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

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Wells of Salvation

September 1, 2015

Wells of Salvation

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

Blessings,
#kent

Romans 10:19
But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by [them that are] no people, [and] by a foolish nation I will anger you.

Why we should be Thankful

Some nearly four hundred years ago God led a small handful of people out of the religious oppression and intolerance of Europe to a new land, unfounded and virtually uninhabited by the civilized world of that day. These people possessed within their spirits a calling and a mandate of God to come out from among the religious beast of Europe that proclaimed its self to be Christianity. They stepped out in the faith of God, forsaking all to become the pilgrims that we remember as the founders of our nation. This little handful of people, who were no people in the eyes of the world, they heard a calling to a promise land that flowed with milk and honey. A place where they could worship in the manner that they chose without fear of reprisals. Here they could be true to themselves and to God. It was this kind people with which our God founded this great nation we live in today called the United States. If any ever doubts that there is a God or that He was the One who was at work to bring forth this great country, let them follow the true history and accounts that took place when this country was formed and through its growth, even till today. All that we are and all that we enjoy is only due to the sovereignty, goodness, mercy and the blessings of God.
How it must grieve Him that now we have laws that we can destroy our unwanted children, laws that prohibit our teachers from teaching the truth of God in public schools, that deny God as the Creator and forbid His Word from being read, along with the freedom to openly pray. We have tolerated those who would strike His name from every public place and have courts that will not even allow the display of His commandments. What kind of religious freedom is this that tolerates every other religion being taught about in our public schools except the one true gospel? What spirit have we allowed to come in that has blinded the hearts and minds of so many and even we, His people, have become complacent and lethargic?
These early pilgrims gave their very lives to establish a precedent of religious freedom. Even when the captain of the Mayflower offered to take them back to England, not one of them would go, even in the face of such great adversity and loss. They counted Him faithful who had called them out of darkness and brought them into the light. It didn’t come without great sacrifice and loss. Many of us don’t really think about or really appreciate all the sacrifice of so many throughout the history of this country that has sustained its freedoms and liberties.
Let us remember our heritage and how we that were no people, God has made us a great people with blessings like none other upon the earth. He has taken that which was nothing and has made it something. He has taken the weak and made them strong. He has taken the poor and made them rich. Great is the Lord!
God, please forgive us when we take so much that You have done for us for granted. Help us to truly acknowledge You and truly give thanks from the depths our heart and soul. We are a blessed people and You are the reason for that blessing.

Blessings,
#kent

Galatians 3:2-4
2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

Legalism Seeks to Nullify Faith

The law is a static force, which is good in itself, but serves only to show man his weakness outside of God. The law in and of itself doesn’t stand as our salvation, but rather our condemnation. Instead, it is faith that is the dynamic force in union with the Spirit of God that produces life changing events and substance. ‘Without faith we know that it is impossible to please God.’
Most of us aren’t steeped in Judaism, but we might be surprised how much we try to please and earn God’s favor by our works rather than by our faith. We allow others to impound us or we put ourselves under bondage, rituals, ceremonial and dietary restrictions, the keeping of days and numerous other legal restrictions that allow us to feel somehow more superior and holy than those that do not observe and keep such things. The Word plainly tells us that righteousness is not of the law. Galatians 3:21-24 says, “Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” The Law then was but an instrument and a tool to prepare us for Christ, who is our righteousness by faith. The Law was not an end in itself. Verses 26-29 goes on to say, “26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Our position in God is not about who we are, where we came from, what sex we are or what race or background we come from. Our position in God is “Sonship” through faith in Jesus Christ. Our position is in Christ and He in us. It is out of this position that we will move into our full inheritance in Christ. This is why we must put on Christ by faith and no longer live out of the mentality of our natural minds that perceive us as separate and away from God. We are united with Him and it is our faith that lays hold of this truth and lives it out to produce victory and overcoming in our lives. This is the place we must learn to abide; the place of living out of His Spirit and His Life. This is the truth that declares we are the seed of Abraham and heirs according to promise. It is no longer the identification with the flesh and our goodness. That is legalism. It is our identification with “Christ in us” that will set us free and lead us into the expression of righteousness and justification that is by faith alone and no longer by works. Our works will be the fruit and expression of our faith and no longer the means of obtaining our goodness and righteousness.

