Our Greatest Possession is Love

1 John 3:1,11-19
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not…
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, [who] was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

There is no greater possession we can possess than the love of God. We in fact, as believers in Christ, possess that love, because we possess the Spirit of Christ in us. Christ, is in truth and in deed, the greatest definition of God’s love we could ever have before us. While we use the word love in many different contexts, most of us know that in the Greek there are several words that define different kinds of love which I am not going into. Agape is the form of God’s love with which we are concerned with here today. This is the manner of love that the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God. We possess this love because we possess Him. What should define the sons of Gods should be the nature of the love they possess. As we truly possess and manifest this love we will fulfill the law of God. All of the law is fulfilled in His love. Galatians 5:14 says, ” For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Normally a person’s first instinct and concern is for themselves, their welfare, safety, needs, wants, desires and well being. The love of God takes this love we have for ourselves and channels it through us to others. We begin to empathize with others, identifying with them by how we would feel in their circumstances. Agape love is totally unselfish, self-sacrificing and treats the needs of others as it would it’s own.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 tells us, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, [and] is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” It does not matter how many gifts, abilities, works, words or knowledge we have, if we don’t possess the Agape love of God everything else is meaningless. There is nothing in the world or in what God has given us that will do more for conforming us and others to the nature and image of God than His love. That love has to be so much more than ideology or theology, it has to be expressed through us in deed and in truth through our actions and our words. 1 John 3:16 is the revelation of God’s love through us much like John 3:16 is the revelation of God’s love through Christ. It tells us, “Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.” Did you catch that we are to be the extension and continuation of John 3:16? If we are the sons of God should we be any different than the Son of God in our mission and purpose?
When I view my life, perhaps you, like myself, feel like we come up way short of the kind of love that God wants to express through us. We must remember that this is not the kind of love we can produce in the efforts of our flesh. Romans 5:5 tells us, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” So this love is a product that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. The way we have more of this love is to have less of us and more of Him. We are constantly maturing in our faith, or we should be, to where the Lord is filling and possessing every part our being. As we walk by the Spirit and have our focus in life fully on Him, His love will be the by-product of the relationship we have in Him. It is not in what we can produce; it is simply letting Him be God in us and through us. We will have His heart, His vision and will be the instruments and channels of His love and grace. We already possess the most precious possession of all. We must just release it and let its fragrance fill the earth.

Blessings,
#kent

Advertisements

The Darkness of Hate

March 10, 2015

The Darkness of Hate

1 John 2: 9-11
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11But 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.

Matthew 5: 43-44 says, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
There are some of us that have been offended, hurt, defrauded, cheated and taken advantage of. There are some of us who have hate in our hearts and who feel so strongly about it that Christianity or no Christianity, it is our right to hate this person or persons and no one is going to take that away from us. “If they had done to you what they did to me you would hate them too.” We are convinced we are justified and in the right, but somewhere deep down has to be the realization that hate is now your master and you are its slave. Maybe you are determined to get revenge and right the wrong, pay back evil for evil and hurt for hurt. When that is all done will your spirit be healed, will a relationship be reconciled and will you feel good about yourself again?
Hate is darkness when it possesses us. It often overrides rational and clear thinking because it is only fixed on one thing, revenge. Forgiveness isn’t even in our vocabulary at that point in time. It is ironic that nothing can destroy hate like forgiveness and nothing can bring a greater retribution than love. While hate will shut us down to the Spirit of God and allow us to be driven by the passion of our emotions, if love and forgiveness are given place, it changes the dynamic from destruction to construction. Hate perpetuates itself and only serves to destroy all who take it into their soul and hold on to it. It is like a cancer and infection that only breeds more sickness and disease.
What if Jesus just happened to know what He was talking about when He said, ‘love your enemy, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you. ‘
The Father is telling us that when others offend and hurt us, then they are answerable and accountable to Him for hurting His kids. He is telling us, “ you don’t have to hate and get justice; you let Me take care of that”. Romans 12:17-21 says, “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.” If you want to get to your enemy then do the opposite of what they expect, love them and forgive them. Even go so far as to do them good and bless them.
Hate destroys and damages the hater far more than it hurts the object of the hate. Our hate and unforgiveness puts a wall up that holds back God’s forgiveness for us. In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus tells us, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” When you fall into hate you further allow that person you hate to damage you more by hurting your relationship with the Father.
You may be saying, “I can’t help the way I feel and this person doesn’t deserve my forgiveness.” You and I didn’t deserve the Father’s forgiveness, but it says that, ‘while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.’ We were the enemies of God. Our sin had a part in putting to death Jesus upon that cross. We as much as nailed His hands and feet to the cross. As Jesus hung their dying and having all of the reason and excuse in the world to hate His enemies and what they had done to Him, he said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” If Jesus could forgive you and I, do we have a right to not forgive one another?
When you are able to go beyond your emotions and feelings, and despite your feelings pray in faith for forgiveness for those that have hurt you, it will begin to set you free. It may well take time for your emotions and feelings to catch up with your act of faith and obedience to God’s word, but you have opened the door for Him to begin to heal the hurts and offenses you have held in your heart. It is not saying that the person you have hated was at all justified in their actions toward you, it is saying that in spite of that you choose love and forgiveness. Release whatever hate and unforgiveness you have been harboring in your heart and give it to the Lord. Allow Him to be your judge and vindicator. Allow the light and love of God’s forgiveness to once again release your soul from the darkness that hate has held you in. Come into the light and love of His forgiveness as you release yours.

