The Love of God

October 20, 2015

John 3:16-21
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

The Love of God
John 3:16 is one of those scriptures that many of us as young Christians memorize. Sometimes in its simplicity we forget or miss how profound it truly is. How many of us as fathers can really grasp what it would be like for us to give our only son as a sacrifice for someone else’s misdeeds? Romans 5:6-8 tells us, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So even if you could be willing to allow your only son to be sacrificed for someone would it be your enemy? Would it be for the one who deserved your wrath and judgement rather than you love and mercy? When we really stop to analyze and think about God’s love for this world it should just blow us away, because it makes absolutely no sense to the natural mind or reason. How can we take this manner of love so lightly? How can we even regard it as common or ordinary? Our God is such an extraordinary God that works through such a supernatural and incomprehensible love towards us and the world rejects it. So many times, even we, as the people of God, treat as common place and ordinary this holy love, displayed and sacrificed for mankind. If we do, it is because we don’t truly comprehend it or have it operating fully within us. Those who go willingly and offer their lives as willing sacrifice for the gospel of Jesus Christ have come into a revelation of that love. They comprehend that if this love is so great that even the holy Son of the living God and Creator would lay down His life for us then it is worth our laying down our lives as well. Most of won’t even sacrifice our comforts let alone our lives.
One of the things a true revelation of God’s love will bring us too is that there is something so much greater at stake than just us. It will give us the heartbeat of God for creation. It will empower us to love the unlovely, the rejected and the destitute. It will cause our hearts to hurt for the lost and dying, just as Father’s heart hurts and longs for them to come to Him.
As human beings perhaps one of the things we like least is having our darkness exposed. We are often comfortable in our sin and deception even though it only brings us misery and pain. We don’t want to see ourselves for what we are and as God sees us. The capacity of the love of God is to see past our faults and see our need and it is to that need that He addresses Himself. He created mankind to rule and reign with Him, but we exchanged the truth for a lie and righteousness for pleasure. Romans 1:21-25 says, ” For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”
“For God so loved the world.” What a blessing and a privilege that we have come to an acknowledgement and acceptance of this love by our faith in Jesus Christ. Is our love now so shallow that His love towards us stops with us? No, an immature child is one that is only concerned for their own needs, but when one comes into maturity they learn to become the givers and not the takers.
What is our revelation of God’s love in us today? Are we still just content to take it and not give it? God didn’t build us to be reservoirs to horde and store up for only ourselves, us four and no more. He is wanting to impart His heart of love into us that we may become the conduits and pipelines of His love and blessing. We are the salt of the earth and a city set upon a hill. We are the outshining of his glory and the expression of His love. If not us, then who?

Blessings,
#kent

Hypocrisy

April 16, 2014

Hypocrisy

James 3:17
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

The definition of a hypocrite is, one who answers, an interpreter, an actor, stage player, pretender, one who is feigned, disguised or is insincere. It is one who wears a mask or false identity. It is a fact of human nature that what you see is not always what you get. From the time we are children we grow up learning to play the game of human interaction. We learn to put forward what others or society expects of us which often is not who we really are. We want to be people pleasers and accepted of others. Sometimes we have so many identities we don’t even know who we are.
Then, when we become Christians we are introduced to the religious system and we learn how to wear that mask. We learn the right phrases, how to act and put forward what is “acceptable Christian behavior.” Never mind the arguing, fighting and ugliness we showed toward our spouse and children as we were getting ready for church and on the way. As we step out of the car and walk into the church suddenly this transformation takes place. Suddenly we put on this godly smile and countenance and to those we encounter all is right with the world. If we are honest all of us have experienced this kind of behavior in our lives and probably still do. There is this duality in our lives that keeps us from being who we really are for fear that that is unacceptable. Many of us spend our lives living a lie and fashion ourselves around the dictates of others. We are so afraid of being seen in the nakedness of who we really are. It is true that many of us have some pretty hideous deformities and abnormalities in our lives, but are they ever dealt with and healed by masking them over. Our lives become one big game of pretending to be something or someone we really aren’t. What is worse, we then judge others out of our pretentious hypocrisy, because they don’t live up to the standard. The truth is they just don’t play the game as good as we do.
Is this what God wants us to be? If ever Jesus railed on anyone, it wasn’t the outright sinner it was the hypocrite. The one who liked to condemn and point the finger when inside he was no different than the ones he condemned. ” For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye (Matthew 7:2-5).”
We have been talking a lot about light and darkness. It is time we all come out into the light and be real with who we are. The truth is that most all of our lives are a mess in one area or another. We know that God sees us for who we really are. We know that it is only His power and grace that can transform us. How can this take place if we can’t even face up to who and what we are? It starts with us being honest with ourselves and with God. His love and mercy has already been extended to us in that, “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” He loves us no matter how ugly the sin our lives has been, but He loves us too much to leave us that way. His desire is bring us out of darkness into the light so that there it is exposed and we can repent, receive forgiveness through the blood of Christ and begin a path in the opposite direction of our sin, dependent upon the Lord to help us walk that way. We are all in this walk together and we are going from glory to glory, but we are at different stages in our maturity and walk with God. Our purpose as a body is to help each other along the way. We have to deal with these sin issues with honesty if we are going to be set free of them. If we want to continue to hold on to them then the dealings must become more severe, because these are stumbling blocks and hindrances to who we really are in Christ and what He has called us to be. Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” It is time that we quit playing games with God and with others and be real. Let’s deal with who we really are, because only then can we come into what God wants us to be. It is time we stop living the lie of hypocrisy and become the forgiven vessels of His mercy and grace no matter how humble that may be. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently: (1 Peter 1:22).”

