What is this Grace?

October 17, 2016

What is this Grace?

Ephesians 2: 1-10

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All 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. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Grace is one of those basic principles we tend to assume that we know all that it entails and quickly skip over it.  The definition I have always heard of grace is that it is ‘God’s undeserved favor’. Indeed it is, but I sense the Holy Spirit saying you need to take a closer look at grace and the part that it plays in your life.  The very fact that we could not have even been cognizant and have come to Christ without His grace makes this quality something that deserves a closer look.  We might tend to acknowledge it and then quickly dismiss it as a fundamental of our faith.  It is kind of like breathing or your heart beating you don’t consciously have these take place, but I’ll guarantee you if they stop working you will be immediately be aware and concerned over it.  Grace is like the loving hands of the Father that caresses His humanity.  It is grace that provides us fellowship and relationship with our heavenly Father.  It was grace in the Father and the Son that extended the sacrifice of Christ’s holy life for our sinful ones.  All the benefits we enjoy in Christ we owe to grace.  The richness of our salvation is the product of God’s grace.  Even the incomparable riches of what God is going to do in and through us in the coming age are the benefits of His grace.  The riches of God’s grace are so much more than tangible elements could ever attain or express.  They are the fullness of God’s favor, His benefits, His mercies, His good will, loving kindness and His love.  Grace is an ocean of God’s blessing directed at mankind.  Like salvation, it is so shallow a small child can wade in it and so deep that the most profound and faithful of men will never sounds the depths of it.  What is contained in God’s grace is the fullness of Christ Himself.  What God has done in and through Christ He is doing in and through us, for the Lord Jesus is our prototype and the image after which our Father has called many sons to glory.  Even now the Word says that through grace working in us by faith, God has made us spiritually alive in Christ Jesus, but beyond that, He has raised us up with Christ and seated us in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.  

Do we begin to catch a glimpse of the potential power and life of God at work in us even now through this grace that we have received?  Grace, by its very virtue, tells us that this is a gift and quality that we could never earn, deserve or merit in our own being.  Grace is all about God’s goodness, His undeserved favor and blessing.  The faith, that is not even what we possess, but that which He has placed in us, is the key to unlocking the riches of God’s grace.  Because God has enabled us to believe through faith in the marvelous thing He has done through Christ, we have the keys of His kingdom.  God is an extravagant giver and He has bestowed upon us such extravagant gifts that we still don’t fully comprehend and realize what we have and what has been so freely given to us.  

It might be kind of like you bringing home and giving to your child a fully loaded Mercedes worth a $190,000.  He kind of looks it over and then goes back to playing with his Legos.  What we should be saying is Father, teach me how to drive.  I can never fully enjoy what God has given me until I know how to use it.  The process of our lives is God teaching us about how to drive, how to operate in this grace which He has so richly bestowed upon us.  Let us not be content with our Legos and simple toys of this life, when Father has given and promised us so much more.  Press in that you might know the riches of this grace through faith.  

Verse 10 tells us the reason for God bestowing this grace upon us.  “10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  God has given us grace that He might have a people conformed to His image and the expression of the good works that are in Christ.  We are not only the products of God’s grace, we, like Christ, are becoming the expression of God’s grace to the rest of this world.  We are the favored of God to express the favor of God.  Grace has delivered us from the dimension of condemnation, death and the law.  It has brought us into the dimension of Life, liberty and freedom in Christ.  It is the freedom to live out of the life God rather than our former life dictated through lust and sin.  2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us, “And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work.”  Faith is all about the endeavor to operate this vehicle of God’s grace; for it is grace working in us that will abound to God’s glory and praise and honor.  It is grace working in us that shows forth God’s strength in the midst of our weakness.  Grace must be received in all humility for it not anything that we could ever boast in of ourselves.  It is not the product of our being or doing, but the product of God’s loving kindness and mercy.  

God has called us out  of this world and into the grace of Christ.  Live out of the richness of the grace, which He has bestowed upon us.  Allow that grace to have its perfect work in you.  Never take for granted the marvelous riches and wealth of the grace God has bestowed and that now works so wonderfully within us.

Blessings,
#kent

Speaking to Purpose

April 28, 2016

Ephesians 2:6-10

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Speaking to Purpose

Do we ever think much about why God created us?  Why He saved us by His grace when we could never earn or deserve it?  He tells us His purpose in this passage of scripture.  You are His workmanship.  Now most of us realize that we are a work in progress, but also know that God beholds you as the finished product of His grace and workmanship in Christ Jesus.  He sees you far beyond what you can even comprehend of yourself.  He sees you as a good works people, not your good works, but His.  You are the administration of His righteousness in the earth.  You are the outshining of His glory and goodness.  You are the divine expression of His love and compassion.  In and through you is His divine nature revealed, because that is what He created you for.  

