For My Own Sake

July 8, 2015

Isaiah 48:8-11
You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ear has not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth. 9 For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off. 10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.
For My Own Sake

We are not so unlike Israel of old to whom the prophet speaks these words from the Spirit of the Lord in verses2-4, “you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city and rely on the God of Israel— the LORD Almighty is his name: 3 I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. 4 For I knew how stubborn you were;
the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze.” You know we can be very self-willed at times and determined to go ahead and do what we are going to do. We are the Lord’s people and yet we often don’t really listen and obey what God is telling us in this hour. We are complacent. We are caught up in our personal lives and agendas that aren’t about our God. They are about us, what we idolize, esteem and deem important. Thus it often takes God’s strong hand to align us with His word and purpose for us.
Many of us know that as parents our children can bring us praise or they can bring us reproach by their behavior. They may have been instructed and taught better, but if they ignore their instruction and upbringing, doing what negative things is in their heart to do, then don’t you bear the reproach of their actions as a parent? What we don’t realize is that we are the Lord’s glory, but we can also be His reproach when the world observes us living in unrighteousness and contrary to what we teach and believe. How does God get the glory from that? God is still dealing with the rebellious nature that still wants to manifest in many of us and He will take us through the furnace of affliction, not for our destruction, but for our transformation.
The Lord says in verse 11, “For my own sake, my own sake I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield My glory to another.” If we have been created and purposed for the glory of God, then God must do whatever is necessary to bring us into that purpose that He may be glorified. God is not glorified in our selfishness. Selfishness seeks God’s glory for its own and God says, “I will not give my glory to another.” If you are the Lord’s glory then you must be wholly His. How can you see the glory of the Lord fully expressed from you until you are wholly His?
In this hour God is giving us the word to return with all of our hearts unto Him. Again, He is speaking great and wondrous things to our generation through His word and through the prophets. The trumpet is sounding, but if you are too caught up in the noisiness of your own life you may fail to hear it and even if you do hear it, it is easy to ignore and become distracted. It will be as the Lord says in verse 3, “I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.” Are you ready when the Lord acts upon what He said? We must not allow our stubborn and rebellious ways to cause us to miss what God is doing. It is for this purpose that you were created. We must not foolishly miss the train that is headed for our destiny. Our destiny is to be the expression of His glory, unto His glory and for His glory alone. Hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying, “Prepare you hearts and pursue His presence. Let all else become secondary to your relationship with Him. In Him you must live and move and have your being.”

Blessings,
#kent

Advertisements

Orphan, Son and Father

April 14, 2015

Luke 15:11-31
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Orphan, Son and Father