Blessings,
#kent

Everything We Need

January 20, 2015

2 Peter 1:3-4
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Everything We Need

Everything we need has been given to us by the Divine Power that resides in us. Most of us are more focused on what we think we are lacking than on what we already have. Meditate a moment on what the scripture is telling us here. Everything we need for life and godliness has been given to us, but through what avenue? Through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.
What does that knowledge mean? In the Greek their are several words for knowledge.
“Gnōsis” speaks of a general knowledge of something like the Christian religion, general knowledge or intellect. An example in scripture would be 1 Corinthians 8:1-3, “Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But the man who loves God is known by God.” In verse 3, “known by God” is the Greek word “ginōskō”, it speaks of becoming known even in the most intimate way. The word for knowledge used in 2 Peter 1 is the word “epignōsis” which speaks to a precise knowledge of the those things that are ethical and divine.
The point of this is that it is not just a general knowledge about God and Christian religion that brings us into a partaking of the divine nature. It is specific knowledge and revelation of the promises in God’s word that pertain to life and godliness. It is one thing to know a person by name, it is quite another to know them by their nature and character. The later is gained through a relationship of knowing, not just a general biography. This is how we come to know Christ and become partakers of the divine nature because we come to know Him, whom we have received into our hearts, not just generally, but intimately and specifically. Ephesians 3:19 says, ” And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” This knowing is “gnosis” or general knowledge. In other words that we might have an understanding to know the love of Christ which surpasses general knowledge so that we, “may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” That is a pretty powerful statement when you stop to really absorb it.
These exceedingly great promises God has given us through His Word are the keys to bring us into the fullness of the divine nature. In order for us to really know them we must intimately know Him. You see our zeal for God is according to knowledge, the most specific kind of knowledge, where we know Him not just after the letter of the law, but after the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that will lead us on this journey to the innermost recesses of wisdom and knowledge that is contained in the Christ we love and serve. In Colossians 3:2-3 Paul speaks to his purpose, “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” If we want to know that divine nature, it is through that growing, abiding faith that lays hold of God’s exceeding rich and gracious promise. We come to know these promises experientially in the most intimate place of His love.

Blessings,
#kent

Come unto Me

October 29, 2014

Matthew 11:27-30
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28″Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Come unto Me

We have a gift and an inheritance that so relatively few have. The Lord has made Himself known unto us and has drawn us to the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit which has quickened the reality and truth of Him to our spirits. What the Father has given us is life and just as we came into this natural life and drew our first breath we have come into the spiritual life of God and have drawn our first spiritual breath. Now we live and move and have our being in Him. We didn’t labor to enter in, but someone else labored over us. They travailed that we might be brought forth in Christ. It was not us that chose Him; it was Him that chose us from the foundations of the world. He has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His harvest.
We hear Him as He speaks to us, “Come unto Me.” What He is asking from us is not a labor; it is not our works or our goodness. We are called to take upon us the mantle of His spiritual life. That calling is not about works, but about rest. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Some of us have been so stressed. We have struggled to try and please God. We have wrestled with our sin and our unworthiness. We have come to the point where we have felt failure, defeat and condemnation. The arms of the Lord are extended toward you today and He is speaking to you, “Come unto me. Come and rest in my arms, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Religion often becomes our taskmaster rather than our revelation of Christ. It so often demands of us, uses us and often it manipulates us to its own ends and purpose. We often feel that if we fail at religion we fail God. The Lord has come to lead us into His Sabbath rest. It is a ceasing of us and even our good efforts and it is a release of ourselves into His rest.
Do we do spiritual work in this rest? Yes, but it is not our work, it His work through us as we learn His voice and move in obedience to His Spirit. We want to struggle to redeem this old man, but this old man is dead. Let go of him and embrace the new creation you are in Christ. This new man is birthed in the likeness of Christ and every expression of our being; it is this spiritual man that we want to now express. We see this new creation man represented and exemplified through Jesus. Did Jesus struggle to do the work of God or did He just come into His presence and fellowship? It was there that He found the will and purpose of God for each day of His earthly travels.
If you are tired and you want to find that rest, then take His yoke upon. His burden is light, because He is your strength and wisdom to carry out His will and purpose for your life. What He has called you to do, He will enable and provide for you to do. Don’t be anxious, just rest.

Blessings,
#kent

Does the Lord come up Short?

September 12, 2014

Does the Lord come up Short?