In this present state we see ourselves as in an apprenticeship for a greater works ministry.  The Holy Spirit is currently working in our lives to stretch us, train us and exercise us in righteousness.  As we yield in obedience to His dealings we often find ourselves going places we would not have gone and doing things we would not have done.  As we apprentice for this good works ministry Holy Spirit takes us out of our comfort zone and complacency. He exposes our prejudices and wrong motives and attitudes.  He is constantly dealing and meddling in our hearts.  The precious thing about the Holy Spirit as opposed to religion is He doesn’t expose our faults to condemn us, but to grow us and deliver us out of the place of our weakness and into the place of His strength and strong standing.  We have to understand that where He is bringing us is not out of the place of our righteousness, but out of the righteousness of Christ in us.  So as we present ourselves unto Him He begins to do in us what did in Joshua in Zechariah 3:1-10, ” Then he showed me Joshua  the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. 2  The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

 3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

      Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.”

 5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by.

 6 The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.

8 ” ‘Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.

10 ” ‘In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”

You see we, like Joshua, we were created and destined of God to be the kings and priests of our Most High God.  Jesus has taken our filthy garments off of us and clothed us with the garments of His righteousness.  He puts a clean turban upon our head signifying a renewed mind in Christ Jesus.  He gives us this same charge that He gave Joshua, ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.’ It is this people that He has prepared with His vesture to remove sin from the land in a single day.  The scripture says specifically, “‘Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come.”‘  That branch is Christ who has removed the sin by His blood shed upon the cross, but the administration of that righteousness is through His holy priesthood and His holy nation.  

In John 14:9-14 Philip is asking to see the Father, but it is because he doesn’t yet have a revelation of the Father.  If we are still looking to see Jesus, it is because we don’t yet have a revelation of Christ.  ” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  Jesus, Himself, has declared that we are that greater works ministry.  That was the purpose for which you were created  for.  Yield yourself to the in-working of the Holy Spirit for even now He is preparing and bringing you into the good works, ‘which God in advance, prepared for us to do.

Blessings,

#kent

The Privilege of Honoring Him

February 22, 2016

The Privilege of Honoring Him

Ephesians 1:3-14

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 

11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

How blessed and privileged we are when we comprehend that our great and awesome God has chosen you and I out of all humanity.  He gave us spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to receive such a great and glorious salvation that He has chosen to reveal to us.  Far to often we take way too much for granted that God has honored us to know Him, comprehend and receive the great calling He has for our lives.  We treat as ordinary and common this special gift of eternal life and the great privileges and honor that go with it.  We often see our faith as despised by the world and so sometimes we feel embarrassed by it.  You have what the world will covet in the ages to come.  We don’t yet see all of the glory and honor that is ours in Christ if we hold fast to our faith.  You hold a position with the King of Kings.  You are personally known and called out by the Father.  Regardless of how you feel about it, you are exceptionally special, a priceless stone and gem of great price.  

We must not be dulled and dumbed down to the great and awesome calling we each have in Christ.  He has even given us the seal of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that we are His.  We are a blessed people who need to be so constantly appreciative, thankful and aware of our Father who has so loved us and His Son who gave His very life for us.  We must refocus our hearts, our goals, our desire and plans to be made conformable to His divine will and purpose in us, for it is glorious beyond measure and we don’t want to miss it.  We all get caught up so much in the vanity of this world, but that is a distraction and mask concealing our true identity and purpose.  Embrace and comprehend who you are in Christ.  When the revelation of this truth fully dawns on us we are so broken and humbled by a God that could love and care so much just about us.  Let us not take for granted our salvation and the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.  Let us present ourselves as living sacrifices wholly acceptable and pleasing to the Father; that is our destiny and calling that Christ can have a manifested expression through us.  Only we can give ourselves over to His will and purpose in us.  Let us not neglect so great a salvation and calling in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,

#kent

Call to Worship

November 16, 2015

Psalms 95:1-11
1O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
3For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
7For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
8Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
10Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Call to Worship

