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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John 4:1-3
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

The Journey is as Important as the Destination

Here is a scripture that we often read right over and don’t really think about as being significant. There are events that happen in life that cause us to go from destination to destination. Often, especially as men, we become only focused upon the destination and not the journey. As Christians our ultimate destination is heaven and eternal life in Christ Jesus. If that is all that we see then we will miss the importance of the journey that takes us there.
In John 4 it as Jesus is traveling to the destination of Galilee that He passes through Samaria and encounters the woman at the well. That encounter was a life changing moment for this woman and for her entire town. Most all of the miracles and works that Jesus did were while He was on His way from one place to another. It is important for us to not only focus on our destination, but to be open to the Holy Spirit’s work and movement through us as we journey to our destination. The journey is where we grow in experience and exercise of where we are going too. Divine providence often accompanies upon our journeys and it is important that we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit when He brings people into our lives that may just seem an inconvenience and annoyance to us. The Lord has just brought to mind a story I recently read that illustrates this very thing. I believe it is His purpose today to share this with you.

HAIRBRUSH EXPERIENCE OF BETH MOORE AT THE AIRPORT

For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters.

This is one of her experiences:

April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane. I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I’d had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least
of which is your ego.
I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair
hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man. I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I’d just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport… An impersonator maybe? Was a camera on somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served up on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let’s admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern,and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.
I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall.I’ve learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my
spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. ‘Oh, no, God, please,no.’ I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, ‘Don’t make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I’ll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don’t make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!’ There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, ‘Please don’t make me witness to this man. Not now. I’ll do it on the plane.’Then I heard it….’I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.’
The words were so clear, my heart leap into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainier. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, ‘God,as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I’m on this Lord. I’m your girl! You’ve never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man.’
Again as clearly as I’ve ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. ‘That is not what I said,Beth. I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.’
I looked up at God and quipped, ‘I don’t have a hairbrush. It’s in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?’ God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God’s word: ‘I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.’ (2 Timothy 3:17)
I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, ‘Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’
He looked back at me and said, ‘What did you say?’
‘May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’ To which he responded in volume ten, ‘Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you’re going to have to talk louder than that’
At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, ‘SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?’ At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Long Locks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, ‘If you really want to.’
Are you kidding? Of course I didn’t want to. But God didn’t seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, ‘Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don’t have a hairbrush.’
‘I have one in my bag,’ he responded.
I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger’s old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man’s hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don’t do many things well, but must admit I’ve had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I’d done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands,remembering to take my time not to pull. A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man’s hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this soun ds so strange, but I’ve never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I – for that few minutes – felt a portion of the very
love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while.
The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God’s. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant’s. I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knee and said,’Sir, do you know my Jesus?’
He said, ‘Yes, I do’
Well, that figures, I thought.
He explained, ‘I’ve known Him since I married my bride. She
wouldn’t marry me until I got to know the Savior.’ He said, ‘You see, the problem is, I haven’t seen my bride in months. I’ve had open-heart surgery, and she’s been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.’
Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we’re completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand,was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I’ll never forget it.
Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I’d acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.
I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, ‘That old man’s sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?’
I said, ‘Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!’
And we got to share.
I learned something about God that day. He knows if you’re exhausted,you’re hungry, you’re serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you’re hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you’re sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!
I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way … all because I didn’t want people to think I was strange. God didn’t send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.
John 1:14 ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father,full of grace and truth’
Life shouldn’t be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting,’Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Lord!’

Blessins,
#Kent

A Time for every Purpose under Heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1
To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Our lives are made up of many seasons and one thing about life is that it never stays the same and time never stands still. Life is a dynamic that is always in motion, interacting with the lives around it. The one constant that we have is God’s Word and it doesn’t change, but it does contain wisdom and direction for our lives in whatever season and time we find ourselves in. There are times we feel like we have control over some of the things in our lives and others when we seem to have no control at all. But again, the one constant that we have is the Lord in our lives, who never leaves us or forsakes and is with us in good times and in the bad. He is the One through and with whom we travel every season of our life and desire to find His purpose. It is not always easy to know what God’s purpose is at times in our lives. We don’t always understand His hand, why He does or doesn’t do things the way we have prayed or hoped. We can only trust His heart, because we know that all of His ways are right and just and that His nature is love.
It is important that, just as God is with us in every season and purpose of our lives, we are there for one another, sharing each other’s life experiences and encouraging one another through the process. Sometimes we are the salt God has prepared to place in the wound of ones that are hurting. Sometimes we are there to share in the excitement and joy of a precious moment or happening. What God is working in each of us is that we are a people for all seasons, equipped and furnished unto every good work. Our preparation is through our own life experiences and learning to walk with the Lord through each one. Galatians 6:9-10 tells us, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” A lot of things come in there own good time which often isn’t as soon as we think it ought to be. The Lord exhorts us to just keep on in well doing towards others and especially our brethren and eventually we will see that we will reap what we sow.
As we move through the changing times and seasons of our lives learn to rest in the Lord in whatever place you are in, don’t get anxious or upset, but look to the Lord to teach you in that place. Ask Him what He wants to work in you. Trust Him and be faithful in both the hard and the easy places, in the good times and the bad. Don’t grow discouraged, defeated or weary in your well doing for the Lord is our portion and our blessing and as the Word says, “in due season we will reap, if we faint not.” Let us be there for one another encouraging and helping one another, sharing our life experiences together. For there is a time and a season for every purpose under heaven and the Lord is a part of them all. Let us trust and walk with Him through each one.

