Silver Dollar

May 5, 2015

Revelations 3:17-19
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

Silver Dollar

Years ago the value of money was in the coin. When someone gave you a dollar you knew it was worth a dollar because it was backed by the value of the silver in the coin. Today we pass representations of a dollar around, as the real thing and put the same value on them when in reality there is nothing of substance to back up that value. I feel like the Lord is showing me that we do the same thing with our faith and our discipleship. We say we are Christians and represent ourselves as such, but does our faith and discipleship carry the same value as is represented in the Word and as seen in the early Church? Are we living out the value of our faith or are we just paper representations of the real thing? This is what the Lord is dealing with in this passage in Revelations 3 concerning the church in Laodicea. They perceived themselves as rich, having the value of the faith and in need of nothing when in reality the Lord is saying you are nothing more than paper dollars, wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Talk about a devalued dollar, that is what they represented. Now the Lord is showing them what they are and the error of their perception not to condemn them, but to bring them to repentance, so that they might regain the value they once carried. God is at work in the Church today exposing the same things in our lives. He is exposing how religion and man’s theology has left us as a devalued dollar in the eyes of the Lord. The Lord is counseling us, His Church, to buy gold tried and refined in the fire so that we may become rich and our true value restored. It is not our talk , dress, social circles and church attendance that give value to our faith; it is the walking out of our faith in daily life. It is living out the principles and the actions of the kingdom that put value in our dollar. It is not what we think in our mind; it is what we perform out of our heart as we seek to be led and directed of the Holy Spirit. Many have settled for a “feel good” faith. It soothes the conscience and gives an appearance of righteousness. Many of the religious people of Jesus’ day had that same thing. It didn’t impress Him then and it doesn’t impress Him now. Jesus can no longer be just a token of our life, He has to become the sum and substance of our life. The Word doesn’t tell us that we were created for ourselves to please ourselves. It tell us in Colossians 1:16, For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” We were not created by Him for us, but for Him. Hebrews 2:10 also tells us, ” For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. We are created by Him, for Him that we might be the sons He brings into His glory. Paper dollars can’t fulfill that calling. It takes silver dollars that have the value and the weight of the Son within them.
The paper dollars will fail, because they don’t carry the substance of their value, do we?

Blessings,
#kent

The Labor of Love

September 3, 2013

The Labor of Love

Galatians 4:19
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

A woman and prospective mother endures all of the discomforts and demands of pregnancy for the joy and the hope that she carries within her. Then comes the day of the birthing, which without modern medicine is on the extreme of pain, discomfort and tremendous laboring. Yet she will endure all of that, not only once, but often, again and again for the joy of the life that it brings forth. Out of all that pain, discomfort and labor a miracle is brought forth. The miracle of a newborn life, formed in the image of its maker and its parents. This was Paul’s analogy in describing what it was to Him to birth Christ in others. It wasn’t just about telling them about Jesus and having them come to the altar and pray the sinner’s prayer. That may have been where it began, but certainly not where it ended. That was only the conception. The process of Christ’s life being formed in these former Gentiles and Jews was a long process of intense prayer and intercession, teaching and counseling, living before them the example of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, forming the likeness of Christ in them. Far too often, after Paul had poured out His heart and soul in love and instruction to these new converts to Christ, he would experience the heartbreak of them turning aside to another doctrine, or becoming caught up again in legalism or allowing sin to come again and pervert the purity of their faith. No one knows like a parent, the heartbreak you feel when your child turns away from the path of righteousness and understanding that you have laid before him or her. Slowly, patiently, repetitiously you taught your children from infancy, through childhood, puberty and into adulthood. You sought to instill your belief system and core values into them. All that you valued and hold dear, you tried to impart to them. You continually prayed for them and when they were younger you prayed with them to help them establish a relationship with their God and yours.
Oh, the sting and the heartbreak you felt if at some point they rejected your values, the truths you held dear, and made choices in another direction. You may not only have prayed for them, but pleaded with them and reasoned with them to help them to see and repent from the error of their ways.
This principle is true when discipling and pouring out your life so that Christ might be formed in others. Often it is those ones that so loved you and would have done anything for you that now take on a different spirit. Now they despise and reject you because of the truth you are trying to speak into them. In Galatians 4:16 Paul says, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Often truth is no longer our friend, or the messenger who bears it, when it goes in the face of what we want to believe and the direction we want to go. As rebellious and as otherwise directed as some may become, the love of God compels the travail of love that seeks to love them and bring them back into the truth and right fellowship of who they are in Christ. It does not cease its travail until again Christ is formed in them.
We can all thank God for parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, friends and those ones God has placed in our lives to help establish and form Christ in us. Many of us can look back at times we may have erred or lost our way and yet these ones the Lord set in our lives did not forsake us, or reject us. They prayed for us, they may have tried to counsel with and speak the truth into our lives, but they continued to love us even when we rejected and were perhaps hateful with them. They continued to demonstrate the tenacious love of God for us that ‘it is not God’s will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9).
Someone has labored over your life today so that Christ might be formed in you. Someone is caring and praying for you even in those times you may have slipped back or turned another direction. It is the Spirit of Christ in us that causes us to travail as Paul did. Sometimes the source of deeper inner groanings and utterances are birthed of the Spirit and not in the understanding of man. God’s desire for each one of us is not just for us to have a religious understanding of who God is. It is that the revelation of “Christ in you” is formed, birthed and established in you so that we would no longer live and function out of natural understanding and desire, but out of the mind, will, love and heart of the Christ that indwells us and of whose nature we now are. We all are the labor of His love.

Blessings,
kent

From Such Turn Away

August 28, 2013

From Such Turn Away

2 Timothy 3:5
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
This scripture comes after Paul gives a description of a people you would think would be obvious that they were not Christians, for he writes in 2 Timothy 3:1-4, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Yet, these people, as ungodly as they are, are described as having a form of godliness, but their very nature denies the power of it. 2 Corinthians 11:14 describes a similar situation of how satan often appears to us, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Does that mean he is an angel of light or simply masquerades or disguises himself as one? If we are gullible and take everything and everyone at face value, we are open to deception. Most likely many of us have been deceived at one time or another by someone, who having a form of godliness, came in with heresies or teachings that subtly distorted and manipulated God’s Word to appear to say and teach something different than what the Holy Spirit was conveying. There are those that would love nothing more than to draw us away unto themselves and through there teachings or influence shipwreck our faith. Obviously that is why Paul is telling Timothy “from such turn away.”
Jesus gives the same type of exhortation to his disciples in Matthew 7:14-23, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the w!y, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; ” a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
The message here is plain, just because a tree looks like an apple tree doesn’t necessarily mean it is, but if it is, it will bear apples and not some other type of fruit. While none of us professes our lives to be manifesting perfection just yet, we are told that by observing the fruit, the behavior, the attitudes, the true nature of a person; we will be able to discern if they are really of Christ or not. One can only hide their true identity and nature for so long until it will show itself for what it is. Beware that not everyone professing Christ is of Christ. They may well be as deceived in as much as they are trying to deceive you. Don’t compromise the standard of God’s Word. It doesn’t change no matter how spiritual someone professes to be or how much Greek and Hebrew they say they know. Hold fast to the foundational principles of the faith. If God is showing you a deeper revelation of a truth in His word that does not follow conventional teaching He will confirm it for you if you seek him. It won’t have to just come through one person or one source, there will be other witnesses to it and it won’t go counter to God’s Word.
The exhortation is when we recognize these ones who only have a form of godliness, but lack the true Spirit of Christ in them, turn away from them and have no more fellowship with them. It doesn’t mean that you take up a judgmental spirit or that you don’t try to restore those who are in error, but if they are unwilling to see their error and turn from it, then have no more fellowship with them. If you continue to associate yourself with them you will be drawn away and corrupted by them. Be vigilant and discerning of those you have fellowship with, that they have true godliness and not just a mere pretense of it.

Blessings,
kent

Faithfulness in Marriage

August 21, 2013

Faithfulness in Marriage

Malachai 2:14-16
You cry out, “Why has the LORD abandoned us?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made to each other on your wedding day when you were young. But you have been disloyal to her, though she remained your faithful companion, the wife of your marriage vows.
Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “It is as cruel as putting on a victim’s bloodstained coat,” says the LORD Almighty. “So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife.”
Our hearts are not different than those that have gone before us. They are still deceitfully wicked and perverse. Unless guarded and kept under the Lordship of Christ and led by the Spirit they will lead us in the ways contrary to His will. We live in a day when the divorce rate is somewhere around fifty percent. One out of two marriages end in divorce. What is even more sad is that it isn’t a whole lot better even among the Christian community. What is this telling us about the condition of our hearts? In Matthew 19:8 Jesus says, “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
From today’s passage we can readily see that this isn’t the will of God and what His attitude about divorce is. The enemy is doing a masterful job of destroying our homes, families and marriages. The moral fabric of our society is deteriorating before our very eyes, as we become more complacent and accepting of it. So many of us end up playing right into this destruction and we wonder why God isn’t blessing us and answering our prayers. Could it be that we have become too self-centered rather than God centered? Probably the only ones who will continue reading this if it is an issue in their lives are those who really care more about God’s will than their own. None of us like to be confronted with our sins. We, like the world, want to run from the light. The difference is that we are children of the light and if we are really Christ’s then our spirit won’t let us run away even when we are in error. We have a conviction to return to what is right and repent of what is wrong.
Our biggest temptation today is self-isolation. We become too absorbed in what we want to do, what is important to us and what meets our needs and wants. As a result we isolate ourselves from the demands and needs of those around us, especially our spouses. Life begins to slowly and subtly take us in different directions and begins to place a wedge in our relationships. I can be perfectly content going my own way and doing my own thing, but when I got married and committed to that woman my life, love and loyalty, I gave up being just about myself. It is the two of us that make up one person and while we are individuals with differences we are one flesh both of us living for the good and well being of the other and not just ourselves. I know how oblivious I can become to the needs of my wife because I get so caught up in what I need to do and what is important to me. I have to remember that my top priority next to God is my wife. When I forget that I begin to unwittingly open myself up to a breakdown in our relationship. Just as I must cultivate and spend quality time in my relationship with the Lord, I can do no less with my spouse.
What I am learning is that our spiritual relationship is directly related to our natural relationship with our spouse. When there is disharmony and dissension in the natural, it hinders the spiritual dimension of our relationship with the Lord. As 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” We have to remember that we are not in this by ourselves, we are together in union with Christ. We need that unity to maintain right relationship spiritually. This is another reason we as husbands and wives must commit to keeping our hearts in an attitude of submission before the Lord and to one another, willing to pray together and share our hearts together without fear of reprisals. We will all have our difficult times, but if our hearts and attitudes remain right we can resolve them.
If we are finding ourselves in the place in our lives where the storms of divorce are brewing, start by submitting your hearts to the Lord and His will. It is only in being right with Him that we can be right with each other. Love has to be the conquering force to all obstacles and we know that His love is greater than ourselves. Let His love reign in your hearts and relationships always and let us submit ourselves to one another in the spirit of that love.

Blessings,
kent

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