Psalms 30:7-12 LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled. 8 I cried out to You, O LORD; And to the LORD I made supplication: 9 “What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? 10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!” 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Attitudes that Nullify or Qualify

There are times we come to some very hard places in our lives. Some of us have lived in those places for a very long time. We have no doubt cried out to God to remove our mountain, whatever form of adversity and trial it may take. I found it interesting that the Psalmist David says here, “Lord, you have made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face and I was troubled.” There is no doubt a lot of us that have been, and maybe still are, in this place. The question is, “have we viewed it as the Lord’s favor?” One thing God often does with us is that He puts us between a rock and a hard place. We find ourselves in such a pit that the only we have to look is up. Our resources dries up. Our strength fails. We are left with two choices: forsake our faith, as we mummer and complain, or encourage ourselves in our God and the power of His might. We see two examples in the Word. We see the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and led into a wilderness where there is no food and water. A great many of them choose to murmur and complain when they find themselves against the mountain of adversity. They want some one to blame for their trials and problems. They focus on death and what they left behind and how bleak the picture is before them. They are always looking at how big the problem is and not at how big their God is. On the other hand, we have someone like David. Here is a man who has seen and experienced the reality of God and yet finds himself seemingly forsaken as King Saul pursues him to take his life. I believe the reason David found such favor before the Lord is because he refused to allow his fears to be the giant that conquered him. He saw himself in God in the sense that he knew God would not deny or forsake Himself. He expresses the fact more than once that he became discouraged in his soul, but in his spirit he would rise up and say, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Forget not all of His benefits.” It is the favor of God that causes our mountain to stand strong. It is not that He may beat us down, it is so that He can build us up. Philippians 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Until we develop the eyes of the Spirit our fleshly mentality will keep us just going around and around our mountain. It is with the eyes of faith and by the Spirit that we will, in due season, go through the mountain and that mountain will be cast into the sea. Our mountain is our place of spiritual preparation and the place where God is honing us for a greater purpose. We have two choices: murmur and complain or praise and worship. Which do we think will bring us more quickly into the purposes and plan of God for our lives? Philippians 4:6 reminds us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Our problems and our mountains aren’t always going to go away like we might like them too, but we are not alone in the trial. Enter into your God and His mighty promises. He will, in His time, turn your mourning into dancing. He will put off your sackcloth and clothe you with gladness. Encourage your soul today, “How great is our God.” He will never fail us or forsake us. “O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever!”

Blessings,

#kent

Advertisements

Romans 5:6-8
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

God Loves Us Even when We are Ugly

Isn’t it wonderful that God didn’t just limit His love and grace to the few us humans that are cute and cuddly? He didn’t just love us when we loved Him and didn’t withhold His greatest expression of love toward us even when we least deserved or merited it.
Have you ever been around someone that was hard to love and get along with? On in any given day that could probably apply to any one of us. We can all have our ugly times and our ugly ways. Then there are some with which it has become a way of life. You know the ironic thing is that it is usually with the people that we love the most that we are often the most ugly. We can be ripping our spouse or children up all-day and then come to a stranger and be perfectly nice and polite.
Why is that? Perhaps it is because we feel safe venting our anger, frustration and anxieties upon the ones that we love because we feel we are safe doing it with them. Maybe it is because the ones we “love” aren’t meeting our expectations or living up to our standards. Perhaps we feel those loved ones will still love me even when my raw side is showing. Unfortunately, what was maybe a once-in-a-while bad hair day, can become a habitual bad hair life. We can become abusive on a continual basis to the ones we should love and respect the most. It may be our husband, our wife, our children, parents, family or friends.
There is a great lesson here as we look at God’s love. We see His love is unconditional and that He did love us in spite of our inward ugliness. He teaches us to be the same in our love for others. We see it coming through in the attributes of His Holy Spirit, love, joy, longsuffering, self-control, kindness, goodness, peace, meekness, faith and gentleness. As His people these attributes should be an ever-increasing part of our lives. When others are ugly toward us we have to look with the eyes of the Spirit into their hearts and ask why is this person hurting so bad that they treat others this way? Is there anything I can do in Christ to minister and help to heal those inner hurts, wounds and scars?
In our closer personal relationships perhaps we may be reaping in our loved one seeds of discontent and strife that we have sown by our own actions or insensitivity. Perhaps we have played a big part in why this loved one has become that not so lovely person. What do we need to do out of the love of Christ and the love we have for them to change our dynamics toward them to relieve these angry and resentful feelings that they may be expressing? So often anger and emotion keep us from coming to a resolution of our issues. Sometimes the expression of our anger and emotion only serve to drive those we love further away from us and cause them to withdrawal. You will never bring the head of a turtle out of his shell when he knows he is going to get clubbed as soon as He shows it. We need a truce, a cease-fire and to lay our emotions aside. We need to reconcile ourselves through the love of God to really hear and respond to the issues of the heart. Most all of us are creatures of habits and it may be those habits that are a constant source of irritation and dysfunction. Let us love one another enough to change those habits and behaviors for their sake and to help them become that lovely person again that we once knew.
What is love? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” Let us love one another as God in Christ has so loved us.