Blessings,
#kent

Stepping Up

September 17, 2013

Stepping Up

Ephesians 4:15
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:

Our walk in Christ is a progressive one; it is a journey that each day should bring us a little more into His character and likeness. If we charted it on a graph I doubt that for very many of us it would look like this smooth sloped line starting at zero and going up. The truth is we would probably see dips and rises. Sometimes it is like we go two steps back to take one forward. Some days we can be so discouraged with life or ourselves that we just want to give up and sometimes we may even do that for a time. Life is a series of ups and downs and we all know that on the surface it is easier live a sweet Christian life when things are going well. When we are caught up in the Spirit and we are feeling and experiencing the Lord’s presence and blessing in our lives it can be like we have heaven on earth. The reality is, we know that we can experience hell on earth well. There can be those times in life when all that we know and held dear is pulled out from under us. Our world can be turned upside down in a heart beat. One thing you can count on in life is that nothing stays the same. It is these experiences in our lives that are the testing and proving grounds of our faith. The adversities in life are what exercise our muscles of faith and sound the depths of our character and integrity. Often it is when we feel spiritual the least that we grow the most. Our Father always sees the big picture where we can only see the next hundred feet. The one thing we have to be committed too is that come heaven or hell, our lives are wholly His. We are His garden, to prune, to dig around, to water or however He decides to deal with us individually. What we can hold fast too are the facts and truths that ‘He loves us with an everlasting love’, ‘He is able to complete the good work He began in us’, ‘He will never leave us of forsake us’ and ‘all things work together for the good of them that are called according to His purpose.’
The important thing for all of us in Christ is that we maintain a focus and vision of continual faithfulness toward the Lord. The enemy of our souls has continual roadblocks, diversions, disasters, and snares to discourage, get us off track and get us back into that mindset of the flesh and the world. We must maintain a continual vigilance of our souls and we need one another to help us see the things that we often don’t see in ourselves. Our spiritual transformation and progression is not something we accomplish in and of ourselves. Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” That is why our walking in the Spirit is so important. Walking in the Spirit is where we experience His righteousness, His freedom, His strength and power through us to overcome sin and temptation and deliverance from evil. It is where we walk in the company of the Strong One, the Wise One, and the Faithful One. It is in Him and our continual union and fellowship with Him that we experience growth from glory to glory as 2 Corinthians 3:18 puts it, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Every day should be a progressive walk in the Spirit, irregardless of what life circumstances are. Each day should be a stepping stone of faith and trust that brings us up higher and transforms us into His likeness. Keep your eyes upon Him and your walk in the Spirit. Let each day be another step up into the glory that is before us.

Blessings,
kent

Parables of the Kingdom

August 7, 2013

Parables of the Kingdom

Matthew 13:44-52
44″The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45″Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
47″Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51″Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.
“Yes,” they replied.
52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