blessings,
#Kent

1 John 2:8-11
Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.

What is keeping You in the Dark?

Many of us wonder why we are struggling with so many issues in our lives and in our relationships. I believe the Lord is speaking to us to go and clean out the closets of our past, because they are defiling and polluting our present and our future.
Many of us have hurts and wounds, perhaps from those that we loved and trusted, that we are still carrying into today’s life and experience. Hate, resentments, unforgiveness and bitterness are all walls that shut out the light of God’s love and truth to our soul. Think about when you have gotten angry with someone and you ran into your room, shut and locked the door. Symbolically, as well as literally you were shutting off your soul and your love to them. You were putting them out into darkness and cutting yourself off from them. In most cases, we eventually open up the door, get over our anger or hurt, reconcile with the person and restore the relationship. There are still a lot of cases we have not done this. The door is still shut in our hearts. Hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness still remains, keeping us in the darkness. These elements shut out the light of God’s love and forgiveness.
There may be very good reasons you have not reconciled with certain individuals and there may be very good reasons that you shouldn’t be physically around them any longer, but what we carry from our past can destroy our future.
There is a tremendous amount of emotional healing that needs to take place in the body of Christ. We can’t always control how we feel toward another, but we can begin to release forgiveness in faith toward them. When Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That act of forgiveness on the part of Jesus opened the door for the light of God to come in and reconcile the very ones that crucified Christ back to Him. Our unforgiveness can hold both ourselves and the ones we refuse to forgive in spiritual bondage. In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says it this way, “”In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”
Are you struggling today in your relationships with God and man? Maybe we need to take some time and find out if there are past issues that haven’t been dealt with and forgiven. If you want to walk in the light of God you need to go back and deal with the issues that may be keeping you in darkness. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that you are still holding on too and haven’t released to Him. As you repent, ask God to forgive those you may have not truly forgiven. Release forgiveness to all of those who have offended you and come into the light and the true fellowship of Christ. Don’t allow your past to be an anchor that hinders your glorious future in Christ.
“Father forgive us as we forgive those who have sinned and trespassed against us. Amen”

Blessings,
#kent

Garbage: Destructive or Constructive?

Matthew 5:38-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that 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. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Which of us doesn’t deal with garbage in our lives? When I say garbage I am talking about all of the offenses, insults, persecutions, inequities and evils that come at us in life. We all deal with it on some level and some more than others do. Life inherently holds hurts, disappointments, pain, frustrations and offenders of our person. Most of these come directly or indirectly through people that touch our lives in a negative way. Mostly we brush it off and go on, but there is garbage that can emotionally cripple and traumatize us. There are some offenses that are gut-wrenchingly hard to deal with, let alone let go. All of this is the garbage that gets dumped into our life. Even in the good things there are by-products that must be passed and flushed down the toilet of forgiveness and forgetfulness.
Here’s the thing, if we don’t pass the poop in our life, it will back up on us. It will eventually make us sick and can even become septic, especially if gets into the rest of our system. It not only makes us sick, but it can begin to poison our other relationships that were healthy as well. It changes our state of emotional and spiritual health.
In the scripture that Jesus gives here in Matthew 5 we find some principles that in the natural are kind of hard to swallow, because they seem unfair. There is an old saying, “No one can get your goat unless you have one to be got.” Jesus is simply saying get rid of your goat. These principles that Jesus speaks of are hard, because we are still holding on to us, our rights, our goods, our dignity and pride. You see, a dead man can’t be hurt. If we are truly dead to this old man and alive unto Christ, then our life is hid with Christ in God and living a life pleasing unto Him is all that matters. Most of us aren’t there yet. We are still struggling with the garbage.
Garbage or dung can have a positive and a negative side. We have just spoken to the negative effects it can and does have on us such as bitterness, covetousness, unforgiveness, strife, jealousy, envy, gossip and the like. It feeds upon the flesh like bacteria. On the other hand if we can process our garbage and our dung in a healthy way, then it can become the fertilizer for a productive and godly life. If we ask ourselves, “Where do we grow spiritually”? Is it when everything is roses, prosperity, health and great relationships? No. We grow out of adversity, trials and tribulations. These are what stretch and exercise our faith. These are what cause us to lose ourselves and press into Christ. The law of our mind wars against the mind of the Spirit, because it still wants the law of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ The kingdom we are entering into is not one in which we seek to preserve this life, but we willing lose it for Christ’s sake. We are to be using our garbage to grow from and not to be allowing it to pollute and defile our lives. Your garbage must become your fertilizer. It must become the fabric for growth and not destruction. It is out of this garbage that we can see the fruit of the Spirit produced in us, but if we hold it in and allow it to become septic and toxic, it will poison us. It will feed the fruit of our flesh and it will produce death and not life.
Be careful how you process your garbage. Don’t hold on to it. Process it and pass it. Use it as the fertilizer for your spiritual growth and health in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

The Deserts of Marriage

October 24, 2014

The Deserts of Marriage

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

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

Blessings,
#kent

Forgiveness is in the Forgiving

Matthew 6:12-15
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Forgiveness is a subject we have talked about before and while we accept the words of Jesus here in theory, how are we at practical application? When someone really wrongs you, hurts, betrays, cheats or deceives you, how quick are we to release forgiveness. Most all of us go through those times in our lives when we have every justification to really hate someone and not forgive them in the natural way of thinking.
Allow me to use myself as an example here that may not be so different from something you have experienced and quite possibly you have experienced worse. Recently I met a lady and did some work for her. She is a professing believer, her dad she has told me, is a preacher and her mom a missionary. She is a businesswoman running several companies. She hires me last minute to do some work for her the same day and then the next day. Each time she keeps me waiting three or four hours before her and her people are ready to go. Both days we work quite late. Now I have asked for a $500 retainer up front which she has her assistant pay me with a check. Making a long story as short as possible she owes me over $1500 dollars for the work I have done for her. While she has made many promises to pay she hasn’t. What is worse is, I have since found out that a number of other people, including other photographers are owed money they haven’t been paid. What is even worse is the check for the $500 came back after about two weeks with insufficient funds. This is about the time I reached the end of my patience, put in a call to lawyers, and let the lady in a stern and blunt way know that I was ready to take action if she didn’t get this resolved. Her promise was to pay me half in cash the next day and then the other half a few days later. Well, again she didn’t follow through. Do I have every right to be angry and sue her? You bet, in the world I do, but what is God’s way? If I pursue a legal course of action and do all that I can to expose her fraudulent behavior, have I really forgiven her? Here is the practical place where our faith and trust in God and obedience to His Word has to override our natural feelings, emotions, anger and lack of forgiveness. Does she deserve for me to forgive her? Did I deserve for Christ to forgive me? If I harbor that unforgiveness who is the one that is damaged most by it, her or me? The Word says if I don’t forgive others, neither can God forgive me. My personal forgiveness from God is dependent upon my forgiving others who have offended and wronged me.
There are areas where some of you have been deeply wounded and hurt, far more than I was. Perhaps, you may feel it is impossible for you to forgive that person or persons. We often have to leave the judgement and the vengeance to God, that is His and not ours. The key to our emotional and spiritual healing in these times begins with us simply confessing and giving it over to the Lord. Our emotions and feelings may not be there yet, but if we can begin to take the step of faith to release those who have offended us, then we have taken a step toward our own emotional healing and recovery.
Matthew 5 is full of principles that are utterly contrary to natural thinking and reasoning. In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus says, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
I have shared this today so that in a practical way we all might see that God is wanting us to conform to the higher standard of His Word. These kind of experiences are where the rubber meets the road and we have to live what we say we believe, otherwise how are we any different than those who have offended us?

Blessings,
#kent

The Power of Forgiveness

February 11, 2014

 

The Power of Forgiveness


Matthew 6:12-15 (Amplified)

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. 

13And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 

14For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 

15But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.



The Lord began to show and make real today the power and the strongholds over our lives that we give to satan because of our unwillingness to forgive.  We have all experienced things in our lives that have hurt us and maybe even devastated us.  Some of us are still carrying the trauma and the wounds from past relationships or encounters with someone that has broken our trust, who may have deeply hurt or victimized us, either emotionally, spiritually or physically.  While we may think we have moved on in our life, we still carry those things in our heart.  Somehow we can’t seem too or really don’t want to let them go.  The reality is that many that are carrying these past wounds and hurts have not forgiven their offenders.  In fact, they don’t want to forgive them.  What we fail to realize is that our unwillingness to forgive is the cause of issues that are causing us to fail in our relationships with God and man.  Some blame God for letting things happen in their lives that caused this trauma.  As a result they have trouble with having a relationship with Him because they haven’t forgiven God for not intervening on their behalf.  

We live in a world that is still under the darkness of the god of this world.  Jesus Christ provided for us the way of light and truth whereby we could come out of the darkness and abide in His marvelous light.  That doesn’t mean that the darkness of this world won’t and doesn’t touch our natural lives, it does.  Our natural man still abides in a world of sin and death.  Jesus even told us through the words that He spoke to His disciples that we would experience unpleasant things.   In John 16:33 he speaks to his disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  God hasn’t yet delivered us out of the effects of the world and the consequences of sin, but He has given His holy presence to us through the Holy Spirit.  He overcame the world through His love and that is the spirit of overcoming that must dwell in us.  The only thing that can set us free from the bondage of our hurts and the fears that they have created is the love of God.  When we carry an offense then it becomes a fear in us that someone else is going to hurt us again.  It hinders and breaks our ability to have good and healthy relationships in certain aspects of our lives because of the fear brought about by that hurt.  We may not want it to be that way, but it is a cycle that keeps repeating itself and may result in us being the one that is hurting others when secretly, we are trying to protect ourselves.  

Forgiveness is key to our being able to be healed and the restoration of right relationship with both God and man.  Jesus walked out the example before us; he forgave and released the very ones that inflicted such unfathomable pain and suffering and death upon HIm.  The fact is, that everyone one of us was guilty of driving those spikes into His hands and feet.  We were simply represented by the ones who actually did it.  It was the sin in all of us that nailed the Lamb of God to the cross that He might forgive our sins.  We didn’t deserve it.  We could never be good enough to earn it and yet He did it out of love.  The love of God has to be the power in you to let go of your offenses and release your offender(s).  More than we realize, the offenders and perpetrators of hurt and sin may hate themselves, even as much as they have been hated because they are ruled by the power of sin in their own lives and are themselves victims to it.  We all need to forgive even as we have been forgiven.  

Jesus says that if we are unwilling to forgive, then we have hindered and blocked our own forgiveness from God.  There are times when we feel we can’t forgive, the hurt is too deep and the offenses to great.  You may be right, we can’t, but the Christ in us can.  His love is great enough, deep enough and high enough.  Forgiveness most often doesn’t begin as an emotion that we feel, but as an action of our will, a choice that we make.  1 John 2:9-11 says, “Whoever says he is in the Light and [yet] hates his brother [Christian, born-again child of God his Father] is in darkness even until now. 

10Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin. 

11But he who hates (detests, despises) his brother in Christ] is in darkness and walking (living) in the dark; he is straying and does not perceive or know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”  You see hate and unwillingness to forgive are the gateways to darkness and the roadblocks to God’s love and right relationship with him.  It can end up hurting us much more than the person we are unwilling to forgive.  It can give place to mental, emotional and physical problems in our lives because we are holding on to offenses.  In order to close that door of satan’s access to our lives we have to release forgiveness.  It is not in our natural might or love to forgive, but in the power of the mighty One of love within us.  Receive your healing and deliverance today as you release forgiveness to those that have offended and hurt you.  God wants you to be whole.  Unwillingness to forgive will always make you a broken person.   

What if they hurt me again?  The same love that continues to forgive your offenses can continue to forgive theirs.  As Christians you possess it, but only you can release it. Complete the cycle of love and forgiveness through your life and the choices you make today and set yourself free as well as the one you forgive.

 

Blessings,

kent

Principles of Fear

February 4, 2014

Principles of Fear


1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

 

Fear can be a dreadful thing, a strong motivator, a real or imagined substance and an object of reverence and respect.  I went through and looked at all of the scriptures that dealt with fear. Did you know that fear occurs some 400 times in the King James Bible?  I would say that makes it something we have to deal with and do deal with.  We have all known fear and in different forms.  We have known fear in a scary sense, an awesome and respectful sense, a sense of reverence, a dreadful sense and in the sense of terror.  So this one word fear can have different connotations to us, just like the word love can.  It doesn’t carry the same meaning and context in every situation.   What is more, is that I was surprised to find that the Word of God deals more with the fear of the Lord than any other fear.  We might not think of fear as having positive and negative effects, but it does.  If we looked at love as a comparison; the highest form of love being the love of God and the lowest form of love being hate.  The highest level of fear is the fear of God and the lowest level of fear is terror.  

When we read the context of scripture here in 1 John we might well question, “Why does the Word tell us so many times to ‘fear God’ and then turn around here and tell us that ‘there is no fear in love’? “ As I was meditating on these things the Lord brought to mind when I used to be an electrician in a power plant.  Before I became an electrician and didn’t understand a lot about electricity, it was a lot scarier to me.  Without understanding there was ignorance and ignorance gave way to fear.  I didn’t know exactly how electricity worked, but I did know it could be dangerous and that it could hurt or even kill you.  The more I learned and worked with electricity the less fearful I became and the more confident I was to work with it.  Electricity can be a lot like God, it can have awesome potential and power, but it has principles and laws that it operates by.  In order to work safely with electricity I had to learn the laws, principles and ways that electricity worked and respect those laws.  If I became complacent, careless or disrespectful of those law then I was opening myself up to hurt.  While I didn’t have to be afraid of electricity in a dreadful sense, I had to always maintain a respectful fear of it.  Even though I couldn’t see it, if I violated it, it could definitely hurt me or kill me.  My safety and my peace were in obedience to the laws and parameters with which I worked with electricity and its related equipment.  The same holds true of God.  He has given us an instruction manual and codebook to know what the principles of God are and how we are to relate with Him.  The more I come to know, experience and live with God in my life, more comfortable and at peace I can feel with Him.  I can never lose my respect for who He is and what violation of His principles and laws will bring.  Now I no longer have to fear God in terror, because I am operating out darkness and ignorance, I am learning to fear God in the highest form of His love.  My obedience and submission to God has moved from being motivated by fear to being motivated by love.  Jesus says, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”  As I am caught up into the love of God it supersedes the fear of God.  

