Isaiah 66:2
For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

God Works Best in Broken Vessels

Has life, experiences and people brought you to a place of brokenness? Has all that you sought to build and do came to nothing? Have you fully come to the end of yourself and your efforts? If you have that is a good place to be. It doesn’t always feel good or appear good, but it is at the end of ourselves that we finally find God’s will and purpose. It is there that we come to the full revelation that we are nothing outside of Him who is everything. It is there that we can confront God in naked honesty and abandonment of self. It is there that we fully realize that He alone is God; He establishes and He tears down, but what ever remains has to be of Him. It is the poor, humble and contrite man that comes in total honesty and brokenness before His God. There are no pretenses, no self-righteousness and no illusions that He is anything outside of God’s will and purpose for His life.
Often the inroads to this state and place are very hard and painful. Often we come there through the loss of all that we held dear in this world. Yet, in that place there is such honesty in our brokenness. We have finally come to a place where now God can fill the emptiness with Himself. We have come through our Gethsemane place of temptation and we have experienced a Calvary through the work of the cross in our lives. We have died to self, but in that death we are now about to experience our resurrection in the greater place of His life. It is on the other side of the cross that we touch God’s glory and we find a restoration beyond that which we have experienced in the world or through any efforts of our own.
No wonder God is looking for this person of a broken, poor and contrite spirit. One who now trembles at God’s Word and lives in the awesome fear of Him. This man is now ready for God’s use and His power to be demonstrated through Him, because in this place none will receive the glory other than God who gives the increase. This person is an emptied vessel that God can fill with the richness of Himself and His Spirit.
“God, as painful as it may be, bring us to this place. This is the place of true godly men and women that are ripe for Your increase and Your outpouring. Bring us to that state of spirit because you work best in broken vessels.”

Blessings,
#kent

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Setting the Prisoners Free

December 31, 2014

Setting the Prisoners Free

Zechariah 9:11-12
As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
12 Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

This passage of scripture deals with the ushering in of the spiritual kingship and lordship of Jesus. His was not the outward kingdom that so many looked for, but His kingdom was one that was established in the hearts and souls of the men and women that would believe upon Him. Through the blood of His covenant Christ has come into our hearts to be our Lord, our salvation and our fortress.
While we have experienced the liberation of our spirits, our souls have remained the battleground of our will and desires coming into conformity and submission to the lordship of Christ. All through the Old Testament and into the New we see the warring of flesh and spirit in the midst of God’s people. We see the dealings of God when the flesh went unchecked and how it led to perversity and sin. God would warn, but the will of the flesh made for deaf ears and a hardened heart. So often it took the severity of God to bring His people back to repentance. We are no different today. We all have struggled with sin and its strongholds in our lives. No doubt we have often cried out to God to deliver us from our ungodly and impure ways. We have experienced being the prisoner of that waterless pit which is like a well without water. Instead of drinking from the wells of salvation we are experiencing the parched emptiness and life void we experience in that place where we have been a prisoner to our sin. How many times have we cried out in our weakness as we have sought to climb out of the slimy pit of our despairing ways only to slide back down again? In our spirits we know it is not what we want to be, we know it is not God’s highest or best for us and we know that it is void of the Spirit and Life of God and yet we still feel a prisoner to it.
The good news that the Lord is speaking here is don’t give up and don’t despair; the Lord has not given up on you and me. He will not forever leave us to our prison, but He says, “Return to the fortress”. You are not a prisoner of hopelessness and despair, but a prisoner of hope. Paul makes this cry in Romans 7:21-25, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
Doesn’t Paul describe himself as a prisoner in this passage? And we can all relate with where he is coming from. Yet he is a prisoner of hope in the midst of his despair. He sees, as we must, our hope, our anchor and our fortress in Christ.
Joseph was thrown into a waterless pit by his jealous brothers and then sold into slavery. Joseph had nothing but the dream, the destiny and the hope that God had placed inside of him. How many times he must have longed for and cried out to God for his deliverance and freedom, yet things didn’t get better they only got worst. Joseph may have been a prisoner outwardly, but inwardly through faithfulness and a right spirit he was the Lord’s freeman. He remained a prisoner of hope until one day the Lord brought him forth out of the prison and into the palace. It was a day of double portion blessing. He not only gained his freedom, but he came out of prison to reign.
If we have become discouraged by the state of our life, our growth and seeming immaturity in Christ, never be a prisoner without hope. We keep returning to our fortress, which is Christ in us, our hope of glory. His blood covenant has made a promise to deliver us from this body of sin and death. ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ Never succumb to your sin and fleshly weaknesses even though you may stumble in them. Never depart from the hope you have in Christ to bring you out of the waterless pit of your sin struggles. Continually turn to your fortress, identify with who you are in Christ and know that His blood covenant will bring you through and bring you out. Hold fast that you my see your double portion blessing.

Blessings,
#kent

Do You Love what God Loves?

December 3, 2013

Luke 15:1-7
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4″Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Do You Love what God Loves?

