Abundant Life

June 22, 2015

John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

Abundant Life

When we talk about abundant life, where do your thoughts go? Do they go to your natural man, your financial success, your health and the resources of this world? Indeed God’s abundant life touches us on a natural plane, but if that is where our focus is then we’ve missed the bigger picture.
If the thief, which we know as satan, only comes to steal, to kill and destroy, then why are so many non-Christians blessed and prospering in this life. The quality of life we are talking about here is the Greek word Zoë, God life. One definition states, “life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.” While satan is out to steal, kill and destroy, his focus is upon the “God life,” not the just the breath of life. When the Zoë of a person is robbed, killed or destroyed then what hope is left for a man? Separation from God is the ultimate darkness. While some may scorn God in this life, they have no concept of the life they have forsaken and given up.
The Apostle Paul brings this concept of abundant life into more focus in 1 Corinthians 15:9. He says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Paul wasn’t experiencing the abundant life as a big bank account and vacation home in Athens. In this life he experienced great tribulation and hardships. The revelation that he had was that this natural life was his investment into the abundant life he knew in Christ. It is not the seed itself that is the abundance, it is as it dies and gives place to the life within that abundance is released. It is not in the corruptible that we find the fullness of abundant life, but in the incorruptible, the resurrection life.
It is not in the abundance of this natural life that we rejoice or find the proof of abundant life. If we are blessed in our natural lives that is all well and good, but that is not the measure of God’s abundant life. Your abundant life is found in Christ. It is in your relationship with Him and the hope you have in Him. This natural life is but a corruptible seed planted in the ground. The question of abundant life is in what it brings forth through its death, not what it possesses in this life.
We want our life seed to possess the DNA of Christ in it. He is the essence of our abundant life, in this life and that, which is to come. Don’t allow satan or any one to steal that from you. The faith we have in Christ lives out of the abundance of who we are in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

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To the Faithful

May 25, 2015

To the Faithful

Revelations 17:14
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him [are] called, and chosen, and faithful.

There are those of you who read this, not because you lack understanding of the ways of God, not because you don’t know Him intimately and personally, but because you are the faithful of the Lord. You have learned to feed upon His Spirit Life wherever you find it, because that is the pasture and the feeding place of your souls. Those whom the Lord finds faithful in His kingdom, He does not regard lightly, but they are His delight and joy. There are those of you who have walked with the Lord for many years. Many of you have had your stumbles and falls along the way of life, but you stand here today faithful to Him because He has always been faithful to you.
Those of you who continue to be faithful to read these little Trickles; it is a testimony that there is something deeper, richer that yearns and hungers after the heart of God. Today the word of the Lord is to you faithful. God sees your heart; He has proven you through waters of adversity and the fires of affliction. You know that He will never leave or forsake you; He knows you will not forsake Him. You are the faithful. Many are “called” it says, but not many are chosen. The chosen are those who abide in the vine. They are not there for a season and then whither away; they are there season after season, after season. They are the fruitful branches of the vine, drawing their life from the root and vine of Christ and producing the precious fruit of His Holy Spirit. You are often the unseen ones, unnoticed and most often unappreciated by the world, but when you enter into prayer, heaven and earth can be moved by the words of your heart, for you pray not your will, but the will of the Father.
Psalm 31:23 says this about the faithful, “Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.” Again, Psalms101: 6 speaks to the faithful, “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” It is the faithful who are the sheep of His right hand, who walk with Him in obedience and humility, who esteem His ways above their own.
Even the faithful can grow faint, weary and discouraged for their walk is often not an easy one. They daily must fight the good fight and wage the spiritual warfare to overcome the adversary of their soul. Most often they not only contend for themselves, but also are faithful to stand in the gap and intercede for the saints, the needs of those who are upon their heart and often for those weaker and less faithful.
Faithful ones, here is the Lord’s word to you. Ephesians 1:1 says these promises are to the faithful of God. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” You faithful ones know who you are in Christ because you have read the promises and they have become more than words on a page, they have become substance and life. You are investing your lives into living in the reality of the truth of who you are “in Christ”. The rest of us want to look to these faithful ones as our examples of godliness and righteous living. They are the living testimonies of God and His faithfulness and they can teach what it is to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. These are those whom the Lord covets and is jealous over. These are the hidden diadems of His crown jewels.
Continue on you faithful ones; continue to shine as the morning sun in your life in Christ. Continue to be the living testimony and example before us, that those of us less mature and experienced might see and grasp what it is to walk in faithfulness and in truth. Continue on, you blessed of the Lord, for great is your reward. “His lord said unto him, Well done, [thou] good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

Blessings,
#kent

Jeremiah4:8-9
So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned away from us.
9 “In that day,” declares the LORD, “the king and the officials will lose heart, the priests will be horrified, and the prophets will be appalled.”