blessings,
#kent

The Hidden Things

April 17, 2013

The Hidden Things

1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Blessed is the person who is open and honest with every aspect of their lives. They don’t scheme to conceal in dark hidden places of their hearts, their sin. They simply are what they are, for better or for worse, their life is an open book. It’s not that they are better than anyone else or have any less struggles with sin and self, but they don’t try to hide it behind a facade of religion or spirituality that builds an appearance of one thing, but the motives and deeds of the heart are something else. I believe God honors the person who is open and honest with their lives. The fact that they are willing to put everything out in the open, without hypocrisy, even when it is less than flattering or pretty, keeps them in a place of accountability before God and man. It keeps them from falling into the hidden sins of the heart. They may be more vulnerable to criticisms and the judgements of others, but I believe God honors the honesty and willingness to expose themselves even in their weakness. This is where God wants to bring more of us.
Unfortunately, many of us have our secret lives, our sins, our little dark closets of impurity where we harbor and feed our hidden passions, desires, lusts, addictions and fleshpots. It is not that we all don’t struggle with these things in different areas of our lives, but it is when we shroud them in darkness and hide them from the light that they become dangerous to us and others. In this mindset we compartmentalize our lives into the spiritual and non-spiritual. We begin to rationalize and justify our sin. A very evident example of this is seen a our former president who appeared one way in his public life, but was something else in his private life. The example and warning for us that practice like things is that one day the light is going to come in and expose our sin. We could all see the shame, embarrassment, and tremendous hurt and pain the former president’s sin brought. It not only hurt and soiled this man’s reputation, but also the office and the country it represented. What would the hidden sins of our hearts do to our lives if they were fully exposed today? The light will expose them one day and we will be found out in our shame. The Lord once spoke to me that if we would keep everything out in the light, darkness would have no place to work in us. Is there anything in our lives today that we would be ashamed for others to see? How many Christian ministries and testimonies have been destroyed by hidden sins that the Lord exposed? The Lord showed me that our weakness and propensities toward areas of sin are like beasts. They start off small and cute, but the more we feed them, the bigger and the uglier they grow, until they are beyond our control.
Hidden sin is especially a concern for those who carry the responsibility of others either as parents, ministry or a place of leadership. When we have these areas in our lives we can be removing the umbrella and hedge of spiritual protection that we should be providing through our lives that are in right relationship and purity before God. We could be facing many trials with children, finances, sickness, or other afflictions, because we have opened the door to the enemy through our sin.
This word this morning, is a warning and exhortation from the Lord to deal with these areas of our heart. We can turn a deaf ear as we have in the past or we can heed the loving exhortation and warning of the Lord before it is too late for us to repent and turn from our sin. For the day will come that it will be exposed and we will face the full consequences of what ever it is that we are hiding. The Word says ‘our sin will find us out.’ Let us remember how many times Israel refused to hear and hardened their hearts against the prophets that were sent to warn them to turn away from their sin and the judgements that ensued, because they refused to listen and obey. Believe me, God has been dealing with my own heart in these areas. What you will find is that as you are willing to acknowledge your sin and repent, putting that sin away from you, you will experience a liberation and freedom. You will experience a renewed confidence in your relationship with the Lord. You will be removing the roadblocks to your spiritual blessings and most importantly you will be set free to live the life and ministry that God has called you too. Make yourself accountable to others so that you keep your life in the light. Sometimes these things are bigger than we are and we need the help of others. Go to someone that you can trust and that has the spiritual maturity to help you get free. A true brother or sister in the Lord won’t judge you or condemn you; they will want to help you to be restored, because they know that you could be them. Many times there are groups formed for just such a purpose. We want to restore and help one another in love, so that we can all operate in the unity and oneness of the faith, ministering to one another in the love of Christ. Let us truthfully examine and judge ourselves today, that we be not judged. Let us deal with the hidden sins of our heart.

Blessings,
kent

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