Blessings,
#kent

Shine a Diamond

January 28, 2015

Shine a Diamond

Romans 14:19
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

We live in a very negative world in a lot of respects. Life is often taking twist and turns that can bring us discouragement and despair. Many around us only know how to speak death. They, like many of us, can become cynical, skeptical and suspicious in a world that is always seeking to exploit us in one manner or another. It is hard for us to be real, even with one another, for fear that someone will take opportunity in our vulnerability and openness to hurt us or will despise and not respect us because of some weakness that we allow them to see in us. As a result we become individual sealed houses, our own little islands in some respects, keeping a certain amount of distance and aloofness so that we won’t be hurt. Certainly we have to be careful about who we share the more intimate parts of our lives with. Jesus gives the warning in Matthew 7:6, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” As it is with the holy and precious things of God, so it is with the matters of our heart. We need to really know the character of those we share our hearts with. If the love of God is truly operating within them, then they understand the grace that not only they have been given, but that which they must extend to others. God wants us to cover one another’s nakedness, not expose it, gossip about it or despise them for it. He wants us to be a people that can truly edify and build up one another. We need to have that place and safety to truly confess our sins and faults to one another without fear of rejection and judgment. James 5:16 tells us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Does that mean we condone whatever sin someone shares or confesses to us? No, we can’t because then we would share complicity with their sin. The reason for sharing our sins or faults with one another is for repentance, support, help in our weaknesses and restoration of our fellowship with God and one another. If we share our faults with one another it shouldn’t be for approval, neither should it be for judgment but our response to another’s faults should be that of humility and love, knowing that we are also weak and vulnerable to sin. Galatians 6:1 teaches us, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” You see we are not one another’s judges, but we are one another’s watchmen. We watch out for one another, because we are of the same body and share the same common faith and purpose, to glorify the Lord. It can be easy for any of us to become distracted and turn aside or grow complacent concerning our faith. This is why it is so important for us as the body of Christ to have personal friendships and relationships with others in the body, not just for fellowship, but also for accountability. We need to be speaking life into one another to build each other up in who we are in Christ. We need to pray for one another and exhort one another, always stirring up faith. A healthy body is one in which individual members and cells are ministering health and blessing into those around them. The words that we speak into one another’s lives should be for building up and not tearing down, even if they must be honest, direct and hard words, the motive behind them should always be love. Sometimes, like Paul, we must tear down to build up, but what are our motives and the end of what we do?
Are you and I the brush that polishes the diamonds of the Lord? Are we causing others to shine in His glory and come forth in the image of who they are in Christ? Remember that the power of death and life are in the tongue. Our actions and our tongue can make or destroy another’s life. Let our lives and our ministry be for building up and not for tearing down, for edifying and not for condemning. You are your brother’s keeper and he is yours. Let us honor and seek to bring forth the Christ in each other. Speak life, hope and blessing into someone today and let it become your lifestyle. Shine a diamond!

