The Pathway of Life

June 12, 2015

Proverbs 12:28
In the way of righteousness [is] life; and [in] the pathway [thereof there is] no death.

The Pathway of Life

The Word teaches us that the way of life is the way of righteousness. In that pathway there is no death. Today, when we walk in Christ we are walking in life. There is spiritual life and power resident and at work in your life. If we think that somehow that righteousness comes from our natural man we err and do not walk in the truth. It is because we died and were crucified with Christ and now, in spirit, we have been raised with Him in resurrection life. Romans 8: 10 tells us, “And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.”
The Apostle Paul speaks to this attitude of righteousness in his life in Philippians 3:8-11, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” The way of righteousness is the way of a Christ centered life where we endeavor to walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh. It is the spiritual law and principle of life that we find clearly defined in Romans 8:1-8, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Condemnation at work in our life brings death, but in Christ there is no condemnation for He has washed us in His blood and forgiven all of our iniquities. He has raised us up in the newness and righteousness of His life. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is the blood and our fellowship with Jesus that restores us and keeps us in the paths of righteousness and life.
Let us keep ourselves with all diligence in the pathway of righteousness and life. The Lord Jesus Christ has gone before us to make the way for us to walk in that righteousness and enjoy the benefits of His divine life that is resident within us. In the pathway of righteousness there is no death except to that former way of life, which was death.

Blessings,
#kent

The Deserts of Marriage

October 24, 2014

The Deserts of Marriage

1 John 4:11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Tears once more roll down the streambeds of her cheeks. Her heart is broken, discouraged, without hope, as once again she a has surveyed the landscape of her marriage only to see what appears to be but a desolate desert with the only moisture being that of her brokenhearted tears. Between the sobs and heartbreaks she only sees the ruins of what have been the years of her youth, the investment of her life, feelings and emotions. Dispersed in the pain are the feelings of anger and resentment that are like the cactus and thorns that are among the few things that now grow in this desert that is called a marriage.
Somewhere, in another room, another place or perhaps a bar, there is a man sitting quietly with his head hung down and a lump in his throat. Is this finally the end of the line? Has our love totally shriveled up and died? Has my insensitivity and inability to meet her needs put the final nail in the coffin of our marriage? Have my selfishness, my insensitivity and her continual nagging and criticism brought the closing act to our marriage?
Both lost in their thoughts and hurts think back to when they first met, their younger days of romance and early marriage. How different it was then. It was like the Garden of Eden. They were so in love. They never wanted to be apart. They thought about each other constantly and there was hardly a time when either of them could do wrong in the other’s sight. Things were so perfect. They dreamed together, they talked of what the future would hold for them and what they might accomplish together. Their hearts were swollen full of love and joy. They had found the perfect mate, the one that would fulfill all their dreams, expectations and fantasies. She would be the perfect submissive wife. She would live to meet and fulfill all of his needs. She would cook and sew, raise the kids, make the place a lovely home, always continue to be cheerful, joyful and full of love. She would be there when ever he needed her to meet his every need as his companion, friend and lover.
She likewise had the picture in her mind that he would always be there to share his heart with her, to spend lots of time communicating and talking. He would always be fun, exciting and making her laugh. He would often show up at the door with gifts and surprises, take her to unexpected places and constantly sweep her off of her feet with romantic ways. He would be her security, her tower of strength. He would provide for all the desires of her heart and fulfill all the dreams she had as girl. He would become rich, but still have bountiful quantities of time to spend with her.
As our honeymoons fade into the reality of everyday life we start to gain a greater and greater revelation of shortcomings of this one that we married. Many times our enchanted dreams of all that our marriage would be begin to slip into disillusionment as this person of our dreams begins to become more of the nightmare of disappointment to us. That person that could do no wrong, slowly becomes that person that can do no right. We begin to verbalize these complaints in hopes of changing our spouse’s behavior. On the other hand they are seeing all the places that we disappoint them and fail to meet their expectations. Most often a lot of shouting gets done, a lot of emotion gets expressed, but the results are far less than we hoped for because our alienation from one another only deepens and our intimacy grows less and less. We find ourselves dividing from the oneness we once shared into two emotionally separated islands dwelling under one roof. Hurt, resentment and anger continue to grow into walls of division, until we find ourselves at the place where this couple now stands, at the door of separation and divorce.
Jesus said in John 15:12-13, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Who is a closer friend than our spouse has been. Are we failing to keep the commandment of Christ when we fail to truly love one another? There may be a hundred reasons why they are unlovely and unlovable to you, but we have to factor in who we are in Christ Jesus. Did we have to earn our love from Him? Did He wait till we were good enough and met His expectations before He came and gave His life for us? Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When we see our human love in the light of His agape love, we see how shallow and empty it can be. The greatest problem for all of us in our marriages is our own selfishness. At the center of all our complaints is “my need isn’t being met.” Often one of the greatest problems for our disillusionment with our spouse is that we may have entered into marriage expecting them to meet areas of need in us that only Christ can meet. They are never going to be able to meet those needs in you. They are not a replacement for your intimate relationship with your Savior. We need to be complete and secure in our Lord before we ever enter into a relationship with a spouse, because He is your source of true and greater love. He is the one you can turn too, not only when your spouse fails to meet your needs, but also when you fail to meet theirs. We should enter into marriage and keep the perspective that I married that person to make them happy, marriage is not about me, it is about them.
When we gave ourselves in marriage we pledged the most important part of ourselves to one another, our hearts. It is to the shame of many of us that we have become very careless with that precious commodity that was entrusted into our care. Often we have dropped it, stepped on it, abused and misused it. We have not tenderly loved, protected and cherished it like we promised to do. If we are to keep Christ’s commandment of love, even to the one we promised to love, it can only truly be revealed as we abide in His unselfish love. If our commitment could be again to always submit ourselves to one another in unselfish love. Can we have enough of the unselfish love of God present in us that we would make it a priority to consider and minister to our spouse before ourselves? Can we obey the Word of God to release the offenses, the hurts and the unforgiveness that have become the walls of separation between us? If we can’t truly exercise and practice the love of God in our homes, how will we succeed in demonstrating it to the world?
Don’t lose your hope. Don’t give up or give in, there is a love that conquers even death and it can bring life back into your marriage. Let us come together and commit our hearts as one before Him who is our reconciliation. What is impossible for man is not impossible with God. When we become reconciled to God’s will and love for our lives with each other we will find again the joy and fulfillment that we had lost. Streams will come again into the deserts of our relationships, as the love of Christ is truly manifested in our hearts and lives. God hates divorce, but He has made a way for us to experience and find more abundant life in our marriages, if we are willing to become one in Him and the unselfish nature of His love.
Ecclesiastes 4:12, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Think of the natural and spiritual strength that you have, as the two of you are one in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

