Forgiveness

May 2, 2016

Matthew 6:14-15
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.

Forgiveness

I would dare say that all of us have had experiences in life where others have wronged or hurt us and in some cases quite severely and repeatedly. It is often these experiences, wounds and hurts that we can not seem to release. They are a trauma upon our lives. It is in these adverse life experiences that we are confronted with a choice to forgive and release an offense or to hold on to it and maintain the unforgiveness. When we are hurt it is our natural inclination to want to hurt back.
In the natural we often are wounded through life and most are superficial. In most cases they require a little attention and then they heal and we go on. There are those times when we are wounded more deeply and without cleansing the wound and putting something on to disinfect, we can get it infected. When infection sets in the wound festers and will not heal. In fact, untreated, it will become worse and more compromising to our health. It can actually be the infection that comes into us through the wound that could end up killing us rather than the wound itself. That is what unforgiveness is like. With emotional hurts and wounds there is a natural healing process and with the right heart and attitude those wounds will heal. They may leave some scars, but life goes on. Unfortunately, for some of us, there are places and ways that we have been hurt where we let the infection of unforgiveness come in. It is a form of hate and it can even be toward ourselves as well as others. It is the love of God that is the antibiotic that heals the infection of unforgiveness. It is when we see Jesus, unjustly accused, mocked, ridiculed, beaten to the point of being unrecognizable and then nailed to cross who can, before he breathes his last breath, say,” Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” that we see what forgiveness really looks like. It is only as we are willing to apply that same forgiveness of love toward our offenders that we can receive the forgiveness of our offenses. Before God, we stand no less guilty of sin and offense than those who have wounded us. What we ask of God, we must be willing to extend to others.
It is the love released through making the decision to forgive, not just the feelings, that is the antibiotic that will bring healing and restoration. First it restores our relationship back to Father and then it works to restore our human relationships.
You may be saying, “yeah, but you don’t how many times this person has hurt me.” Peter addresses this question unto the Lord in Matthew 18:21-22, ” Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” You see sin kills, but God’s love is the multiplication of forgiveness that triumphs even over the depth and death of sin. It is the grace of God’s forgiveness that brought each one of us into a place where can know the restored fellowship and relationship with the Father. We receive that only through His forgiveness for us, because we all deserve condemnation and death. Luke 6:37 exhorts us, ” Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”
For some of us it is time that we examine our hearts and lay down this cross of unforgiveness that we have been carrying. We must realize that the unforgiveness is doing far greater damage to us than even the offense. It is keeping us from our own forgiveness and right relationship with the Father. Ask the Father for His love in you to release the unforgiveness you have been carrying, no matter how awful the offense. As He forgave us, we ought also to forgive others. How can we have Christ come forth in us if the very prominent part of His nature is forgiveness?
First come and release it to the Father and then release the individual or individuals. When you release you will be released from the judgement that unforgiveness can hold over us. ” If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)” Isn’t time to come into the freedom and the release of His Love?

Blessings,
#kent

God’s Toolbox

May 27, 2015

God’s Toolbox

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

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

Blessings,
#kent

The Refiner’s Fire

November 5, 2014

Hosea 6:1-7
“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. 3 Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
4 “What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist,
like the early dew that disappears. 5 Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth; my judgments flashed like lightning upon you. 6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. 7 Like Adam, they have broken the covenant— they were unfaithful to me there.
The Refiner’s Fire
Today is the day of preparation of the people of God. There is judgement, sifting, exposure and revealing of the inner thoughts and the intents of our hearts. He is sifting out our flesh, the religious junk that has a profession of godliness, but is full of defilement and hypocrisy. God is judging His house, not out of anger, but out of love. If He has torn us apart, it is so that He might heal us. If He has injured us it is so that He may bind up our wounds. For whom the Lord loves He chastens. He disciplines us for our own good that we may share in His glory (Hebrews 12). A prerequisite for glory is most often suffering. Romans 8:17 tells us, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Suffering is like the antiseptic that boils out and disinfects the wounded areas of our lives that have become contaminated with the bacteria of the world. It is what brings our focus upon the healer and the restorer of our souls. Is it pleasant? No, but it brings about an inward working of righteousness, because our dependencies and focus are no longer upon ourselves, but upon the Lord in the midst of our need.
Using the principle from 2 Peter 3:8, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” we can see a truth unfolded. In verse 2 of Hosea 6 it says, “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.” The last two thousand years the Church has grown and functioned actively in the earth, but our sights have not been on the joy of our everyday struggles, but upon the coming day of the Lord. Chronologically we have entered into that third day. It is as Jesus was in the earth for two days, but on the third day He was restored and resurrected. This is the day of our restoration and resurrection that we may live in His presence. The Lord also says Ephesians 5:27 that there is a quality that He is looking for in His bride. “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” I don’t know that any of us would argue that the Church has been without spot or wrinkle in physical appearance. The Lord see us pure and spotless through the blood of Jesus, but the in-working of that righteousness is like it was for Jesus, “through the things we suffer.” Through that process He is bringing us through the fire and into the blessing. “Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” We still hold fast to the promise of His presence.
Today I believe we stand in the place of John the Baptist declaring the kingdom of God, giving a call to repentance and saying “Make straight the way of the Lord.” It is as Malicai 3:1-5 declares, “”See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.
2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
5 “So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty.”
The Lord is preparing a royal priesthood, no longer offering up the blood of goats and bullocks, but the offering of righteousness. It will no longer be the sacrifices of works and religion, but it will be the mercy, love and compassion of the Lord. The imprint of the name of Jesus will be upon us and the fragrance of His nature will emanate from us.
Endure the time of hardship and suffering. Allow it to have its perfect work in you that you may be transformed and purified by its fire. For you are being brought forth as pure gold and refined silver. There shall be no more dross in you.