Word of the Lord to Press In!

Press in! Press in! Press in!
You are being taken from faith to faith and from glory to glory, but this is not through the mountaintop, it is through the valley. It is not through the blessings, but through the fire. It is not in life to self, but it is through the death of the cross.
My people that are called by my name repent in your sackcloth and ashes. Come and wail before the altar, for the skies grow dark and the storm is brewing in the heavens that will come to pass upon the earth. It is not a day for taking your ease as you have in the past, but a day for pressing in. Your time is short before you will face true adversity and trial, as you have not yet known. You will need all of your faith and you will need your relationship with Me to take you through. Your safety and well being is in none other than Me. I alone will see you through says the Lord. I alone will order your step in the way of safety. My people know my voice, but how can they know it if they have not been intimately with me and walked with me that they may discern and know?
Season the pan as you season your hearts. Put within your heart my words seasoned with faith and faithfulness. Many will cry out in that day, because they do not know their God. Many will forsake their faith for a seemingly easier and better way, but it is a way of destruction and death. In that way they will not only lose their lives, but their souls. Cleave to Me, You who are my own. Come under the shadow of My wing, for there you will find your shelter and that which will preserve you in the coming days.
You are as raisins in the sun. To the world you look dried up and of no value or substance. The world is looking to the sweet grapes of the vine. They glean them, but they perish in a day for they have not stood the test, nor been dried in the sun, having been seasoned and tested. Drink of the new wine of My covenant that you may live and not die, for my remnant will hear my voice and know the way. My ways are not for the casual traveler, but for those who will press into Me in this hour. Your provision and your salvation are not in this world, but they are in your God,
Former things are passing away and a new day is pressing upon you. It is the day of the Lord. It is a day of reckoning and anguish for the world, but great is the salvation that will be revealed through My people that are walking in Me. I have prepared you for such a time as this, so do not be complacent, but press in!

Blessings,
#kent

In Our Darkest Hour

January 16, 2015

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

In Our Darkest Hour

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

Blessinsg,
#kent

Antichrist among Us

September 18, 2014

1 John 2:18-22
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

Antichrist among Us

An antichrist spirit is that which denies and abides not in the Truth. Those who are in Christ know the truth and embrace who they in Christ through obedience and faith. Many of us have been concerned about the Antichrist that is coming, but the scripture is warning us that his spirit is already here among us. The scripture says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” This suggests that the spirit of antichrist in our very midst and assembly. Now don’t construe that just because someone doesn’t embrace your particular doctrinal beliefs or stay with your group that they are antichrist. This goes beyond that. This touches those that may have an outward confession or appearance of a Christian, but in their hearts they deny that Jesus is the Christ. In their hearts they have not been joined and made one with Him. Those who are in Christ will find their identity in Christ for they are of the same Spirit as He. They no longer are seeing Christ as separate, up, out and away from them. They are coming into the identity of who they are in Christ and who He is in them. It is a mindset and revelation that we are in Christ now. While we may be absent from Him in body, we are present with Him in spirit.
One thing that trials and testing do is they prove the substance and spirit of a person. If we do not truly possess Christ and find our reliance and life in Him, we will not be able to stand the test. We may go to church, serve on the board and sing in the choir, but if Christ is not in us, then we are only living a religion and not a reality. The proof of a child of God is seen in the fire. It is when they hold fast their faith even when all of natural reality speaks and testifies against it. They are born of the Truth and the Truth abides in them. They live out of that reality. It is not based on their understanding, their goodness, or their knowledge; it based on the substance of Christ in them. In that faith they stand, even to the yielding up of their natural life. This is why the scripture says in 1 Peter 1: 6-9 “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”
It is he who denies that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, and God’s only Son that is the antichrist. When we deny the Son, we deny the Father as well for by One we know the Other. If we fail to embrace that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life then we are of an antichrist spirit. We are conditional believers who will forsake the faith when we perceive that God has not met our conditions or expectations. Those in Christ are unconditional believers that are sold out. They will follow Christ to the end no matter what the cost. Our faith is not conditional upon our circumstances, our understanding or what we feel. It is based on an inward knowing of Him who abides within us. The knowing is so great that even death does not move us from it, because in Him we have the assurance of Life everlasting. Outside of Him what do we have but the assurance of death and judgement? You who are in Christ know this Truth because you have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things. You may not think that you do, but the One who knows all abides in you.
If this word moves you at all to question your faith then come to the Lord in true repentance and embrace Him in faith. Ask Him to come into your heart and remove every spirit in you that has opposed Him. Don’t carry with you the outward appearance of a Christian; possess the inward reality and assurance that can be yours through your commitment to Christ in faith. You can possess that inward peace and assurance that you are His.

Blessings,
#kent

Kindness and Severity of God

September 10, 2014

Jeremiah 4:8
So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned away from us.
Isaiah 60:5
Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.
Kindness and Severity of God

Today’s passages come from two totally different aspects that represent both the kindness and the severity of God. Even in the severity of God, He is working to bring all things to His purposed end. He is able to deal with His people in whatever means are necessary to accomplish that purpose. Our faith and obedience to Him or the lack of it often determine our choice in this process.
In Romans 11:13-24 the apostle Paul teaches this, “13I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
We see then that the severity of God has worked to our salvation and our being grafted into the tree of God’s family and people, but it will also work to the ultimate reconciliation and restoration of natural Israel. Then we two branches will become one spiritual Israel unto His glory. Even within our lives now we see both the kindness and the severity of God. We love His blessing, but He also gives of His correction because Hebrews 12:4-12 reminds us, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our 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. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Within the severity is contained the same love as in His kindness. We often reap what we sow and bring upon ourselves the need for His severity, but even in that severity it is to lead us to repentance and turn us back to Him. God’s severity is not His first course of action and with great longsuffering He often forbears our sin and rebellions. Romans 2:4 speaks of how God desires to deal with us, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? We are most often the ones that forsake our own mercy and provoke the severity of God.
This doesn’t mean that our sin or failure brings on all of the trials that we go through. Often it is these trials and tribulations that are most likely to cause us to keep our eyes and attention fixed upon Him. God’s sternness is to those who fall away, but His kindness is to you provided that you continue in His kindness.

Blessings,
#kent

Lying Vanities

August 29, 2014

Jonah 2:8
They that regard lying vanities Forsake their own mercy.
Lying Vanities

What is a lying vanity? That is what I wanted to know as the first half of this scripture was coming up in my spirit this morning. As I pursued this phrase I found the scripture in Jonah 2:8, “They that regard lying vanities Forsake their own mercy.” Other translations state it this way; “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” We often think of idols as those false gods of wood and stone that pagans worship, but in truth it can be anything that is not God focused and of eternal value. When we look at our lives, our ambitions and our priorities in light of this definition most of us would have to admit that there are probably a lot of lying vanities in our lives. So much of our lives are caught up in the temporal and temporary things that consume our time and energy but produce no lasting or eternal results. Lying Vanities, these are the idols that get our eyes off of our kingdom purpose and distract us from our true destiny. Their rewards are like a breath that is fleeting and quickly vanishes away. For many that lying vanity is the wealth of this world. Proverbs 13:11 says, “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.” Wealth in itself is not a bad thing, but our wealth should be a God thing. When we are pursuing “getting rich quick” it is wealth received by vanity and it doesn’t last. What we obtain through our faithful labor and acknowledgement of the Lord shall be blessed. Our true increase comes from our faithful service to the Lord. When He is the center of our world and the object of our time and pleasure then He is our reward. Our lives are then about the Father’s business, rather it is in the market place or in church, He is the reason we live, we move and have our being.
As I was having a business meeting with the Father this morning, He has been speaking to me that true wealth is found in love. I had been thinking of ways of business built upon man’s basic needs, such as food, security, sex, sleep and the basic things man needs and depends upon. What I heard the Father say was, “The greatest need man has is love.” We all have the need to be loved. Love is what gives us worth and value. At the time I thought “love?” how can that be a business concept. True love is something that you give away; it is not something that you get. That is where I am wrong. True love, given away, produces a greater harvest of that which is given. True love, God’s love, is not a lying vanity, but an eternal reality. It is what humanity needs most in this life, as well as in the life to come. Only true God lovers can give forth the true love of God. God’s love is what sweeps away the lying vanities that have caused us to forsake His mercy and grace.
It is a time for a new paradigm and way of thinking. My needs are met as I seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all of these things shall be added unto me. Our mistake is that we have been putting these lying vanities in front of God’s kingdom, thus we have forsaken our own mercy and blessings. Love is the currency of the God’s kingdom, not the vanities of this world. When we deal in His currency it will affect our temporal lives, as well as our eternal lives. It is time to take these lying vanities, whatever form they take, and put them behind us, for they are considered idols to our God. It is a new day and our heart is to walk in Kingdom ways, to openly be the expression of His love as Christ is expressed through us.

