The Choice of Forgiveness

September 22, 2016

The Choice of Forgiveness

Matthew 6:14-15

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses

Forgiveness is only a gift and a pardon that can be given by the offended.  Through the course of our lives all of us have been offenders wherein we have hurt or wounded another in some capacity. All of us have been the offended wherein we have been hurt or wounded by another in some capacity.  I guess we could define forgiveness as the act of releasing pardon to someone who has offended, even though they may not deserve it.  It is saying, “I no longer hold this offense to your charge, you are released, it is put away and we go on from here with a clean slate.”  

We know through God’s Word, our conscience bearing us witness, that we have all sinned and offended our God and creator, not just once, but many times over.  As Romans 3:23 says, “For all havesinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  God through His great wisdom and love has desired and made a way to release His forgiveness toward us for our offenses.  We have come to know Christ and His cross as the means through which God has forgiven us and released us from the curse and judgement of sin.  As Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while wewere yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  So God is our example of forgiveness and when He forgives what does that mean?  In Jeremiah 31:34 the Words says, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”  Hebrew 8:12 and 10:7 both say, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”  Often we hear the phrase,  “I’ll forgive, but I can’t or won’t forget.”  According to the Word is that true forgiveness?  

Jesus has made a strong statement in Matthew 6 in that He tells us that we must forgive to be forgiven.  Our forgiveness of others releases forgiveness to us.  

Right now, there are those of us who are really wrestling with forgiving.  Someone has hurt and wounded us deeply.  It is very painful and when we think upon it makes us very angry with the person who has done this.  Can we just forget it and pretend it didn’t happen?  No, it is very real and after all we are the victim here not the perpetrator.  While a victim doesn’t deserve the hurt they receive it does become their responsibility to heal and recover from that injury.  If someone shoots me and I am wounded, they can’t heal me and cause me to recover; only I can do that.  Often it has a great deal to do with time.  It often takes time to work through emotional as well as physical pain and suffering.  Realistically, when some has deeply hurt us, we can’t just say, ” I forgive you” and then just forget it.  The memory is too raw and the wound is too fresh.  This is where we operate out of a higher principle than our emotions and feelings.  We act out of our will by faith.   We make a choice to forgive, not because we feel it, but because it is the mind and will of God.  We know that we could have never deserved God’s forgiveness and yet He provided it for us.  If we choose to hold on to unforgiveness then we place a roadblock to God’s forgiving us.  We have a break in our relationship and fellowship with Him that is never worth holding on too.  When we hold on we give place to a root of bitterness that will trouble us and can defile the many (Hebrews 12:15).

Peter asks Jesus one time in Matthew 18:21-22, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Jesus spoke of a divine principle of Jubilee wherein we operate out of a spirit of release and forgiveness of debts and offenses.   It doesn’t have limitations. Even as God has forgiven us as often as we have repented and turned to Him, we must operate out of the same principle toward others.  When Jesus hung on the cross, some of His last words were, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Today, if you are struggling to forgive, give it to the Lord.  Make it an act of obedience to Him.  It may help to write down on paper all the offenses and hurts you are feeling and then, in faith, by choosing obedience to the Lord, act out of His love and burn those hurts and offenses.  Let them go and in essence remember them no more that you can be set free, even as you have set your offender free.   What God has done for us in great measure, forgiving us much, we must do for others in smaller measure, forgiving and releasing them of their offenses.