The Brokenhearted

April 15, 2014

The Brokenhearted
Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;

Luke 4 says that Jesus read this passage in the synagogue one day and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Jesus came to fix, heal and bind up the broken man and woman, spiritually, emotionally and physically. He cares as much about our state of being today as He did then and His ministry is still the same. The difference is that now He uses His many-membered body, gifted and anointed of the Holy Spirit to administer these graces. Now what Jesus came to fulfill in this passage is being fulfilled in us. We can only minister these gifts because we have been the recipients of them. We have experienced God’s love and grace shed abroad in our hearts. We have experienced His comfort and His help in our time of need or brokenness. We have experienced His deliverance in our lives from the sin and strongholds that have bound us. Paul says in Romans 15:8, “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed.” Paul didn’t just minister words; He ministered from His life experiences.
There are times in each of our lives when we are brokenhearted. It could be through the loss of a loved one or because a loved one betrayed us or disappointed us. It could be because of any number of disappointments or hurts we experience in life. When these times come upon us we are crushed emotionally; our insides literally hurt and agonize in the emotional pain we feel. It is not unlike a severe physical injury in that, initially it is an open wound and sore that causes us great pain. Just as we are very protective of an area of body that has been wounded we are often very protective of the emotional areas of our lives where we have been wounded and hurt as well. This is where time is often our friend, because wounds, emotional or physical, take time to heal. Unless God does something out of the ordinary, our healing is usually a process of time that restores us to health. The important thing to remember is that in that process the Lord is at work binding up and ministering to our need. It can often be in so many unseen ways, little signs that He gives us, special blessings, words of love and encouragement from others, the special memories we cherish and cling too. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. Sometimes it is our broken heart that leads us to repentance in areas and causes us to return to the Lord. The Lord is in the business of healing and fixing broken people. As His people that should be our purpose as well. As this prophecy in Isaiah was fulfilled in Jesus, so it must be fulfilled in us who are His expression and members in this earth. We are the vessels through whom He often flows in His ministry to humanity. More times than not the reason we are able to minister is because we have had to walk that road ourselves. We have had to personally experience the Lord’s presence in our own situations. As we have experienced the Lord’s grace to us we are then able to empathize and share that grace with others. Many times what we experience even in our pain and suffering is not so much for us as it is for others. Jesus suffered much to bring us so great a salvation. We in turn well may share in those sufferings if we are to be the instruments of His grace and mercy. The Lord makes us walk the walk, before we can talk the talk. But our ministry is so much more powerful when we are ministering out of personal experience and not just theological ideas.
If you are experiencing brokenness in your life this day be encouraged that God can take your pain and use it for someone else’s healing. The precious part is that it heals us as well, it makes us stronger and better equipped in our spiritual lives because of what we have had to walk through. Be encouraged, the Lord is there in your pain working a deeper work of His grace and mercy.

