Colossians 2:1-3
I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge

Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” Proverbs 4:5 tells us, “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget [it] not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” Psalms 119:104 teaches us, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.”
The true treasures that God has for us are not riches of gold, silver and precious stones; they are the riches of wisdom, understanding and the knowledge of the Lord. That is why the Bible is the most precious and priceless book in the world for it contains these riches and the Holy Spirit is the guide that leads us into the depths of His treasure house. Unlike the riches of the world that promote greed, selfishness and lust, these treasures bring us into the character and knowledge of godliness, love and the fruit of the Spirit. What is even more amazing is that the fruit of following and finding these precepts of wisdom with understanding is what often produces the fruit of earthly prosperity and blessing as well. More importantly they teach us not to be looking at those things which are perishing, but rather those things which are eternal. Paul, in this passage from Colossians says the full riches are in the complete understanding, because understanding unlocks to us the full mystery of God, which is in Christ.
Who are you? “You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). It is when we comprehend and fully process this truth of who we are in God that we begin to truly be hid in Him. It is our spiritual ignorance that continues to hold on to an identity that is outside of Christ.
Paul reveals this truth in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Most of us in the mind of our natural thinking have not really gone down into the grave of our earthly reasoning, mentality and natural awareness and so we have never risen in the resurrection of the riches of Christ in spiritual wisdom and the knowledge of who we are in Christ. We acknowledged it by faith spiritually, but have we truly embraced it in reality? When a woman marries a man, in most circumstances she gives up her name and she takes on his, but aren’t most of us like the woman who wants to take on all the benefits of his name, but she wants to keep her own name as well? We still want to be Mrs. Adam-Christ. Isn’t this why we see the carnality in our lives and the mixture of flesh and spirit within the church. God wants to educate us in who we are. He has given us the riches of all that He is in Christ Jesus and we are content with the husks that are fed to the hogs. As we will press into Christ and into depth of His Word we will find the riches that will bring us into the liberty of the Spirit. It has been said that, “knowledge is power.” When you begin to come into the full realization of who you are in Christ and what God has created you for, will that not bring you also into the power of God? God operates through vessels that are in union and in sync with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads us into all of the riches of God through His Word and then He begins to operate those riches through us in wisdom, knowledge and understanding. This is where we buy the gold of God, tried in the fire, because the truth of God’s word must become a reality in us and that can only be worked out through experience and the proving of God’s word in our daily lives. This is the oil that the foolish virgins asked of the wise in Matthew 25. It is not something that can just be given to you, it something that you must press into and lay hold of. It is a substance that is brought forth in your life through the trials and tribulations, because this is the place you must lose yourself and find who you are in Christ.
“Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” All of it is found in the riches of Christ Jesus in whom are all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Blessings,
#kent

Practical Application for a Holy Life

Colossians 3: 1-3
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

The first thing we need as Christians is a revelation of who we are in Christ. In Christ, the former man with it natural affections has passed away and we are putting on a new man renewed in thought, purpose and deed; reflecting and producing the image of Christ. Colossians 3 is a great application for who we are and what we are becoming, as well as what we need to be doing to get there.
We start out by realizing positionally where we are at, “raised with Christ” who is seated at the right hand of God. We are in Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. We aren’t going to find many positions higher than that. We, who are in that position, have come to a new mindset different from the one we formerly carried. We must be a heavenly-minded people whose affections are on things above and not on things below, who walk after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Many of us are still holding on to that old unrenewed mind and earthly affections. It is bringing us down and robbing us of who we are and what we have “in Christ”. It is only as we behold Him that the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Colossians 3 is an instructional in the practical ways we are to become heavenly-minded and have a renewed mind. The first thing that it instructs us to do is often the hardest for us to put into practical application. Verses 5-11 instruct us, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming, 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 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.” Do you happen to recognize any of these attributes still lingering around your life? The hardest thing to put to death is our flesh. It has an instinct for survival and it will do anything, compromise anyway, promise to be good, it just doesn’t want to die; yet it must. We can see the value of keeping Christ and the Word of God constantly in front of us, so that we have a mirror of who we are in Christ and we don’t loose vision of where we are going and what our purpose now is. These little daily devotionals are just one more means I pray the Holy Spirit uses to continually prompt and exhort us in His ways and not our former nature. We tend to want to turn away and ignore the things that put a finger on our sin and our reluctance to yield certain areas of our lives to Christ. We all have our little weaknesses, our idols, and those things that our flesh covets and doesn’t want to give up. Yet, if we are unwilling, then we are living in rebellion and disobedience to Christ, we are not being true to who we are “in Christ”, thus we deny His best and His highest for us.
These scriptures tell us what we must take off, but what about what we must put on. God never takes anything away but what He doesn’t give us something better to replace it with. Verses 12-17 instruct us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” God is in affect telling us to be clothed now with His nature, which is the holy apparel that is consistent with heavenly citizenship. The world around us must see something unique, different and special about the people who bear the name of Christ. If we are no different than the world, then we haven’t really changed identity or clothing. We are still living in the same old unredeemed man. Its not all about us going to church, or just talking about Jesus, or telling the world they are sinners bound for hell unless they repent; it is about a lifestyle and behavior that exemplifies who and what we are in Christ. That speaks so much more loudly than words. Give me a person that truly lives Christ before me and that will more quickly move me to change than all of the words and arguments they could give. When you put on Christ you don’t just put on different behavior, you put on a holy presence. It is a presence that exudes the love and power of the Spirit that you are of. God now has place and platform to glorify Himself through you.
Colossians 3 concludes by these instructions to the households of believers and the reminder that at the end of this natural life there is a reward and an inheritance. A reminder that it is Christ we serve and that if we choose to do wrong, that wrong bears its consequences without respect of persons. Verses 18-24 instruct us, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
Thus we have simply laid out for us the guide for living the practical Christ centered life that is consistent with whom we now are. Daily we present our bodies a living sacrifice and daily we renew our minds in Christ. We apply these practical instructions with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, that in all things we might be conformed to His life and live consistent with the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

