of the Father that is now resident in us, because Christ is in us. This attribute, above any other, is what should define us, as God’s own. God is telling us that if this is not actively working in our lives then we don’t truly know Him. God is saying for us to know Him is to become like Him and that which most defines Him is His love. Most of us would agree that we probably fall desperately short of being the expression of God’s love, but here we see the commandment, not the request of God in 1 John 4: 7, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” Our very ability to express this love is a God thing. We are able because of Christ in us. If we are missing it, it is because He is not the fullness of our heart and desire. When we are the expression of love to others, we are in affect loving on God, because to be the expression of His love is to love and honor Him. The world needs the fresh expression of the love of God through a people that are not looking for anything in return, but just want to bring glory and honor to the One who has first loved them. This love must first be resident within the household of God and how we treat and care for one another. We all have our personal agendas, but God’s agenda for us is that we be the expression of His love. Let us be cognizant of His nature within us and not stifle it with our own self-interests and agendas. He is our first priority and His first priority of us is that we would love others as He has first loved us.

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The Blessing of Giving

November 26, 2014

Matthew 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Blessing of Giving

The greatest blessing we can give and gift that we can receive is in giving something of substance and ourselves that is life changing and life giving to someone else. There are few things more rewarding than the joy we feel when we have made a difference for someone else. Some of us struggle with that. We have become so focused on how to sell ourselves, our goods and services trying to provide for our own that we have missed the joy of caring and blessing another. There is always a constant barrage of mail, phone calls, pleas over the television and radio all asking for our contributions. We often begin to build walls that automatically shut out any plea for help. Realistically we can’t give to everything. Few of us have the financial resources to do that, but at the same time we don’t want to harden our hearts to become insensitive to every need that passes before us. This is where we need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and where He would have us to extend ourselves in our time and our finances. We each have different gifts and abilities, but all of us have something we can give. It is wonderful that we give our tithes, but what can we offer of ourselves as a tithe. It isn’t really our money that God wants from us, He wants our hearts. Our tithe is an expression of obedience, worship, thanks and giving back in a small portion what He has provided abundantly toward us.
Our lives will be so much richer when they are filled with random acts of kindness and giving. We are the hands, the feet, the mouthpiece and the body of Christ to carry out His works. Acts 10:38 speaks of the works of Jesus, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” God has anointed us with the same Spirit that indwells Jesus. He has given us power and authority to act in His Name. Let us be sensitive in our every day lives to not pass by the opportunities to express the love of God in the lives of others. May we let our words and our deeds carry with them this anointing that was in Jesus, so that we are life givers and a blessing in the earth.