Blessings,

#kent

Forgiveness

May 2, 2016

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Forgiveness

I would dare say that all of us have had experiences in life where others have wronged or hurt us and in some cases quite severely and repeatedly. It is often these experiences, wounds and hurts that we can not seem to release. They are a trauma upon our lives. It is in these adverse life experiences that we are confronted with a choice to forgive and release an offense or to hold on to it and maintain the unforgiveness. When we are hurt it is our natural inclination to want to hurt back.
In the natural we often are wounded through life and most are superficial. In most cases they require a little attention and then they heal and we go on. There are those times when we are wounded more deeply and without cleansing the wound and putting something on to disinfect, we can get it infected. When infection sets in the wound festers and will not heal. In fact, untreated, it will become worse and more compromising to our health. It can actually be the infection that comes into us through the wound that could end up killing us rather than the wound itself. That is what unforgiveness is like. With emotional hurts and wounds there is a natural healing process and with the right heart and attitude those wounds will heal. They may leave some scars, but life goes on. Unfortunately, for some of us, there are places and ways that we have been hurt where we let the infection of unforgiveness come in. It is a form of hate and it can even be toward ourselves as well as others. It is the love of God that is the antibiotic that heals the infection of unforgiveness. It is when we see Jesus, unjustly accused, mocked, ridiculed, beaten to the point of being unrecognizable and then nailed to cross who can, before he breathes his last breath, say,” Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” that we see what forgiveness really looks like. It is only as we are willing to apply that same forgiveness of love toward our offenders that we can receive the forgiveness of our offenses. Before God, we stand no less guilty of sin and offense than those who have wounded us. What we ask of God, we must be willing to extend to others.
It is the love released through making the decision to forgive, not just the feelings, that is the antibiotic that will bring healing and restoration. First it restores our relationship back to Father and then it works to restore our human relationships.
You may be saying, “yeah, but you don’t how many times this person has hurt me.” Peter addresses this question unto the Lord in Matthew 18:21-22, ” Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” You see sin kills, but God’s love is the multiplication of forgiveness that triumphs even over the depth and death of sin. It is the grace of God’s forgiveness that brought each one of us into a place where can know the restored fellowship and relationship with the Father. We receive that only through His forgiveness for us, because we all deserve condemnation and death. Luke 6:37 exhorts us, ” Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”
For some of us it is time that we examine our hearts and lay down this cross of unforgiveness that we have been carrying. We must realize that the unforgiveness is doing far greater damage to us than even the offense. It is keeping us from our own forgiveness and right relationship with the Father. Ask the Father for His love in you to release the unforgiveness you have been carrying, no matter how awful the offense. As He forgave us, we ought also to forgive others. How can we have Christ come forth in us if the very prominent part of His nature is forgiveness?
First come and release it to the Father and then release the individual or individuals. When you release you will be released from the judgement that unforgiveness can hold over us. ” If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)” Isn’t time to come into the freedom and the release of His Love?

Blessings,
#kent

Taking Up an Offense

October 15, 2015

Proverbs 18:19
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.

Taking Up an Offense

How many of us today are carrying offenses in our heart towards another. They said something to us, they did something to us, they wronged us in some way and now they are on the black list of our heart to stay. We have all been offended, hurt, disappointed, emotionally wounded and wronged in some way. I guess that is pretty normal behavior in the world, but what about in the identity that God has given us in Christ. In our identity with Him, are we still justified in holding on to these offenses, no matter how justified we reason within ourselves to do so?
Colossians 3: 13 says, ” Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” That is not a request, but a command. Have we never offended or hurt anyone? Are we so unwilling to forgive what we ourselves have been guilty of?
One revelation we all need to get is that we are not of this world and yet we keep thinking like it and acting like it. That is not a renewed mind in Christ, it is being conformed to the world which is an offense to God. When we are unwilling to forgive then we spit in the face of Him who forgave us. That is strong and it should be, because that is how the Lord takes it. He forgave us so much, shouldn’t we be willing to forgive little. Jesus spoke parables about forgiveness and He taught a word concerning it that very few of us are walking in.
Now someone might be thinking, “Will you don’t know what they did to me, I can’t ever forgive them for that.”
Jesus said, ” “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:43-46)
Somehow we can all become self-righteous about things. We can see all of the faults in others. We may be carrying an offense against someone that isn’t even our own. We have taken it up for someone else because they were wronged. We tend to somehow feel that we have been given the right to judge others for their wrongs and are justified in condemning them and holding it against them.
Jesus said, ” “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Romans 2:1-4 also addressed this issue, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” It goes on to say that because of this stubbornness we store up wrath for ourselves, because we are going to be judged by the same standards that we judged others and if we showed no mercy, then we can’t expect to receive mercy.
How can we fully walk in who we are in Christ when we hold offense against a brother or another. God is love. His love and forgiveness has been shed abroad in our hearts as believers. Are we now going to annul what He died for? Listen to what 1 John 2:9-11 has to say about this. “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”
Are people, and even brothers and sisters, going to hurt, disappoint and offend us? You can count on it, but what you do with that offense speaks volumes to how real your identity is in Christ. If you really know Him, you will keep His commands. If you really love Him, you will allow His love to dominate and guide your heart. Your mercy will triumph over judgement and you will be the hot coals of love poured over the offenders head.
I would just like to end this with the exhortation given from Roman12:9-21 about how we are to walk in love toward one another. May the Holy Spirit help us acknowledge, to release and forgive any and all offenses that we have been carrying.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Blessings,
#kent

