Celebrate Life

October 19, 2016

Celebrate Life

Psalms 5:11

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

If ever a people had reason to celebrate and be joyful, it is the people of God.  Who is blessed like us in all of the earth?  Who else are the recipients of such great promises as given in 2 Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  Who else has been called to be joint-heirs with Christ and to be seated with Him in heavenly places at the right hand of the Father?  Who else has had the Lord of the universe come and give His life a ransom for our sins that we might be partakers of His life and kingdom, that we might have fellowship and unity with the Creator of all.  All that we have is by the goodness of His Hand and all that we are is by His grace and sufficiency that works in us.    

This morning as I was reading 1Chronicles 29 about how the house of God was a labor of love for David.  He laid up tremendous wealth in materials to build the house of God.  It says in verses 2 and 3, “Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for [things to be made] of gold, and the silver for [things] of silver, and the brass for [things] of brass, the iron for [things] of iron, and wood for [things] of wood; onyx stones, and [stones] to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, [which] I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house.”  David has made it his joy and purpose to bless the Lord back with the abundance that the Lord has blessed Him with.  This joy in giving and in blessing God through the preparation of building His temple is contagious even among the people.  Verses 6-9 shows us how this became also the heart of the people, “Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly, And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And they with whom [precious] stones were found gave [them] to the treasure of the house of the LORD, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.”  These people had laid hold of the joy of giving unto the Lord and they were making a celebration out of it.  And why did they want to give so much to the Lord?  They gave, because they acknowledged and appreciated how much the Lord had given unto them.  

Listen and read how David then blesses the Lord at this time, “Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed [be] thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, [is] the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all [that is] in the heaven and in the earth [is thine]; thine [is] the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who [am] I, and what [is] my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things [come] of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we [are] strangers before thee, and sojourners, as [were] all our fathers: our days on the earth [are] as a shadow, and [there is] none abiding. O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name [cometh] of thine hand, and [is] all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee.”

This was also the time of  Solomon’s coronation when David handed over the kingdom to him and the great task of building the temple.  Isn’t it interesting to note that in this great giving from a right heart and attitude of the people that Israel never prospered more greatly in its history than it did at this time?  Wasn’t it because the leadership and the congregation of the people all had a heart of thanksgiving and appreciation for all that God had done?  It says of Solomon in verse 25, “And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him [such] royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.”  We know that we can never out-give God, but isn’t it wonderful that we can give something back to a God that has blesses us so.

The Lord has committed the task of building the house of God into the hands of the church.  We should know that we only labor in vain if we are building after the flesh and not after the Spirit.  For we are the workmen and the instruments of God for the building up of His house to the glory and honor of His great name.  What a privilege and honor to know and serve Christ.  We have great reason today to celebrate.  May we always have the heart to bless Him as He has blessed us through uprightness of heart and willingness to give.

Blessings,

#kent

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Christ in You

May 3, 2016

 

Matthew 25: 35-40

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 

35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 

36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 

37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 

38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 

40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 

Christ in You

You are a ray of sunshine.

You are the extension of God’s divine.

You bring healing in the midst of pain.

You are heaven on an earthly plane.

When you walk into a room it brightens up.

When you spend time with me you fill my cup.

You are my companion when I feel alone.

The voice of love is in your tone.

You are the servant that gives your all.

You pick those up who stumble and fall.

You encourage those who have lost their worth.

You share the life that brings new birth.

I see His face when you smile.

I see His walk when you go the second mile.

I see His love in your unselfish ways.

Yes, you are His expression day by day.

Kent Stuck

Blessings!

Robbed of Our Blessing

November 13, 2015

Haggai 2:10-14
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’ ”
The priests answered, “No.”
13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”
“Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”
14 Then Haggai said, ” ‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.