Do you want to be blessed today? If so come with me before the King of Kings, let us sing unto the Lord our God and Maker. Let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! Let us exalt Him, praise and magnify His Holy Name. If you want to experience joy then get glad about Jesus. Think upon all His wondrous works throughout the ages and then think upon all the things that He has personally done in your life. We are the products of His loving grace and mercy. No one should know the joy of the Lord like we do. “Oh come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our God and Maker. For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His Hand.” Can we truly comprehend what that means and how privileged we are to be His? Could we ever acknowledge and thank Him enough for the riches of His love toward us? When we come into His presence with joy and thanksgiving how can we be anything but happy and blessed. The deeper we enter into worship the richer His presence and joy becomes. Let us not neglect so great a privilege as we have to be His worshippers and the magnifiers of His great and Holy Name. For all things are through Him, by Him and for Him. We are created for Him, to be His children, to delight in our Papa God. He delights in you and so greatly loves you. When we honor Him in our praise, our worship and our thanksgiving, then we have the privilege of blessing His heart, for He delights in our love for Him.
It is somewhat strange that this Psalm would end on such a somber note, but it is a warning to us of how quickly our hearts can become hardened and we can lose sight of our great and illustrious King. Even though we know Him for who He is, we can, and still do, err in our hearts. It says “and they have not known His ways.” Let us walk carefully lest we also forget our God, tempt Him, grieve Him and provoke His wrath.
When we acknowledge Him day by day. When we spend the time to be with Him in the Word, prayer, praise and worship. When we center our world and lives on Him, then we come to know Him, delight in Him and know the peace that passes understanding. In this place we enter into the place of His rest, for we cease from our works and all that we are about. Our purpose is to be about the Father’s business, expressing that through our everyday lives and duties. Let every expression that we are be an act of worship and praise unto Him. We are a privileged generation of kings and priest that our God has ordained to magnify His Holiness. Unto Him be all praise forever and ever! Amen

Blessings,
#kent

You are a Person of Destiny

October 26, 2015

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

You are a Person of Destiny

God’s love has many facets and forms of expressions. Some of them we love and some of them we don’t fully understand. Through all of the elements of His love one principle holds true, all things are working for our good if we are among those that love Him. If we love Him it is because we have been called according to His purpose. In His purpose we have a destiny. The thing that we must understand about destiny is that it requires us to reach a destination. God has not promised us an easy road to that destination, even Jesus said, “in the world you will have tribulation.” Who is a better example of this than Jesus is? From the time of His birth satan sought to destroy Him. In natural life He was not a child of privilege and in His ministry He continually faced those who sought to undermine and destroy Him. Even the end we see that He endured the cross, despising the shame. Could we ever say that the Father did not love Him? There was no greater love; yet through His natural life He endured hardships and difficulty. Should we expect something different?
What is our destiny? Romans 8: 29-30 goes on to say, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Our destiny is to be conformed to the likeness of the Son of God who went before us. Christ is our destiny. Even now that destiny is at work in our lives. Day by day, as we walk with Him and in Him, we see His grace operating in our lives even through difficult circumstances.
The enemy’s job and purpose is to rob you of your destiny and to turn you off course. His mission is destruction and death. This is why it is so important to know who we are in the love of the Father and what our destiny and purpose are. We learn not to be distracted by the chaos, calamity and circumstances that present themselves contrary to our purpose. Our eyes and heart must be fixed upon Him. Financial meltdown is going on all around us, but God’s economy is unaffected, because it is not of this world. What you have invested in His bank is safe; moth and corruption cannot touch it. Many of us are facing difficult times, but our daddy is God and He can sustain us. In all that is coming upon this world it is critical that we keep our focus and not take our eyes off of the Lord. He does love us. He does care for us and He is operating in our best interest.
Romans 8:31-39 concludes by saying, “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Even as the Father has loved the Son, He so loves us.
Beware of the distractions that will come at you. Watch that doubt and fear have no entrance. Set your face as flint upon the One who will bring us through. We are not here to escape our tribulations but to walk through them and overcome them in Christ Jesus. Meditate always on what you have in Christ and who He is in you. You a person of destiny.