The Lord’s Friendship

John 15:14-15
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Jesus says there is a characteristic that goes along with friendship with Him and that is obedience. Our obedience to the Lord is something we all probably take much too lightly. We tend to go our merry way through life and regard lightly the many ways and places in our lives that we offend the Holy Spirit and regard lightly the Lord’s will and commandment for our lives. It becomes an unconscious act on our part, because we get caught up in our busyness and our lives. We fail to always keep the Lord constantly before us, so that our day, our thoughts, our actions and words are centered around and in Him. Jesus is more often our afterthought rather than our forethought. What the Lord is communicating to His disciples is that in order to be in that relationship as a friend of God, rather than just a servant of God, requires obedience and cognizance of His will and His ways in all that we do. Obedience on our part is an expression of our love and friendship with the Lord. We are communicating that we value Him above ourselves and the relationship we have with Him is of more value than our personal will and desires. Jesus speaks in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In this fourteenth chapter of John where Jesus is basically bidding farewell to His disciples before His Passion, He emphasizes this aspect of love, friendship and obedience quite strongly. “At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me (John 14:20-24).”
Most all of us want a closer and more intimate relationship with Christ. We want to hear His voice and experience His manifest presence in our lives. It is the consecration of desiring Him above all else that brings us to that place. Would we want to be or abide someplace where we were ignored, put aside, unappreciated and not valued? Yet, somehow we expect to experience the presence of the Lord when this is often the attitude of our hearts toward Him. If the Lord is to feel welcome in us and extend His tent over our lives, then we have need of a heart attitude that reflects true love, reverence, respect and obedience to Him. He needs to know that we are truly His and not our own. He will not usurp the will He has given us and we can certainly override His will for our lives. Most of us have learned that when we do this, we rob ourselves of God’s best for us. Is there anything really better than abiding with Him, experiencing His closeness and abiding in the heartbeat of God? That is the place we really realize the fullness of joy, contentment and purpose.
The Lord wants to be our friend. He wants to reveal Himself to us in a much more personal way. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.” Jesus wants to be that friend to us that is closer than a brother, but we must show ourselves friendly through our response and obedience to Him. Our obedience is the expression of love to our dearest Friend.

Blessings,
#kent

Changing Garments

May 20, 2014

Changing Garments

Colossians 3:9-13
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

Every day we make a choice when we get up and get dressed what garment or clothes we are going to wear. Am I going to put back on what is lying at the foot of my bed or am I going to look in the closet and choose to wear a fresh clean set of clothes? The Word teaches us that when we come into a relationship with Christ and He is abiding in our spirits we must make an active choice with regard to our wills. There is an active daily decision on our part to put off the flesh along with our affection for it and put on the nature that conforms to His. When we were kids we were content and happy to wear the old dirty jeans with the holes in the knees and the old ratty tee shirt. Then mom would lay out a change of clothes and tells us this is what she wanted us to wear. Normally we rebelled, whined, argued, complained but we eventually complied. Left to ourselves we might still be wearing those old rags. Thankfully, most of us had a mom that began to teach us to dress for success. She taught us that the world evaluates and judges you by what they see you wearing. Fair or not, that is reality. As we began to wear those clean and neat clothes we began to perceive ourselves differently and it began to reflect in our attitudes. This was one of the reasons why, in times gone by, the schools used to have dress codes. God still has a dress code. Just like we needed to obey mom, we need to obey the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in regards to our behavior and the choices we make. Colossians 3:9 says, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” It is time to throw out those old hole-filled, filthy jeans and raggedy tee shirts out and put on the new garments. It tells us, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Do your ever find that what is astonishing and disheartening is that so many who claim to be and represent themselves as Christians have terrible ethics? They don’t keep their word; they’re often not totally honest and forthright. Quite frankly, we are often an insult and a slap in God’s face when it comes to our integrity. Don’t lie and say you are something you are not. Be what you say you are, in action, word and deed, having “put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” When you change your clothes, change your underwear too! Be transformed and conformed to the nature of Christ from within to without. The word tells us this putting on the new man involves several things. What do the garments of Christ consist of? “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” It goes on to say, “15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name (nature and character) of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Everyday we make an active decision about what we are going wear both naturally and spiritually. Are we choosing to dress for success, by putting on Christ and putting off the flesh with all of its misdeeds? Our transformation is based upon our union and compliant relationship with the Spirit of God within us and the Word of God that instructs our minds and hearts. How are you dressing today? Are you changing garments?

Blessings,
#kent

The Brokenhearted

April 15, 2014

The Brokenhearted
Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;

Luke 4 says that Jesus read this passage in the synagogue one day and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Jesus came to fix, heal and bind up the broken man and woman, spiritually, emotionally and physically. He cares as much about our state of being today as He did then and His ministry is still the same. The difference is that now He uses His many-membered body, gifted and anointed of the Holy Spirit to administer these graces. Now what Jesus came to fulfill in this passage is being fulfilled in us. We can only minister these gifts because we have been the recipients of them. We have experienced God’s love and grace shed abroad in our hearts. We have experienced His comfort and His help in our time of need or brokenness. We have experienced His deliverance in our lives from the sin and strongholds that have bound us. Paul says in Romans 15:8, “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed.” Paul didn’t just minister words; He ministered from His life experiences.
There are times in each of our lives when we are brokenhearted. It could be through the loss of a loved one or because a loved one betrayed us or disappointed us. It could be because of any number of disappointments or hurts we experience in life. When these times come upon us we are crushed emotionally; our insides literally hurt and agonize in the emotional pain we feel. It is not unlike a severe physical injury in that, initially it is an open wound and sore that causes us great pain. Just as we are very protective of an area of body that has been wounded we are often very protective of the emotional areas of our lives where we have been wounded and hurt as well. This is where time is often our friend, because wounds, emotional or physical, take time to heal. Unless God does something out of the ordinary, our healing is usually a process of time that restores us to health. The important thing to remember is that in that process the Lord is at work binding up and ministering to our need. It can often be in so many unseen ways, little signs that He gives us, special blessings, words of love and encouragement from others, the special memories we cherish and cling too. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. Sometimes it is our broken heart that leads us to repentance in areas and causes us to return to the Lord. The Lord is in the business of healing and fixing broken people. As His people that should be our purpose as well. As this prophecy in Isaiah was fulfilled in Jesus, so it must be fulfilled in us who are His expression and members in this earth. We are the vessels through whom He often flows in His ministry to humanity. More times than not the reason we are able to minister is because we have had to walk that road ourselves. We have had to personally experience the Lord’s presence in our own situations. As we have experienced the Lord’s grace to us we are then able to empathize and share that grace with others. Many times what we experience even in our pain and suffering is not so much for us as it is for others. Jesus suffered much to bring us so great a salvation. We in turn well may share in those sufferings if we are to be the instruments of His grace and mercy. The Lord makes us walk the walk, before we can talk the talk. But our ministry is so much more powerful when we are ministering out of personal experience and not just theological ideas.
If you are experiencing brokenness in your life this day be encouraged that God can take your pain and use it for someone else’s healing. The precious part is that it heals us as well, it makes us stronger and better equipped in our spiritual lives because of what we have had to walk through. Be encouraged, the Lord is there in your pain working a deeper work of His grace and mercy.

Blessings,
#kent

Kingdom Inheritors

April 1, 2014

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Kingdom Inheritors

Romans 14:17-18 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” We are not inheriting a kingdom of flesh, but of Spirit. God is making real to us who we are in Christ, that we are a spiritual and kingdom people being fashioned and transformed into His image and likeness. It is just as important to know who we are not in Christ. We are not what we used to be. We are not what we came out of. Those things have passed away and we are a new creature and creation in Christ Jesus. God makes it clear that His kingdom is not made up of the thinking, ideology and behavior of this world. Anyone that is still living and abiding in that paradigm in their thinking and living is not going to fit into the kingdom of God. If we want God’s kingdom there is only one way and that by being ‘washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’. The blood of Jesus is the only thing that has the power to transform our lives from the world that is lost outside of Christ to those are in Christ and become partakers of kingdom thinking, living and being.
The Corinthians in this text were having a hard time transitioning their thinking and being to kingdom principles and kingdom ways. The apostle Paul is telling them here that the former ways have no place in the kingdom. They are enmity to it. We live by a different standard and if we are not seeing the effectiveness and power of that kingdom, it may well be that things are not lining up in our thinking and living with kingdom principles and ways.
We have a righteous King of glory, Jesus Christ the Righteous, who is establishing His kingdom within the hearts and the lives of His people. If we consider ourselves His people then we need to find that place of complete submission to His Lordship. Most all of us would agree that we want to go to heaven when we die, but how many of us are willing to go there while we live? Ponder that question for a moment.
You see living heaven on earth is a place we find first in our spirits. Outwardly we still live in this world and as such we are faced with all of it trials and difficulties, as well as its pleasures, temptations and sins. Heaven comes to earth when we are living and walking out the life of Christ and the principles of the kingdom in our earthly life and vessel. We are the manifestation and expression of His kingdom in the earth. When we mix the two realms of flesh and Spirit we get a muddy mess. It is this muddy mess that defiles and taints the name of Jesus in the earth. The world sees in us a people that proclaims and preaches one thing, but then tries to live it out with natural thinking and human ways. No wonder they are put off by our hypocrisy. God gives us some grace here. We are growing and we are not fully matured yet, but it is important that our heart is after the kingdom of God and not the kingdoms of this world. Already we see them passing away and more than ever we are impressed with the truth that we must lay hold of His kingdom in mind, word and deed. Judgement is swiftly coming for the wicked, but our lives must stand as a testimony against all wickedness and perversity of men through the demonstration of righteous living and through the power of our love in Christ. We stand as a testimony to God’s alternative to judgement. We stand and walk with the light of hope and salvation for all that would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and turn from their wicked ways. Heaven is here, but it needs you as a vessel to reveal it and unveil it. The kingdom of God has come, is come and is coming, but we are the revelation of its presence and reality in this world. How will they know the King unless they see the reality of His kingdom in you and I? We are where the rubber meets the road and where spiritual principles become practical reality in our daily living and actions. If the wicked would see Jesus, they must see Him through us, not through our condemnation, but through our love and righteousness.
A kingdom principle is, that our gain is often in our loss, and our life is found in our death. Paul reveals it this way in Philippians 3: 7-11, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” This is a kingdom mentality and thinking. It is how we transition into the kingdom of God. We become the less that He might become the more, till He becomes our all in all.

Blessings,
#kent

Spiritual Fitness

March 27, 2014

Spiritual Fitness

1 Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.

We live in a time and a society that is very health and fitness conscious. It almost seems ironic, considering over half our population would fall in the obese or overweight category. Yet we are hearing about it all of the time. The truth is we want to eat and enjoy all that we want, but we still want to have buff and gorgeous bodies and looks. Somehow God didn’t seem to create them to go together very well. If we want physical fitness, then we know that it requires discipline and effort on our part. People and companies have made billions of dollars by selling pills and products that told us we could have the one without the other. If I set in front of my TV and watch a workout program that should somehow help me to get fit. If I eat a snickers candy bar and a diet coke, then I think I’m on a diet and am going to lose weight. If I watch a lot of sports, then somehow that makes me an athlete.
This scripture makes an analogy. There is nothing wrong with physical training and staying in shape. Like anything it can get out of balance. While physical training in a natural sense can be good, in the light of what is really meaningful in life it isn’t that high on the list. We are in the process of maturing and training up our spiritual man. As in the physical, to be spiritually fit requires an investment of time, of dedication, discipline and exercise. What kind of spiritual shape is our life in today? Are we armchair and couch-potato Christians? Do we warm a pew, say a few weak amens, listen to a sermon or a word and then continue on through life without it affecting any change in our behavior, or actions, or involvement? Are we lethargic, complacent, dull, and self-willed? What is the state of our spiritual fitness today? How would you honestly rate yourself on a scale of 1 to10? When I look at my physical man and see how indulgent I have become in so many areas of my life, I realize that the same mentality can very well carry over into my spiritual life. Are we a nation of out of shape and overindulgent Christians? Outwardly we are very blessed, but inwardly do we fit the profile of Revelations 3:17? “17For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” This is not written to condemn us, but it is a call to action for all of us. Many of you who are reading this are spiritually strong and fit, but others of us may be strong with our words, but weak in our actions.
The apostle Paul gives us another analogy in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither.
26Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary.
27But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].”
We all need to come to grips with the fact that God has a calling and a purpose in our lives. I am being convicted today that there needs to be both a physical and spiritual discipline in my life. I am not talking about legalism, but like Paul, I need to conduct my life with temperance, self-control and have myself in check, spirit, soul and body. God is calling us in this hour to prepare ourselves for a time of great spiritual battle and a time of His revealing. Most of us aren’t prepared for that with the mentality and habits that we harbor. God is calling us to spiritual fitness through such things as prayer, fasting, personal time with the Lord and walking out our faith in love and actions that reveal the character of who we are in Christ. We are a called out people, a separated people and a holy people. We are a people called after God’s own name and for His glory. We are being called to the gyms of spiritual fitness to be exercised in godliness and righteousness. We have an adversary who has been lulling us to sleep and into spiritual laziness. This is the day to discern our spiritual state and develop a mentality and lifestyle that is in harmony with God’s desire for our spiritual fitness. The overcomer is a person of spiritual strength and fortitude. Spiritual strength is developed in discipline, consistency, a right state of mind and a vision of what we are being strong for. We don’t want to find ourselves, after believing, coming up short and missing the mark of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus. Let us press on with all of our being into Him and be strong in the power of His might.

Blessings,
#Kent

A Loving Moment

August 14, 2013

A Loving Moment

1 John 3:18
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

How do we show our love? Do you find that in the fast paced society we live in, we are constantly on the move, meeting demands, deadlines and obligations? In today’s society, especially, time is a commodity we seem to have the least of. Everything around us is in competition for the little bit we have. I know from personal experience that this is an area we easily get most out of balance in our lives. Time becomes a day to day scheduling of priorities and often what we put at the top of our list would not be what God would put at the top of His. God tells us in His Word to seek first the Kingdom of God. What is the first thing on your priority list each day and where do you spend that time? While some of us hardly have time for God, others of us are so absorbed with spiritual things we may be failing to really meet the needs of those closest to us for trying to meet the needs of everyone else. Time management is an issue that I wrestle with even as I am writing this and I am sure it is an issue with many of us. It is hard for us to be everything to everybody. While we can tell people and loved ones that we love them, nothing really communicates that like our personal time and attention. We have all seen instances where childcare, TV, electronic games, computers and other modern day conveniences and inventions raise our children. Many of us are guilty of this to varying degrees ourselves.
The point of this is not to condemn us for what we have failed to be or where we have failed to demonstrate our love in action. What we want to do is bring our time and agendas before the Lord and examine them in the light of His purpose and will for us. It is the investments of our time that are the true currency in making a difference in the ones we love. When the Word says we are to love “in deed and truth” isn’t it really talking about “quality giving,” whether it is of our time or our substance? In order to improve the quality of our love, we have to improve the quality of actions and demonstration of what we say with our words. The greatest testimony against Christianity today is that we are not demonstrating what we say with our words. We are all talkie, talkie and no walkie, walkie. As we sincerely begin to seek to move in the Spirit of God, we must constantly be willing to change our thinking, our priorities and our plans. God is not always going to move according to our agenda and schedule. We must learn the flexibility of moving to His. That means we may have let go of what we are doing, at the most inopportune times. If you are a person that likes structure and consistency in your life you will find this tuff. The Lord is shaping and molding our lives to move with the leading of His Spirit and will, not ours. We have to become like the harnessed horse that is willing to submit to the direction of the bit. Our life is all about service and surrender. When Jesus taught His disciples, He didn’t recruit them and send them off to seminary to get a good theological education. He showed and mentored them through day to day, moment to moment life experience how to walk out the love of God in a practical way. We see times Jesus and His disciples desperately needed some rest and space to themselves and how Jesus gave up His needs to meet the needs of others.
Time is a precious commodity and we all have accountability for how we use it. The Word tells us to “redeem the time for the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).” Let us make the moments of our lives count as we invest them wisely in the lives of others rather than just the business of life. What is it that we do that will matter a week from now, a year from now, a lifetime from now? It is my prayer that the Lord will give us all a greater wisdom when it comes to how we spend and invest our time. We must remember that it is our time that can both build and make a meaningful relationship or the lack of it, which can destroy it. May our time become a series of loving moments that translate into a lifetime of loving in deed and in truth.

Blessings,
kent

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