Blessings,
#kent

In Pursuit of Peace

December 2, 2013

In Pursuit of Peace

Romans 8:6
For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.

What is the commodity, the attribute and the treasure that one most desires in the world? Some might say wealth, or fame, or power, or beauty, but what is anything if you don’t have peace and the joy it brings to even enjoy anything else. We only need to look as far as Hollywood and the sports world to see examples of people who, outwardly seem to have everything. They have the wealth, the influence and affluence, the beauty and the looks and yet, we set and watch their tragic lives unfold. How can you have so much and be so miserable? It is because you are missing the most important ingredient, PEACE. What is peace? Isn’t it the state of tranquility, exemption from havoc, war, trouble and the threat to our security? Isn’t it harmony, serenity, security, concord, safety, lack of fear, contentment, felicity and prosperity? If we possess real peace, then we are the most fulfilled people in the world.
What brings us this peace and how do we possess it? Well, we know it is not in the world; even Jesus says, “in the world you will have tribulation.” How can we know and possess peace in the midst of tribulation? Let’s look a few examples and insights the Word gives us in this regard. John 14:27 tells us, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Again, in John 16:33 Jesus tells us, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Jesus gives us the keys; peace is not found in the world, but only in Him. He is the King of Salem, the Prince of Peace and our peace is found in His kingdom that resides within us who have embraced it by faith. Like the world at large our personal worlds are rocked by calamities, conflicts, turmoil and unrest, so how can we possess peace in the midst of all these contradictory elements that are touching our lives. It is called rest. We are rested in the loving arms of the Savior, the Holy Spirit is the atmosphere of peace that covers us and we know that He has our life in His hands. We acknowledge Him in all our ways and we seek His direction for our paths, but beyond what we can physically do in the harmony and peace of His Spirit is, we must learn to rest. That rest is not dependent upon our understanding or approval, it is dependent upon our faith to believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Romans 5:1-2 tells us, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This why the good news of Jesus Christ is called the gospel of Peace, because Jesus Christ and relationship with Him is the Peace that inwardly we are all desiring and seeking. It is a quality of the Kingdom of God, for Romans 14:17 tells us, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
Why don’t more Christians have peace? Isn’t it because we get our eyes and our hearts focused on the outward things? We begin to view our peace as the world does, in the things that we possess and the circumstances that surround us, but real peace doesn’t have anything to do with the outward things; it is fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. It is not even about the natural preservation of our life, it is only about being in the center of His will and purpose, because in that place we know there is a peace that the world cannot understand or grasp. Everything else is secondary and flows out of the peace that we bear as we abide in the Vine.
Do you have peace with yourself today, peace with God and toward others? If not, then we need to find entrance into the peace that is ours in Christ Jesus. What is standing in your way? What is robbing your peace? It is not in running away or getting rid of all your problems; it is finding the peace of Christ in the midst of tribulation and trials. Remember God is always in control even when we aren’t. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:33)”

Blessings,
kent

The Deserts of Marriage

November 4, 2013

The Deserts of Marriage

1 John 4:11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Tears once more roll down the streambeds of her cheeks. Her heart is broken, discouraged, without hope, as once again she a has surveyed the landscape of her marriage only to see what appears to be but a desolate desert with the only moisture being that of her brokenhearted tears. Between the sobs and heartbreaks she only sees the ruins of what have been the years of her youth, the investment of her life, feelings and emotions. Dispersed in the pain are the feelings of anger and resentment that are like the cactus and thorns that are among the few things that now grow in this desert that is called a marriage.
Somewhere, in another room, another place or perhaps a bar, there is a man sitting quietly with his head hung down and a lump in his throat. Is this finally the end of the line? Has our love totally shriveled up and died? Has my insensitivity and inability to meet her needs put the final nail in the coffin of our marriage? Have my selfishness, my insensitivity and her continual nagging and criticism brought the closing act to our marriage?
Both lost in their thoughts and hurts think back to when they first met, their younger days of romance and early marriage. How different it was then. It was like the Garden of Eden. They were so in love. They never wanted to be apart. They thought about each other constantly and there was hardly a time when either of them could do wrong in the other’s sight. Things were so perfect. They dreamed together, they talked of what the future would hold for them and what they might accomplish together. There hearts were swollen full of love and joy. They had found the perfect mate, the one that would fulfill all their dreams, expectations and fantasies. She would be the perfect submissive wife. She would live to meet and fulfill all of his needs. She would cook and sew, raise the kids, make the place a lovely home, always continue to be cheerful, joyful and full of love. She would be there when ever he needed her to meet his every need as his companion, friend and lover.
She likewise had the picture in her mind that he would always be there to share his heart with her, to spend lots of time communicating and talking. He would always be fun, exciting and making her laugh. He would often show up at the door with gifts and surprises, take her to unexpected places and constantly sweep her off of her feet with romantic ways. He would be her security, her tower of strength. He would provide for all the desires of her heart and fulfill all the dreams she had as girl. He would become rich, but still have bountiful quantities of time to spend with her.
As our honeymoons fade into the reality of everyday life we start to gain a greater and greater revelation of shortcomings of this one that we married. Many times our enchanted dreams of all that our marriage would be begin to slip into disillusionment as this person of our dreams begins to become more of the nightmare of disappointment to us. That person that could do no wrong, slowly becomes that person that can do no right. We begin to verbalize these complaints in hopes of changing our spouse’s behavior. On the other hand they are seeing all the places that we disappoint them and fail to meet their expectations. Most often a lot of shouting gets done, a lot of emotion gets expressed, but the results are far less than we hoped for because our alienation from one another only deepens and our intimacy grows less and less. We find ourselves dividing from the oneness we once shared into two emotionally separated islands dwelling under one roof. Hurt, resentment and anger continue to grow into walls of division, until we find ourselves at the place where this couple now stands, at the door of separation and divorce.
Jesus said in John 15:12-13, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Who is a closer friend than our spouse has been. Are we failing to keep the commandment of Christ when we fail to truly love one another? There may be a hundred reasons why they are unlovely and unlovable to you, but we have to factor in who we are in Christ Jesus. Did we have to earn our love from Him? Did He wait till we were good enough and met His expectations before He came and gave His life for us? Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When we see our human love in the light of His agape love, we see how shallow and empty it can be. The greatest problem for all of us in our marriages is our own selfishness. At the center of all our complaints is “my need isn’t being met.” Often one of the greatest problems for our disillusionment with our spouse is that we may have entered into marriage expecting them to meet areas of need in us that only Christ can meet. They are never going to be able to meet those needs in you. They are not a replacement for your intimate relationship with your Savoir. We need to be complete and secure in our Lord before we ever enter into a relationship with a spouse, because He is your source of true and greater love. He is the one you can turn too, not only when your spouse fails to meet your needs, but also when you fail to meet theirs. We should enter into marriage and keep the perspective that I married that person to make them happy, marriage is not about me, it is about them.
When we gave ourselves in marriage we pledged the most important part of ourselves to one another, our hearts. It is to the shame of many of us that we have become very careless with that precious commodity that was entrusted into our care. Often we have dropped it, stepped on it, abused and misused it. We have not tenderly loved, protected and cherished it like we promised to do. If we are to keep Christ’s commandment of love, even to the one we promised to love, it can only truly be revealed as we abide in His unselfish love. If our commitment could be again to always submit ourselves to one another in unselfish love. Can we have enough of the unselfish love of God present in us that we would make it a priority to consider and minister to our spouse before ourselves? Can we obey the Word of God to release the offenses, the hurts and the unforgiveness that have become the walls of separation between us? If we can’t truly exercise and practice the love of God in our homes, how will we succeed in demonstrating it to the world?
Don’t lose your hope. Don’t give up or give in, there is a love that conquers even death and it can bring life back into your marriage. Let us come together and commit our hearts as one before Him who is our reconciliation. What is impossible for man is not impossible with God. When we become reconciled to God’s will and love for our lives with each other we will find again the joy and fulfillment that we had lost. Streams will come again into the deserts of our relationships, as the love of Christ is truly manifested in our hearts and lives. God hates divorce, but He has made a way for us to experience and find more abundant life in our marriages, if we are willing to become one in Him and the unselfish nature of His love.
Ecclesiastes 4:12, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Think of the natural and spiritual strength that you have, as the two of you are one in Christ.

Blessings,
kent

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