Let’s take it a step further.  Have you ever wondered why birds can land on power lines with thousands of volts going through them and not be killed or even hurt?  It is because their body becomes that same potential as the power line.  As long as they are at the same potential no harm comes to them, but if they had a long enough legs or wings to reach over and touch and another phase wire or ground they would be toast.  In our unity and oneness with Christ we are at the same potential as He is.  We are conducting His power and life, but if we take that God life and identify it with the flesh, now we have a problem.  Spirit and flesh are at two different potentials and they don’t mix without problems.  We short circuit God’s Life in us and then we become the problem and no longer the solution.  Thank God for the blood of Jesus that is the insulator and the repairer of those conflicts, but it is not the permission for them.  Sin brings us out of the fellowship of love and back into the realm of fear.  Maybe you see how the perfect love of God cast out fear because it can bring us to that place of being at the same potential that He is.  That doesn’t make us God, but it does make us the conduit and transmitter of His life and love.  The potential that exists with us in this place is far greater than when we were on the ground.  As long as we stay in the flow of His love, walking in the Spirit, submitting our whole selves to the principles of His Life, we are operating at an unlimited potential because of that Life that is flowing through us.  

Hopefully this illustration helps to see how the fear of God and the love of God come together.  

 

Blessings,

kent

Are We Easily Offended?

December 18, 2013

Proverbs 17:9

He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.


Are We Easily Offended?


What is our first reaction when somebody, ruffles our feathers, steps on our turf, wounds our pride, pushes our buttons or does something hurtful to us?  Don’t we see ourselves as the victim?  The one who has been wronged and hurt?  So our first inclination is to share it with someone who will sympathize with us and reinforce that this person has wronged us.  When an offense is shared and spreads to others it, in turn, brings division and separates us into camps.  As a result there is discord and separation of fellowship and relationship.  Our offense then becomes a stumbling block to others.  

Now as Christians we should know this and not so readily fall into this trap and yet it seems like we are some of the worse when it comes to being offended.  If we truly have our identity in Christ then, are our feelings really the issue or is it about hosting Christ’s presence, love and forgiveness, even in the face of legitimate offenses.  What Proverbs is telling us here is that if we are the promoters of God’s love, then love covers a multitude of sins, even as the love of Jesus has covered and forgiven a multitude of ours.  Every time we choose to sin, is that not an offense to God?  If God brought us into condemnation every time we offended Him with our sins, we would continually live in condemnation and separation of fellowship.  That same love that is in the heart of God to tolerate us and forgive us has to be the same love that we carry in our hearts to forgive others.  

We should make every effort not to offend others whether they are Christians or not.  1 Corinthians 10:31-33 instructs us, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. 33I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.”  

There are so many saints that pass from church to church, fellowship to fellowship because of offenses.  We have to know who we are in Christ, where we have been planted and what our purpose is in where we are at.  People are always going to hurt our feelings and disappoint us and it may be the pastor, elder or someone we look up too.  If your eyes are on them then we are following the wrong one.  Keep your eyes upon Jesus, stop majoring on what others do or don’t do and focus on who you are in Christ and what that is suppose to look before others.  Let’s let our feelings not be so sensitive to others, but sensitive to the Holy Spirit and getting God’s heart and mind in a matter.  Sometimes we may be a hundred percent in the right, but still need to go and apologize to someone for the perceived wrong that we have done in their eyes; not because we are wrong, but because it is the love of Christ to reconcile a matter to restore peace and right relationship.  There are some who use being offended as a means of control to get their way, because people don’t want them to be upset.  That is witchcraft, from such turn away if they are unwilling to repent. 

The enemy does his greatest works in the dark and the misunderstandings of our minds.  The more we can bring things to the light and approach them with God’s nature, the more quickly they are resolved and dissolved.   When we speculate about what others are thinking, or what their non-verbal communication is saying, we open our minds and emotions to the deceptiveness of the enemy.  1 John 4:16-20 reminds us of this nature of God’s love.  “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.  God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19We love each other because he loved us first.

20If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.” 

Colossians 3:13 instructs us, ” Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”  Let’s practice drowning those offenses in love and forgiveness. 

 

Blessings,

kent

The Power of Forgiveness

December 13, 2013

 

The Power of Forgiveness


Matthew 6:12-15 (Amplified)

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. 

13And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 

14For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 

15But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.