#kent

You Have a Purpose

October 23, 2015

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

You Have a Purpose

What has been worked in us by the grace of God is a God-thing. It has not been birthed out of man’s wisdom, strength or ability. You are a God-thing. You are His handiwork and design, not just because He created you, but because He created you for a reason and purpose. You are not an accident, but a God intention.
Sometimes we can get pretty down on ourselves. We see the difficulties and challenges that this life constantly poses. We see our own weaknesses and failures. Sometimes we may tend to think what real good am I to myself or anyone else? There are times we want to just give up and either just live like the world or even give up on life altogether.
The enemy of our soul always wants to magnify and condemn our faults. He is always trying to get our eyes off of Jesus and on to self. We can always see self for more than it is or less than it is. If we put our eyes and minds where they belong, upon Him and upon His Word then it gives us His perspective. Verse 10 says, ” For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” You were prepared in advance for a mission and a purpose. Get your eyes upon the One by whose power you can carry out your purpose. Your purpose is good works, His works, the will and do of His good pleasure. It is no longer about us, but Him. He is the One we live for, we serve and we delight to please. He is our Papa and He loves us dearly in spite of all the reasons why He shouldn’t.
You and I have a purpose today. He is our purpose and it is His work that we have to do. We can’t carry that out as long as our eyes are upon us. Let us fix our eyes on the prize of the high calling that is in Christ Jesus. Psalms 119:15 says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” Only He can lead us into the fullness of our purpose and destiny, but it is only as we fix our eyes upon Him and walk fully in the calling He has set before us. Your purpose is good works. They are good because they are His works and the Holy Spirit will lead you in how to carry them out as you yield your heart and life to Him. The accomplishment of your calling is centered in your identity with Christ. 1 John 4:4 declares,” You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
You are the object of His grace. Make Him the object of your life’s purpose.

Blessings,
#kent

The Love of God

October 20, 2015

John 3:16-21
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

The Love of God
John 3:16 is one of those scriptures that many of us as young Christians memorize. Sometimes in its simplicity we forget or miss how profound it truly is. How many of us as fathers can really grasp what it would be like for us to give our only son as a sacrifice for someone else’s misdeeds? Romans 5:6-8 tells us, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So even if you could be willing to allow your only son to be sacrificed for someone would it be your enemy? Would it be for the one who deserved your wrath and judgement rather than you love and mercy? When we really stop to analyze and think about God’s love for this world it should just blow us away, because it makes absolutely no sense to the natural mind or reason. How can we take this manner of love so lightly? How can we even regard it as common or ordinary? Our God is such an extraordinary God that works through such a supernatural and incomprehensible love towards us and the world rejects it. So many times, even we, as the people of God, treat as common place and ordinary this holy love, displayed and sacrificed for mankind. If we do, it is because we don’t truly comprehend it or have it operating fully within us. Those who go willingly and offer their lives as willing sacrifice for the gospel of Jesus Christ have come into a revelation of that love. They comprehend that if this love is so great that even the holy Son of the living God and Creator would lay down His life for us then it is worth our laying down our lives as well. Most of won’t even sacrifice our comforts let alone our lives.
One of the things a true revelation of God’s love will bring us too is that there is something so much greater at stake than just us. It will give us the heartbeat of God for creation. It will empower us to love the unlovely, the rejected and the destitute. It will cause our hearts to hurt for the lost and dying, just as Father’s heart hurts and longs for them to come to Him.
As human beings perhaps one of the things we like least is having our darkness exposed. We are often comfortable in our sin and deception even though it only brings us misery and pain. We don’t want to see ourselves for what we are and as God sees us. The capacity of the love of God is to see past our faults and see our need and it is to that need that He addresses Himself. He created mankind to rule and reign with Him, but we exchanged the truth for a lie and righteousness for pleasure. Romans 1:21-25 says, ” For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”
“For God so loved the world.” What a blessing and a privilege that we have come to an acknowledgement and acceptance of this love by our faith in Jesus Christ. Is our love now so shallow that His love towards us stops with us? No, an immature child is one that is only concerned for their own needs, but when one comes into maturity they learn to become the givers and not the takers.
What is our revelation of God’s love in us today? Are we still just content to take it and not give it? God didn’t build us to be reservoirs to horde and store up for only ourselves, us four and no more. He is wanting to impart His heart of love into us that we may become the conduits and pipelines of His love and blessing. We are the salt of the earth and a city set upon a hill. We are the outshining of his glory and the expression of His love. If not us, then who?

Blessings,
#kent

Taking Up an Offense

October 15, 2015

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

Taking Up an Offense

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

Blessings,
#kent

Gifted to Give

October 13, 2015

Ephesians 4:7-10 (Amplified)
Yet grace (God’s unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and bounteous] gift.
8Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.
9[But He ascended?] Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from [the heights of] heaven into [the depths], the lower parts of the earth?
10He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).