Blessings,
#kent

The Brokenhearted

April 15, 2014

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

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

Blessings,
#kent

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Romans 8:28-39

“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. 29For 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. 

31What, 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.”

 

We often struggle with why the people of God go through so much suffering and trials.  Some might say it is because they don’t have enough faith or they must have sin in their lives.  I tend to believe that it is often the sweetest and most precious grapes that make the best wine, but in order for them to offer up their vintage taste and sweet fragrance they must first be crushed.  Suffering and trials have been the plight and portion of many a saint.  It is not a new concept.  We struggle with that because we think in our hearts, even if we don’t outwardly say it, “God if you are sovereign then why don’t you deliver the afflicted and the suffering, especially those who are calling out to You?”  The victory of life in the natural and fleshly man is not always living in health, wealth and prosperity.  It is not about what we have in the good times of our life.  The true metal of a godly nature is tested in the fire.  All of our works will be tested in that fire at some point.  Some may be going through that fire right now.  Perhaps you are very weary; the enemy has assaulted your faith and your God.  Your friends may be like those that Job had, only content on you confessing your sins or shortcomings.  It takes a tremendously faithful person to go through the fires that God sometimes allows in our lives.  The real victory is not in whether or not we see our earthly deliverance; it is in how we live our lives in the midst of those trials.  God’s Word says in 1 Peter 1:7-9, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.”  It is not the suffering and trials that God rejoices in, it is the faithfulness of His saints in the midst of it.  That faithfulness and praise in the midst of suffering is the sweet aroma and incense that rises into the heavens.  It is a sweet smelling savor unto the Father’s nostrils.  Nothing can speak louder to God that we love Him for who He is and not just what He can do, than our faithfulness in the midst of our suffering and trials.   

We know in our hearts that God’s arm is not short that He can not save, but nothing torments and discredits satan more than a Christian who will only honor and praise His God even when satan is twisting his arm behind his back.  What focuses us more on God’s grace and strength than our trials and tribulations?  In those places where we have no further human resources or help in the flesh to lean on, we learn to take hold of the grace of God.  We learn the patience to enter into His rest and know that these earthly vessels of clay and the very life that they we breath are in His hands.   Deuteronomy 32:39 says, “See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand.” We have offered ourselves up into God’s hand to do as it pleases Him.  Our lives are for His glory and not for our own.  We struggle with the perspective of suffering and trials because we see it from a human standpoint.  Our view is the preservation of the natural life.  God’s view is not in the importance of the outward haul of the seed, but He is looking to the life within.  The threshing floor was a place of separation between wheat and chaff.  The outward man with this body is like the chaff.  The separation is really a claiming of the Christ nature and a revealing of it.  No one has the goods like the one has passed through the fire.   Their testimony is not one borne out of head knowledge; it is a witness of experience.  Before Job went through his trials he knew a lot about God and had a relationship with Him, but it didn’t compare with how he knew God when he went through the fire.  In the conclusion of what Job went through and after his discourse with the Almighty he says this in Job 42:1-6, “Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.””  Many of us know about God, but it is only as we have gone through the fire that we come into a place where we have seen Him.  When we have seen Him, all foolish doubts and questionings cease and we repent in dust and ashes.  

God loves us.  We have been called out and set aside for a purpose.  He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son.  His Son learned obedience through the things that He suffered.  If you are in that place of suffering then God is only proving your faithfulness and your faithfulness is a mockery of the enemy.  He is raising you up in LIFE even when your body only seems to be experiencing death.  Lay hold of the resurrection and the Life within you and live out of Him.  His grace is sufficient and He will raise you up to the praise of His name.  Hold fast your faith, you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!

 

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

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

Return of a Wayward Heart

October 31, 2013

Return of a Wayward Heart

Hosea 2:7
And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find [them]: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then [was it] better with me than now.

The Lord has taken each one of us and has blessed, clothed, nurtured and provided our substance and our needs. He loved us when we were unlovely. He has taken us in when we were wandering without purpose and homeless. He clothed us when we were naked. He has healed us, bound up our wounds and broken hearts. He has given us favor where we would have had none. He gave us dignity, respect and purpose when we were full of sin, despised and forsaken.
How have we repaid Him for the richness of His love and blessing? Are we loving and serving Him with faith, obedience and love or have we been like Hosea’s wife in our hearts? Do we have that spirit of adultery and idolatry as she did to run after and pursue other lovers? Do we somehow think that they can in any way fulfill us more than our faithful husband, Jesus? Yet many of us forsake the Lord in our hearts and minds as we pursue and run after our affections and lusts. In the pursuit of them, are we fulfilled or satisfied? Are our hearts more content than when we were living and walking in faithfulness to Christ? Can those lovers ever fulfill the deeper needs and longings of our soul or will they take our life, our substance and our youth; casting us off, leaving us feeling used, dirty and rejected.
Where are we at in the fidelity and faithfulness of our heart and love toward our Lord today? Have we become as Israel of old who turned her back to the Lord to pursue her other lovers? Are we simply going through the motions of Christianity, but our hearts have become hardened and distracted by our sin?
Hosea 2:10 says, “So now I will expose her lewdness no one will take her out of my hands.” What we have done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops and our nakedness will be exposed and our sin revealed. God is calling His beloved back to His heart. He is wooing her to return and repent from her lovers and her vile behavior. The Lord will deal with us in ways necessary to deal with the harlotry of our hearts so that we may return again to Him and appreciate once more all that we have had and enjoyed at that goodness of His hand. Even though we deserve to be cast out and divorced, the Lord’s heart and love is still tender towards us. His love has been unconditional even in the midst of our unfaithfulness.
This is the place that He says that He is bringing us in Hosea 2:14-23, “”Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. 16 “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. ‘ 17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. 18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. 19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. 20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. 21 “In that day I will respond,” declares the LORD—
“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; 22 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. 23 I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. ‘ I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ‘ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ”
The Lord’s heart is to reconcile and bring us back into right relationship with Him. Let us turn our heart from our foreign lovers and bring our whole heart back to the Lord. Let us repent of our unfaithfulness and turn from all of our lewdness. Let us honor, love and obey Him who is the faithful lover of our souls and true husband. Let us return to our first love.

Blessings,
kent

His Touch

October 2, 2013

His Touch

Job 5:17-19
“But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the chastening of the Almighty when you sin. 18 For though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal. 19 He will rescue you again and again so that no evil can touch you. “

No evil will befall the man that is touched by God, for God’s hand is there to perform what works to a man’s righteousness and salvation. As a surgeon who cuts with a knife, so is the hand of the Lord. For He is not willful to destruction, but every incision is perfect and precise.
There is pain. The pain is a reminder of our sickness and disease. It is that which has attached itself to us and would destroy if it were not for His touch. Our sickness of sin is unto death, but the hand of the Lord delivers unto life.
We have cried out in our pain, “God deliver me, heal me, touch me.” It may well be His touch that pains you and yet it is a pain unto deliverance and salvation and not unto death. Often the removal of a disease is more painful than the disease.
There are many things that men can do, but there are certain areas that only God can touch. The pain that touches our lives will cause us to either run away from God or it will cause us to run into Him. The hand and touch of the Lord is both severe and gentle, both kind and ruthless. It can wound, but it can also bind up. There are many areas that God can put His finger upon in our lives and sometimes more than one. There are areas in many of us that He is touching today. It may be in our health, our finances, our relationships, our job, but all these avenues are leading to our heart and the work He wants to do in each one of us. If He destroys, it is that He might recreate. If He afflicts the body, it is so that He can heal the soul. If He takes our gold, it is so that He might replace it with gold tried in the fire. There are areas in each one of our lives that only God can touch, only He can make them right, only He can deliver and only He can heal.
We all need God’s touch. It was Adam’s touch and taste of the forbidden things that brings us to where we are now. We have had the same heart, the same nature and partaken of the same fruit, but God is doing something so that we might partake of another tree, the tree of life and another fruit, the fruit of the Spirit. God doesn’t sadistically hurt us. His pain is for our correction and for our salvation. We need not despise Him for it, but run into Him with a contrite spirit and a heart of repentance.
Job was the most righteous of men and yet the Lord allowed a great affliction to bring forth His man into His priesthood. He would be a man of not only great integrity, but also a man that would stand in the place of intercession for the sins of others. Are we such men and women? Are we willing to maintain our integrity before God in the face of great pain and affliction or will we curse God and turn from Him? He bought us with a price. We belong to Him. Are we willing to allow Him to have His perfect work to be done in us, so that out of that pain can come healing, deliverance and life? In order to enter into the fullness of what God has for us, we must be willing to pass through the fire, whatever form that takes. We only need look at those in the Word who went before us to know that it was not an easy way, but it’s path was the way of life.
When we cry out for a touch from God, understand it doesn’t often come with instant solutions and gratification. It is a process that leads us into life.

Blessings,
kent

How We Perceive Others

March 7, 2013

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

How We Perceive Others

As I was spending time with Papa this morning this scripture came to mind and how it can pertain to how we see others, how we see and relate to one another as fellow believers and how we see those in the world around us.

As a Christian culture I think a lot of the world has an image of Christians as being the sin police, self-righteous, condemning, fault-finding, intolerant and often hypocritical. What they see so readily in others that don’t seem to see in themselves. They are quick to see the sin and faults in others while conveniently overlooking their own. Even among Christians I have seen how quickly brothers and sisters can take up an offense with one another and instead practicing forgiveness, long-suffering and forbearance, they hold grudges, speak evil of the other and only see them after the flesh or the fault that they perceive that defines that person in their mind.

2 Corinthians 5:16 says, “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!” I believe what the Word is teaching us is that God doesn’t want us to be seeing and judging out or natural mind and thinking. He wants us to see Christ and others after the Spirit, even as He sees us. If God had only seen humanity from humanities’ point of view He would have destroyed us a long time ago, but even with all our sins and faults He saw something redeemable in us, because He saw past our faults and saw our need; so much so that He was willing give us His only Son to die for our sins and become sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. If God was that willing to see beyond our sin, faults, failures and offences, don’t you think He wants us to do the same for others around us? Don’t you think He wants us, not to focus on their negatives and all the things we can find wrong with them, but to focus their spirit and who they can be in Christ. We do that by practicing this scripture: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it. He didn’t come with a stick, but with a cross. He laid down His life so that others could succeed where once they had failed. He saw us for what we could be and how He could transform our lives as we gave them to Him, not as in the mess that He found us. He saw beyond our flesh into our spirit where His image and likeness resides and said, “I am going to bring that back to Myself no matter what the cost.” Do we have that heart for others? Do we even have it for one another? Are we so focused on the faults and shortcoming of others that we can’t see their good and potential or have we already written them off as not living up to our standard, a standard that we probably don’t even live up too.

Grace, which God has given us, doesn’t hold on to wrongs, offenses, disappointments and failures, it is willing to put those under the blood of Jesus and move on. When we are unwilling to do that with others then we are living under the law and not under grace. Unforgiveness puts us again under the law of condemnation and we are then judged by the same law that we judge others. That is why the Jesus says, ‘judge not lest you be judged and with the same judgment that you administer to others you will be judged by the same standard.’ You see, living under unforgiveness and judgment is no longer living under grace. Grace says, “even though you may not deserve it, I forgive you. Even though you disappointed me, I forgive you. Even though you didn’t live up to my standards and perceptions, I forgive you. Even though you failed me and offended me, I forgive you. When you free others through that kind of forgiveness, you not only set them free, you set yourself free.

God is wanting us to see the best in one another, not the worst. We all fail. We all have chinks in our armor. We are all cracked pots and broken vessels, but the love of God is the glue that fixes all of that. When we walk by Spirit in His love then we see others in the light of how He sees us, redeemable, forgivable and worth saving. It is not about our personal preferences, opinions or values. Those are different for every person and not everyone is going to fit in your box. That means your love has to be outside of the box. It has to be more than human love. It has to be His love. In His love we can give to others the same grace that He has so freely given to us. We can begin to see the good in others, rather than just their faults and all of the things we don’t care for. We can use the Word of God to heal rather than to just cut and maim. We can love even the unlovely, because that certainly is how God found us. All God asks of us is that we are willing to give to others what He has given to us. If He forgave our debts which were so many how can we not forgive others whose debts are so few?

When you look at others, in or out of the body of Christ then see them after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Even what they are now, might not be what they can be and are becoming. Only God has a right to set in the judgment seat and before Him alone we stand or fall. Look for the truth, the honorable thing, for what is right, what is pure, what is lovely and of good report. Look for the excellence and that which is praiseworthy. Any fault finder can find faults, but it takes one whose eyes are fixed on the positive to always see the good. Find the best in people and not the worst. It is far more edifying and reaps much greater benefits. Let us be that expression of Christ to one another and to those without the household of God.
Blessings,
kent

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