Many of us have read or heard sermons on this parable many times before, but the Lord was dropping into my spirit just a few key principles from this example that I don’t know that I had ever heard or thought about before.
In the midst of Christianity today there are many of us that have an orphan spirit. It is one that really doesn’t know its identity. It is one that is not secure in who they are in Christ and they don’t often have a good sense of what the nature of their Father is. They are often only looking after their own best interests, they like to hoard and keep things for themselves and they really lack that security of just being loved and accepted. As a result most of their world is pretty much about them.
In this younger son we see such a spirit. He had everything and yet all he could see is what he thought he didn’t have. He didn’t want to build into his father’s house, but wanted to take his inheritance and use it to his own self-indulgence which is another quality of an orphan spirit. So father gave him his inheritance and let him go. Now, an orphan spirit, isn’t interested in legacy or building and sowing into something greater than himself. All he really sees is himself and often carries a victim mentality and sense of entitlement. After all, his father “owed him” his inheritance because it was rightfully his. He had a “right” to be free and spend his inheritance how he wanted. What an orphan spirit does is take us down a road of perpetual poverty, because we never see beyond ourselves. All that we think we have or gained becomes dust and blows away, because we don’t have a vision to see our Father’s heart.
Now this orphan spirit son finds himself where this spirit will always tend to lead you, being dependent upon others to feed you the pig’s food. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20So he got up and went to his father.” Finally, he gets a revelation that even his father’s servants are living better than he is and it would be better to go back to father as a servant than to live starving and dwelling among the pigs. He now sees the fruit and the consequences of his orphan spirit.
Now we see the heart of the Father as he comes back home. ““But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
You see the Father’s heart is always for restoration and legacy. He was willing that his son departed for a time that eventually he might come to repentance and be restored. The Father never saw this boy as any less than a son when he left and when he returned. His love, his heart and longing was always for him. The father didn’t receive him back because he deserved it. He didn’t kill the fatted calf and celebrate because of his great choices and he didn’t put the ring on his finger because he deserved to be a part of the family any longer, but because the father wanted him to know who he was to him and know that he still belonged to the family not just as servant, but as a son.
Now we see the spirit of the son. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
The older son has been faithful to his father and to his father’s house. He has staid the course and paid the price, so this causes a great offense in his heart when he sees how his younger prodigal brother is received back with celebration and royalty. He becomes very angry. For those that are in the Christian faith who have been sons and have walked the walk and staid the course, take note, because the day is coming when the prodigal is going to come home and your hearts are going to be tested in similar manor. The son sees from the perspective of what is deserved, but the Father’s heart is one of grace and restoration. Just because we are sons doesn’t mean that we have a father’s heart, but God wants us to get one, because it is the next level of maturity. It is where we understand that it is not about us and never has been. It is about the kingdom. It is about restoration and reconciliation of that which was lost being restored back to the Father. It is not that the father didn’t already love the older faithful son, but what did he tell him?
““‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” This is what we must understand as sons; all that that the Father has is ours and it is our for a reason so that which is lost may be found and restored back to the Father. As sons we have to catch the Father’s heart or we will be offended. Just like Jesus, we must descend so that we can ascend and bring others up with us. It is not about us, it is about the Father’s house and kingdom, His love for the lost and His desire for legacy which is a lasting representation of His nature and character in the earth.
Thus we see the Father’s heart to restore the orphans to sonship and the sons to fatherhood, so that Father God’s kingdom will come and His will, will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

Blessings,
#kent

The Oil that Sustains Us

February 10, 2015

Matthew 25:1-13
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6″At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7″Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9” ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10″But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11″Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
12″But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
13″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

The Oil that Sustains Us

Virgins are symbolic of those who have been made pure before the Lord. They all have obviously had an experience with the Lord and are aware of His imminent coming. The lamps are the illuminated lights of God’s Spirit within us. What keeps that light burning is the oil. The oil is the Holy Spirit, but it is more than that. It is the Holy Spirit worked out through our lives in experience.
In Leviticus 24:2 the Lord tells Moses, “Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.” This oil was created through a process of beating or pressing. This is the in working of the cross of Jesus Christ in our lives. We are beaten and pressed as we press into Christ. Through our walk we experience tribulations, trials, persecutions and difficulties. It is as we walk through these hard places in the faith of Jesus Christ that the precious oil of the Holy Spirit is formed and stored up in us. The wise virgins know that if the relationship with the Bridegroom isn’t there, then the oil will not be there either. The oil has flowed out of that relationship of walking in faith and obedience.
The foolish have received the fundamentals of the faith, but they have not pressed into the relationship to really know the One to whom they professed to give their hearts. They have gone about life eating, drinking, giving and taking in marriage. It is life as usual. In other words their relationship is shallow and without substance and depth. They have chosen to remain babes when they should have grown into maturity. The things of the world and the cares of life have occupied their time and their hearts. As a result they have not bought the oil with the price of experience and relationship in walking with the Lord. Now that the time of the midnight hour has come they have been found wanting. Now it is too late to go out and buy the oil, for the Lord has opened the door to the ones who have come to truly know Him in an intimate way, not just from a distance through the teaching of others. The hour has come and they can’t ride in on the coattails of those who have stored up the oil and prepared for this hour. By the time they get what they need the door is shut and it is too late to enter into the Bridegroom. His reply is, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
Religion is the oil of the foolish virgins. It is merely man’s search for God. It is merely head knowledge and outward works to appease God. God doesn’t want our sacrifices, He wants our obedience and He wants our hearts. Relationship with Christ is what will bring forth the oil of His Spirit as we walk through the hard and difficult places and come to know Him as our Redeemer and Deliverer in every situation.
Hear the word of the Lord. This is the hour for you to be storing up the oil. The midnight hour is soon approaching and you better have the oil of His Spirit and Life worked and stored up in you if you want to enter in. If we have been half-heartedly serving the Lord, it is the time to repent and give Him our whole heart, mind and soul. We must walk in the truth of His life if we are to have the oil to see us through and keep our lamps lit in the greatest hour of darkness. We need this oil if we are going to go the distance and hold fast the course. We must make Him the priority of our lives, for His kingdom is come and it must be established in us. Let us come to Him and give our utmost for His highest.

Blessings,
#kent

Our Father, Guardian and Instructor

Proverbs 13:1
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.

Why is it that God’s people should read and study the Word of God? Why is it that they should listen and read from Spirit Anointed men and women? Why are prayer and meditation so important?
As God has given us earthly parents that for a short time to teach and correct us, Our heavenly Father is continually our guardian, instructor and corrector. Hebrews 12:10 tells us, “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” Isn’t that our goal and destiny as people of God, to share in God’s holiness and nature? Isn’t this our new nature as we have been born again by the Spirit? As the wife and I read through the book of Proverbs we can’t help but be impressed with this message, ‘God will give us wisdom and life defining principles that will give us good success, long life and immortality. The condition is that we must take heed to listen and follow in these principles and ways of life. We all know that we have areas of weakness, failure and folly in our lives. We need correction, for without it we will perish. This is what distinguishes the wise from the foolish and the righteous from the wicked, the righteous and wise son will heed, receive and embrace correction and rebuke. He will not be offended by it because he knows that it is working life and godliness in him. Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” Now none of us are overly fond of correction, because it generally hurts our ego or our flesh. Many of the trials that we endure are a form of correction, not because we are bad, but because God is exercising us in faith and in application of the principles and tenants of His Word. How do we get good at anything? Isn’t it by much repetition and practice? We are in God’s boot camp and His training ground for developing and exercising righteousness and right living. How are we going to know the right responses and ways to handle our trials and the circumstances that life throws at us if we don’t study the manual and listen to instruction? This is why we want a close walk and relationship with the Lord so that we can hear and discern the Holy Spirit’s voice. He is our personal teacher and life coach. He will teach us through our everyday life experiences if we are tuned in and listening to Him. Most of us are so busy blasting through life our own way we rarely give time or attention to even inquire or listen for the Holy Spirit. I wonder why we struggle so?
The wisest and richest man in the earth wrote Proverbs. Much of what is shared in Proverbs is a contrast between wise and foolish, simple and knowledgeable, righteous and wicked and life and death. We are continually instructed on right response and behavior and wrong response and behavior. It makes plain to us the consequences of our response and choices.
If any of us have had rebellious or disobedient children then we can relate with what the Lord puts up with in us. Somehow they can’t receive the fact that you are telling them things and limiting them from things that will result in their hurt. They perceive it as you being overbearing, unfair and just out of touch. As a result they choose to go down the hurtful path that results in pain and suffering for all. Many of us are certainly no different when it comes to obeying God’s Word.
We want to challenge you to read a chapter of Proverbs every day for a least two years and see if it doesn’t change your life, your finances and your situation as you begin to put these principles and proverbs into practice. There are thirty chapters, one for each day of the month. What Sharon and I are doing is reading a new chapter and then we reread the chapter we read the day before to reinforce it. God’s Word will change us if we will not only read it and hear it, but seek to give it application in our daily lives and circumstances. This is what develops holiness in the fear of God. This is what gives us faith and life and hope in every situation. Take the challenge and prove God’s Word. His promises and His Word will not come back void, they will work positive changes in your life. God is a good God, a wonderful and loving Parent and One that is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Blessings,
#kent

The Righteous shall not be Forsaken

Psalms 37:25
I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Often times the walk of righteousness is not an easy walk. As we draw near to God, and more and more relinquish our life for His, we sometimes can be become discouraged and disheartened. All around us the wicked and the ungodly seem to be prospering and enjoying life while it seems we are facing one struggle after another. While life is an uphill battle for us, it seems to often be a roller coaster ride for others and we may be tempted to mummer, “This is unfair Lord.” The psalmist saw the same thing in his day. He gives an account in Psalms 73 of how he envied the prosperity of the wicked. “For I was envious at the foolish, [when] I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Psalms 73:3).” Do we ever get discouraged and think I’m tired of this walk of righteousness. Everyone is prospering and enjoying life and I’m trying to be godly and yet I’m struggling through life. Where is the equity God? The psalmist goes on to explain what he discovered and the folly of his reasoning. “This is what the wicked are like- always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies (Psalms 73:12-20).” Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.” There are times when our vision becomes obscure when we start to look back at the world instead of steadfastly upon the Lord. The enemy would begin to coax our minds and hearts into thinking that the way of the world is far better. He is only able to do this as we get our eyes off of Jesus. We only need to enter into the sanctuary of His holy awesome presence to be reminded of what the end and the destiny is for the wicked and unbelieving. God is not withholding His good from the righteous, He is raising up His righteous to possess and rule all things. In order to do that the “things” cannot possess us. Only He, The Lord God, Pure and Holy, must possess us. Our destiny is not of this world, for this world and all of it goods soon are to pass away and perish with the using, but the possession we have in Christ is eternal and only increases from glory to glory.
Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged by the struggles you have in this world. It is by patience and steadfast faithfulness that we enter in and possess the greatest prize of all, God’s holy nature and manifest presence in our lives. What our God desires to give us is unmatchable by anything in this natural world. We must have the vision of what God’s heart and desire for us is lest we perish in the wilderness, failing to enter in and possess our inheritance by unbelief.
Let us take heart and faint not, knowing that the fullness of our salvation is near at hand. We can know that Paul was right when he said, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:16-19).” We don’t need what the world has. They need what we have, for the scripture declares that the sons of God will be the instruments of God’s restoration and restitution in the earth. The outward apparel does not always reveal the wealthy man. The righteous is being purified to be the containers of God’s wealth and blessing. The blessing that seeks not it’s own, but is the dispenser of the life and love of God even as Jesus, the pattern Son.
If we want renewed vision and purpose we need only draw near by the blood of Jesus and enter the sanctuary of His presence. When we experience the richness of His manifest presence we will know without a doubt that there is nothing in this earth richer or more satisfying than Christ Himself.

Blessings,
#kent

Identity Theft

June 30, 2014

Galatians 4:17-20
Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

Identity Theft

How many of us or others that we know have gotten a revelation of “Christ in you”? They knew who they were, their authority and freedom in Christ. They had a destination and purpose. They were no longer identified with the old man, but had come into the light and revelation of who they were as a new creation man. Then along came other teachings or worldly influence that drew them away and clouded the vision of what once was so real and liberating. Little by little you or they were seduced and led astray from the teaching and reality that once was held so dear and life giving. Once again these ones have slipped back into the law from which they had been set free. Once again they have become slaves of men or the world instead of slaves of Christ and righteousness.
Somewhere there is one like Paul who poured into you and travailed for you that you might receive and come into these liberating truths. Now the enemy has come subtly in to rob your identity and obscure your vision. There are those who want to own, control and claim you as their own, not for your good, but for there’s. Even in the religious and kingdom arenas we see these controlling and seducing spirits at work, as they bring in division and schisms within the body of Christ. They can work so cunningly in those we often regard as mature in Christ.
Paul is greatly grieved and perplexed here as he speaks with these Galatians in 3:1-5, of whom he says, “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”
This serves as a warning to us not to slip back into legalism and self-works, seeking to please God by any other means than faith and obedience. In doing so we find ourselves offering the sacrifice of Cain, rather than Abel, seeking to please God with the works of our hand and the sweat of our brow, rather than by the blood sacrifice that has been offered once for all in the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
What makes you extremely dangerous is when you begin to come into who you are in Christ. Satan doesn’t mind you being religious or trying to please God some other way, but when you get a hold of your identity in Christ you become a very real and dangerous threat to him. He will use whatever is at his disposal to lead you away from that reality, rather it is persecution, tribulation, worldly seduction or false teaching. When Christ is truly formed in you then you know who you are in God and you can move in the realms not of this earth. You can pull down strongholds, principalities and dominions of darkness. You operate out of the power and authority of the Spirit of Christ in you. You become hell’s greatest threat!
Will he try and rob your identity and purpose in Christ from you? You can count on it. We don’t want to follow after the foolishness and the deception of the Galatians, but we want to press in all the more into the fullness that Christ has for those who love Him and are consumed with His life. There are many distraction and attractions all around us, both worldly and religious. Anchor yourself in the truth of who you know yourself to be in Christ. Declare it daily and walk in it moment by moment, exercising it’s reality in your daily living. Do not be deceived by the outward workings of men. Even satan can produce lying signs and wonders. Discern by the Spirit, the Word and fruit of what is being produced. Listen to that still small voice and the witness of the Holy Spirit within you. Things are not always as they seem. We can be easily deceived and led astray if we are not continually walking after the Spirit and judging all things through the Spirit and the Word of God. Guard your heart and your identity. Identity theft is prevalent in the spirit as well as in the natural. Always know Christ in you is your hope of glory and your overcoming victory.