The Lord began to show and make real today the power and the strongholds over our lives that we give to satan because of our unwillingness to forgive.  We have all experienced things in our lives that have hurt us and maybe even devastated us.  Some of us are still carrying the trauma and the wounds from past relationships or encounters with someone that has broken our trust, who may have deeply hurt or victimized us, either emotionally, spiritually or physically.  While we may think we have moved on in our life, we still carry those things in our heart.  Somehow we can’t seem too or really don’t want to let them go.  The reality is that many that are carrying these past wounds and hurts have not forgiven their offenders.  In fact, they don’t want to forgive them.  What we fail to realize is that our unwillingness to forgive is the cause of issues that are causing us to fail in our relationships with God and man.  Some blame God for letting things happen in their lives that caused this trauma.  As a result they have trouble with having a relationship with Him because they haven’t forgiven God for not intervening on their behalf.  

We live in a world that is still under the darkness of the god of this world.  Jesus Christ provided for us the way of light and truth whereby we could come out of the darkness and abide in His marvelous light.  That doesn’t mean that the darkness of this world won’t and doesn’t touch our natural lives, it does.  Our natural man still abides in a world of sin and death.  Jesus even told us through the words that He spoke to His disciples that we would experience unpleasant things.   In John 16:33 he speaks to his disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  God hasn’t yet delivered us out of the effects of the world and the consequences of sin, but He has given His holy presence to us through the Holy Spirit.  He overcame the world through His love and that is the spirit of overcoming that must dwell in us.  The only thing that can set us free from the bondage of our hurts and the fears that they have created is the love of God.  When we carry an offense then it becomes a fear in us that someone else is going to hurt us again.  It hinders and breaks our ability to have good and healthy relationships in certain aspects of our lives because of the fear brought about by that hurt.  We may not want it to be that way, but it is a cycle that keeps repeating itself and may result in us being the one that is hurting others when secretly, we are trying to protect ourselves.  

Forgiveness is key to our being able to be healed and the restoration of right relationship with both God and man.  Jesus walked out the example before us; he forgave and released the very ones that inflicted such unfathomable pain and suffering and death upon HIm.  The fact is, that everyone one of us was guilty of driving those spikes into His hands and feet.  We were simply represented by the ones who actually did it.  It was the sin in all of us that nailed the Lamb of God to the cross that He might forgive our sins.  We didn’t deserve it.  We could never be good enough to earn it and yet He did it out of love.  The love of God has to be the power in you to let go of your offenses and release your offender(s).  More than we realize, the offenders and perpetrators of hurt and sin may hate themselves, even as much as they have been hated because they are ruled by the power of sin in their own lives and are themselves victims to it.  We all need to forgive even as we have been forgiven.  

Jesus says that if we are unwilling to forgive, then we have hindered and blocked our own forgiveness from God.  There are times when we feel we can’t forgive, the hurt is too deep and the offenses to great.  You may be right, we can’t, but the Christ in us can.  His love is great enough, deep enough and high enough.  Forgiveness most often doesn’t begin as an emotion that we feel, but as an action of our will, a choice that we make.  1 John 2:9-11 says, “Whoever says he is in the Light and [yet] hates his brother [Christian, born-again child of God his Father] is in darkness even until now. 

10Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin. 

11But he who hates (detests, despises) his brother in Christ] is in darkness and walking (living) in the dark; he is straying and does not perceive or know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”  You see hate and unwillingness to forgive are the gateways to darkness and the roadblocks to God’s love and right relationship with him.  It can end up hurting us much more than the person we are unwilling to forgive.  It can give place to mental, emotional and physical problems in our lives because we are holding on to offenses.  In order to close that door of satan’s access to our lives we have to release forgiveness.  It is not in our natural might or love to forgive, but in the power of the mighty One of love within us.  Receive your healing and deliverance today as you release forgiveness to those that have offended and hurt you.  God wants you to be whole.  Unwillingness to forgive will always make you a broken person.   

What if they hurt me again?  The same love that continues to forgive your offenses can continue to forgive theirs.  As Christians you possess it, but only you can release it. Complete the cycle of love and forgiveness through your life and the choices you make today and set yourself free as well as the one you forgive.

 

Blessings,

kent

%d bloggers like this: