We, the Lame

July 22, 2015

We, the Lame

Hebrew 12:13
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Have you ever had a broken leg, a dislocated joint or wrenched knee or ankle? When you find yourself in this condition, you find that walking normally is out of the question. There is too much pain and tenderness to walk in a normal way. This is the way we are when we get out of joint in our walk with the Lord. Our spiritual health and harmony are interrupted and our walk with Him becomes crippled and distorted.
I think many of us have areas in our lives where we experience some lameness; an area that is out of joint with God’s will and purpose for our lives. The Lord doesn’t want us to walk in a crooked and twisted path, but in a straight and narrow one. It is like Jesus says in Matthew 7:14, “Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” I would venture to say that most of us have found ourselves off of that straight and narrow more times than we would like to admit. How wonderful that through repentance and the power of the blood of Jesus we have a means to be restored to the path of righteousness.
It is sin that cripples us and makes us lame. It is sin that distorts our spiritual health and wholeness. There are many that are still struggling with strongholds of sin in their lives. While they feel condemned and defeated, they can’t seem to get delivered and free from it. We often make the mistake of judging others in an area of weakness while we may have another area in us that is just as bad. We are all creatures of God’s grace and mercy. We didn’t find our way to Him because our works were righteous and we were so much better than everyone else. Like everyone else, we are sinners saved by the grace of God. That same faith with which we embraced Christ when we first gave our hearts to Him is what we must now exercise as we make straight paths for our feet.
There is something wrong with us as a body of Christ when we are more concerned about judging one another for our faults than we are with ministering to one another in our weaknesses. What does James 5:16 say? “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.” We all have weaknesses and faults that we have not fully gained the victory over or that we are still struggling with. Where are our ministry, compassion and prayers for one another in our weaknesses? We desperately try and conceal our faults and weaknesses, either because we are in denial or just think it is our problem, but more likely because we don’t have a safe place where we can expose and share the sins with which we struggle. Jesus says it is not the well that need a physician, but the sick. The Christ in each one of us is the physician that wants to minister help and healing to those around us. We need each other to help each other. Our sin would always cripple us and dislocate us from the Lord, but the Lord wants to heal our lameness and restore us in a path of righteousness for His namesake. The Lord doesn’t want us to justify and cover over our sin, that would be hypocrisy, but He does want to see us healed in the areas of our sin sickness.
We want to see Isaiah 35 come to pass in each one of our lives, “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
The Lord is on the side of our restoration and wholeness, but it takes our willingness to forsake our sin. Perhaps we need to seek out those who will stand with us and help us to lay hold of our victory and healing in the areas where sin has held us captive and crippled our walk. We are a body and we must minister to one another’s needs. We need one another to minister and help each other in all of the areas that pertain to life and godliness. Corporately, we are growing up in Christ, ministering to one another out of the gifts that the Holy Spirit has apportioned to each one of us. Ephesians 4:16-18 says,” Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work..”
If you are lame in an area of your walk with the Lord, then find your healing and deliverance so that your path may be made straight. If it is greater than your ability to find the victory then seek out those in the body of Christ who can come along beside you, give you help, prayer and accountability. It is the Lord’s will to restore the lame.

Blessings,
#kent

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Be Careful How You Lead

April 28, 2015

Hosea 4:14
“I will not punish your daughters when they turn to prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery,
because the men themselves consort with harlots and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes—
a people without understanding will come to ruin!”

Be Careful How You Lead

Often we as parents are quick to judge our children for wrong things they do or choices they make. Often we as Christians are quick to judge our fellow believers who get caught up in sin or those who don’t agree with or accept our Christ. Are we above reproach? Have our own sins and shortcomings been the license for those who choose unrighteousness? Will not God hold us first accountable who are the leaders and the examples for others to follow?
Romans 2:1-10 declares, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.”
The Jews and the Gentile are like the leader and the follower, the parent and the child, the teacher and the disciple. If we don’t walk in the understanding that God has given us then we will come to ruin and we have the responsibility for the ruin of those who follow our example.
Before we point the finger at others let’s first examine the person behind the three fingers pointing back. Are you living in righteousness or self-righteousness? Is it more important that we are right or righteous? For the world to honor and desire Christ they must first see Christ in us. They must see in action what we profess in words. How can we judge them if we don’t even live the example before them?
Father is saying, ‘Take stock in the example of life that you are leading. If we are not walking in righteousness and in the light of understanding that God has given you, then you must ask who is the responsible one here?’ Often what we see in the lives of those who follow us is the reflection of ourselves.

Blessings,
#kent

Shine a Diamond

January 28, 2015

Shine a Diamond

Romans 14:19
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

We live in a very negative world in a lot of respects. Life is often taking twist and turns that can bring us discouragement and despair. Many around us only know how to speak death. They, like many of us, can become cynical, skeptical and suspicious in a world that is always seeking to exploit us in one manner or another. It is hard for us to be real, even with one another, for fear that someone will take opportunity in our vulnerability and openness to hurt us or will despise and not respect us because of some weakness that we allow them to see in us. As a result we become individual sealed houses, our own little islands in some respects, keeping a certain amount of distance and aloofness so that we won’t be hurt. Certainly we have to be careful about who we share the more intimate parts of our lives with. Jesus gives the warning in Matthew 7:6, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” As it is with the holy and precious things of God, so it is with the matters of our heart. We need to really know the character of those we share our hearts with. If the love of God is truly operating within them, then they understand the grace that not only they have been given, but that which they must extend to others. God wants us to cover one another’s nakedness, not expose it, gossip about it or despise them for it. He wants us to be a people that can truly edify and build up one another. We need to have that place and safety to truly confess our sins and faults to one another without fear of rejection and judgment. James 5:16 tells us, “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.” Does that mean we condone whatever sin someone shares or confesses to us? No, we can’t because then we would share complicity with their sin. The reason for sharing our sins or faults with one another is for repentance, support, help in our weaknesses and restoration of our fellowship with God and one another. If we share our faults with one another it shouldn’t be for approval, neither should it be for judgment but our response to another’s faults should be that of humility and love, knowing that we are also weak and vulnerable to sin. Galatians 6:1 teaches us, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” You see we are not one another’s judges, but we are one another’s watchmen. We watch out for one another, because we are of the same body and share the same common faith and purpose, to glorify the Lord. It can be easy for any of us to become distracted and turn aside or grow complacent concerning our faith. This is why it is so important for us as the body of Christ to have personal friendships and relationships with others in the body, not just for fellowship, but also for accountability. We need to be speaking life into one another to build each other up in who we are in Christ. We need to pray for one another and exhort one another, always stirring up faith. A healthy body is one in which individual members and cells are ministering health and blessing into those around them. The words that we speak into one another’s lives should be for building up and not tearing down, even if they must be honest, direct and hard words, the motive behind them should always be love. Sometimes, like Paul, we must tear down to build up, but what are our motives and the end of what we do?
Are you and I the brush that polishes the diamonds of the Lord? Are we causing others to shine in His glory and come forth in the image of who they are in Christ? Remember that the power of death and life are in the tongue. Our actions and our tongue can make or destroy another’s life. Let our lives and our ministry be for building up and not for tearing down, for edifying and not for condemning. You are your brother’s keeper and he is yours. Let us honor and seek to bring forth the Christ in each other. Speak life, hope and blessing into someone today and let it become your lifestyle. Shine a diamond!

Blessings,
#kent

Yoked Oxen and Wild Asses

Ephesians 2:13-18
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

As the New Covenant Church began after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ there were many struggles for men and women to come into the truth of the grace and freedom that is in Christ Jesus. There are still many parallels of that in the Church today. On one side you have what we will call the “yoked oxen”. These are the religious ones who have grown up in the religious atmosphere of denomination and religious structure. Most have grounding in the basic truths of God’s Word, but they have been so long under the yoke of the routine of religion it is hard for them to have the vision of how God is expanding beyond the perimeters of their individual camps of truth and revelation. In many ways they have become similar to the Jews of Israel. “Bless God, we are God’s chosen and our way is the right way. It was good enough for my ancestors and it is good enough for me.” It is the mentality that wants to put God in the box of our religious way of thinking and they struggle to see beyond that.
On the other hand we have what we will call “the wild asses”. These are those much like the Gentiles outside of Judaism that have little or no roots in religious background or the Christian religion. They have lived life free and wild before the Holy Spirit drew them to Himself and they came into knowledge of Him. They may not have the reverence and respect for the time honored traditional values that the “yoked oxen” have. They often have no clue of the proper etiquette and decorum of worship and reverencing God. But the “Wild Asses,” on the other hand, come with a certain freedom from the tradition and teachings of men. Their souls are like virgin soil for the gospel to be planted into. There is this wall of religion and rebellion that exist between the two camps as they often have conflict in dealing with one another. This was that middle wall of partition that separated the Jew and Gentile of old and a prejudice that still exist today. The scripture says Christ is our peace that has made us both one. As these two cultures come together in the atmosphere of true Christian fellowship, worship and relationship it is often hard for them to relate with one another. What we sometimes forget is that each brings to the table something that the other needs to balance them both. The wild ones need the structure and discipline, the reverence and respect that accompany the fear of God. The yoked ones need the freedom from inhibitions, liturgical thinking and expression that the wild ones bring. It is coming out of a box and culture for both sides that, together, the two may become one new man in Christ.
If missionaries from America go to foreign countries trying to impose their cultural thinking and ways as they preach the gospel they are often very much rejected and resisted. If they go and are willing to lay down their preconceived cultural ideas and reach out to the people from their cultural understanding and perspective they are often better understood and received because the people from that culture can relate with them.
What are we saying? God is bringing people into body from every nation, tribe and tongue, from every background and culture. We all have to come out of our cultural boxes and shells if we are to relate with one another in Christ. The cross of Jesus and the love of God are the common ground upon which we meet. Our focus must be much less on that of judging others and conforming them to our particular ideology of Christianity and more focused on how do we build each other up in love. If I can be more focused on meeting your need than I am on fixing your problem, the problem may well get resolved as I meet the need.
I once worked with a young man who was very open to hear about the Lord, but was from a different religious background than myself. I had my book and I was going to set him straight on why his religious background was wrong. Before I talked with him, I felt I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Just speak the truth in love and the truth will set him free.” It is each one of us opening up our hearts and minds to what the Spirit wants to teach us that will set us free. He will lead us into all truth if we will abide in relationship with Him and remain obedient to His leading. He will break down the middle wall of partition and make the “yoked oxen” and the “wild asses” one man in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

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