Robbed of Our Blessing

This is a day when the Lord desires to lay the spiritual foundations of His Temple again. What the Lord speaks to Haggai here He is speaking to us. In the analogy that Haggai brings forth, if a priest carried meat that had been sanctified and consecrated to the Lord in their pocket or the fold of the garment and touched another substance of food it didn’t automatically sanctify and consecrate that food. On the other hand if someone had handled or touched a dead body that defilement was transferred to all that he touched. The Lord says this people, His people, have been like those who have touched the dead body and so what ever they offer becomes defiled.
Are we wondering why we aren’t blessed, coming up short in our finances and experiencing so many struggles that we may not need too? The Lord says it is because we are defiled in our giving and our living.
We have talked about how the body of the old man is dead and crucified with Christ and we are a new creation in Christ, but when we fail to lay hold and live out of this reality and truth we are in affect touching the dead body. We are living out of corrupted fleshly thinking and attitudes. Thus what we touch becomes defiled because it is not the mind of Christ we are operating out of, it is the mind of the flesh, the old man, that which is supposed to be dead.
If God is to bless the works of our hands they have to be the works of His Spirit through us and not our fleshly efforts any more. When we lay the foundations of the Lord’s house, it is a spiritual house not built with human efforts and thinking, but directed and ordered by the Spirit.
We all want the God’s blessing and favor to rest upon us and it is in God’s heart to want to bless and increase us, but there are things we need to get rid of and the primary one is the mentality of this old dead man. We speak often concerning our identification with Christ because His is the life and the mind that we are being renewed and brought forth in day by day as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Romans 8:5-10 says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” It is easy to see from this scripture how much we may still be living out of that old man and nature mentality. The Lord says that this is a defilement and pollution of the life He wants to live through us and the works that He wants to accomplish with our hands. We must begin to truly put on the mind of Christ and view our world through God’s eyes and perspective. In doing so we will be blessed. It is imperative that we identify the thinking that is filled with doubt, fear and unbelief and turn that around to agree and line up with the Word of God. Anything less is sin. Allow Christ to be at the forefront of your motives, your intentions, your will and your purpose. Filter your world and all that you are dealing with through Him. Ask Him and trust Him for wisdom and direction in all of your ways. We are a people that are putting away that which is dead and walking in the consecrated and sanctified life that we carry within us. Walk in the Spirit, build the Lord’s house and live in His blessing. If you will come and build the Lord’s house by the Spirit, He will build yours.

Blessings,
#kent

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Three Things that God Requires

We, like the children of Israel before us, often carry a mindset that says we can live and operate on one set of values in the market place or our social lives and then another set of values when we want to approach God in church or worship. How many people that consider themselves Christians think that they can appease God by having a religion, offering their tithes or offerings, performing a few rituals and then it is back to business as usual. How many seek to put on a holy face before God on Sunday only to defraud their neighbor on Monday. How many times have those who wear the name Christian been less than ethical in their dealings with others and especially with other Christians. We try to live out of two different value systems as we compartmentalize our life into business, pleasure and religion.
God is saying that if you are truly a Christian then Christianity is your business. He is not appeased by what we try to do for Him and with our token efforts to please Him. He is interested in where our heart is. He tells us that there are three things that He requires of us. The first is to act justly. A just person is one who is upright in all of their ways. They act out of justice, fairness, without prejudice and favoritism. It is basically the act making right judgements. Every day we have to make decisions of right and wrong, of what benefits just us or what can do to benefit others and what is selfish and what is unselfish. When we act and live out of the mind of Christ, allowing the Spirit of God to direct our ways then we will act justly, because of Him who is the righteous judge within us.
The second thing the Lord requires is that we love mercy. When we live in this mercy we are living out of goodness, kindness and faithfulness not only toward God, but also toward our fellow man. In our society many of us are very big on our rights and our privileges. Many will not hesitate to take you to court or sue you if they think that you have violated their rights in some manner or you are in some way responsible for some misfortune. There may be times when that is necessary, but if we had more mercy, so many times it wouldn’t be. Mercy is the act of love that is longsuffering, slow to be offended, hasty to forgive and patient in tribulation. Often we as Christians are quick to judge the world and those of the world, especially when they don’t fit within the paradigm of what we think is proper and good. The mercy of Jesus was not shown favoring the arrogance and self-righteousness of the religious near as much as it was shown toward the outcast and the sinner. ‘Jesus came not to judge the world, but that world through Him might have life.’ He was a life-giver and life-imparter. The apostle Paul reminds us of God’s mercy toward us in Ephesians 2:3-5, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” God’s mercy working through us is to bring others into His mercy for them.
Finally, God says I require that you ‘walk humbly with your God’. Nothing can make us more humble than just reflecting upon the love and mercy of God toward us. When we walk in the fear of the Lord there will be that humility that expresses our submission and dependency upon Him. Many of us have forgotten that and with our wealth and prosperity we boast in what our hands have done. We tend to think we don’t really need God so much in our lives, at least not till things fall apart or we get into a major crisis. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and walking humbly with your God.
Paul sums these principles up so beautifully in Romans 12:3-21so let us conclude meditating upon this passage. “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do 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. 20On 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.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Blessings,
#kent

Colossians 3:18-19
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

The Road back to Love and Intimacy

Remember when your romance was as sweet as honey and the love of your life could do no wrong. You adored them, idolized them and wanted to spend every moment together. Many of us, looking back at those younger years, ask ourselves, “what happened to that first love?” We still may love each other, but many couples struggle with the “feelings of love” that are missing. The romance has died way down and now you may find that instead of really loving and cherishing that wonderful man or woman you are struggling to get along with them. The man may feel like the wife is always nagging him, he can never do enough or anything right, she doesn’t respect and honor him. The woman may feel like the husband has become an insensitive jerk that never communicates or works through the problems, he doesn’t meet her needs. Over the years and the cycles of good and bad times, we can accumulate a lot of baggage. If I ask you if you love your husband or your wife, you would quite likely reply, “will of course I do,” but neither one of you may be experiencing the love from one another that you feel and know should be there. We may say we hold no unforgiveness toward one another, but in reality both parties bear scars, wounds, unresolved conflicts and issues that linger in the subconscious ready to rear their ugly heads at the right moment, opportunity or provocation. We find that we fail to often treat each other with the love, dignity and respect that both parties are due in a marriage.
Fifty percent of our marriages fail due to these kind of issues, but how many more are struggling and hurting? We need to return to that place of intimacy and closeness that we once shared, but we can’t until we are able let down the walls we’ve built up and are willing to let go of all the offenses, hurts and bitterness that we carry.
When the Word says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord,” that submission might be just creating a safe place where your husband can share with you. It needs to be a place where you aren’t venting your anger, frustration, criticism and unhappiness, no matter how justified you may feel with those feelings. If you want your husband to communicate and be sensitive to your needs, you have to create an atmosphere of submission where you really want to see, feel and understand his heart. That can be a hard place for a man. He may not be in touch with his feelings the way you are, so be gentle and be patient and above all, be kind.
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” Husbands can be very confrontational, critical and harsh, but many repress their feelings and emotions. They retreat into that shell of seeming insensitivity and non-communication. Many times it is a response of self-preservation. Often the harder the wife tries to break through that seeming insensitivity with harsh or critical words the more the husband withdrawals. If you want the turtle to stick his head out of the shell you have to stop beating on the shell and make him feel that when he sticks his head out it won’t get bit off. Husbands can hold a lot of things in their hearts that they may not even be fully aware of. Their means of retaliation may be more passive or subtle, but it may be coming from a bitterness that has built up in their hearts against their wives. They, on the other hand, need to really listen to the heart of their wives and make those needs their goals to fulfill. They need to make them feel secure in your love for them and remember them often in the little gifts, the things you do and say. Marriage is a teaching ground for unconditional love and service. It is where we should both be learning to lay down our lives for the other. Love is not always about feeling, but about commitment, covenant and a decision to love your spouse unconditionally even when they don’t derserve it.
Maybe we need to come together as a couple where we can agree that the love of Christ is going to rule and dictate our behavior and response to one another. We need to hold one another, not sexually, but intimately, while we confess our sins, our hurts and failures to one another. We need to truly commit to a willingness to really forgive and hear the other person’s heart. We need an uninterrupted time of reconciliation where we can write down and commit to one another some realistic goals where we will begin to address some of our deepest issues. Keep it simple and not more than we can realistically deal with at one time. Start with just three things each. Then let’s make a date for our next intimate time we can meet with the same right heart and attitude, in the love of Christ to see how we are doing. Again, we need to keep it safe and non-confrontational. This is a team project and we can’t succeed if we only have our own agenda and interest at heart. We can’t expect to mend and restore a broken down barn in a day or even a week, it will take time to restore, just as it took time to deteriorate. We can change the cycle and the direction of our marriages if we will both commit to it and stay with it. We will begin to see our true intimacy and love begin to come alive in our feelings and the way we treat one another. God wants to see our marriages strong and alive with His love. There is a lot of truth to the addage that ‘the family that prays together, stays together’. It is hard to be right with each other when we are not right with God. If we are committed to Christ, then we must also be committed to one another, for we are one flesh. Together let’s build the road back to true love and intimacy like we had in our first love.

