Love Your self

October 27, 2014

Galatians 5:14
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love Your self

It is interesting sometimes as a photographer to see how people view themselves. Often, when viewing family or individual photographs people can be very critical of themselves. Most often it is the women. They can see and magnify weaknesses or faults that most everyone else considers normal and a part of them. It is not uncommon that great family portraits will fail because mom doesn’t like the way she looks.
In today’s age of technology we have the skills and abilities to actually go in and alter the way someone looks. We can lift and tuck some of the sagging parts, hide the blemishes and soften the wrinkles, but the real issue may not be how we look to ourselves outwardly, but how we perceive ourselves inwardly.
On the other hand I have photographed attractive ladies who may have had a scar that could have easily been removed. I find it is often best to ask people what they do and do not want taken away, because assumptions can get you into trouble. These women that I refer too wanted their scars to remain, because to them they were a reminder of what they had been through and the gift of life that they still had. In today’s world many of us feel the pressure to live this façade of a perfect life, have a perfect body, beautiful looks, a perfect home, children and husband or wife. The truth is that that is not the real world. We all have scars, wrinkles, handicaps and weaknesses whether they are outwardly evident or not. Brushing or photoshoping over them isn’t going to take the reality of them away, nor should it. These blemishes upon our lives are the evidence that we have lived and experienced what life had to offer and that it wasn’t always nice or kind.
The Lord tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, but some of us don’t really love ourselves, so how can we love our neighbor properly? Understand that all real people have weaknesses, faults and frailties. That is a trait of our humanity. Don’t be ashamed of yourself and don’t boast in yourself, but rather see the completeness of yourself in Christ. Christ is not a crutch; He is the fulfillment and the completion of our humanity. The scars, the wrinkles and experiences that we share all testify that by the grace of God we survived them and we are still taking hold of life. The wonderful thing about our relationship with Christ is that where we end, He begins and where we are weak, He is strong.
Don’t be so harsh and judgmental of yourself. I know that sometimes I think, “God, why am I stuck with being me?” It is because in my weakness He is made strong and His grace is sufficient for all of my needs, my infirmities and my weaknesses. If you are down on yourself today it is because you don’t have your eyes on Jesus. Take courage, take heart and know that you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you. Love yourself as Christ loves you.

Blessings,
#kent

Leaking Cisterns

June 16, 2014

Leaking Cisterns

Jeremiah 2:13
For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

A cistern is a well, pit or a storing place usually of water for any who may not be familiar with what a cistern is.
Jeremiah is unveiling the state of Israel as the Lord sees them. He would speak to us much the same way in this hour. We are a people that began with a faith in Christ and His righteousness. He was our fountain of living waters. He washed us in His blood and made us whiter than snow. He clothed us with the righteousness of His saints and He was our source of life and the focus of our daily living. We rejoiced in His fellowship and had great joy in our relationship with Him. Unfortunately, little by little our fidelity began to wane. Gradually the Lord ceased from being our all in all as we began to turn our eyes and hearts to other things and desires. Without even realizing it we began to move away from our fellowship as our focus and dependence became more and more on the world around us. Outwardly we would deny that anything was wrong with our spiritual state, but inwardly we knew we were losing the fountain of our fellowship and life.
What do we do to hide this spiritual breech of intimacy and life we had with the Lord? We create substitutes. We hew out our own cisterns of religious and spiritual appearances so that we can maintain a façade of spirituality and holiness to those around us. We don’t openly forsake the Lord, but we create a storefront of spirituality while, we live out our own desires in the backroom. Obviously this façade is our broken cisterns. They are fashioned like the real, but they are created in the flesh and as a result cannot hold the life of God. For those casually looking in everything may seem right and good, but we have become like Jesus’ description of the Pharisees, “whitewashed grave sites, full of dead men’s bones.” In our deception of ourselves we deceive others and lead them down our same path of destruction and ruin. Jeremiah 2: 19 says, “Your wickedness will punish you;
your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.” When we lose that fear, awe and respect for the Lord it takes us into dangerous territory. Many of us may find ourselves there today if we honestly and without guile search and discern our own hearts. The Lord warns us of our state so that we might judge ourselves and turn from our wicked ways, before God Himself has to judge us. This is where we return to those first principles of repentance from dead works. This is where we acknowledge our sinful and deviant ways before the Lord and turn back to Father with a broken and a contrite heart which the Lord says He will not despise. This is where we abandon the cisterns of our own making and turn again to drink from the fountain of living water. There we will find His grace and forgiveness if we will but fear Him and repent.
Father is calling those out who will hear His voice to be separated unto Him. It is not yet a separation unto judgement, but the lines of spiritual separation are being drawn between the sheep and the goats, the wheat and the tares. Let Him who has an ear hear what the Spirit is saying to the church in this hour. “Come out from among them and be ye separate.”

Blessings,
#kent

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Do We Change the Atmosphere?

When light comes into a dark place it brings a change in the atmosphere. It brings illumination. Suddenly we see things more clearly than we did before. Suddenly we see a quality that contrasts with the darkness, but its qualities are so much higher and better. If that were not so we would sit in our dark houses at night rather than turn on the light.
Jesus says we are that light. We are the people that change the atmosphere of our world and our sphere of influence. We are often the only illumination of what people see and perceive to be God. How are we doing with that? Many in the world have looked upon the church and said, “If that is God, I’ll keep my darkness. They may talk different, but their lives are no different.” We, as the body of Christ, can only produce and bring forth what we ourselves are walking in and saturated with. Our lives have so often become shallow muddy wells rather than the artesian rivers of living water that flow from the throne. What we are producing in our atmosphere is a commentary to us on what is, or is not filling our lives. It is not about what we can produce of our own making or our own goodness, it is simply being in such a love relationship with Jesus that the abundance of that love and joy spills out on all who are around us. We want people that are around us to sense and know there is something different about us even before they speak to us. The world is hungry for the reality of Jesus not the facade of it. How sad that we, the people of God, are often God’s own worst enemies when it comes to being His ambassadors to this world. If we are ambassadors then we have to fully represent the values, culture and dynamics of the kingdom that we stand for.
It is sad that many of God’s people are living in defeat and discouragement. That is not God’s will or His best for you. Yes, you may be going through hard times. Even when King David, before he became king, was being pursued by King Saul to take his life, he found his joy in the Lord. In Psalm 103:1-6 David declares, “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” The secret that David learned was that no matter how dark it looked outside the Son was always shinning in heaven. It was the praise and acknowledgement of God’s goodness, even in the bleakest of times that brought back the joy and confidence of faith to David. He had to encourage his soul to bless the Lord with his spirit man. It wasn’t because he felt like it, but he knew that praise, worship, thanksgiving and the remembrance of God’s Word and promises are what would restore the oil of joy and bring the light of gladness.
Saturate yourself in the oil of the Holy Spirit. Become ignited with the love of God. Change the atmosphere around you by the power of His love and life in and through you. You are the light of the world because He is the light within you. Live out of light!

Blessings,
#kent

Whose Fan is in His Hand

Matthew 3:11-12
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire:
Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

The Church, in its present state, is a mixture of flesh and spirit. It is composed of the true grain, which contains the life of God and the power within them to reproduce that life in multiplication of that same nature and substance. The chaff is seen in two dimensions. First, we see the chaff in regards to the impurity in the individual’s life as a believer. While the blood of the lamb has redeemed us we know that we who are walking in this life are constantly struggling and warring against impurity and the flesh. None of us are yet walking in the fullness and sinlessness of Christ, except by faith. We as believers groan within ourselves for the completeness of that redemption that sees the fullness of deliverance and overcoming of sin in our lives. So there is a mixture of that which is still being redeemed in soul and body and that which is already redeemed in our spirit that God is dealing with even now as salvation continues to work in us, spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
The second dimension of this chaff is seen in those who are identified with the church, but aren’t true believers. They may put on a good religious front, know how to say all the right theology, and have all the wrapping of a Christian; yet, they are in fact, none of His. They may not even truly recognize and discern their state. They think that because they wear the label and have the outward appearance of religious ones, they are saved and are going to heaven. Sadly the Lord makes plain through many parables that the present Church is not made up wholly of believers, but there are a lot of church goers and bench warmers that really don’t have a personal, saving relationship with Christ. The Lord says, “by their fruits you shall know them.” We have all had occasions in our lives to see those who spoke in the name of God, but in no way represented His character and nature in their lives. Do we? Are we of the true household of God, having come in by true repentance in our hearts, whereby it is our desire to forsake sin and unrighteousness because we have asked the Lord Jesus to be the Lord and master of our hearts and lives?
When the world looks at the church, they don’t even realize that they are looking at a mixed bag of sheep and goats. When those who present themselves as Christians, but live a life of hypocrisy, are seen by the world, then all of the Church and God are judged accordingly. Realistically it is not just the unbelievers that are guilty of this, even as true believers we can dishonor the name of the Lord through our behavior and lifestyle that is contrary to the will and purpose of God.
If the Church is the thrashing floor, then it is a place where the Lord Jesus comes in with a fan in His hand. What does a fan do? It creates a wind that blows. John baptized with water, but he said that Christ would come to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. In Matthew 3:10 he says, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” The true test of everyone one that confesses to be a believer is the fruit that they bear. The way that fruit is tested is when the fan blows the wind of the Spirit and fire across our lives. When adversity and trials come upon us, what is coming out of our lives? Are we murmuring and complaining? Are we cursing and angry with God? Are we forsaking our confession of Christ to go back into the world? What happened to the children of Israel when they were tested in the wilderness? It brought out the true nature of who they were and many were judged accordingly. The Lord’s fan is even now blowing across many of our lives. What it brings up in us is not always a very pretty sight. Often we even see things in ourselves we didn’t know were there. How we deal with these revelations of ourselves is paramount to our relationship with Christ. When the Lord fans our lives it will do one of two things, it will drive us deeper and more committed into Him or it will drive us away from Him. It is separating the wheat and the chaff both in our individual lives and corporately in the Church as a whole. The last thing any of us would ever want to hear is the Lord say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
Church, we must know Him, intimately and personally in this hour. We must pursue and press into Him as never before. Allow the baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire to only blow you further and more completely into Him and fan away from you all that isn’t of His nature and Spirit. All the fire can do is consume the dross and impurities that still want to cling to all of us who are believers. All that we want to remain is a pure faith and a pure nature flowing out of a heart filled with the love of God. We want to be sure we are the real thing and not a cheap imitation, that we are indeed the wheat and not the chaff.

Blessings,
kent

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