Offenses

December 23, 2014

Proverbs 18:19
An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

Offenses

Did you ever wonder why the body of Christ is so often offended with one another. Think about what is at the heart of most of our division within the body. It is offenses. Out of these offenses we do exactly as Proverbs 18:19 says, we become more unyielding than a fortified city and we become close minded. What is at the heart of these issue if it is not our pride and our determination to be right.
Our pastor once shared something to the effect that religion is the need to be right, but true Christianity is the need to pursue righteousness. Why do you think many that heard Jesus, in particular the religious crowd, were offended with much of what Jesus had to say? Jesus trampled on their pride because He spoke the truth about what was in their heart. He revealed God in a way that didn’t fit within all of their traditional perimeters.
What we have to understand about offense is it usually reveals a heart condition in us. Peter swore up and down to Jesus that though everyone else might be offended in Him, he would never be offended. What resulted as Peter was confronted with being one of Jesus’ disciples was his denial. It was the testing that revealed his heart condition that he was blind too until that moment of testing came. There are many things in life we are going to want to be offended about and we may feel totally justified in doing so, but remember offenses are but a test to reveal what is really in our heart.
I love a statement our pastor recently ministered, “Offenses are simply opportunities turned inside out.” They test where our faith is, where our love is and where heart is for others and for God. When we can pass these tests of offenses then we can move on to the next level in our walk with Christ. Discipleship is not just calling yourself a Christian, it the learning of how to walk out your faith and not be offended. It is the love that can forgive your accusers, those that curse, malign, abuse, deceive and defraud you. It is walking as Jesus walked, without offense, even when He had every right to be offended.
When we can walk without offense. When can release and forgive our offenders, then we have moved past pride and the need to be right, to find true love, humility and righteousness of the God kind.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Filter of the Blood

January 21, 2014

2 Corinthian 5:21

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


The Filter of the Blood


 I am in awe and amazement at this declaration of scripture.  Can we truly comprehend that Christ made an exchange with us.  He became our sin so that We might become His righteousness which is the righteousness of God.  I definitely got the best end of that bargain.  All of this so that the Father might reconcile us back to Himself and bring us back into relationship and fellowship with Him.  Indeed that is amazing grace.  We have a high priest in Christ Jesus that has become identified with us in our weaknesses and infirmities, being tempted in like manor as we were tempted to fully represent us before the Father in our human state.  Hebrews 4:14 -16 says, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  

Jesus has gone through the heavens as our great high priest.  He has gone through the natural heaven of our earthly man.  He has gone through the second heaven of spiritual warfare and demonic activity and He has come into the third heaven where He sets at the right hand of the Father, ever living to make intercession for us and bring us, in Himself, into the Father’s presence.   Colossians 3:1-3 tells us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  

You see Father God looks upon us and now instead of seeing our sin, weakness and failure, He sees us through the filter of the Blood of Jesus.  Through that blood He beholds in us the righteousness of His Son that has been imparted to us by our faith in Him.  When He sees you, He sees you complete in His Son and because you are in the Son you have access to throne and you can now approach the throne of His grace with confidence and boldness so that you may receive mercy and grace in your time of need.  

If the righteous Holy God of all can see us through the filter of the Blood of Jesus and behold the righteousness of Christ in us why is it we can’t look through that same filter to see ourselves and others in the body of Christ the same way?  Many of us struggle with self condemnation and always feel estranged from God because we don’t see ourselves through the filter of His blood. Many of us see the faults and shortcomings in one another.  We judge and condemn one another rather than forgiving one another.  When a brother or sister falls so many times instead of restoring them in love we cast them out and count them no longer worthy.  

When were any of us ever worthy?  Ephesians 4:29-31 gives us as Christians this exhortation, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Don’t you suppose it is the Father’s heart that we view each other through this same filter of the Blood of Jesus that He views us.  Since when did we become God and Judge, especially when the same things reside in us that we condemn in others?  If God can love me, then there are no limitations on who He can love and who He can forgive.  

In Colossians 3:12-14 we receive this like exhortation, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”  Isn’t it time that we get our eyes off of people and on to Jesus?  People, no matter how great they are, will always disappoint you.  They will always fall short of your expectations.  So many of us are looking to people, rather they be spiritual leaders, civic or political leaders, marketplace leaders or even our husband or wife, mother or father.  None of these people can take the place of Jesus in your life.  Don’t put on others what only Jesus can do for you.  Understand they have the same weaknesses and frailties as you.  Forgive them and forbear with them.  See others through that same filter of the Blood of Jesus that the Father sees you.  

 
Blessings,
kent

Attributes of a Holy People

January 11, 2013

Colossians 3:5-14
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Attributes of a Holy People

Just as oil and water don’t mix, righteousness and iniquity don’t mix and yet so many of us as believers are still trying to carry our two natures in one vessel. We can be all sweet and Christian until it doesn’t suit our need or our disposition. Just as quickly we can pick up that old nature that we supposedly reckoned dead upon the cross and live it out again. We’ve all been guilty of this.
Christ has given us a new identity with His nature, character and being, but each day is a decision on our part to pick up our cross and follow Him or to look back into the world and the death that He died to bring us out of. Lot’s wife looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah and it didn’t serve her well.
God doesn’t want us as Christians to just have a pretense of godliness; He wants us to have the in-working of a holy nature that manifests the attributes of who He is. Thus, Colossians exhorts all of us here to put death, whenever it pops up, crops up or arises in our hearts any of these former things we once practiced and were a part of our lives. God wants the fullness of what we are to be pressing into the fullness of what He is. He is now our nature and our identity. When I see these old nature attributes wanting to come up again I must repent and renounce them, because they are no longer who I am. As a holy people God wants us to see ourselves for who He has redeemed us to be, not a mixture of flesh and Spirit. Every day. just as we dress the outward man, He wants us to dress our inward man with the robes of the righteousness of Christ Jesus. He wants us to clothe ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” He wants us to bear with each other. That means we put with the weaknesses, the faults, the irritations, the offenses, the clashes of our personalities and all of the other things that make us wants to react in ungodly ways toward others. People are going to push our buttons, but they may be in our lives so that God can do a deeper work in us. His will is for us to suffer and endure them in love. Life isn’t going to always be about what we like or what pleases us. It is about what pleases the Father. Father isn’t a respecter of persons and He doesn’t want us to be either. Just because we can’t relate with another member of the body doesn’t mean they aren’t needful and just as essential as you or I. So it is important that we grow in our tolerance, forbearance and acceptance of others. It is important that we forgive and not hold on to grievances, offenses or disappointments we have with others.
The binding fiber of all of these Christ-like attributes is love. God wants us to love higher, deeper and wider than our natural love can go. That is why we are stretched by those that we don’t necessarily like or can relate with. God wants to take us into a love that exceeds our natural boundaries and dimensions. It is His love and because our identification is with Him, it has to become our love.
God is calling forth a mature people. A people that know who they are, where they live and are positioned and what their purpose is. When we really know that, then we know it is all about Him and not about us. It is not about our pleasure, but what pleases Father. When we truly start living that way then we will experience His good pleasure through us. People will truly see Christ in us, because we don’t carry prejudice, bigotry, sectarianism, judgement, favoritism and all of the things that cause schisms and separations among us.
As we saturate our life in God’s Spirit then those natures will separate and as that old nature comes to the surface. we will recognize it, repent of it and get it out of our life. We are a chosen, holy priesthood of God. We carry His name and we represent Him in the earth. We want what others see in us to be a true representation of who our Father is. Because He has been so misrepresented, many have turned away because they saw a form of godliness, but no real substance was being revealed. All they saw was a pretense. We want to be the real deal.

Blessings,
kent

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