Numbers 11:23
The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”
Have you ever believed God for something and just felt so sure that He was going to fulfill a promise to you and then it didn’t come to pass as you thought it would. You sit there thinking where did I miss it? I was so sure I was hearing from God.
As I was sitting here meditating on what to write this morning my eyes fell upon the above scripture which I had printed out and clipped to my office organizer as a reminder of a promise that I had believed for.
We had lived in the same home for about twenty-seven years and although our house was adequate and our kids were raised, it still seemed crowded with our businesses. The stairs were becoming somewhat of a problem with the wife’s health and the fact was Sharon especially, was ready for a change. I had just retired and was struggling with a new business that was costing me more than it was making.
Being the conservative person that I am, it was hard to rationalize trying to buy a bigger house at this point in life, let alone knowing how we would pay for it. One day though I was stirred to faith and I set down with the newspaper and just looked at some homes. One in particular rather struck me and so I shocked Sharon one day by saying let’s just go look at some houses. The particular house that had struck my fancy was a new home, beautifully built and Sharon really liked it as well. The only small glitch was that it cost about $500,000 dollars, but what is that to God, right? Now there was no way in the natural I could see clear to have this house, but we began to pray and believe God. Somehow that faith really began to take hold in both of us and God just seemed to keep giving us little confirmations along the way. We would go out there and pray about it, over it and dream about it. We would just praise God and thank Him for it. Our faith was strong as we spoke as if we already had it, even when we could not see the means for it. At that time no miracles came to pass and one day it sold, only we weren’t the buyers. We couldn’t believe it. I would look over at that verse that I had clipped there and say, “God, didn’t you tell me that Your hand was not short to bring your word to pass? We even went by that house sometime after the other occupants were living there. We were even so bold as to go up and ask them if they liked the house and if they were planning on staying there? Perhaps God just had them house sitting for us for a while, but the daughter that we spoke too assured us that they were happy with the house and planned on staying there.
We gave up on the idea of the house and decided we would probably just remain stuck where we lived and make the best of it.
A little later down the road we were blessed with a wonderful gift. My parents, who are so precious and giving, received some income from an investment they had made some years prior. They passed some of that blessing on to us by giving us enough to finish paying off our home that we were currently living in. Now we were pretty much debt free. That is a great feeling.
It was probably about six months to a year later that we were driving home from a delivery for Sharon’s business and she spotted a “for sale” sign on a beautiful home. I had remember admiring it on occasion when we had passed by it, thinking what a great view they must have of the city. Being the woman of action that she is, Sharon called our good friend in real estate to see if we could look at the home. I don’t believe I was with them the first time they went through it but she came home loving it. It had a beautiful yard, and an incredible view. The house would provide us with the room and the distinction we needed for our businesses and it didn’t have all the stairs that Sharon would have to go up and down all of the time. It had so much of all that she had desired in a home. When I saw it, I liked it as well, but it was a pretty substantial investment. We put our home on the market and when we were about to put our offer in, two other parties were about to put there offers in as well, but then withdrew them till they knew if the homeowners would accept our offer. We came to an agreement and purchased the home before we had sold our other one. At least it was paid off and even though we had some expenses such as utilities and such, we didn’t have another house payment. This one was about twice what our other house payment had been. We moved in around the middle of December and that winter was rough. My business was dead and we had a lot of expenses, but God was so faithful to see us through.
A little over a year later, the Lord had increased our business and we have so enjoyed this home. It is so much more than we had ever imagined and we know, without a doubt, that it has been though God’s provision. We have come to realize that this house is so much better for us, in many respects, than the first house would have been. God had His time, but He came in a different door than what we were looking at. He so often does. We can never put God in our box or limit Him to our understanding. He is so much greater. Everyday we thank Him for what only He could supply and do. “And the Lord said to us, “Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.” God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think.
We have lived in this home for ten years now and have never missed a payment due completely to God’s faithfulness not only to provide for this home, but to sustain it. Everyday is a miracle and testament to His goodness and faithfulness, even in trying times.  I don’t know how many times I have uttered through these years, “Only God”.