Blessings,
#kent

Lord, You Mean Everything

September 17, 2014

Lord, You Mean Everything

Philippians 3:7-14
Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

What is our level of commitment today in our walk with the Lord? What does He really mean to us in terms of our life plan, our goals and where we are going and what we hope to accomplish? In the above scripture we are seeing Paul lay out his mission statement and his life plan before us. Does ours sound anything like that? Paul says in the next verses 15 and16, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” He says if you want to be perfect then try this goal on for size. Even in all that Paul had committed of his life to the service of the Lord and even through all that he endured he didn’t say I’m there yet,” but I’m running with all my might.” He lost all affections for the things of this world. He was spiritually minded and heavenly visioned. He so desired to experience the depths and the riches that Christ alone could provide, everything else paled in comparison. I believe Paul wanted to so identify with Christ that in the sharing and partaking of the sufferings of Christ and the conformity to His death, he might experience and lay hold of the resurrection life. That resurrection life was so much more than just dying, going to heaven and experiencing the resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ. He desired to experience the resurrection out of the dead things of this life. What holds us back from experiencing the fullness of life right now if it not the death that works in us? And what is the power of death if it is not sin. The resurrection out of the dead is the resurrection out of the sin and death that works in our members.
Paul says in Romans 8:10-11, “And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness, But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” We may live in the natural realm and as such so much of our energy, thinking and identification is with the things of this world. I believe Paul was saying turn around from the world and look at who you are in Christ. Look what He has provided for us and where He wants to take us. ‘The things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.’ Paul is telling us here in Romans 8 that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you and I. What is the implication of what He is saying? If we are dead to the flesh, then there is Spirit Power of Resurrection Life at work in us to raise us up in the power of His life. I believe Paul ran and lived his life to lay hold of that resurrection power and life even in his natural life. If he didn’t fully realize it then he carried and ran with that vision right into heaven and into the arms of Jesus. There is a high calling of life and power in Christ that we should yearn and long for. So many of us complacently wait for heaven as the end in itself. Paul wasn’t running that hard just to get to heaven. He had a greater vision and higher calling; he pressed for the high calling that is in Christ Jesus. Again, in Romans 8:19-23 I believe he gives some insight to this calling, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.” The first fruit partakers of this liberty and redemption from corruption will be the administrators of its glory and life to creation. There is coming a day of restoration when all of creation is going to be set free from the bondage of sin and corruption. We who are in Christ should be travailing and groaning within to be free from the bondage of this natural man that we may experience the coming and the presence of Christ within us. Don’t let the realm that we live in now hinder the vision of what you are becoming and living your life for. If we truly live in Spirit life, the natural body and life just facilitates that in this earth, but we should already be living in the light of God’s eternal plan and not just our natural life span. The implications and fruit of how we live our lives carries on into eternity. As many as are perfect or spiritually minded want to catch the vision of God’s highest for us.
In conclusion Paul gives us gravity by saying, don’t look behind you at what you have or haven’t been. Don’t live in past condemnation or victories, but look ahead at what is before you. Set your eyes on Christ and the high calling that is in Him nevertheless wherever it is that you have thus far attained be faithful to walk in the light of the truth that you have and understand the high calling that Christ has called you too.

Blessings,
#kent

If a Tree has Leaves, does it have Fruit?

Matthew 21:18-19
18Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

A fruit tree is expected to produce fruit after its kind. A Christian is expected to produce fruit after their kind.
The fig tree in this story is said to represent Israel. The person coming from the outside might enter a city like Jerusalem and see it flourishing. They could go to the temple and see it full of activity and religious men walking about it and throughout the city. Jesus teaches us here that just because a tree has leaves and looks healthy doesn’t mean that it is fruitful. If it is a fruit tree that appears healthy and yet produces no fruit, it is failing in its purpose in life. Just like Israel, if we appear to be the people of God, have all of the churches and religious services, but do not bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, then we too are barren. We are missing our purpose. Our purpose is to not bear healthy looking leaves, but to produce fruit in the way God has purposed us to do. No amount of leaves or trappings can hide that.
Adam and Eve used leaves to hide their nakedness and we often do the same; hiding the shame of a life that is void of fruitfulness, but full of activity. Jesus says in John 15:1-8, “”I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5″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. 6If 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. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” We are taught here that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. He doesn’t tell us that our function is to produce leaves, but to produce fruit. Leaves are a support and facilitator for the fruit, but they can never take the place of the fruit; they are like faith and works, they go together.
Jesus gave us many examples where He shows us that we have responsibility and accountability for His life in us. If we take and receive the life of Christ in us, then live our lives only for ourselves we are a fruitless tree or branch. We are to bear fruit so that others might be partakers of the life of Christ and be nourished through what He is imparted to us.
The fruit of the Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5:22-23 are, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This fruit operating in our lives will allow us to be fruitful in the gifts and abilities that God has given each of us for our ministry and calling.
One day the Lord will examine our tree or our branch. We have responsibility for what it is bearing. If we are truly abiding in the vine then we will be producing the fruit and not just the leaves. It is important that we judge ourselves that we be not judged. How fruitful is our tree?

Blessings,
#kent

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