I have the joy of photographing many people. We jokingly tell our clients that we have one rule when they view their photographs. They can criticize anyone else but themselves. Why do we say that? Invariably, the ones we are the most critical and judgmental of is ourselves. We can see faults and weaknesses in us that no else would even notice or pay attention too. Self is sometimes the hardest person we have to live with and accept. Sometimes it is hard to love your neighbor as your self, because you don’t really love yourself.
God sent Jesus Christ to tell you that you have extreme value and worth in His eyes. We often judge ourselves according to worldly standards of acceptance. We may hate ourselves because we don’t fit into the right weight class, physical appearance, intellectual ability, race or social –economic status. There are numerous reasons we may feel condemned and rejected. We may be struggling with hidden sins or urges we know are perverse or unclean. We may have done things that we are ashamed of or feel dirty and condemned for. Do you know why these sinners and publicans liked to hang around Jesus? It wasn’t because He told them what scumbags and worthless people they were and that they were all going to hell. They were attracted by the Love. It was a love that they had never seen or known for themselves. It was a love that was unconditional and that could look past their sin and shame and see their heart. It was a love that spoke to them that they were not just refuse and rejects, but that they had value and were precious in the eyes of the Father. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God didn’t come after us with a big stick. He came after us with the greatest act of Love ever demonstrated to man. God isn’t trying to reject you; He is trying to accept you. We already stand rejected and condemned because of our sin, but God’s love says come to me, trust in My Son and His blood will cover your sin and shame. His blood, shed for your sin, can wash you as white as snow if you will embrace Him in faith. God’s heart is to save and redeem a lost and dying world. It is not His desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and eternal life. We have a will that He has given us and He will not violate our will. He doesn’t force us to receive salvation, He simply invites us to receive the provision He has provided for us to be delivered out of the judgement that is already in place for sin and come into His life, receiving His forgiveness.
Many that have walked in darkness for a time are really sick and tired of it. They realize the emptiness it leaves inside of them. It is fun for the moment, but then it leaves us feeling unclean, used and worthless. So we come back to that attitude so many of us have about ourselves, for various reasons. The truth is that God wants you to love and respect what He loves, and that is you. His heart beats for you, His arms are open to you and He wants to receive you and transform your life. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, the important thing for you to know is that He loves you and He can forgive you if you ask Him too. Simply give your heart to Him. Ask Him to forgive those past sins, come to live in your heart and to give you His life. He has a destiny and purpose for your life that you will never know or find in the places of darkness and self –loathing. It is in His love and His light that He will teach you the path of righteousness and show you the great value that you can have in His kingdom.
Do you love what God loves? Isn’t it time that you did? You are the object of His love.

blessings,
kent

Shallow is the Grave, Deep is the Well

John 4:6-10
Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with [his] journey, sat thus on the well: [and] it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

The word today is from the account of the woman at the well which many of you are familiar with, but if not take a few minutes to read it. There are many wonderful truths in this short encounter. The truth I feel impressed of the Lord to bring out today concerns areas that He is dealing with in my life and no doubt areas He wants to deal with in yours. In the natural scheme of the life of that day, this encounter with Jesus should have never happened. In the eyes of society and especially the typical Jewish outlook, this woman was way beneath good Jewish men, being considered little more than a dog. You know, in our state of sin we are much on that same level in regards to God and His holiness and greatness. Yet, God’s incomprehensible love humbles itself to come down to where we are in the messiness of our lives, in the squalor of our filth and sin and minister’s life to us. All of our lives we have come to the well and drank the waters of self efforts, our goodness and the accomplishments our own lives. The very best of what it could do or offer always left us thirsting again. Now, here is a man that is offering us living water that we would never thirst again. Wouldn’t that be great to never have to rely on my self-efforts and goodness to satisfy that thirsting of my soul? Here is a man that is offering to allow me to drink from the deep wells of salvation. It is so much more than the well of my religion that my forefathers dug. It is a well of deep relationship that forever satisfies.
As that woman, I would think, “this is wonderful, but who is this guy? Are you greater than what we have had before? Are you greater than our doctrine or religion or the belief system I have grown up with all my life? And where do you get this water seeing you have nothing to draw it with (no degree, pedigrees or theological background)? ”
“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:13-14).”
“Okay Lord, I’m convinced. Yes, give me this living water. This has got to be so much easier and better than the old routine of drawing from the well that I am used too.”
Then Jesus says something that catches her off guard and goes to a place she doesn’t really want to go. He tells her to go and get her husband and come here. She says, “Well, I’m not married.” Jesus sees right into her heart and says, ” You are right, you’re not married. You have had five husbands and the one you are with now is not your husband.” Immediately, though, no doubt taken back by His insight, she says, “Sir, I perceive you are a prophet,” and begins to engage in a religious discussion about where the true place of worship is. When the Holy Spirit addresses the other husbands in our lives, our personal sins and idols. We get pretty squeamish, defensive and want to get out of the light of His conviction by changing the subject.
There is an underlying truth here. Jesus wants to give us the living water, but He also wants to deal with these other husbands who haven’t even been true husbands at all. When we drink of this living water we enter into a relationship where Christ becomes our true husband that is our eternal supply, which is able to meet every need. In order for us to drink the fullness of the deep wells of salvation we have to deal with these other husbands in our life. If we have other husbands in our life we are in adultery and idolatry, because they will be taking the place of our true husband, Christ. The only way for us to be in right relationship with our true husband is for these others to die and be buried.
Easily said, not always easily done. These other husbands can represent strongholds, drives, habits, addictions and affections in our lives we don’t really want to let go of. We still have a love or at least a lust for them. We would rather the Lord not go there, but in order for us to experience the depths of the well of salvation and living water we must experience the death and the shallow grave of our idols and the husbands of affections that have ruled over us. So it comes down to a choice, to exchange, a shallow grave for a deep well or keep a shallow well, wherein we continue to thirst and a deep grave if we continue to hold on to the things that only bring death and destruction. Either way, there has to be a death, death to the spiritual to maintain the natural or death to the natural to experience the depths of the spiritual. In what areas do you have other husbands or lovers? Which well and which grave will you choose?

Blessings,
kent

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