Blessings,
#kent

In Our Darkest Hour

January 16, 2015

Acts 16:16-29
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
19When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

In Our Darkest Hour

As we endeavor to walk the walk of faith we come to experience and realize that God doesn’t just rescue us out of every bad circumstance and trial. The experience Paul and Silas have here is a case and point. God had something more far reaching than an immediate rescue or even the avoidance of a very unpleasant experience for His servants. Like them, there are times when our reasoning might be “God, I am doing your will and I am in your service, why are you allowing these things to happen to me? Why didn’t you come through when I called upon You?”
Remember the words of Jesus in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” If Jesus, the Son of God, had to endure the cross, despising the shame, then know that there can and will be dark and difficult times when we follow in His footsteps. The question then isn’t really are we going to experience trials and tribulations, those are almost a given. The question is how do we respond when we are in the midst of these dark times? Will we blame God for failing us? Will we give up and forsake the faith or will we do what Paul and Silas did in there greatest and darkest hour of despair. They were praying, praising and singing hymns unto the Lord. If you want to talk about a time when they might have had zero incentive to praise God this could have been it. They have been wrongfully accused, convicted, beaten within an inch of their lives, thrown into the inner, darkest dungeon and put into chains. Everything in the natural declared that they were defeated and God hadn’t saved them. Just stick a fork in them cause they are done.
These are men that no longer walk by their feelings and emotions. These are men that have entrusted themselves into the hands of God whether for life or for death. Their faith and commitment have superseded their circumstances. This is where we have to be in our walk and in our faith in this hour. In our darkest hour we cannot be murmuring and complaining about how God failed us. God is God and does all things according to His time and purpose which may be in direct contradiction to ours. So what do we do in these times? We worship Him. It doesn’t matter what happens upon the earth or how bad it gets, God is still on the throne. He is still sovereign over the affairs of men. Evil men may prevail for a time, but in the end they must answer to the Almighty.
Job 13: 15 says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” This must become the motto and battle cry of God’s people. We are His in life and in death. We are His in health and in sickness. We are His in prosperity and poverty. We are His in freedom and in prison. We are His in justice and injustice. In all our ways and with all of our hearts we must be His.
We see God showing up in the darkest hour in the midst of praise and worship. He shows Himself strong and sovereign even in a naturally impossible situation. Through this travail and sorrow, salvation and life are brought forth to the glory of God. We are pregnant with His life and often the bringing forth of that life comes with much travail and sorrow, but joy comes in the morning. Light triumphs over the darkness and life over death. There is no greater honor we can have than to lay down our lives for Christ’s sake. Many saints have not been rescued as Paul and Silas were this night and eventually they, also, came to a time when they gave their lives for the gospel. The martyrs are the color guard of heaven. They carry the standard of His righteousness and the banner of His love. They are His elite elect and faithful ones, because they loved not their lives even unto death.
Many of us are in dark times or will be in the near future. They may or may not be life threatening, but they won’t be easy. In these times we must enter into His rest. We must resign to the truth that our greatest victory is found not in self-effort, but through prayer, praise and worship. In Daniel 3 when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s idol they faced sure death for not complying, but this was their response, “16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” This is the abandonment of faith into the hands of God. This is something that everything in the natural cries out against, but for the ones who know their God this is the place of our peace.

Blessinsg,
#kent

Savor the Laver

December 29, 2014

Savor the Laver

Exodus 38:8
And he made the laver [of] brass, and the foot of it [of] brass, of the lookingglasses of [the women] assembling, which assembled [at] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