Gifted to Give

Our God is such a giving God. What He has given us in the riches of His grace through Christ Jesus I don’t think any of us have fully assimilated and processed what we have in Him. It is implied here that as Christ ascended back into heaven all of the those gifts, attributes and the anointing that rested upon Him from the Father was distributed throughout His body. No one person was given the whole, but we were all given the parts that by coming together and operating as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, we the many, might become one in Him.
Jesus says in John 14:10-14, “10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Jesus Himself has commissioned through His body a greater works ministry operating out of the power of His name and led by the Holy Spirit. Even as the Father expressed Himself through His Son, He is in turn the expression of the Father through His body that truly believe and dare to step out into this place of faith, having confidence in His promise. We are like children who are learning to swim. At first we are fearful. We thrash at the water. We spit and sputter and often get into a panic. What we have to learn to do is to work with the water and not against it. Slowly we come to find that if we can truly rest then the water will actually support our bodies and we can float. We learn that with minimal effort we can maintain our buoyancy. Eventually we learn to move quickly through the water and the water becomes our friend instead of this body of fluid that we once might have been dreadfully fearful of. This is the way the Holy Spirit is in our lives. The more familiar we become with Him the more at home we feel in His presence and operating out of His directive.
Jesus not only imparted unto us gifts, but also He took those strong men, those oppressive spirits that once held us captive and He led them into captivity. The door of your prison is unlocked. All you have to do is have the faith to open it and walk out. There is nothing that can hold you or separate you from the love of God. You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. Christ gave us the richest gift that any man could ask for. He gave us Himself. He literally imparted Himself to us. What we see in a foretaste and measure is to become the whole and likeness of Him. Right now it is all of us working in the unity of the faith and operating by faith in the giftings that He has imparted into each one of us. If you don’t know what your calling and giftings are, begin to operate within a body that has body ministry and you will most likely find your gifts coming to the surface. In so many assemblies the body has been dumbed down to think and believe that it is only the missionaries, teachers, ministers or pastors that are ordained to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. This is contrary to what this passage in Ephesians speaks about. Their responsibility is to bring the rest of the body into their purpose and calling in Christ Jesus and to allow the giftings of Christ to abound to the edification and the building up of the body. Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
This brings us to the “why” of what Christ has imparted the gifts and the riches of His grace toward us for. He gives to us so that we in turn might give to others. This is the law and economy of His kingdom. He doesn’t give to us to hold on to what He gives us, but to in turn impart it into others. His giftings are so that we might be givers, blessings and the increase of the Lord upon the lives of those around us, both Christian and non-Christian alike. We are the pipeline, the conduits and the sprinkler heads of God’s grace and goodness that we wants to dispense to mankind through so many avenues and in so many ways. We have been blessed to be the blessing of Abraham and through us all of the nations will be blessed in the knowledge and the goodness of God.
You have a gift and a talent. You may not see in yourself any good thing, but God sees it, because He put it there. Learn to work with the water of His Holy Spirit so that by the Spirit it may become manifest and minister the blessing He has imparted into you. You have been gifted to give.

Blessings,
#kent

When I am Weak

August 20, 2015

When I am Weak

Psalms 6:2
Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I [am] weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

Show me Thy ways and I will aspire to walk in them,
Impart unto me Your strength that I might carry them out,
Give me Your heart that I can have like passion and commitment,
Take my will that Yours may be done.

Father, we often faint in the heat of the day,
Our eye dims and our desires begin to stray.
Please take my hand and lift me up,
I keep wanting to sink in this miry clay.

Life can be good, but it is also hard,
It is not always easy to keep up my guard.
Often I grow discouraged with myself,
I want give up on my spiritual health.

Like a diet gone bad,
Sometimes I just want to give in to sin.
“Ah, what’s the use?
I’ve already blown it again.”

Yet the cross compels me not to give up,
It can’t be in vain that Christ drank from that cup.
I can not give place in my weakness to sin.
Would I drive those nails in His loving hands again?

Lord, I cry out in my weakness to You,
Help me not my old ways to pursue.
They never brought me peace or joy before,
Help me, oh Lord, not to open again that door.

You know my frame, that it is weak,
But my eyes are on you, and it is You that I seek.
Let it be no longer I that lives,
Help me lay all on the altar to freely give.

For my death, You give me Life.
For my heartache, you give me Peace.
For my sin, You give me Righteousness.
For my failure, You give me Salvation.

Your Word have I hid in my heart,
That I might not sin against Thee.
It mirrors Your Love and Grace,
When my eye grows dim and I fail to see.

Keep my feet in that narrow path,
I want to know Grace, not judgement and wrath.
Grace that takes me to a higher standard than law,
Grace that restores me in those times I fall.

Lord, You are my everything,
Without You I really have nothing.
Help me when I grow frail and weak,
May it be Your Life within me and Your words that I speak.
Kent Stuck

Blessings
#kent

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