Jesus has given us some parables here in Matthew to help us grasp a spiritual understanding of the kingdom of heaven. It is much like you having discovered a large reservoir of oil beneath your property. You grasp the potential wealth of what you are sitting on, but until the oil can be brought to the surface it has no practical and realized value or worth to you. Aren’t our lives the same way? We have discovered the great truth and wealth we have of Christ in us, our hope of glory, but as long as He stays locked up in our spirit, our property, remains pretty much unchanged. So what will we do? Now having this knowledge of the great treasure possessed beneath the surface, we will make it our primary pursuit and investment in gleaning the treasure we know is there. We will make what ever sacrifices are necessary of what we now possess outwardly so that we might tap into the rich resources that are hidden in our earth. 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” There is treasure in these here vessels of clay and we need to mine it out. We are drilling for the nature, the power and the life of Christ, and we don’t want to spare any expense or fail to make any sacrifice necessary to lay hold of it. What is more is that as we are in pursuit of the riches within, we want to share the good news with others around us. We want them to know that they also can have this treasure, but we find that many are far too self-absorbed to hear us or lay hold of the truth that we are sharing with them. Paul says in verses 4-6, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” We have been blessed with the revelation of the riches we have within, now it is about laying hold of them till they become resident and manifest in our daily lives. In laying hold of these riches there are other things that we value in life that we will have to let go of. We have to decide where our treasure really is and what we are willing to give up to lay hold of it. If we choose the riches and what is valuable to us in this life then we will lose our grip on the eternal life and fail to realize the riches that we held. On the other hand when we are willing to forsake all else and spend all our resources to lay hold of this treasure within, then we will lay hold of riches that so far exceed those we could ever know in this world.
In another parable Jesus gives here of the net drawing in a great catch of fish we see that the kingdom of heaven is currently made up of a mixture of both good and bad. We see it in the realm of Christianity. It is a mixture of flesh and Spirit. We also see that in God’s time there will be a purification and casting out of all that is bad or that defiles. This same analogy could apply to our individual lives as well. We may often become disgusted with all of the flesh and ungodliness we see in the body of Christ, but we don’t have to look any further than ourselves to see where it comes from. We are like that net of fish, full of a mixture of good and bad. Surely, I am not the only one that becomes so discouraged with myself; with how far I miss the mark and fail to walk after the Spirit in so many aspects of my life. We are a mixed bag that the Holy Spirit is trying to help us sort out as we look and fully lean upon Him. Most any valuable thing in its natural state is impure. That is why God is processing us, to bring out the riches of His pure nature and love. Sometimes it is like going through hell with fire and gnashing of teeth as we deal with these areas of impurity and iniquity in our lives.
In Matthew 13:52 Jesus says something rather interesting, “52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”” It is like, the more the Holy Spirit instructs us in our lives through knowledge and experience in godliness, the more we understand and know of its ways. As we grow in understanding and experience we share that with others who are likewise seeking to know Christ in a deeper and more meaningful way. We all have rich experiences of how the Lord has dealt in our lives and how He has taught us. As we share these with others it is mixture of not just past experiences and knowledge, but also of fresh revelation and insight into areas of our lives. Our lives should be a combination of new treasures and old. It is like building a house, you are continually building upon the former with new material. God’s Word never changes and yet it is always fresh as He unveils new truth, insight and revelation in it.
What kingdom truths is the Lord opening up in your understanding and what are we doing to lay hold and see the reality of these truths come to pass in our lives? He is our resource, our provision and our salvation, but we have to let go of the world with that other hand. It is going to take both of our hands holding fast to His so that He can pull us up into Him.

Blessings,
kent

Tenderhearted

May 10, 2013

Tenderhearted

2 Kings 2:19
Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard [thee], saith the LORD.

What is the condition and state of my heart today? As you and I ask that question of ourselves today, what is the true answer? Through our life experiences, choices and decisions, we can find our heart in many different states. It can become hardened because of sin and willful living. It can become broken from abuse, disappointment and hurt. It can be elated with life and living or it can become cold and unfeeling. Life and experiences can have a lot to do with shaping the condition of our hearts, but so can the choices we make with what comes to us in life. It would be safe to say that no matter what befalls us in life our safe place is a place of a tender heart before the Lord. That is the condition of the heart that touches His heart.
Sometimes life can be so devastating that we feel like we are like a tree that has been cut down and all hope of life is lost. Yet even Job, in his state of abject suffering and loss makes this statement in Job 14:7-9, “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; [Yet] through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.” I believe a tender heart toward God is our hope in every circumstance of life. Only the Lord can take that which bad and turn it for good. Only He can bring life out of death. Only He can take the crushed grapes of our life’s sufferings and trials and make sweet wine. James 5:11 makes the observation about the condition of God’s heart toward us when we continue in a place of obedience and tenderness before Him. “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
Jesus is the Rock and it says that with Him one of two things can happen, either we are broken upon the rock through a tender and repentant heart or we become broken by the Rock through a rebellious and hardened heart. What is the state of our heart today?
Isaiah 66: 1-2 says, “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest? 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.” The Lord is looking and desires above all our sacrifices and the works of our hands that our hearts are right and tender before Him. If He is ever going to manifest His presence and perform His works through a people, it is going to be a people who have a tender and contrite heart before Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him… “No matter what life has dealt us let our hearts become tender, broken, pure and right before the Lord. This is the condition of heart we need to have in order to experience His visitation and presence. This is the place where we find the rest and the true fast of God. This is the ground that is broken up and is ready to yield the fruit of His divine life.

Blessings,
kent

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