The brass laver was a piece in the tabernacle of Moses between the holy place and the brazen altar that the priests would come to wash themselves before their service. Exodus 40:30-32 tells us, “And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash [withal And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the LORD commanded Moses.” The laver provided the facility for washing both when ministering to the people and when ministering to the Lord. The fact that it was made of the highly polished looking glasses of women spoke of its ability to reflect back to the one washing, their image and likeness. God’s Word is like a laver in that it gives us a standard of God’s character and righteousness and helps us to examine ourselves for who we are in the light of that standard. God’s Word can provide the introspection we so desperately need to see and wash the areas of sin and blemishes from our lives. This practice of washing was obviously a routine event that took place quite frequently as the priest would minister and serve. It is one we should practice in ministering within our own household.
Ephesians 5:25-27 gives us some insight into the spiritual application of this piece of the tabernacle furniture. It says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” The Lord gives us the Word to wash us and the Holy Spirit to be the polished brass that reflects our image so that we might see ourselves as He sees us. The Word of God has that power to transform our lives and wash away our uncleanness as we apply it to our minds, our thinking, our actions and our words. It is what translates to us the mind and purpose of God for us, as well as helping us to see where we are in light of that.
Please understand that God doesn’t give us the Word to condemn us, but to convict us. We were already under condemnation before we came to Christ, so the Word acts as introspection that reveals our sin so that we may repent, be washed and delivered out of our sin through the blood of Jesus. The Word speaks in several places about the need for us to judge ourselves, so that God doesn’t need to judge us. Whenever the Lord’s Supper or Communion was administered the partakers were exhorted to examine their own hearts and motives so that they didn’t partake of the Communion with sin still active and present in their lives. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 says, “27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.” It is important for all of us to perform this self-examination in the light of God’s Word continually and respond to the evidence of sin in our lives by ridding ourselves of it. If we judge ourselves in this manner then we avoid the need for the Lord’s discipline to come upon us and deal with us in a more severe manner. This is true for all of us, but the ministers and the leadership of God’s house has even a greater responsibility in this cleansing, because they are the ones who help to wash the rest of the saints by giving forth the Word of God. This is a time when we are seeing God beginning to reveal and judge the sin in His house. It will start with the ministry of greater accountability and will follow down from there. 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
James 1:21-25 sums up the spiritual aspect of the laver quite well, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” We need to savor the laver, judging our own selves in the light of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s conviction. The laver was not just to look into, but to wash in, through this washing we can be the instruments and ministers who can effectively serve both the Lord and man. It is essential that we are clean and right before the Lord.
“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn [yourselves] from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. (Ezekiel 18:30)”

Blessings,
#kent

Container of God

December 11, 2014

John 14:9-14
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Container of God

Philip asks a rather superficial question of Jesus that evokes a response from Jesus that unveils all that He is. “Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Philip, like so many of us, is only focused on the outward and so he, like so many of us, misses the real truth. The truth was the Father had been there all of the time in the person of Jesus. Their lives and identity are woven as one and you can’t have one without the other.
What is the relationship that Jesus Christ is communicating to His disciple in these last hours that He has with them. Their is such a powerful truth here that we so often read over it, but like Philip, we really haven’t grasped its reality. Jesus tells Philip (paraphrasing), “I am the expression and the manifestation of my Father. He who is Spirit is revealed to you through my flesh.” What we see in Jesus, His life, His words, His love and His expression is Father’s nature and character expressed through humanity, into humanity. No one had ever gotten closer to touching and seeing God than when they beheld and touched the life form of the Father in Jesus. What Jesus expresses here and through his Spirit anointed prayer in John 17 are truths that we seldom dare to truly believe and embrace. In John 17:20-23 Jesus prays, “”My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.””
Jesus came into the world hidden from the world’s view, because He was nothing significant or important as the world views it. Those who truly know their identity in Christ are most often like Jesus, insignificant in the world’s eyes. What sets the true people of God apart is that they are embracing the reality and truth that as the Father was in Jesus, so Christ is in us. Even as Jesus grew up obscured from public view. Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” God is maturing Sons (both men and women) that are the expression of His divine character and nature. These Sons are not their own. They have relinquished self for sonship, even as Jesus was not His own. What He heard the Father speak, He spoke and what He saw the Father do, He did. As the Father had expression through the Son, so the Son has expression through us as we will yield our beings to Him. Jesus relinquished His will for God’s will, just as we must also relinquish our will for His. Jesus, through His prayer to the Father and later through the giving and imparting of the Holy Spirit into us as believers, He came into us with the purpose of being one with us.
Can we hear that today or are we like Philip who could only see the superficial relationship, but hadn’t truly grasped that Jesus Christ and the Father were one? We see and often view the Father and Christ as up in heaven and if we keep looking up we will see him come back some day. That is a Philip mentality. The Christ is right here with you. He is residing in you. Many of us have just lacked the revelation of who we are in Christ. We are still identifying ourselves in an old Adam mentality. We are still looking into the natural mirror and seeing Adam reflected back rather than looking into the mirror of God’s Word and seeing Christ reflected back. Who are you going to embrace and believe?
Ephesians 2:5-6 declares, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Why are we looking up to heaven when we are already seated their in Christ? Even as Jesus Christ was the kingdom of God come into the earth, He wants to establish His kingdom through a many membered Christ. Unless the His kingdom is come and His will is done in you first how can it be made manifest to the world?
Has the Son been with you all this time and yet you have not seen Him? Jesus makes an almost incomprehensible statement here in John 14:12-14, “12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” If you have the spiritual eyes to see and the faith to receive, then Jesus is telling you what He has just demonstrated through His life, you can do in like manner through yours if you know who you are in Him. This not about you being God or having a God complex. This is about you being dead and Spirit of Christ being released to live through you. It is all right there, resident in you now if you be in Christ. Embrace the identity you have in Him, for He created you and purposed you to be a container of God.

