Love is not Always Easy

August 27, 2015

Ephesians 4:1-3
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Love is not Always Easy

A part of the calling that we have as Christians in Christ Jesus is to walk in love. If we are going only by emotions, there will be a lot of times that we won’t feel love. We may feel everything but love. The first thing we have to realize is that while love may carry with it emotions and strong feelings, the emotions and feelings aren’t the love. Love is a decision of your heart. True love is a commitment in the good times and the bad, in the sweet and the bitter, for the better or for the worse. Therefore love is not always about how we feel. God first loved us when we were sinners, estranged and in rebellion to Him. His love wasn’t in response to our love; it was in spite of the fact that we didn’t love Him. God has chosen to love us and His actions toward us were deliberate and not just responsive to us based on what we could give back. This is the love that Christ has placed in our hearts because He is in us. We are to choose to act out of love, not to just love others when they love us or love the people that are nice and pleasant, or that we have feelings for. Love is often a hard choice. It is often not easy to love certain people. It is our calling, in as much as is possible, to be a peace with all men and to live and act out of the attitude of love. Love needs to be what powers us, motivates and drives us in the will of God. When we begin to think upon the vastness and the magnitude of God and how insignificant and minute we are in comparison, it just blows us away that He even would acknowledge us, let alone give His only Son to die for us. How can we truly comprehend that kind of love? Yet everything God is and does is motivated out of love, because God is love. That same force, that is God’s source and power, now indwells us. It must be what drives and motivates us to love God with all of our heart, our mind, our soul and strength. It is also what empowers us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
We know how hard it is even within our own marriages to always love our spouse. They can be so irritating, inconsiderate, unappreciative, stubborn, insensitive, lazy and any number of other adjectives and nouns. In the beginning we were moved by great emotions and feelings, but after the honeymoon was over that perfect person can turn into one our greatest trials in life. What we forget is that love is still a choice. We start responding to our spouse like we did in the beginning, out of feelings and emotions; only this time they are negative instead of positive. Our love and hate are a response of our flesh and soul and not a choice of our spirit. Love doesn’t react because someone is pushing our buttons; it is a choice based on our commitment, vow and promise. It doesn’t return insult for insult, hurt for hurt, cursing for cursing. It chooses to act and respond out of the nature of Christ. It also must be willing to accept valid criticism, correction and look at what can best meet the other person’s needs. We are all unique and different individuals and none of us were made or designed to fit perfectly within someone else’s box. There are a lot of times we don’t even like who we are, so how is someone else always going to please us? This is where the lowliness, gentleness, forbearance, longsuffering and the fruit of the Spirit enter in. This is the place where we get to practice living the nature of Christ.
The root of most ended marriages is selfishness of one or more of the individuals. Love is not selfish, it is self-sacrificing and it takes both parties giving and compromising to create the best environment to be able to live in enjoyment and in peace with one another. It is always work and most of the time it is not easy. It is only successful through the commitment of both parties and their choice and commitment to love the other. The same principle holds true in our relationships with others. It is God’s love that must possess you; our love always falls short. Love is not always easy, but it is always God.

Blessings,
#kent

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Real Love and Beauty

August 24, 2015

1 Peter 3:1-7
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Real Love and Beauty

On the subject of beauty:
So many derive their value from outward perception and how they view themselves through the mirror of others. Thus many have believed a distorted view of who they are.
God says we were ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.
Our truest beauty comes from within, not without. See yourself through the beauty
that God has created you to be. The greatest beauty is seen in the one who aligns their heart
with God’s purpose and design to best express Him.

On the subject of love:
Young love is sexy and beautiful. It is fresh, passionate, sensual,
but its roots are young and it thrives more on the feelings of the outward man.
Old love is not always as passionate. It is not as sexually driven or motivated,
but it stills sees the beauty that it first saw. Its roots are now deep, as are the scars and life experiences that have knit and grown these two souls together. What was once expressed
outwardly is now the inward sharing of two hearts that beat as one. They have learned
that it is not always feelings that keep you together, but the decision to love one another even when you don’t feel it. Love is not just an emotion, but a decision of will.

Blessings,
#kent

The Path of No Return

March 5, 2015

John 18:4-11
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5″Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
8″I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

The Path of No Return

There is a place of decision in our lives where we must choose. We wrestle with the flesh and the strong sense of self-preservation that wants to preserve this life. There is a cup that is set before us. It is the cup of which Jesus had to drink of. He prayed if there was any other way, but there was no other way, but the way of Calvary. It was out of greater love than He had of self that Jesus willing drank that cup that led Him down a path of no return. The path of glorification will lead us through Calvary. We can draw our sword and choose to fight it in the flesh as Peter did. We can run away from it, we can deny it, we can even betray the Lord as Judas did, but we have a destiny before us as Jesus did.
At the Last Supper after Judas left to go and betray the Lord, Jesus speaks these words in John 13:31-32, “When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. 32If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.”” The death that Jesus was to suffer and die, was also the glorification of the Father and resulted in Jesus being glorified in Him. The former glory of an earthly life had to pass away that the greater glory might be revealed. That glory is revealed in us as we choose to drink that cup of death to self and walk in His footsteps. Jesus says in John 17:10, “And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.” In Romans 8:16-17 the word says this of us as His people and disciples, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” The sufferings of Christ are inherent in the glorification. It is a cup that we share with Christ as we drink of His blood, His life and eat of His flesh, His body given for us that we might know Him and the power of His resurrection. His disciple followed on to drink that cup as they gave their lives in service and sacrifice to Him. It is our cup also. The demand of this path may or may not be so extreme, but where He leads us we must follow. It is a path of no return, no turning back, but it is the path to glory.

Blessings,
#kent

The Place of Rest

September 29, 2014

1 Samuel 13:5-10
The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings. ” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

The Place of Rest

This passage about Saul really speaks to the times of the testing of our faith that God brings us to in our lives. One of the most difficult concepts for us to learn and submit to is the “Rest of God”. We know we have God’s word and promises, but like Saul when fear is all around us and the situation is critical it is very hard for us not to get anxious and impatient.
Samuel was the prophet and priest of God to offer up the burnt offering. He is spirit man of intercession who spiritually prepared the troops for battle. What we have here is a type of the body in the fearful and restless soldiers of Israel. The souls typified by King Saul and the man of the spirit is exemplified by Samuel. How many of us have ever been in situations where we were trying to wait on God, but the situation was getting critical and God was running late? In fact, we began to wonder if He was even going to show up at all. It says of Saul, ” He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter.” Now there is an appointed time for the man of God, the spirit man, to show up, but God seems to often wait until that last hour before He reveals Himself. It is in the those last hours that our circumstances seem to be falling down all around and all hell is breaking out around us that we begin to get out of faith and into doubt, fear and unbelief. The soul starts succumbing to the same anxiousness that our body has been feeling for some time now. When we are in faith, trusting in God’s Word, we are in a position of REST. Quite honestly, in the natural Saul didn’t have much of a chance to win this battle against the odds of the Philistines in the natural. His only real hope of winning was to maintain his position of Rest in God. As so often can happen with us, we grow impatient with God, assuming He is not going to show up, so we take matters into our own hands. We do our homage by saying, “God bless the works of my hands,” and then we go about doing what we were going to do. When we make that decision, we just missed a crucial time in our obedience and position in the Spirit. We just set stepped out of our position of the Rest of God and into reacting to the circumstances, motivated by our fear and unbelief that God was not going to move on our behalf.
Seven days Saul was appointed to wait. Seven is God’s number. It is the number of His Rest, even as the scriptures say in Genesis, “so on the seventh day God rested from all His work.” We are now standing in the seventh day, the day of the Lord. The enemies gathered before us are vast in number. Outwardly we want to fear and quake, but inwardly in our heart and soul, we had better know that there is no victory outside of the Rest of God. Only in Him, in His timing and in His way are we going to be able to triumph over our enemies. The old religious way of doing it our way in the name of God isn’t going to work anymore. God is removing His Kingdom from the religious man’s hands and placing it into the hand of the ones who know how to wait. They know that there victory is not in getting in a hurry to confront the enemy, but it is in entering into the praise, worship and Rest of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The battle and the victory must first be won inwardly, before it can manifest outwardly.
Saul lost his position that day, because he yielded to his anxious heart and his fearful body. He moved out of the position of Rest and disqualified himself from the kingdom purpose for which he was called. Many of us are finding ourselves in hard positions today. Everything around is screaming, “you got to do something.” The something we have to do is to Rest and wait upon the Lord. We don’t want to dare move outside His Spirit’s leading and His timing. God’s time isn’t our time, but our time must become His time. That is the place of Rest and victory.
We would close with this appropriate exhortation from Hebrews 4:1-11. “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”

Blessings,
#kent

2 Kings 18:28-35

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and spoke, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you from his hand; 30 nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, “The LORD will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”’ 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive groves and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” 33 Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivah? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 35 Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’” 


When Fear comes Knocking


As we read this passage of scripture today that took place during the reign of Hezekiah, we see him faced with the greatest challenge and threat to his kingdom that he had ever known.  The king of Assyria, which typifies satan, sent his messenger of fear, Rabshakeh, to attack the faith and trust the people of Judah and Hezekiah had in the Lord and replace it with fear of the natural. They were facing the greatest force and enemy of their day. Assyria was undefeated and it had taken every nation that it entered into, including Israel.  Now Hezekiah is faced with the decision to either give in or trust the Lord.  Everything in the natural is saying give it up, you don’t stand a chance.  You don’t hold a candle to this giant that now stands before you.  What Rabshakeh said was true, no other nation or gods had been able withstand them.  Where Rabshakeh and the king of Assyria failed was in counting the Lord God as like unto the gods of wood and stone.  

There are times when we are faced with similar circumstances in our lives.  We face giants and situations that are far greater than we are in the natural.  They blaspheme or mock our God and expect that we should bow to them.  Our very lives or livelihood may be at stake.  What will we do?  Will we bow in fear to the enemies’ demands or will we throw ourselves before the Lord and plead our case before Him as Hezekiah did?  

It is often in our weakness that God’s strength and power are manifest.  If fear is able to undermine and rob our faith then we will not see the salvation of our God.  If we dare to stand firm in Him then we will see His salvation work, even though it may not be immediate.  There are areas in life that we have to walk by faith, humbly and fearfully before the Lord, so that we are not reliant upon our strength or ability, but we wholly lean on Jesus name.  The enemy will kick up dust, he’ll rant and rave and do all that he can to strike fear and unbelief in our hearts, but it is our faith in the All Powerful One that prevails.  Through prayer and faith we hide ourselves under the shadow of the great Jehovah.  We know that when He goes out to battle on our behalf then we cannot fail or be defeated.  We are more than conquerors through Christ who has loved us.  

In 2 Kings 19:5 we hear what the Lord says through Isaiah, His prophet concerning these blasphemous threats. “So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah.  And Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.  Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”’””  God is still saying to us, “ Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard.” We must know our Lord today as Hezekiah and the people came to know Him then.  He is a mighty Fortress and Deliverer.  He will take up the cause of the righteous and in His time and His way that enemy will be defeated.  When fear comes knocking, don’t be afraid, only trust and obey. 

 
Blessings,
kent
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