Building up the Temple

November 3, 2016

Acts 20:32

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Building up the Temple

This past weekend we had the privilege of having a few of our grandchildren stay with us.  Now each on of them has professed their faith in Christ, but I observed that their faith had been weakened, by disappointments, challenges and just the world that they live in.  Through the weekend Sharon and I just shared testimonies of God’s faithfulness and stories of the things He has done in our lives and the lives of others.  It was like watering a wilted flower.  I saw their faith begin to rise up as they were encouraged in the Word and by the stories of God’s personal faithfulness.  I observed the cynicism begin to depart from their attitudes and their hearts become tender toward the Lord again.  This is why we have church.  It is not just about an organized service on Sunday morning, but about when two or more are gathered in His name.  We need more of that kind of church, especially in these trying times.  We all need to be focused on building up the temple, because when we build up and edify one another that is what we are doing.  ” Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)”

Romans 14: 19 exhorts us, ” Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”  This is especially true when we are with other believers that may not hold your same point of view on some doctrinal issues.  In the past we have often spent more time debating and arguing our differences rather than edifying one another in the love of Christ, thus we maintain our walls of difference and division.  That is not the work of the Holy Spirit.  His work is to unify us and bring us into one Spirit.  1 Corinthians 6:17 says, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”  Paul says in Ephesians 4:2-6, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”  How important it is that we have that unity of love and mutual edification where we are not only focused upon our needs, but upon the needs of others.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 encourages us, “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”  

It is so important that we speak into one another’s lives the faith and encouragement that we all need to hear and be mindful of.  In so doing we water one another’s faith and keep it strong and focused on God’s kingdom rather than the kingdom of this world.  

When there may be those times and seasons that we are alone and without any real fellowship or encouragement I am reminded of David as he was fleeing for his life from Saul.  In the Psalms he is constantly encouraging his soul through the Word and reminding himself of all of God’s goodness and benefits.  Praise encourages his faith and causes him to rise above his circumstances.  It was a time when the Spirit of God within him ministered encouragement and faith back into his soul.  He didn’t live by the way he felt or the way he perceived things were going, but he committed all to God and placed his trust fully in Him.  After all, Romans 10:17 reminds us, “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  God’s Word is that source of faith and encouragement that needs to be verbalized to ourselves and to others.  Let us be mindful at every opportunity to be building up the temple.

Blessings,

#kent

Galatians 5:13-15
13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Beware of the Pack Mentality

One of the things that I have often observed in the work place or social gatherings where people are in frequent association is what I will call a pack mentality. It is so subtle that often we don’t even realize that we have been caught up in it. I know I have at times and probably most of us have and perhaps still are.
It often goes something like this, someone, especially someone outside our circle or click, has a weakness or makes a mistake. Some one of our peers begins to make jokes either to the person or about the person to others. Before, long others are chiming in with their wise crack, comments and jesting. Suddenly we find ourselves adding to that dialogue as we all laugh at that person’s expense. The person may seem to take it in stride and may even laugh along with you, but what is going on inside of the person who is under attack? That person is being demoralized, made to feel less of a person and has become a victim to a group of people who are delighting in biting and devouring the person’s dignity and worth. This can be very demoralizing to a person and many of us have been on the side of the victim so we may well know or remember what that feels like. What may have started out in light ribbing or jest can become a blood bath for the victim. The more blood that is drawn the more the “pack” moves into devour and tear apart. Gossip works that same way.
This kind of behavior not only takes place in the work place and social gatherings; it can and does often take place in our churches and among our assembly. While this may afford some of us great entertainment it usually doesn’t come without a price, but as long as we are not the one paying it, who cares, is often our attitude.
Our scripture today reminds us that walking in love is to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we are a part of doing something to someone that we wouldn’t want done to us, then we are not walking in love. Our jesting and faultfinding can sometimes turn very ugly and hateful as one party may try and out insult the other. What started out in fun can become very personal and hurtful. The Spirit of Christ is seen in Philippians 4:8, which should be our guiding, light. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.” We have the Spirit of the life of Christ in us and by His very nature we are to be life-givers and not life-takers. Speak those things, which edify and build up. In the pack mentality that will make you like a wet blanket in a blazing fire, but we were not called to be a part of the world and their thinking.
Each day, make it your objective and desire to see how many people that you can build up, edify and speak good things about. Be quick to praise others and very slow to find fault. There is a need for life-givers in a cruel and negative world. Let us fit the description of Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Blessings,
#Kent

Revealed

March 20, 2014

Revealed


1 Corinthians 2:9-16

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

As God’s people we know more than we think we know.  Just as I don’t know what I am about to write right now, the Spirit of God within me does.  Many times as He has led me to write in an area or on a subject, I have protested saying, “God, I don’t know about that or what to write about that. ”  He would simply ignore my protest and wait for me to begin to write.  Today is another of these days.  Often God doesn’t reveal but the initial portion we need to get started.  Further revelation comes as we step out in faith and act on what we have, rather than on what we don’t have.  If we are God’s vessels, filled with His Spirit and possessing the mind of Christ, as the last verse of our scripture for today says we do, then we have to realize that we have a power to move beyond our natural ability and limitations.  I know my limitations and they are many, but I also know that in my weakness God’s strength is revealed.  

How does God want to reveal Himself in you and through you?  Will you, like myself, protest of your inability and weaknesses, or will you like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8 say, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here [am] I; send me.”  When God sends us, He will equip us and He will provide for us a way.  Faith is the precursor to all that He gives to us.  Rarely is everything laid out on the table and we know the whole plan and have all our provisions.  Faith reveals the will and provision of God as we walk in it and believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  You have a vast, immeasurable reservoir of Spirit Life within you.  You have not began to sound the depths of what God’s Spirit can and will do through you.  Our God is an ever increasing light revealing Himself more and more unto the perfect day when as 2 Peter 1:19 declares, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” God’s people are the revelation of His truth and the proclamation of His glory.  Before you see the fullness of this truth you will see the revelation of all that hold the truth in unrighteousness for the man of sin will reveal it in his day.  Matthew 12:24 says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 warns us, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”  All that is seen in the world proclaiming Christianity is not the Church.  The true Church is the remnant whose hearts and lives belong to the Lord, not just in outward profession.  The day will reveal His own.  

As God is revealing the dross in us, He is also revealing Himself in us.  Beneath the dross lies the gold and silver, the nature and character of God and His redemption.  Though we are often discouraged and mourn over the sin that still wants to cling to us, we must not let that become the identification of who we are.  God is at work in us, perfecting that which concerns Him, that His Son may be revealed through us.  2 Corinthians 7:1 tells us, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 

God has a plan.  Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” A body is prepared for Christ, the head, to rest upon and fill with the fullness of all that He is.  Are we prepared to have revealed in us all that He is?   Let us move out in faith and be that revelation of God’s glory and truth. 

 

 

Blessings,

#Kent

Be Kind to One Another

February 3, 2014

 

Be Kind to One Another


Ephesians 4:32

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 


It occurs to me that simple acts of kindness are perhaps one of the greatest expressions and testimonies of the love of God working through us.  Think about the example of marriage for a moment.  Two people start out deeply attracted and hopelessly in love with one another.  There isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other.  What changes?  Through time we tend to become more involved with life outside of each other, little irritations and annoyances begin to eat at us, our familiarity with each other begins to give place to disregard and sometimes even contempt for each other.  What was so special becomes more and more common and less and less special and appreciated.  Soon we begin to give expression to annoyances, irritations and dissatisfactions.  In defense and hurt the spouse releases their own barrage of complaints.  Little by little, what was so perfect and beautiful can become a battleground of insults, hurts and offenses.  The relationship becomes divided; each party withdraws from the other more and more till often the end result is separation and divorce.  

One of the givens in life is that even the people you love the most will sometimes offend and fail to meet your expectations and likewise you will do the same to them.  The greatest antidote to these shortcomings is love, forgiveness and kindness.  Let’s back up for a moment and see what precedes our scripture on kindness.  Ephesians 4:24-31 says, “But ye have not so learned Christ.  If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 

 Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Right here some of us may see our relationships and where they have come too.  If we find ourselves here, we are not only grieving that person we are in relationship with but we are also grieving the Holy Spirit.  You may say, “but you don’t know how much this person irritates me, failed me and disappointed me.”  You may not realize how much you have irritated, failed and disappointed the Holy Spirit.  If God dealt with us, as we deserved we would all be toast.  The Lord sees beyond our faults, shortcomings and the attributes of irritation and sees our heart.  He has determined to love us in spite of ourselves and He operates in our lives for our highest good, not His.  If the Lord were only looking out for His interests He would have never laid down His life for the undeserving creatures that we are.  In Christ, we must adopt this same mindset, where we are no longer responding and acting from our feelings, but out of the mind and heart of God.  This is an attitude in life where we are not easily offended through the hurtful comments and actions of others, where we return good for evil, where we bless those who curse us, give beyond that which others may take from us, go the extra mile and act out of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness.  These are the love and actions that the world can’t understand, because it so supersedes any kind of love we find in the world.  

Our place to develop and practice this love and kindness of Christ is first in our own homes and relationships.  Most of the time the hardest people to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving too are those of our own household.  This is most often where we will see the reflection of the true nature that is working in us.  Do you like what you see?  Is it what you want and hope to be?  

As we learn to bring every thought and action under submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit we may find ourselves speaking and acting, not out of what we feel in the natural, but out of what we know to be the mind and love of God.  As we plant these seeds of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness, we may find our harvest much richer than we ever imagined.  We can’t change the heart and actions of others.  They alone are responsible for those.  The way we can change them is by first changing us.  Perhaps they aren’t really the problem; they are only a symptom of a problem that may have its root in us.  Let God have His perfect work of grace in you today.  Speak the words of kindness that bring grace to the hearer.  Let random acts of kindness fill your day as you bless even those who may not deserve it, even as the Lord has blessed you.  Take this to heart concerning your former nature, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 

 
Blessings,
kent
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