Blessings,
#kent

Why Should I Drop My Rock?

December 9, 2014

John 8:1-11
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Why Should I Drop My Rock?

The law of sin and death apprehends us in our sin. The accuser comes before the Lord proclaiming our sin and demanding just retribution. “The Law says” and condemnation follows.
There we are, lying in the dust, naked and ashamed, fearing what may soon follow. We can’t justify ourselves. Our sin has found us out and Jesus has every right to say, “do what the law says and stone the sinner,” but He doesn’t. He stoops there, almost oblivious to the crowd, the railing accusation, the demands for justice and in that place of rest and peace He just writes with His finger in the dirt. Perhaps He is listing all the sins of the accusers.
Finally, Jesus speaks one sentence so amazing, profound and convicting that it shuts the mouth of every accuser and a disperses the angry and blood thirsty mob.
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The law of sin and death has to bow to the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus. If that were us lying there naked, ashamed and in sin, awaiting the rocks and stones to fly and pelt the life out of us, what would it mean to us to be justified by Jesus. He didn’t justify the sin, but He justified the sinner, making it as though she had never done it. Jesus was without sin. He had every right to condemn and judge her. He could have thrown that first stone and yet He chose to throw mercy and forgiveness upon her instead of judgement.
How many times could Jesus have cast me out and cast me off, because of my sin? Instead He has always chosen to forgive me and exhorts me to not live in that place of sin any longer. Are we any different than this woman? Are our sins so much more righteous than hers? Does God really measure sins or are they all a falling short of Him and His highest for us?
I believe that this was a life changing moment for this woman when the kindness of God led her to repentance and change. I believe she saw in Jesus, someone who could do for her what she could not do for herself. She found forgiveness in Him, who looked not upon her shame and failure, but rather saw her value even in her sinful state.
When we read this, we should realize that is exactly what God did for me. He took my sin away, He exonerated me, forgave me and justified me; just as if I had never done it. In the light of that grace, what justification would I have to judge and condemn another? Knowing the debt that Christ paid for me, who am I to hold another accountable for the little debt they may owe me, or the sin they may have perpetrated against me? If God could forgive me so much, why, as His child, am I willing to forgive so little?
Again, Jesus would say to you and me, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
How many of us have failed to drop our rocks and stones of offense and unforgiveness against others? “Father forgive me my trespasses and sins, as I forgive others.”

Blessings,
#kent

Peace

December 1, 2014

Peace

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Peace is not righting all that is wrong.
Peace is in knowing that our wrongs are made right,
That even in darkness and tribulation we have a song.
It is in knowing the “greater is He” when we go out to fight.

Peace is not just a quiet morning after a freshly fallen snow,
It is not always sunshine in your face and wind in your hair.
It is confidence in your God and “knowing that you know”.
It is resting in God’s justice when life isn’t fair.

Peace is not a life without opposition or strife,
Peace is in knowing that Christ has overcome the world,
Even in the valley of darkness and death He is our life.
When our enemy attacks like a flood, He is our flag unfurled.

Peace is not always about pleasant circumstances of the day.
When unpleasantness comes, it is upon His strength we rely.
It is in trusting that where a door is shut He will make a way.
He hides us in the cleft of the rock as our storms pass by,

Peace is not just about having any more war.
It is in knowing that He alone can transform the hearts of men.
In due season we will see the world we all long for.
Our greatest peace is in the forgiveness of our sin.