Wells of Salvation

September 1, 2015

Wells of Salvation

Isaiah 12
AND IN that day you will say, I will give thanks to You, O Lord; for though You were angry with me, Your anger has turned away, and You comfort me.
2Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation.
3Therefore with joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation.
4And in that day you will say, Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name and by means of His name [in solemn entreaty]; declare and make known His deeds among the peoples of the earth, proclaim that His name is exalted!
5Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done excellent things [gloriously]; let this be made known to all the earth.
6Cry aloud and shout joyfully, you women and inhabitants of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
Isn’t it wonderful to have a well of salvation to draw the water of life from? Every day we must go to this well, for from it we draw the life, the direction, the strength and refreshment we need. As we drink deep of the Spirit of Life we are refreshed, filled with joy and thanksgiving. It is at this well we find the anger of the Lord turned away from us and instead we find forgiveness, redemption, healing and hope. As we drink from this well we realize that all things are possible, because the life we drink from is not our own and it knows no limitations, short of our faith to believe and God’s wisdom in how He responds. Faith becomes our bucket by which we draw out this water of life and we find its increase in our sharing it with others. It is with great joy that we draw this water, because we drink from the fountain of eternal life.
The Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon spent his life in pursuit of the fountain of youth. It was in front of him all of the time and he wouldn’t even have had to leave home to find it. He pursued the vanity of the flesh and no matter what we do with the flesh or how we operate on it, it is a corruptible commodity and will pass away. What we can discover and drink from is a well that is so much richer, deeper and more lasting than any fountain of youth or means we may seek to preserve this natural life. As we drink from the well of God’s eternal Word and abide in the Spirit of His life, we have great reason for rejoicing and praise. Our greatest joy can be in sharing this life with others that they also may know the great joy associated with this well.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:10-15 about this living water and this well of salvation. “10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11″Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”” He is that well of salvation, that eternal source of life, hope and joy. He is our strength, our portion, our deliverer and our very present help in time of need.
Every day that I come to write I take a drink and ask to able to share some aspect of this water with others so that they also might be strengthened, encouraged, refreshed and partakers in this life. The Lord spoke to the woman at the well that in drinking from this you will never thirst for another. As we drink of Him we become His well spring. Out of God’s people is the issues of life as we share with others what we ourselves have found and rejoice in.
Take your bucket of faith and continue to draw and drink deep from this well, but then share the joy of the well of salvation with others that they also may know this great joy and likewise become partakers of so great a salvation. You will be amazed at what God can bring up out of your life as you drink of Him and depend upon Him to be your source and well spring of life.

Blessings,
#kent

1 John 3:18
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Love is a Language of Action

“I love you.” How many times have we said this or heard this? What does it mean? While the words can be meaningful and precious, it is what they convey, imply and promise that is of even greater weight. How many times have these been shallow words, void of promise and only speaking to someone what they so desire to see in reality? What gives flesh to these words are the actions that follow them. If we say that we love God, but we are cold and indifferent to our fellow man is the love of God truly in us or are we just clouds without rain, empty and void of the substance of God’s love.
For love to be meaningful, it has to be a language of action. Its expression is seen in our attitudes, our deed and in the true intent of our heart. I would say most of us often fall short of the kind of love we really want to have. Sometimes, even our best efforts seem in vain, but I believe God sees the motive and the intent of our heart. He is really the means by which we can truly love. The more expression we have of Christ in us, the greater our love, or rather the love of God in us, is expressed and made manifest. It will be seen, not only in the things that we give, but in our tolerance, our forgiveness, our patience, self control, our joy, our peace and in the way that we respond and act toward others. Christ in us is not measured in how much we know about the bible, or how much spiritual revelation that we have. It is not about how much we go to church or how religious that we appear. Christ in us is the measure of God’s love flowing through us. The less that we are in the way, the less restriction there is to the flow of His love through us. This is why we die to self, because self only hinders the flow of God’s unselfish love.
If we think that we truly love God and have His love in us then may our actions speak it and not our tongue. Let us manifest the works that He did. The manifestation of His love through us is God loving His world; this is what signifies to the lost that God is love when they see us give what they do not deserve. Are we a people of words or action?

Blessings,
#kent

Psalms 71:5
For thou [art] my hope, O Lord GOD: [thou art] my trust from my youth.

God, I don’t Deserve You

Throughout the highs and lows of life, the victories and the defeats, the triumphs and the disasters the one thing that is constant is God’s love. How thankful I am that my hope and confidence is not in myself. It would be as vanity and vapor if it were. All through life the anchor has been the Lord. Even in the times I felt rejected and cast off by others and the times that I even have hated myself, I have known like David that God is my hope and my trust is in Him. As we are pressing in to know and love God more we all know that we make a lot of mistakes and miss the mark more than we would like. The good news is that while there are times we may really get down on ourselves and feel totally condemned, God loves us. He loves us through our failures as well as our successes. While He doesn’t justify or condone our sin, He can forgive us and restore us into right fellowship with Him.
God loves you. Even if you don’t know how He could, He does. No matter what falls we take in life or even if we have slipped back into sin, hope in the Lord. Continue to put your confidence in Him. He is the One that you can always trust to love you, forgive and restore you if you will put your trust always in Him. We don’t deserve His love, His forgiveness or His mercy, but they are new every morning. His arms are open to us today. Come, let us embrace Him and draw near to Him again.

Blessings,
#kent

Cistern or Septic

June 10, 2015

Cistern or Septic

James 3:7-12
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Jesus makes this statement Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” The tongue and the speech of a person are the reflection of the aquifer of a man’s soul. Many things touch us as we go through life and how we process and the attitude with which we handle them can make all the difference in the world in how they affect our life and who and what we are. Most of us, at one time or another, will experience hurts, disappointments and offenses at the hands of another individual. It can be someone who might have been a friend or it may be from our closest and most trusted loved one or relative. Offenses, hurts, wounding can come from many directions, but no matter where they come from, it is how we deal with them that becomes important.
When water falls upon the earth it percolates down through the ground into voids, pockets and underground reservoirs. Many of us have had or at least drank from wells supplied by underground water. What is it that makes that water either pure to drink or in some cases septic and contaminated? Usually it is the process of filtration as it goes through the ground and works its way down into the reservoir. We have a filtration process that we have to take the events of our lives through. What we find in the Word is that if we process our lives with an attitude of the world or if we allow offenses or hurts that may be very real, to be processed the wrong way it can allow our inward cistern of life to become polluted and defiled. It will not only defile us, but it will make our speech and attitudes septic, which can, in turn, defile others.
The bait of satan is to get us to take offense, after all we are justified in doing so, we are the ones that were wronged. In Mark 11:25-26 Jesus makes the statement, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” You see our soul and our heart can be a cistern of life giving water or it can become a septic tank of bitterness and unforgiveness. What would have happened if the Lord had taken the offense of our sins, disobedience and rejection into His heart and held unforgiveness? If we still had life at all there would be no hope and there would be no avenue of relationship. If the Lord had only dwelled on our offenses and had not offered forgiveness could we have known anything but misery and death? As the Son of God was hanging on the cross, grossly beaten, abused, tortured and now crucified of men, His words were “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He didn’t hold the offense. He released it and the destructive power it could have contained with unforgiveness.
Maybe some of us today are sensing that our cistern has been polluted and made septic by offenses we have been unwilling to forgive and release. That unforgiveness hinders the forgiveness of our offenses to the Lord. It must be as the Lord’s prayer says,’ forgive us our sins, our debts, our offenses, as we forgive those who have sinned against us, have unpaid debts toward us and who have offended us.’ This process can be a painful one and in a sense it is like turning the other cheek to forgive when everything within us wants to return pain for pain, an eye for eye and a tooth for tooth. We want the offender to hurt and suffer every bit as much, if not more, than we have. We have a mighty God who is our avenger and just judge before which all of us will stand and give account. Allow your heart to be freed of the offenses that you have held so that you may have a clean heart and know God’s wonderful love and forgiveness for you that we could never deserve, yet He freely gives.
Filter out the offenses and the hurts that want to go into your heart and mortally wound your soul. You must filter them with the love and the forgiveness that the Lord has given you. You must extend the grace that He has given at the expense of his mortal life. It is the only way to purify the living waters of your heart so that you might issue forth life and not death.

Blessings,
#kent

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

Unity in the Body

April 8, 2015

Colossians 3:12-14
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.

Unity in the Body

I was just thinking about if my right thumb got offended with my index finger and decided to leave my right hand go over to my left. Now I’ve got two left thumbs. Then my left big toe has falling out with my left foot and decides to go join up with my nose. Now I’ve got my former big left toe trying to function as a nose. Do we get the picture of how dissension and disunity in the body can quickly bring dysfunction and misalignment? It doesn’t take long before we no longer have a functioning body, but a freakish mess. Does that resemble how we see a lot of the body of Christ trying to operate in today?
Why, because we are all so easily offended and willing to move out of the place where God has set us. It is important that you truly seek God to place you in a body and that when He does you are not moved except by Him. Most of us know that when you start rubbing a lot of different personalities together you may well create a blister or a sore spot. Our first tendency is get up and just move to a different seat or a different church. Just because our brothers and sisters are Christians doesn’t mean everything in our relationship with them is going to be rosy. What we may overlook is there is always an enemy at work to kill, steal and destroy and while he may well be at work to cause disunity and division, there is also God that is at work to mature us in our love and tolerance of one another.
I see people come and go out of our particular body of Christ all of the time. Most of them are precious men and women of God. I observe that so many times it is personal dislike, disagreements or offenses with others that make them move on. Maybe it was in God’s time to move them on, but a lot of times I think it is because we won’t allow ourselves to be perfected in love. Our love is still mostly about our personal preferences, opinions and how we think things should be. Because we took up a grievance and moved out of position of where God placed us, how do you think that ends up impacting your ministry for yourself and for others. Now you move someplace else until you are offended or in disagreement again and so the cycle goes. Thus so many play the game of musical churches.
What we are missing is some of the spiritual clothing that we are suppose to have put on. Instead of our suit and tie or our going to Sunday dress let’s put the clothing that the Word exhorts us to be clothed with. Compassion, having more of a heart for others than we do for ourselves. Kindness, which extends itself to looking after the interest of others and not just self. Humility, which is strength under control, so that despite who and what you may be in the Spirit, you are always coming under and lifting others up. Gentleness, it is not harsh, or brash, but handles others with the love of Jesus. Patience, last but not least, it is the patience of God that helps us to endure the offenses, misdeeds and issues of others. Remember that, unless you’ve started walking on water, you have some issues of your own that others have to tolerate in you. The bottom line is we have to grasp and lay hold of what true agape’ love is, if we are going to start seeing unity at work in the body. As long the body is always upset and fighting among itself it can never come into the focus of its purpose. The first revelation we all have to get is that body ministry and functionality is not first about us; it is about Him! We come together to first worship and serve Him, not just to get our ego stroked and our preferences met.
We have entered into an hour and season where love and unity in the body is paramount to what God is doing at this time. He is calling us to be a healthy, living breathing organism ruled and compelled by love, not a misfit organization trying to play church. We’ve come to treat our relationship with the body of Christ like we do many of our marriages, when it gets to messy we bail out of it. As long we keep running away and moving on, we can’t come into the fullness of unity, love and purpose God has for us.
I am not going to tell you that everything leadership or somebody else in the body did to you was right or justified. It probably wasn’t, but what does the Word say? “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Have we all truly done that? It would be great if we were all perfect in our love and didn’t have to deal with these issues, but the truth is that it takes dealing with these issues if we are going to mature in the love of Christ. You don’t think there were days Jesus might have felt like kicking his disciples to the curb and saying, “I don’t have to put up with this.” It was because He clothed himself with these very attributes that He not only put with them, but endured the cross for them, as well as us. If it is our desire to be identified with His nature and character, then we are going to have to endure some of the work of the cross in us. Be where God places you and stay there until He moves you. If you are going through some things it is because you need to grow through some of these things. Remember it is the lowest valleys that prepare you for the highest mountains.
The body must truly put on the love and humility of Christ if we are to walk in unity to accomplish the purpose of the Father. He said we would be a bride without spot or wrinkle. Well, obviously there is a whole lot of cleaning and ironing that needs to go on to get us there. Allow His love to have its perfect work in you.

Blessings,
#kent

Satan Beneath Your Feet

April 7, 2015

Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Satan Beneath Your Feet

This scripture has far more weight and meaning than just Eve’s immediate offspring. God was speaking a prophetic word. When God created Adam in the likeness of Himself, then the seed that the Word gives reference to would be that which was in the image of God. We see now the fulfillment of this passage going forth as the woman spoken of here is the Church and her seed are the sons and daughters of the most high. We might ask the question, “Why is the serpent’s head bruised under the heel of the woman’s seed?”
Satan, represented in that serpent, has always been the thorn in the side of God’s people and the bruising of the heel. We see him spoken of as the prince of the power of the air in Ephesians 2:2 and “the God of this world” in 2 Corinthians 4:4. Adam was originally the god of this world. It was to him and his offspring dominion was given. Genesis 1:27-28 states, ” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.””
When Adam and Eve made the choice to sin against God they relinquished that authority to satan by exercising their free will. As a result the people of God, and even all of creation, have felt the bruising of our heel and more by satan’s tyrannical rule.
It took the blood shed by the innocent Lamb of God, to take back that authority and dominion that satan has held. As a man without sin and whose life satan took unjustly, Christ Jesus rose the third day the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Psalms 68:28-21 declares, “When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious— that you, O LORD God, might dwell there.
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah 20 Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death. 21 Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins. (Psalms 68:19-21)” Then Hebrews brings forth the fulfillment of this scripture in Ephesians 4:7-13, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it[a] says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.” 9(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to 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.” Hebrews 10:11-14 goes on to say “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” That day Christ put the perfection of God back into our hearts and restored the dominion and authority lost. He has set down at the right hand of the Father and now it is the responsibility of the Church to take up that mantle of authority and victory left for us in Christ through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We have the same mandate that Joshua gave to people of Israel as they entered the promise land in Joshua 1:3, ” Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.”
Our inheritance, our dominion and authority is that which we lost in the garden with the first Adam, but that which has and is now being restored is that which we have regained through the last Adam, Jesus Christ. We are the feet of Christ and the enemy is our footstool. How many believe that Christ is ready to put His feet up? Romans 8:37 declares, ” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Revelations 12:10-12 reveals our overcoming source and power to prevail, “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night has been hurled down. 11They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
12Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” Your victory and dominion is in the word of your testimony, the authority of the Word of God in you and through you, and the blood of the Lamb which has already accomplished for us everything that pertains to life and godliness. Satan is a defeated foe and it is time to storm the gates of hell for they shall not prevail against us. ” And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20)”

Blessings,
#kent

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