Blessings,
#kent

Love is not Always Easy

August 27, 2015

Ephesians 4:1-3
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Love is not Always Easy

A part of the calling that we have as Christians in Christ Jesus is to walk in love. If we are going only by emotions, there will be a lot of times that we won’t feel love. We may feel everything but love. The first thing we have to realize is that while love may carry with it emotions and strong feelings, the emotions and feelings aren’t the love. Love is a decision of your heart. True love is a commitment in the good times and the bad, in the sweet and the bitter, for the better or for the worse. Therefore love is not always about how we feel. God first loved us when we were sinners, estranged and in rebellion to Him. His love wasn’t in response to our love; it was in spite of the fact that we didn’t love Him. God has chosen to love us and His actions toward us were deliberate and not just responsive to us based on what we could give back. This is the love that Christ has placed in our hearts because He is in us. We are to choose to act out of love, not to just love others when they love us or love the people that are nice and pleasant, or that we have feelings for. Love is often a hard choice. It is often not easy to love certain people. It is our calling, in as much as is possible, to be a peace with all men and to live and act out of the attitude of love. Love needs to be what powers us, motivates and drives us in the will of God. When we begin to think upon the vastness and the magnitude of God and how insignificant and minute we are in comparison, it just blows us away that He even would acknowledge us, let alone give His only Son to die for us. How can we truly comprehend that kind of love? Yet everything God is and does is motivated out of love, because God is love. That same force, that is God’s source and power, now indwells us. It must be what drives and motivates us to love God with all of our heart, our mind, our soul and strength. It is also what empowers us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
We know how hard it is even within our own marriages to always love our spouse. They can be so irritating, inconsiderate, unappreciative, stubborn, insensitive, lazy and any number of other adjectives and nouns. In the beginning we were moved by great emotions and feelings, but after the honeymoon was over that perfect person can turn into one our greatest trials in life. What we forget is that love is still a choice. We start responding to our spouse like we did in the beginning, out of feelings and emotions; only this time they are negative instead of positive. Our love and hate are a response of our flesh and soul and not a choice of our spirit. Love doesn’t react because someone is pushing our buttons; it is a choice based on our commitment, vow and promise. It doesn’t return insult for insult, hurt for hurt, cursing for cursing. It chooses to act and respond out of the nature of Christ. It also must be willing to accept valid criticism, correction and look at what can best meet the other person’s needs. We are all unique and different individuals and none of us were made or designed to fit perfectly within someone else’s box. There are a lot of times we don’t even like who we are, so how is someone else always going to please us? This is where the lowliness, gentleness, forbearance, longsuffering and the fruit of the Spirit enter in. This is the place where we get to practice living the nature of Christ.
The root of most ended marriages is selfishness of one or more of the individuals. Love is not selfish, it is self-sacrificing and it takes both parties giving and compromising to create the best environment to be able to live in enjoyment and in peace with one another. It is always work and most of the time it is not easy. It is only successful through the commitment of both parties and their choice and commitment to love the other. The same principle holds true in our relationships with others. It is God’s love that must possess you; our love always falls short. Love is not always easy, but it is always God.

Blessings,
#kent

Motives of Prayer

June 30, 2015

James 4:3
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Motives of Prayer

It is said of Jesus in Hebrews 7:23-25, “Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” When Jesus intercedes for us what do you suppose His motive to be?
When we pray, what is the focus of our prayers? Of course when we pray and seek the Lord we all want to be favored and blessed and receive our petitions from the Lord, but to what end.? What are our motives in the things we pray and cry out to God for? If we think of God as a celestial Santa Claus to whom we come with all our needs and request to be met for our personal gain, we’ve missed the heart of God. Prayer is about seeking the heart and will of God.
If prayer is like a checkbook with an unlimited supply of resources and wealth, and it has been given to us, how will we write the checks? Will most of them have our name on them or are they written to benefit others we see in need? When God sees that our motives in prayer, intercession and petition aren’t centered around us, but others, do you think He might feel compelled to meet your needs as well? Selfish is never the heart of God and selfishness in us will always pervert the ways and means of God. God exemplifies Himself selfless in His giving. He doesn’t even give to us because we deserve it, He gives because that is His nature which flows out of love. He delights in His people that have this same heart to give and bless. His desire is to bless us so that we can in turn bless others. If we pray and seek with wrong motives then how can we truly pray in Jesus’ name. Jesus says in John 15 and a few other places, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” Jesus says He will give us what we ask in His name, but what is the prerequisite? “Go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.” The name of Jesus speaks to the character and nature of God. If we pray outside or contrary to His nature then should we be surprised if our prayers are not answered. Jesus wants to empower us through power in His name to establish and perpetuate His will and His kingdom in the earth. It is one of the next principles He teaches us in the Lord’s prayer right after He establishes the position and the holiness of the Father. Jesus said in John 8:28, “So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.” Prayer is our avenue to carry out the Father’s will, not our own. We want our prayers to never stem from selfish motive, but to be one with the Spirit of God that prays through us. It is when we have the heart of God, the intercession as priests of Jesus and the motivation to pray in the character and nature of His name that we will see our prayers be fruitful, because we seek the fruit that will last; His kingdom come and His will being done in earth as it is in heaven.

Blessings,
#kent

God’s Toolbox

May 27, 2015

God’s Toolbox

Romans 12:4-8
4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

We have often heard the analogies of how we are members of one another in the body of Christ and how as such we serve one another. Perhaps another way of looking at the body of Christ and its members in particular is that we are God’s toolbox. He has a world of broken people down here, and many Christians are among them. They are broken, hurting and in need of attention and fixing. We know that God is a Master Craftsman concerning His creation, but He has chosen to work with and through His tools. Think today that you are a unique and special tool of God. God has given you characteristics, gifts and abilities He didn’t give to everyone else. There are ways and areas you can operate in that others can’t. Those gifts and abilities He has placed in you, some naturally and some divinely, are so that He can use you as His tool to do a work that perhaps no other tool can do quite as effectively. What’s more, He will put you in circumstances and with people that need the ministry of those gifts and abilities. Obviously, you are most effective as your life is yielded to the Holy Spirit so that He can direct and use you to fix, mend and encourage the broken, damaged and discouraged. Sometimes we often take for granted what our lives can mean to the well being and spiritual health of others if we are truly yielded and available to the Holy Spirit to use. How often we miss it because of our self-will. We take ourselves out of God’s hand to pursue our agenda and our priorities. We often rob others of God’s ministering, healing touch through us. We rob God from doing a divine work of grace in some broken person’s life and last but not least, we rob ourselves of being that tool in God’s hand that could have made the difference, that could have brought the healing and the restoration. We didn’t have the time, or the energy or our own agenda was more important. Haven’t we all been guilty of that?
God wants each of us to realize how important and vital each one of us are to His Kingdom coming forth in the earth. Isn’t that what we pray? “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done; in earth as it is in heaven.” If God’s kingdom isn’t fully come in us, possessing us and living through us, then how can it come in the earth? Jesus says the “Kingdom of God is within you.” We are the vessels and the conduits through which His kingdom flows out to the earth and waters the dry ground. The kingdom must first come and be revealed in us. Christ must have expression and license through us and through our will to perform His. That means to be effective tools, we must be yielded to the Master’s hand. As readily as He will use someone else to work grace in your life, He wants to use you to work the work of grace in another’s. We are created for a purpose and that purpose is to fulfill what God has fashioned us for. Everyone is different, but everyone is just as important to the whole.
Take time to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Be careful that we don’t blow past those divine appointments we have in life and the opportunities to minister the love, grace and gospel of Christ. A tool that is not used eventually becomes rusty, stiff and of no use. Be that tool at the top of God’s toolbox that He can lay hold of and use often in His work of grace in the lives of others. Be that yielded vessel that God can perform the will and do of His good pleasure in and through. We are God’s toolbox and He deserves only the best tools.

Blessings,
#kent

More than all Burnt Offerings and Sacrifices

Mark 12:33-34
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

While we no longer literally offer burnt offerings and sacrifices we still do it in type. Many times I might rather love my neighbor, whoever that might be, from a distance rather than up close and personal. Just allow me donate some money for their cause, or pray for them, anything, but don’t make me become personally involved in their lives. Most of us like our own space and some of us like to be around friends and family, but even that has its limitations. How much time do I have for my neighbor, those people that I encounter in my daily life, business or work? Many times we might think to ourselves, “You know, I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need to get involved with someone else’s.” If we love ourselves enough to care about our problems, our needs, our wants, desires and goals in life, then aren’t we mandated to care about the similar needs of others as well?
Most of us would agree that in a world where every time you turn around someone wants to sell you something or ask you to contribute something we begin to become rather cold and callused. We build these walls to try and keep these people out. It is true, we can’t be everything to everybody and we do only have so many resources, still, are we loving our neighbor as ourselves? All of the things that I do for me, am I willing to do them for someone else? Personally, I am not a real people person and the majority of the time I am quite content and comfortable to be by myself, doing my own thing, but can I really love my neighbor as myself from that position. Loving others is always stretching us. It causes us to move out of our comfort zone. It causes us to come out of the place of just making the token efforts of the burnt offerings and sacrifices and requires me to get involved. Jesus was involved with those around him and not just with the upper crust, the easy to get along with, the likeable or the ones that could benefit Him. He was relating to humanity at all levels, classes, sexes and races. He would relate with children and adults alike, to the whole and the broken, rich and the poor and to the sinner and the righteous. Jesus was not a respecter of persons and He was sensitive to the heart cry of people. There are a lot of people out there that just want to take advantage and use others. This tends to make us wary and cynical, but the Lord wants us to tune into the heart cry of others. Listen, by the Spirit to the real need in people. It often isn’t what we see being portrayed on the outside or in their actions. We need a spirit of sensitivity, not to be duped by everyone that comes along, but to see into the heart need of others.
As the ambassadors and representatives of Christ in this earth we are the channels of God’s blessing, healing, restoration and reconciliation. If we don’t take the time and make the time for the needs of others, then who will. If I want someone to love me, be sensitive to my needs and to just care then that is the love I need to be extending to others in whatever capacity I have to give it. It isn’t the religious gestures that I make and the token giving that the Lord is looking for. He is looking for my heart to be one with His heart in me. He desires me to love Him through the way I love others, through a heart that is really caring and concerned for the needs of others. So often we are like the Scribe, the Pharisee, “the Christian”, who walks to the other side of the road when we see our neighbor in need. We don’t want the inconvenience and the investment of our time and resources to get involved. If my neighbor is important to the Lord, then they have to become my priority also. We have to remember that our mission in the earth is not about us, it is about Him through the way that we serve others. Loving God and loving our neighbor are all part of the same pie.
“Lord, give us sensitive hearts and eyes to see into the real needs of others and to make ourselves available and willing to minister to those needs in what ever way we can. Give us your heart to really love others as we would love ourselves, not from a distance, but up close and personal. Help us to truly be the extension of your compassion, love and grace. May the world truly know us by our love and not just by our name and religion. Allow us to be willing to pay the price of the personal sacrifice required in the giving of ourselves and that which cost us personally to love You with all of our hearts; to love our neighbors as ourselves, no matter who they may be.”

Blessings,
#kent

Activate

May 4, 2015

Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Activate

As we commit and devote our hearts to the Lord we are going to see activation. The Holy Spirit is wanting to activate his body even as the early church was activated after Pentecost and even greater. This is the day to take our Sunday Christianity and make it an active part of our every day life and encounters with the world around us. We need so much of Jesus spilling out of us that there is no way we can contain or hide the life that is living inside of us. This is the day to let Christ shine through our lives in word and deed.
For years we have set under the Word of God. Today is the day to become the Word of God in the flesh as we live by the Spirit in the love of God toward all men. We are carriers of His divine life and we want to infect every part of our world with His love and great salvation. It is not just about getting someone to pray a prayer and make a confession of faith, it is about being so much the reality of what we profess that others want what we have and they will seek us out to receive it.
The world’s general perception of Christianity looks very little like Christ. As the world has looked upon the Church as a whole, they have seen hypocrisy, materialism, ungodliness, judgementalism and self-righteousness. No wonder so many disdain Christianity. This is the time when they need to begin to see the reality of the true Church, the bride of Christ and His power and love manifested through her. For this love and power to flow through us, He must possess us body, soul and spirit. Our lives must be so focused and set upon the Father’s business. It can no longer be about life as usual; eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. This is the year to see and step into a radical transformation in the body of Christ, at least the first fruits of it. I believe God has prepared a people to champion His cause and bring a transformation in the paradigm of what the church of God is and what it should look like.
It is a day for us to graduate out of the school of learning and knowing and step into the world of being and doing. What is our faith if it is not activated to bring us forth in who we have been called to be as sons and daughter’s of the MOST HIGH GOD!
“Holy Spirit, arise in the hearts of your people and activate us to extreme godliness, holy living and love impacting lives. Emancipate us from all sin and every love and affection we have had for it. Help your people to rock the former image of your church and be the example of what the people of God are to truly look like. Help us to loose ourselves as we take up our cross and follow you whithersoever you would lead and direct us. Give us ears to hear your precious voice and hearts tender to quickly obey whatever you instruct us to do. Help us to walk the walk of faith and step boldly into who you have created us and called us to be. You are our God and in You we will be strong and do exploits. The world will come to know us by our love and unity and no longer by our division and condemnation. We will exemplify the love and nature of Christ in the earth, because we dare to allow that Christ to come forth in us. We dare to step into our Sonship and the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus. Our eyes, our hearts, our minds and desires are set upon You Holy Father. Activate Your people in righteousness, power and divine authority to have dominion over every darkness and every perverted thing that we may bring the hearts of a lost world into alignment with the restoration of the identity you want to give back to them. Help us to come into the image of what the true Church and body of Christ is suppose to look like in this hour that you might be glorified and magnified among men. Amen!”
Today is our day to be transformed from the introverts of self-centered lives to become the extroverts of Christ expressed lives. Let us be that standard of Christ activated for all to see and aspire too. Let our lives be the light that transcends the darkness and the love that brings healing, hope and salvation to every lost and wounded soul.

blessings,
#kent

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