Blessings,
#kent

Chasing After the Wind

June 13, 2014

Chasing After the Wind

Ecclesiastes 2:11
But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

Solomon, the wisest and richest of kings wrote this book of Ecclesiastes. He was a man who said that he had it all, tried it all and none of the things of earth or the pursuits of pleasure and accomplishment were really worthwhile. They were like, “chasing the wind.”
What are we chasing in our lives? We allow so many things to consume our lives, our time, our efforts and affections, but what eternal value do they possess? What will become of them when our lives are spent and we are gone? In Mark 10:21 Jesus says to the rich young ruler, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
This man went away sad and unfulfilled because his possessions possessed him, he didn’t possess them. How many things in our lives possess us? Jesus offered the rich young ruler the one thing in life that would fulfill and complete him, but he couldn’t release the natural things for the spiritual. Jesus was letting him know and in so doing letting us know as well, if you want to pursue something more than the vanity of this life and all that it possesses there is only one way to store up treasure in heaven, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).” Jesus makes it plain to us that wherever our affections are, our values are placed, our importance lies, that’s where our hearts will be as well. Jesus is giving the same challenge to us as he gave to the rich young ruler, “take up your cross and follow me.” We process this with our minds, but not our hearts. We don’t want to, because it means we, like the rich young ruler, we have to deal with our issues, possessions and things we don’t want to let go of, even though they are robbing us of eternal treasure. That young man was no different than many of us. He was a good kid. He loved God and lived a righteous life and no doubt attended synagogue regularly. He thought he really wanted Jesus till he had to count the cost. It would cost him everything. While salvation is free, discipleship will cost you everything. The irony is that in losing everything this life has to offer you gain the riches of eternal heavenly treasure that has value long after your natural possessions have vanished. We don’t want to make the same mistake the rich young ruler did and become offended at the gospel.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” If we are really sold out to Christ then we are willing to surrender all our earthly goods, talents and treasures to follow Christ. That doesn’t mean we all literally go cash in, give it all away to the poor and take a vow of poverty, but we do need to have come to that place in our hearts. If the Lords says sell it all and give it away we are ready and willing. Often we can tell what things mean to us by how tightly we hold on to them. We need to embrace the cross and lightly hold the things of this life for even this is the wisdom of Solomon. At the end of Ecclesiastes Solomon says this of all that he has learned of life, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”

Blessings,
#kent

Return of a Wayward Heart

October 31, 2013

Return of a Wayward Heart

Hosea 2:7
And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find [them]: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then [was it] better with me than now.

The Lord has taken each one of us and has blessed, clothed, nurtured and provided our substance and our needs. He loved us when we were unlovely. He has taken us in when we were wandering without purpose and homeless. He clothed us when we were naked. He has healed us, bound up our wounds and broken hearts. He has given us favor where we would have had none. He gave us dignity, respect and purpose when we were full of sin, despised and forsaken.
How have we repaid Him for the richness of His love and blessing? Are we loving and serving Him with faith, obedience and love or have we been like Hosea’s wife in our hearts? Do we have that spirit of adultery and idolatry as she did to run after and pursue other lovers? Do we somehow think that they can in any way fulfill us more than our faithful husband, Jesus? Yet many of us forsake the Lord in our hearts and minds as we pursue and run after our affections and lusts. In the pursuit of them, are we fulfilled or satisfied? Are our hearts more content than when we were living and walking in faithfulness to Christ? Can those lovers ever fulfill the deeper needs and longings of our soul or will they take our life, our substance and our youth; casting us off, leaving us feeling used, dirty and rejected.
Where are we at in the fidelity and faithfulness of our heart and love toward our Lord today? Have we become as Israel of old who turned her back to the Lord to pursue her other lovers? Are we simply going through the motions of Christianity, but our hearts have become hardened and distracted by our sin?
Hosea 2:10 says, “So now I will expose her lewdness no one will take her out of my hands.” What we have done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops and our nakedness will be exposed and our sin revealed. God is calling His beloved back to His heart. He is wooing her to return and repent from her lovers and her vile behavior. The Lord will deal with us in ways necessary to deal with the harlotry of our hearts so that we may return again to Him and appreciate once more all that we have had and enjoyed at that goodness of His hand. Even though we deserve to be cast out and divorced, the Lord’s heart and love is still tender towards us. His love has been unconditional even in the midst of our unfaithfulness.
This is the place that He says that He is bringing us in Hosea 2:14-23, “”Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. 16 “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. ‘ 17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. 18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. 19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. 20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. 21 “In that day I will respond,” declares the LORD—
“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; 22 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. 23 I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. ‘ I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ‘ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ”
The Lord’s heart is to reconcile and bring us back into right relationship with Him. Let us turn our heart from our foreign lovers and bring our whole heart back to the Lord. Let us repent of our unfaithfulness and turn from all of our lewdness. Let us honor, love and obey Him who is the faithful lover of our souls and true husband. Let us return to our first love.

Blessings,
kent

Labels are for Cans

May 8, 2013

John 8:31
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

Labels are for Cans

Do you ever notice how our culture always likes to put labels on people, as if by a label we can accurately judge the content. We label people by race, color, creed, religion, denomination, by what your job or career is and by who you hang out with. Maybe it is just in our nature to categorize people by labels, then we can generically place them where they fit best in our thinking and even our prejudice.
I always hated labels, because every individual is different and while we may share certain commonalties that doesn’t make me a this or a that. Even in the religious world everyone feels more comfortable if they categorize you by faith, church or denomination. Immediately, that somehow qualifies us to judge rather this person is on my side or the other side.
Multitudes of people wear the label of “Christian”. What does that mean, that they were raised to believe in a God or that they really follow Christ?
Jesus didn’t come to gather Christians, He came to make disciples. A disciple is someone who has more than a casual belief in something; it is a person that follows a certain discipline. What was the discipline of Christ? According to John 8:31 it is abiding in His Word, then are you truly a disciple. It is a lifestyle, not just a belief. It is the fabric of what you live out of.
In John 13:35 Jesus give us another qualification and evidence of being His disciple. “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Wow, we don’t always see that working among a lot of the so-called body of Christ. Do your really love your brothers and sisters or just the one that fit under your label and even there, there if further divisions and discord.
Here is another qualification that Jesus gives us as a disciple in Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continuously.”” Again in Luke 14:27 He says, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” We have to be willing to go where Jesus went and to suffer what Jesus suffered. It means as Paul said in Galations 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
How are we doing so far? Are we just “Christians” by label or disciples by action and lifestyle?
Luke 14:26 gives us another hard one, “”If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.” That means that in comparison to our love and commitment to Jesus, not even the ones we treasure and love most in the earth can compare, not even our own selves. Our service, love, allegiance and commitment is first and foremost to Him. In comparison to that love, we hate all else.
It is easy for us to get comfortable under the label of Christianity, but that is not what Jesus called us to and that is not what He called us to do. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus gives us this commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” He didn’t tell us to make Christians or even believers or sell everyone on this ideology. He told us to go a make disciples and how can we do that if we aren’t one?
This should convict all of us of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus and the cost of what He asks us to pay. Do we just embrace it with our minds or are we walking it out in our lifestyle as we abide in Him? True Christianity is so much more than just labels it is the content of who we are in Christ.

Blessings,
kent

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