Blessings,
#kent

Skating on Thin Ice

May 1, 2014

Skating on Thin Ice

Matthew 25:10-13
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
29-30
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
41-46
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Our texts from Matthew 25 present us with three parables given by Jesus that illustrate wise and faithful servants with subsequent rewards and foolish and slothful servants who reap the closed door to God’s presence and His judgement of displeasure. There are many that loosely wear the name of Christian. There are many who attend church and acknowledge the name of Christ, but if we all stood before Him in judgement today how many of us would truly be considered His? The passage in Matthew 7:13-23 instructs us, “13″Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “ The scriptures speaks something very specific to us that many tend to ignore. Many of us have a philosophy that we can have religion, that we can have works and that we can generally believe upon the name of Jesus and that insures us of heaven. I fail to see that premise supported in these scriptures. There is a connection necessary for us to be “in Christ”. The connection we have in Christ is not just one made in a moment of repentance when we came to the altar; that should have been the beginning of a continuing, ongoing and deepening relationship that leads us into the heart of God and establishes us as part of the vine, yielding the fruit of the Spirit. Our salvation is not contingent upon how religious we are, what church we go too, what denomination we do or don’t belong too or how good our works are. Salvation is union with the One who hung upon that cross for you and I and gave His life so that we might have eternal life. For many, the definition of salvation has become very loose and general, but in these scriptures and many like them we find an exacting Lord, who expects faithfulness, obedience, commitment and fruitfulness. That fruit has no value or worth if it is produced outside of the vine; it is the fruit of the vine that produces life and lasting value.
Jesus says specifically in Matthew 7:13, “”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Religion is a wide road that may lead us in pursuit of God, but does not lead us into life and relationship with Him. That small gate and narrow road is not the one traveled by the masses or even the church in general; it is traveled by those in pursuit of Him. Where are we at on life’s road? Do we just possess religion, a belief system or even spiritual gifts? None of those in themselves make us His. He is looking for the ones who bear the fruit of His life within them, who are faithful with what He entrust them with, who are watching and preparing for Him and those who are ministering the life to others that they themselves possess. Do we really know Him and are we in relationship with Him or are we skating on the thin ice of a mindset that just says, “sure I believe in Christ” but aren’t really living what we think we believe. Our beliefs have to become your realities.

Blessings,
#kent

The Soul’s Desires

December 5, 2012

Proverbs 7:21-27
With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.
22All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose
23till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.
24Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say.
25Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths.
26Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng.
27Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.

The Soul’s Desires

If we allow our outward passions and lust to rule us.
Then know, their pretty packaging will surely fool us.
Momentary pleasures and thrills may be sweet,
But wages upon our soul will be dark and bleak.
Don’t look at the outward alluring package, but what is within,
There you will find the real, rather than the illusion of sin.
The fool pursues the illusion that quickly turns to dirt and slime,
Wisdom brings fulfillment in right choices, not just a good time.
~Kent Stuck~

Blessings,
kent

Characteristics of a Fool

September 26, 2012

Characteristics of a Fool

Psalms 92:5-6
O LORD, how great are thy works! [and] thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.

We have characterized wisdom, perhaps it is a good time to look at the opposite side of the coin and look at the characteristics of a fool. While it is likely the true fool would not spend their time reading this, let alone taking it to heart, it might speak to the wise. Part of getting wisdom is realizing and correcting our own follies and the error of our ways. While in viewing these characteristics we might be prone to judge some that we may think fit this category, it will probably be far more profitable for us to judge and correct our own hearts where we see some of the characteristic active in us.
One of the first characteristics of a fool is seen in Psalms 14:1 and 53:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.” He is in denial of God and His salvation. A fool can be defined as being pretty much full of themselves, “The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise.” They are not one to listen to advice, counsel or the admonition of others. Proverbs 15:5 tells us the root of where foolishness begins, “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” Proverbs 17:10 says, “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.” They never learned to receive and heed correction as child. Their nature is stubborn and rebellious. They are a god and an authority unto themselves.
Proverbs 13:6 talks about how most people rationalize and come to conclusions based on facts and evidence, not so the fool. “Every prudent [man] dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open [his] folly.” Ecclesiastes 2:14 says that the “The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness.” There is spiritual and moral ignorance and darkness that is prevalent in their lives. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise.” Proverbs 13:6 tells us, “Every prudent [man] dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open [his] folly.” From these observations it is clear that fools are presumptuous, impetuous, not stopping to consider all the factors in making decisions, poor decision makers and ruled by their own thoughts and opinions which they value above sound judgement, wisdom and instruction. “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2)” They are arrogant, proud, boastful, full of themselves, lacking understanding, discernment and wise in their own eyes.
Ecclesiastes 10:3 tells us, “Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is.” He is characterized by ignorance and stupidity revealed in actions.
The fool is what we would term the troublemaker, always stirring up strife and contention. Proverbs 10:23 says, “[It is] as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.” Proverbs 14:16 says, “A wise [man] feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” The thing about a fool is that there is no reasoning with them as with a rational person, whose mind is open. Proverbs 23:9 says, “Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.” “If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace. (Proverbs 29:9)” “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. (Proverbs 26:4)” The only time that a fool is thought to be wise is when he keeps his mouth shut. “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. (Proverbs 17:28)” Like the saying goes, “it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” The character of the heart of a fool is readily seen through his words and subsequent actions. Normally the fool has little regard for what he says or how it will affect those around him. Ecclesiastes 10:14 says, “and the fool multiplies words. No one knows what is coming- who can tell him what will happen after him?” The fool likes to hear himself ramble and spout off, but has no soundness in his words, neither does he govern his emotions or anger and is noted for his lack of self control. “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (Proverbs 29:11)” Isaiah 32:6 says, “For the fool speaks folly, his mind is busy with evil: He practices ungodliness and spreads error concerning the LORD; the hungry he leaves empty and from the thirsty he withholds water.” The fool is set in his ways and will always return to his perverse nature. “As a dog returneth to his vomit, [so] a fool returneth to his folly. (Proverbs 26:11)” The fool will not remain in a right path, but will go back to the folly and the error of his ways.
The fool is the counter part of the wise man. By his folly we better see wisdom, just as we wouldn’t recognize light without darkness. “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. (Ecclesastes 10:2).” Wisdom takes the high road, but fools will always take the low road. Wisdom is characterized in the godly and the spiritual man, the fool is seen to be sensual, devilish and perverse.
Perhaps in summary Proverbs 28:26 says it best, “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” What and whom we trust in says a lot about how wise or foolish we are. We have all grown up in degrees of foolishness, but our wisdom, our safety and our security are realized in our trust and obedience to God’s Word and His ways.

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: