Romans 2:1-8(Amplified)
THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. 2[But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things. 3And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict? 4Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? 5But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed. 6For He will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]: 7To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.
8But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath.

Judgements, Intimidations and Manipulations

There was a time when Sharon and I were first married that we had a lot of conflict in areas. I had been a Christian most of my life and Sharon was only about a year old in the faith at this time. She had come to accept Christ as we had shared the Lord and read the Bible together. It was at Easter time as she watched the movie, “The King of Kings”, that the Lord made those scriptures alive to her and drew her to Himself. Before we were married we lived in two different cities. I had been going to college in the town where she lived. After leaving school that year I had a time of tremendous drawing to the Lord and was trying very much to walk with Him in every aspect of my life. By the time we got married in August she was encountering someone in me, different than who she had come to know. All I seemed to think about and care about was the things of God. It’s not that this was a bad thing, but I seemed to think that Sharon should be where I was. Instead of watching TV she should want to read her Bible and pray. So there was this rift between us. I remember praying one night and saying something to the effect, “God I don’t know what to do, I’ve tried to do what’s right and I’ve tried to change her but I can’t.” The Lord spoke to my heart in that time and said, “That is not your job to change her, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Your job is to love her.” When I stopped trying to change and drag Sharon in my strength, she began to start coming forth in her own relationship with the Lord, because it was His doing and not mine. I say all of this to let us know that there are many of us that knowingly or unknowingly are still judging, intimidating and manipulating others to be what we think they should be or do what we think they should do. THAT’S NOT OUR JOB! STOP IT! You let the Holy Spirit deal with them in His time and His way. Meanwhile, know that while we are so busy trying to control others we have some issues of our own that we need to be focusing on. Maybe people aren’t all you think they should be or do for you all that you think that they should, but who made you the judge of them? We are all at different places in our life and in our relationship with the Lord. We have to respect that in one another. We all want to encourage one another in the things that are right and good, but that doesn’t make us someone else’s judge when they don’t live up to our expectations. We only see things through our own colored glasses and if we were to look at things through there perspective it may look a lot different and we may have a whole lot more empathy for why they are like they are. Only the Lord knows the thoughts and the motives of the heart. He alone is qualified to truly judge each individual.
If we are trying to control others, even if our intentions are good, that is a form of witchcraft. We use guilt, judgements, intimidation, seductions and various other means to control others to our way of thinking and doing. In some cases our intentions may be good, as mine were with Sharon, but our methods are the flesh. If one stubbornly is self-seeking, self-serving and disobedient to the truth then eventually they will answer to God for it if they refuse to repent and change their course. We have all been at times, either the perpetrators or the victims of these types of control. For some of us they have become a normal way of life and how we get our way. Instead of using God’s truth with mercy and grace we have wielded it like a club of condemnation and judgement to bring others to our way of thinking. It takes place in the other dynamics of our human relationships as well.
Take the time for a little introspection to see where you might be doing this to others. Remember that by the same standards that we judge others we ourselves will be judged. We need to be far more focused on judging our own walk, relationship and obedience to Christ. Our calling is to strengthen and encourage one another, not to be their judge. After all, that’s not our job; that’s His.

Blessings,
#kent

Proven Faith

July 10, 2015

1 Peter 1:3-9 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Proven Faith

Is there any one of us that feels like our faith has been sorely stretched and tested through our trials and tribulations? Yet even in what we have gone through few of us have been tested in the way many of these early Christians were tested. Even in our struggles and hardships we are blessed in so many many ways. Currently anyway, we still enjoy the freedom to worship without fear of retribution. Our children may actually experience less freedom of religious expression in their schools than we do. The important thing for us to realize is that God doesn’t paint a picture here of all blessing, prosperity and no opposition. For many of us we are only beginning to head into the winds of opposition, trial and testing. Few of us walk into the fire of our own accord, but it is so relevant in this hour that we know Him intimately that shields us as we pass through the fire. Verse 5 says, “who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” There is a divine promise of God’s great salvation and power towards us, but in order for us to reach that breakthrough we must pass through the fire. That fire will greatly test the metal of our faith. It will separate sheep and goats, but, more importantly, it will burn up in our own lives whatsoever is not of God. Some of us have already been feeling the fire and enduring the testing of our faith for some time now. You may feel there are days when you don’t know if you can still go on, but I want to encourage you that you are among the firstfruits of God’s delivering power if you will hold fast your faith. You will be the guide and the mentor to help others come through where you have already walked. You may feel right now like God’s rejected ones, but you are far more favored than you know. When we are going through the severe discipline and chastening of the Lord it is hard for us feel or see ourselves in a place of victory. What we must realize is that we are in a place of victory because of God’s discipline and chastening in our lives. While many Christians are still walking the superficial Christianity you have been experiencing what it is to be on the front lines of battle as you stand in faith concerning your circumstances and all that has come against you. What you probably don’t see is the precious value of your faith that is emerging out of this fire with purity and power. What we all have to learn and are learning even more in this hour is that our reliance and source can no longer be through our human efforts. We must learn the rest that comes from knowing Father as our source in all circumstances. You don’t have the resources, but He does. It occurred to me that it is like a Father that establishes a business and as he raises up his sons it becomes a family business and he changes the name from father’s business to Father and Sons. God is preparing us to take over His business and to operate in it. That is why we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.” He is establishing His business back in this earth through us. First we must be fully trained, equipped and tested to know how to operate in this business properly. We have all seen examples of how it can be improperly operated, but Father is putting integrity back into the business and He is doing it with the fires of purification. Be encouraged people of God. What is crucifying our flesh is strengthening us in spirit and in power. If we hold fast our confidence we will reap its exceeding abundant salvation. We will not only reap it, we will have the privilege of being the instruments of it. Be of good cheer and let the inner peace and joy of the Holy Spirit sustain and encourage you through every trial and testing.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Toolbox

May 27, 2015

God’s Toolbox

Romans 12:4-8
4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

We have often heard the analogies of how we are members of one another in the body of Christ and how as such we serve one another. Perhaps another way of looking at the body of Christ and its members in particular is that we are God’s toolbox. He has a world of broken people down here, and many Christians are among them. They are broken, hurting and in need of attention and fixing. We know that God is a Master Craftsman concerning His creation, but He has chosen to work with and through His tools. Think today that you are a unique and special tool of God. God has given you characteristics, gifts and abilities He didn’t give to everyone else. There are ways and areas you can operate in that others can’t. Those gifts and abilities He has placed in you, some naturally and some divinely, are so that He can use you as His tool to do a work that perhaps no other tool can do quite as effectively. What’s more, He will put you in circumstances and with people that need the ministry of those gifts and abilities. Obviously, you are most effective as your life is yielded to the Holy Spirit so that He can direct and use you to fix, mend and encourage the broken, damaged and discouraged. Sometimes we often take for granted what our lives can mean to the well being and spiritual health of others if we are truly yielded and available to the Holy Spirit to use. How often we miss it because of our self-will. We take ourselves out of God’s hand to pursue our agenda and our priorities. We often rob others of God’s ministering, healing touch through us. We rob God from doing a divine work of grace in some broken person’s life and last but not least, we rob ourselves of being that tool in God’s hand that could have made the difference, that could have brought the healing and the restoration. We didn’t have the time, or the energy or our own agenda was more important. Haven’t we all been guilty of that?
God wants each of us to realize how important and vital each one of us are to His Kingdom coming forth in the earth. Isn’t that what we pray? “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done; in earth as it is in heaven.” If God’s kingdom isn’t fully come in us, possessing us and living through us, then how can it come in the earth? Jesus says the “Kingdom of God is within you.” We are the vessels and the conduits through which His kingdom flows out to the earth and waters the dry ground. The kingdom must first come and be revealed in us. Christ must have expression and license through us and through our will to perform His. That means to be effective tools, we must be yielded to the Master’s hand. As readily as He will use someone else to work grace in your life, He wants to use you to work the work of grace in another’s. We are created for a purpose and that purpose is to fulfill what God has fashioned us for. Everyone is different, but everyone is just as important to the whole.
Take time to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Be careful that we don’t blow past those divine appointments we have in life and the opportunities to minister the love, grace and gospel of Christ. A tool that is not used eventually becomes rusty, stiff and of no use. Be that tool at the top of God’s toolbox that He can lay hold of and use often in His work of grace in the lives of others. Be that yielded vessel that God can perform the will and do of His good pleasure in and through. We are God’s toolbox and He deserves only the best tools.

Blessings,
#kent

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

Deceitfulness of Sin

April 29, 2014

Hebrews 3:12-14a
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

Deceitfulness of Sin

We are a people that are much moved and guided by our souls: our mind, will and emotions. Often we use these natural senses to define our truth and often they are the inroads that satan uses to turn us from faith to an unbelieving heart. Often the lust of our flesh, the lust of our eyes and the vainglory of this life dictate our values in life. Even when we have embraced a faith in Christ the ways of the world we live in are most often in direct conflict and opposition to it. Our faith in Christ takes us down a very rewarding road, but the rewards are not always evident or seen. Those rewards, like the very nature of our Christian walk, are often ones of faith. The apostle Paul makes a statement in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” It is not always in this life that we see the wonderful riches of Christ manifested. True Christians have to be a people of faith, love and vision. When we loose sight of those attributes, then our hearts can become unbelieving and we start looking at the world. We see the temporal rewards of this life that may be passing us by. In those times of weakness our eyes and heart begin to turn from the Word of Truth, the promises of God, which we possess by faith and the deceitfulness of sin can enter in. Justification and compromise become more and more a part of our lifestyle as we begin to believe the lie and embrace the sin.
Brethren, in Christ, we have not chosen the easy way. The way of the cross is never easy and it can often be demanding and painful. But we endure the cross, despising the shame, even as Jesus did, for the greater hope that is set before us. We have the assurance and vision of our faith that Paul gives us 2 Corinthians 4:13-18, “It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Again, he says in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “We live by faith, not by sight.” The deceitfulness of sin gets our eyes off of these spiritual realities and on the temporal rewards and gratification of this present world. What we often fail to see is what the fish fails to see when he takes the bait, which covers the hook. What looks good and even innocent to the outward man gets a hook in us that takes us where we don’t want to go, keeps us longer than we want to stay and cost us more than we want to pay. It doesn’t matter how rich we are, how famous or powerful we are or how much we have if we become the servants of sin and the enemy controls us. The man that possess nothing of this world, yet possess the freedom of his soul in Christ, is a far richer man than the one controlled and ruled by sin. How quickly we can lose sight of this truth.
We can’t allow our confidence to be shaken, by the disappointments of this life. Don’t look back as Lot’s wife did who was turned to a pillar of salt. “We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” Our inheritance is not of this world and we must maintain our vision to see beyond the things of this world. We must be of one mind and vision even as Paul has shared in Philippians 3:12-21, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Here he speaks to us of the results of the deceitfulness of sin, as well as to the glorious hope we have in Christ. Be encouraged in your faith and don’t waiver from it. This world has nothing for us.
We are a people that are entering into the rest of God where we know Him as our all in all. We are not moved by what we see, but by what the Word of God and the Spirit of God are telling us. We are a people with a faith, a love and a vision. We will not be moved. We will not harden our hearts in sin, but with a humble and contrite heart we will find our forgiveness in the blood of Jesus that we might continue to press on into the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

Provoking to Good Works

January 29, 2013

Provoking to Good Works

Hebrews 10:23-24
Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised; And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Our faith in Christ is such a precious thing. It is what opens salvation’s door to the riches and treasures of abundant and eternal life. Faith is not a one-time exercise, but it is the exercising of our faith that grows us to walk into all that God has promised us. By faith are we are justified and by faith we please God. Our faith is much more precious than gold, not only to us, but to God as well. He wants that faith nurtured and grown in the same way we would raise a child through the various stages of life. As a parent we would protect them and seek to insure their right and safe development.
God is jealous over us. He fervently loves us, but he knows our frame. We often get on our exercise programs and we are all psyched up about losing weight and getting stronger. A short time goes by and we fizzle out and go back to our old habits. We can treat our faith and commitment to God the same way. Life may bring its trials and tragedies or even persecutions against us until one day we find ourselves weary and laying down the good fight of our confession. Perhaps this fits many of us; we are so caught up in life, making a living, the demands of a career, raising a family and the cares of life that God slips quietly into the background of our lives. If this is where we are at then we are out of the will of God and what He wants for us. I know this because I have found myself in these places and must guard carefully not to return there. God is sounding a trumpet in our hearts and in our land. It is a call to action. He is calling us out of those places where our faith has fainted and grown weak. We can turn a deaf ear and continue on our way or we can listen to what the Spirit is speaking in our heart and know that God is serious about us and where we are in our walk with Him. Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Hebrews 12:3 “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. ”
Romans 13:11 “And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed. ”
Our God wants to provoke our faith to action and good works. We have to awake out of our complacency and realize our faith is not just another compartment of our lives, it is our life. It is what we are about and what we need to be living for. Everything in us should centered around our faith.
The Lord brought something to mind that I hadn’t thought about before. Growing up and even now, at times, I am a provoker. Without even realizing what I am doing I can begin pushing someone’s buttons and get them upset. Now that is not an admirable quality and one that has caused others and myself a lot of grief over the years. But if it can be used in a negative sense why can’t it be used in a positive sense. This scripture in Hebrews 10 is telling us that God wants us to be provokers. Perhaps that is why the Lord has had me start writing these little words each day to first provoke my own faith and then in turn to provoke the faith of others who may read these. This is a calling we all have, not just to stir up our own faith, but to stir up one another. Even as Paul was provoking and stirring up Timothy in 1Timothy 1:7-9, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”
It is a time we must get stoked, provoked and begin to stir up our faith and not ours only, but the faith of one another to love and good works. It is not a hype, it is a life.

Blessings,
kent

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