Blessings,
#kent

He Must Increase, I must decrease

John 3:30
He must increase, but I [must] decrease

These were the words of John the Baptist as his disciples questioned him about this other man Jesus and why everyone was going over to Him. John understood his life’s purpose and that all that God had given him and all that he had become was to point the way to Christ. He was a forerunner sent before to prepare men’s hearts to receive Christ and the salvation only He could bring. Our purpose is very much the same today. Our lives are not about us being glorified and put upon a pedestal, it is about bringing Jesus before men that they may see all that He is and all that He has provided. Sometimes Christians miss this. They get caught up in what the Lord can do through them and instead of really building His Kingdom, they end up building their own. We must guard against the glory men may want to bestow on us when they see Christ working through us especially in love and the demonstration of miraculous works. There are signs that Jesus said would follow His disciples, but in whatever the Lord chooses to bring forth through our lives, we must be careful to give the praise and the glory back to Him. Isaiah 48: 9-12 tells this about what He thinks of His glory, “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, [even] for mine own sake, will I do [it]: for how should [my name] be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another. Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I [am] he; I [am] the first, I also [am] the last.” When we deserved God’s anger and judgement He did not cast us off, but He is refining us through the furnace of affliction. If we aren’t trained up in humility and brokenness, understanding the true grace and goodness of God, we will pollute His name. In fact we are seeing the Lord’s name being polluted in Christendom today. Much of why the world rejects Christ and Christianity is not because of who Christ is, but because of who we are. We proclaim His name, but we don’t proclaim His nature. Because we do not truly live to His glory we rob from Him the glory and praise due to His name by our selfishness, greed, and worldliness. Is the world really seeing anything in us different than what they see in themselves? I believe Christianity spread like wildfire in the early years of Christianity, even in the midst of great persecution, because people saw the glory of God. It was not because these Christians glorified themselves, but it was because they allowed Christ to be glorified through them. They truly learned what it meant that He must increase and they must decrease. Aren’t most of still caught up in our increase, in our success, our name and our fame? Who is really being glorified in and through our lives, Christ or ourselves? Galatians 5:26 warns us, “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” God has called us out to be a people for His possession and for the praise of His name. Where is our focus in life; is it on us or on Him?
The greatest honor the Lord could bestow on us is the privilege of allowing Him to be glorified through us. When He is glorified through us then men no longer see us they Christ in His glory and splendor. They just see a vessel that is the facilitator of His majestic glory and wonder. This is the desire and purpose of God, to be glorified in His saints. 2 Thessalonians 1:10 tells us that with the Lord’s coming He will be glorified in us, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” The Lord may well grace our lives with some miraculous things, but we must never presumptuously take the glory from that to ourselves. There is only one who is worthy of all the glory and all the honor and all the praise and we aren’t Him. We are privileged to be the instruments of His praise and His glory. We must decrease and He must increase, so that in all things we point the way to Jesus and defer all praise and glory to His worthy Name. As we decrease in this life and the things of this world He will increase within us and His kingdom will come in us. His will, will be done in us as it is in heaven. We are privileged to be the lamps through which His glorious light shines. Let us not pollute or diminish that light by allowing ourselves to have the preeminence that belongs only to Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Do We Change the Atmosphere?

When light comes into a dark place it brings a change in the atmosphere. It brings illumination. Suddenly we see things more clearly than we did before. Suddenly we see a quality that contrasts with the darkness, but its qualities are so much higher and better. If that were not so we would sit in our dark houses at night rather than turn on the light.
Jesus says we are that light. We are the people that change the atmosphere of our world and our sphere of influence. We are often the only illumination of what people see and perceive to be God. How are we doing with that? Many in the world have looked upon the church and said, “If that is God, I’ll keep my darkness. They may talk different, but their lives are no different.” We, as the body of Christ, can only produce and bring forth what we ourselves are walking in and saturated with. Our lives have so often become shallow muddy wells rather than the artesian rivers of living water that flow from the throne. What we are producing in our atmosphere is a commentary to us on what is, or is not filling our lives. It is not about what we can produce of our own making or our own goodness, it is simply being in such a love relationship with Jesus that the abundance of that love and joy spills out on all who are around us. We want people that are around us to sense and know there is something different about us even before they speak to us. The world is hungry for the reality of Jesus not the facade of it. How sad that we, the people of God, are often God’s own worst enemies when it comes to being His ambassadors to this world. If we are ambassadors then we have to fully represent the values, culture and dynamics of the kingdom that we stand for.
It is sad that many of God’s people are living in defeat and discouragement. That is not God’s will or His best for you. Yes, you may be going through hard times. Even when King David, before he became king, was being pursued by King Saul to take his life, he found his joy in the Lord. In Psalm 103:1-6 David declares, “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” The secret that David learned was that no matter how dark it looked outside the Son was always shinning in heaven. It was the praise and acknowledgement of God’s goodness, even in the bleakest of times that brought back the joy and confidence of faith to David. He had to encourage his soul to bless the Lord with his spirit man. It wasn’t because he felt like it, but he knew that praise, worship, thanksgiving and the remembrance of God’s Word and promises are what would restore the oil of joy and bring the light of gladness.
Saturate yourself in the oil of the Holy Spirit. Become ignited with the love of God. Change the atmosphere around you by the power of His love and life in and through you. You are the light of the world because He is the light within you. Live out of light!

Blessings,
#kent

Worthy of this Calling

March 25, 2014

Worthy of this Calling

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I would like for us to be very real and practical today as we consider our calling in Christ Jesus. We often try and talk spiritual and be spiritual around what we consider spiritual people or environments, but what is every day life like for us? How does our real faith play out in the everyday activities of our lives? In the light of that, many of us may not feel too spiritual. We may see ourselves getting angry, losing patience, arguing with the kids and the spouse. A lot of times we see some pretty unattractive words and attitudes demonstrated in our lives. Nothing we could really take much pride in as far as being spiritual or glorifying the Lord. We may get pretty down on ourselves in the light of our many shortcomings and feel there is really no hope that I could be anything in Christ. “Look what a mess I am and how totally unchristian I can act.” Most of us can have those “flesh days” when we are just a mess spiritually. Our spiritual enemy preys on our vulnerabilities. I believe situations are often set up by the enemy, just to push our buttons and lead us off into unspiritual actions and attitudes. You may have really felt that you were drawing close to the Lord and then you are attacked in the areas of your vulnerabilities. You are tempted in the areas of your greatest weaknesses. As much as you don’t want too, perhaps you fail and stumble again in those areas where you thought you were experiencing victory. What follows is nothing less than a barrage of condemnation and discouragement as the devil condemns you for your failures. Perhaps he even uses those around you to assist in heaping on you the condemnation and failure you already feel. With feelings of shame, disgrace, added failure and guilt we become discouraged. We think, “Why am I trying to be something I can never be?” Exactly the state of mind the enemy wants to bring us too.
Realistically our lives are a never-ending struggle of flesh and spirit. We hear about who we are and who we should be in Christ, but then we struggle to live our faith in Christ, often with feelings of being so unsuccessful. These are the reasons why we often grow weary, discouraged and want to just give up. You know what? We all have these feelings, discouragement, and setbacks. Our God is not just writing us off because we do, but He does want to use them to allow us to recognize our weakness, so that we may better lay hold of His strength. The Word tells us that the efforts of the flesh can never produce the righteousness of God. That is why religion is so futile. It is our attempt at finding and pleasing God in our own works.
We find in life that we are most influenced by those we associate ourselves with. If we hang around a worldly and ungodly crowd, it is not long before we find our own actions and attitudes becoming more and more conformed to theirs. It is that same old principle of sowing and reaping. What we are sowing into our lives is what we are reaping in our attitudes and actions. Hosea 10:2 tells us, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for [it is] time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Galatians 5:25 tells us, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” While we will have those times where we will experience failure and discouragement we must stubbornly and uncompromisingly not relinquish who we know ourselves to be in Christ. Our only hope of this is in our identification and relationship with our Lord. No matter how we may get sidetracked and bushwhacked by the enemy of our soul, our spirit and our soul must turn back to Father. He assures us forgiveness when we repent and promises to wash our sin away. Christ in you is your hope of glory. With all that is within us we must cling to Him, relinquish our lives to Him and stay in close fellowship and relationship with Him. He alone is the one that transforms us into His image and likeness. In order to be worthy of His calling, it is our patient and enduring faith in Him that is the manifest token of our salvation. It is maintaining the place of intimacy and relationship that we truly know our God and experience the workings of His righteousness in us. The reality of our faith and walk in the Spirit must be the greatest reality of our lives. Even when we wander or fail, it is the faithfulness of His Spirit in us that continually keeps us returning and drawing near to Him. “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: [Which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer (2 Thessalonians 1:3-5)”

Blessings,
#kent

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