Peace isn’t having lived the perfect life,
It is in knowing His acceptance and the presence of His Dove,
Peace is redemption and mercy, in place of sin and strife.
Peace is our abiding in the riches of His grace and Love.

Blessings,
#kent

What Has Church Become?

November 28, 2014

1 Corinthians 14:26
What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

What Has Church Become?

Does our church, our gathering together in the name of Christ still resemble this exhortation in 1 Corinthians 14 or has it gotten swallowed up in the organization, the structure, the program and the one man headliner. Is it about a functioning body where different members are able to contribute as they are led of the Spirit or have we become dumbed down to depend only on the leadership to carry out the act of worship and give the Word. In many churches our services have been reduced to a series of rote mechanical functions that we have memorized and go through. That isn’t the church that Paul speaks about here. We have become accustomed to playing church rather than being the church. Our religion has separated us into clergy and laity. One performs and the other is the audience that listens. We wouldn’t know what to do if the Holy Spirit actually showed up in our service because He would throw the agenda on our bulletins all off and mess everything up. We would lose our order and our control and our smooth running programs. We have been so raised up in this organized church mentality it is really hard for some of us to conceive of something so different where we actually individually and corporately begin to operate in the gifting the Holy Spirit has for each member. Besides that it would most likely get out of our time limitations and constraints. Then we couldn’t beat crowds to the restaurant after the church and we might miss the football game.
Church has really ceased to be all about Him. It has become all about us. After all, we are doing God a favor just to show up on Sunday mornings, right? God forbid if someone or something should offend us. We’ll just take our attendance elsewhere where we are more appreciated and they sing our flavor of songs. What has the church become?
The truth is when we turn everything over to the Holy Spirit it can get out of our comfort zone. It can get messy and it certainly may not fit into our agenda. or box It doesn’t mean there isn’t leadership and there isn’t an order, but it is subject to the Holy Spirit and not to man. Let me tell you, when we allow and invite the Holy Spirit to show up we go home with more than just a self-righteous attitude. His presence touches our lives and changes us in ways that only He can. He doesn’t use just one man or a worship team to do it, He moves through His body and upon His body as His will dictates, when we allow His will to be done. Paul says here we have these different functions through the various members for the strengthening of the church. Something tells me that church might have looked a lot different back then than it does today. Today, our churches are built around our charismatic leaders, not our charismatic bodies. Isn’t it time we quit playing church and start being the church where each one of us functions in the calling and gifting upon our lives? It doesn’t have to be limited to the Sunday service. Your ministry and calling should spill out into your everyday life. You are not only for the edification of the church, but to edify, encourage and build up all who are in your presence. If we are in Christ and He is in us then we must become the daily expression of who He is and we need a place of worship where that is actually what we do, WORSHIP Him who is worthy until we enter into His presence and He is the headship and the direction of our service. I can tell you it won’t be the same thing every week. It will always be fresh and new. You will know that you have been with Him, not just heard about Him.
What has church become? How do we bring it back to what it should be? It is time we became activated and no longer stagnant, because the church that we have known isn’t what is lighting a fire in the midst of our unbelieving nation. They need to hear and see the reality of God’s presence just as we do, not just the rhetoric about who He was. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He hasn’t changed, we have. Church, wake up to who you are and come alive in your spirits so that you can be the expression of Christ in the midst of His body and in the earth today.

Blessings,
#kent

Feet?

November 13, 2014

Feet?

Isaiah 52: 7
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

What do we think of when we think of feet? Do you think of the often smelly, dirty, corned and callused little members at the bottom of your body that carries you through life? It has been very enlightening, as I’ve taken some time to go through all of the scriptures in the Word about feet. These little, often neglected, members of the body are spoken of quite frequently. They are definitely members of spiritual, as well as, natural significance. Our feet, so often neglected and taken for granted, carry us through our whole life. They have to support the weight and burden of the whole body. If they don’t work or they slip or stumble, they take the whole body down with them. Spiritually speaking this is significant as well, because the feet represent our spiritual walk. There are many aspects to the feet, but let’s look at this one first.
We have often heard the term, “ to sit at one’s feet”. Throughout the Word of God it is shown that at the one’s feet that you sit at, is often the one who determines the direction and the way you walk. The authority that we submit too, the ones we learn from and how that translates into our lives is our definition of “sitting at one’s feet”. There are many instances where people would fall at another’s feet. By that act they were showing submission, obedience, asking for mercy, humbling themselves beneath that one’s authority.
In Deuteronomy 33:3, Moses speaks of God, “Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction.” As a people of God we have at least mentally assented to the authority of God to order our ways. Deuteronomy 11:22- 25 tells us the significance of walking in His ways. “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him- 23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea. 25 No man will be able to stand against you. The LORD your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.” We begin to see a principle unfold that our authority and dominion is dependent upon the way we walk and who we follow. God is saying, ‘if you follow after me and sit at my feet these are the results you can expect to see.’ In Joshua 10 there is an account of a miraculous battle when five Amorite kings moved into position and attacked Israel. You may remember that this was the battle in which their was such great victory for the Israelites that Joshua prayed that the Sun might stay still in the sky so that he could finish the battle. In verse 24-26 the kings have been captured and it says,” When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks. 25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 26 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening. “ This is a type of what the Word of God is instructing us to do with our spiritual enemies and the strongholds of our lives. We could even see it as being our five senses and living after our natural man. For it is our flesh that wars against our spirit, but our spirit man must prevail and put to death the flesh. Through the example of putting their feet upon the necks of these kings we are seeing that our enemies are put under our feet. The condition is that we have to exercise our authority and if we let the flesh live we will have to come back to fight it another day and it will always plague us and be a stumbling block to us as we see it was for Israel.
Joshua is such a strong type of our spiritual authority because he learned it at the feet of Moses and by seeing first hand the faithfulness of God. In Joshua 14: 7-9 he briefly shares a testimony of earlier days and its lesson. “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.” What is the lesson? Faith, that is steadfast, has the reward of an inheritance. That faith is demonstrated through a walk that follows after God wholeheartedly. Fear on the other hand is the contradiction and arch–nemesis of Faith. If we follow it, then it will be our undoing and our defeat.
Another case for this truth is seen in 1 Samuel 2:6-10, “”The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. 7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. 8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them he has set the world. 9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
“It is not by strength that one prevails; 10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.” If we will believe in the Lord and walk in His ways He will guard our steps and bring us to good success and it isn’t dependent upon our might or ability.
We see the spiritual reality of our enemies being put under our feet in Christ. While satan may have been deluded in that day to think that he had defeated Christ when he nailed him to the cross, he simply sealed the Lord’s victory and dominion. When the Lord was resurrected He ascended into heaven, He led captivity captive and gave gift unto men. He took the keys of dominion and authority back from satan and gave them to the church. He gave gifts unto men. He gave spiritual gifts and offices to His church for what reason? Ephesians 4:12-13 says, “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Christ gave us the power to crush the head of the serpent under our feet. He did the hard part, He gave His life to redeem us back to God and take those keys of authority. Now He has sat down as it says in Hebrew 10:12-14, “12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Christ, the head has done His part, now it is up to the body to complete and walk out what He started. We are His body and as such, we are also His feet. It is not finished until satan is our foot rest and he has been put under the least and lowest member of the body. 1 Corinthians 15:26-26 says, “25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” The body must experience and lay hold of the fullness that is in the head. For it is Christ through His body that must exercise full dominion and power to put all things under His feet. Ephesians 1: 22-23 tells us, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” It has to be completed in us. God, in Christ, shared our humanity with us, so that we might share His glory with Him. Hebrews 12:5-13 says it so well, “5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8and put everything under his feet? In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.” 13And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” We are the feet of the Lord and dominion and authority is coming from the head through the body till the feet of Christ are rested fully upon the neck of satan as they were on those Amorite kings in the book of Joshua. He that makes us holy and we that are made holy by him are of one family and one body. It is the Lord and trust in Him that gives us strength to walk the path of faith and trust even in perilous and trying times. It is the Lord who strengthens us and gives us help in the battle to overcome the adversary. David expresses these very thoughts in Psalms 18:31-40, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God besides the LORD ? And who is the Rock except our God? 32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. 33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. 34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. 36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn. 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 39 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.”

Blessings,
#kent

%d bloggers like this: