A Series of Right Decisions

Proverbs 3:1-12
1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

The essence and sum of our lives can be measured and is made up of a series of decisions. There will be things in our lives that we have no control over other than how we respond to them and what we do with them. When we look back over our lives and to the point that we presently live, we can see that our lives are the result of a good number of smaller decisions and choices. Some of those have had more impact on our lives than others but even the little decisions have contributed to the larger whole. When we understand that each day is made up of a series of decision that can impact and guide the direction of our lives, we then understand the importance of making right decisions.
Proverbs 3 speaks to us out of the wisdom of a Father to his son. As we read this we insert ourselves into the object of this conversation. The Father is reminding the son that to live a prosperous and healthy life there are certain things you need to maintain, remember and exercise in your decision making. The foremost is that you keep the teachings and the commands of God’s Word in your heart. The continual meditation upon the Word of God will serve to keep your life focused and continually aware of what your life is about.
The way that we exercise the Word that we store up in our hearts is through love and faithfulness. These are the keys that allow us to partake of the treasures of God’s wisdom and grace and to put them into the vocabulary of our daily lives and actions. Love, trust and obedience, these are the essentials that need to be with us in every decision making process. When we have them and exercise them, and then they will assure a right motive to the decisions that we do make.
Even with these essentials we realize that we lack the insight, understanding and wisdom to really know what is best for our lives and if the decision we are making may be the best choice we could have made.
Again, the Lord reminds us to trust Him with all our whole heart and to lean not upon our own understanding. God knows so much more about our lives and the impact of our decisions than we do. It only makes sense to really trust Him to guide us and lead us. He says He will make our paths straight. Romans 8: 28 says, “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.” These are those ones that are practicing Proverbs 3. If we acknowledge Him, trust Him and love Him with all of our heart, then He is able to take even the bad things in our life and work them for our good. There are going to be times in our life we won’t be able to grasp the whys and wherefores of how God operates and the reason He has allowed things to happen as they have. He never told us we had to understand Him, just acknowledge, love and trust Him.
We can never boast in ourselves, in our ability, our prosperity or our wisdom. We do acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from above. Sometimes we are tempted in our spiritual or natural successes to be lifted up to think we are something or somebody more than somebody else is. We have to always keep our feet on the ground while we keep our heart in heaven. Spiritual pride is a foolish man’s prize. We are all the products of God’s rich grace and mercy. None of us can boast in ourselves for it is God alone that gives us value and worth. If we fear God and turn away from evil then it will be health to our body and nourishment to our bones.
I heard a minister the other day who was sharing that the temple had five gates. There was a priest stationed over each one of those gates as a watchman to assure that no danger or that nothing unclean entered the gates. He went on to share that these five gate are like our five natural senses and God has set us as a priest to watch over them and insure that nothing harmful or unclean passes through them into the temple which we are. This is much like the principles of Proverbs 3. If we will do our part to love, acknowledge, trust and obey the Lord, He will do His part to direct and order our steps.
As He honors us, we must in turn honor Him with the firstfruits of our increase. We can’t bring the leftovers or the second best. We must honor Him with the firstfruits of our best. He assures us that we won’t lack because of it.
We are His children. He loves us and whom the Lord loves He chastens, disciplines and corrects. We can’t become discouraged when our lot in life is tough. It is not God’s anger and displeasure at work; it is His love. The trials and tribulations in our lives are what shape and mold our character and integrity. They are a part of the process of bringing us into conformity with Father’s nature and character. All that God is working in us is in preparation for a much more glorious life.
Just remember that it is the series of everyday decision that add up to the sum of your life. Allow God to be a part of every one of them.

Blessings,
#kent

Take Hold of Life

January 8, 2015

Take Hold of Life
Poverbs 2:6-19
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart,and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse 13 who leave the straight paths to walk in dark was 14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. 16 It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, 17 who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. 18 For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. 19 None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.
The questions this morning is why do we embrace death when the Lord has proclaimed and laid before us the path and way of Life? Blindly and ignorantly we accept whatever the world tells us and follow its mandates like it has the answers to Life. There is one source and fountain of Life. It is contained between the covers of your Bible and the Spirit of Life that quickens it to our understanding. Wisdom is spiritual life and understanding. Wisdom is not in us embracing every device and ad campaign of man that promises so much and delivers so little.
Where are we at today concerning our health, our life, our future and our finances? Are we walking in faith searching out and embracing by faith the Word and promises of God or are we listening to a spirit of death that tells us how we are dying? The Word of God has a good report; who are we going to believe. Do we find ourselves dependent upon the ways of man? Are our lives now ruled and in bondage to medications, prescription drugs, loans and debt, materialism and the philosophies of the world’s success? Are we moving in the realm of liberty and freedom of the Spirit, embracing God’s Words of life or are we giving ourselves self-appointed doom and defeat, because we embrace and profess with our mouths words contrary to the Life God wants to give us. We are a Kingdom of God people that should live in a kingdom culture and way of thinking. You see we have been conditioned by the lies of the enemy and our temptation is to believe that we have to go the way of the world and death. What we fail to realize is that what we are saying is man is true and God is a liar. I don’t think many of us come out and say it verbally, but our lives, habits and behavior are saying it.
Listen to what the today’s passage is saying. Do we really believe and embrace that? My wife has a wonderful habit. Almost daily she is putting on CDs of the Bible and playing them. Constantly she is putting the Word in her mind and heart, awake or sleeping, rather consciously or subconsciously it is feeding her spirit. The exhortation for today is for us to examine our lives and let go of the death and wrong thinking that we are embracing that is ministering death to us and not life. Feed upon the Life, embrace the Word of God and let it be your standard for every aspect of your life. The adulteress of this world’s system will lead you into death, “None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.” God has purposed us for Life, lay hold of it with all that is within you and hold fast to it that it might deliver you out of this life’s destruction and death. We are called unto life and godliness. If you lose you vision, you will lose your way.

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

We the Many are One Body

October 17, 2014

We the Many are One Body
Romans 12:4-8
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

It is important that we all realize our importance to the body of Christ. Many of us Christians, whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, really don’t see ourselves in ministry and service to the body of Christ. We quickly look to all of our faults and failures and think how could God ever use someone like me. If we all thought that, the body of Christ would quickly disintegrate and you definitely wouldn’t be reading this writing right now. We don’t serve the Lord because we are so good or better than anybody else. We serve because He is so good and it is His sufficiency. It is the gifts and abilities He has placed in each one of us that enables us to minister and bless the body of Christ in whatever area the Lord has graced us. The Lord wants us all to realize how important and vital we all are to one another. He didn’t give anyone of us all the goods. He gifted each one of us with different gifts and abilities so that we could not be high-minded and think of ourselves more highly than we ought. He made us interdependent on one another for a reason, so that we could function as a body. Each one providing what the other one needs. Only our head, Jesus Christ has all the goods and even He has incorporated in His plan the need for a body and a bride made up of born again, blood washed believers. It is all of us under the headship of Christ and the direction and enabling of the Holy Spirit that flow together in love together for the health and vitality of the body as a whole and not just individually. We are in a symbiotic relationship wherein there is a giving out and a taking in, a mutual benefiting of one from another. All the members of our body function in their own office and the abilities for which they are designed to bring full health and functionality to the body. If I have a lazy eye that doesn’t want to focus and work with my other eye. It becomes a detriment and a hindrance to my body. It is a burden to overcome its deficiency. If I have cells that are out of control and not submitted to the order of the rest my body I may have cancer and we know how detrimental that can be to the body. There is such an order with God and everything functions through love, because love seeks not its own but the good of others.
The Lord is not asking of us for what we have not, but to be faithful with what we have. If we are always taking and never giving back then we are only draining strength and resources from the body that could be used in more positive and constructive ways. When we are babes in Christ it is to be expected that we will be taking and not giving, but as we grow and mature it is time to grow from selfishness to selflessness. The Lord has invested talents in each on of us and we have a spiritual responsibility to use those talents for the increase of the kingdom of God. We are accountable for there use, misuse, or lack of use. Let’s take the time to pray and seek the Lord to comprehend and act on what we can give back to the body of Christ. You are important to the Lord and to His body. We all need what you have to give. Start out even in the little things and let the Lord give you the increase. He will help you and direct if you submit yourself and your talents to Him.
Let us put aside our differences that serve only as a human and religious detriment and hindrance to the body as a whole. Let us see the larger picture of all the saints in the body of Christ and not just our particular religion or denomination. Christ is not divided; He is one Spirit even as we should be of one Spirit. Roman 12:16 says, “[Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” It is a time for us to humble ourselves and become servants of one another that the body may built up in love. Let’s seek the practical ways this can happen through what each one of us has to give. You were created to be a blessing. Let the Life of Christ flow through you, beginning today, to be that blessing.

Blessings,
#kent

No Worries

June 5, 2014

Matthew 6:25-34
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

No Worries

We have entered into what can be stressful times for many as the unemployment and foreclosure numbers increase with a struggling economy. Even in good times there can always be reasons for worry and concern. It is one thing to have someone say don’t worry about it and another when you’re in the midst of the fire.
I remember when we were first married. The company that I was working for went into bankruptcy and I was laid off of work. Sharon, in particular was stressing over the loss of the job and the Lord gave this scripture out of Matthew 6 to us.
What is Jesus saying to us in this scripture? Is He saying I just need to go through life singing “Que. Sera Sera” whatever will be will be? He is not telling us to have a careless attitude, but again, not focusing upon the circumstances, but upon His promises and His kingdom. Isn’t He telling us that if we are walking and living according to His will and purpose that He will see that our needs are met? We don’t always know what form that will take or even how He will do it, but He does tell us, “Don’t worry”. God is not one of anxiousness, but of rest. Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is lean back into the arms and love of Jesus and just rest. Sometimes our nature is that I have to be doing something to solve this problem, but it is so often with our efforts and intellect that we seek the answers. God’s ways are often so contrary to our flesh. While the flesh wants to be doing, God is wanting us to be resting. It doesn’t mean that we are not knocking, or seeking, or asking, but rest that God will open the doors that He has for you and don’t be anxious about it.
The apostle Paul speaks a similar word in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Come to the Lord with all of your needs, but come with an attitude of thanksgiving, knowing that your needs are met already in Him. Don’t allow your circumstances to rob your joy. The circumstances will pass, but the Word of God and His promises stand forever. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all the promises of God in him [are] yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”
If you are in anxious times, quiet your soul, walk by the Spirit and enter into the rest of God. Just fellowship with Him as He begins to give you new direction or meet the needs that are pressing upon you. He often works in different ways than we might imagine, but then that is what makes Him uniquely God. What can we lose that God is not able to restore in greater measure and abundance? Our position and identity in life is not determined by the job or title or credentials that we hold, it should be determined by who we are in Christ. Standing in the perfect will of God should be the only position that we seek. In that place we can not fail.

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your Heart
Proverbs 3:5-8
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

This is the scripture I run too when I am faced with decisions and I don’t know the right answers. All I know is there is safety in God’s will. I also know that His ways are often not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. He sees the beginning and the end of all things. His understanding is infinite and perfect, while mine is so shallow and lacking. The wonderful thing is that even if we don’t have a great mind, if we have enough sense to trust in the Lord and lean not on our understanding, if we make it our practice to put the Lord at the forefront of all that we do, we are so much further ahead than those that are wise in their own eyes. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” That mind of Christ is the Spirit and the Word in us. It rules us and guides us into all righteousness and right decision making. It keeps our eyes and heart from being self-centered and keeps us God-centered.
Often I don’t have an obvious answer to the problem or decision at hand, but I keep listening with my spiritual ears. I weigh the counsel of those around me, which should also be godly. I search the motives of my heart and I ask for God’s divine providence to intervene to close those doors that He would not have me go through and open the ones that He would have me go through. After all, He did promise to direct my paths. I believe that if we follow this scriptural principle we may not do everything perfectly, but God will perfect our ways.
People have often told me, when I make up my mind about something, I am very stubborn about changing my mind or doing it a different way. Of course that is just their perspective. I do know that if I can get that way with people then I can get that way with God. Stubbornness to walk in God’s ways is a good thing, but stubbornness to go my own way is not a pretty attribute. I believe the Bible describes it much like rebellion and the sin of witchcraft, but it is my own manipulation, compromises and devices to get my way. That’s just sin, and there is no getting around it.
The latter part of this promise is that not only will the Lord direct my path, but if I don’t get proud and I turn away from evil, it will be health to me. I take that in both physical and spiritual context. If I can really trust the Lord with all of my heart and I don’t have to try and figure everything out with my wisdom then that is going to bring me into the rest of God. How many know that you tend to be a lot healthier when you are rested? Here is a way for us to take stress out of our lives. In Matthew Jesus says, “seek first the Kingdom of God and all these thing will be added unto you.” His whole message is quit stressing and worrying about stuff. Take care of what is important, your relationship with God, family, others, and the rest will take care of itself. That’s health to your navel and marrow to you bones. Be blessed, rest and let God direct your paths.

Blessings,
kent

Romans 8:17
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.

From the Place of Suffering

Some thoughts the Spirit was dropping into my heart today:

Behold, all I have given you is good.
The evil that befalls man has been the consequences of choices.
Free will always carries with it the responsibility of your decisions.
Those decisions do not affect you alone, but the lives of others as well.
The world lives under the tribulation and subjection of the god that mankind surrendered it too.
This also was the consequence of man’s choices.
My heart has always been to redeem you from all of those wrong choices.
Many want to blame Me for the consequences of sin in the world that is seen through sickness, corruption, disease, pestilence, wars, famine, drought, suffering and all of the evils that plague this world. Unless man sees and experiences what the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil produces, they will never fully appreciate the Tree of Life and the fruit that it produces.
Light is never fully appreciated till one has lived in the darkness or warmth, till one has experienced the cold, or health till one has experienced the pain of sickness.
That is why I came as the suffering savior to experience and take all of these sufferings upon Myself, not as the result of My sin, but yours. I did it that I might redeem you spirit, soul and body. I overcame it all and all of that victory is in Me and in you, if you are in Me.
I told you in the world you would have tribulation, but I also told you to be of good cheer for I have overcome the world. Your victory is not in avoiding all suffering, but in finding my strength and peace to overcome in all suffering. It is not the outward wholeness that reveals my righteousness it is the brokeness that releases My life. It is in your brokeness that My life makes you whole. It is from that place that you can minister My life into the broken lives of others.
Mary was willing to break the outward beauty of the vessel that contained the sweet perfume in order to anoint Me. She was breaking her own vessel of self-respect and dignity to pour out her love and lavish it upon Me. When you are willing to fully lose yourself and become broken, then are you best able minister to the death in others, the sweet perfume and fragrance of My life and salvation. Christianity and religion just dabs the perfume onto the humanity around them, but like Mary’s alabaster jar typified My body that was broken, so that the sweet fragrance of My blood and life could be spilled out upon humanity. You also must be willing to be broken, if you want to fully spill out My life in you. It means you meet people where they are at, not where you are. It means becoming all things to all men, if by any means you might win them for Me. It means that you are willing to die and be poured out that they may live through what I am releasing in you and through you. Christianity was never meant to be a life of glory, but the willingness to suffer along with Me that you might, through that death, be partakers of My glory. You are the sweet grapes, crushed under the feet of fallen humanity, much of it religious in nature. My purpose is make from those crushed grapes the sweetest wine that will make the hearts of men glad through their sacrificial message of good tidings.

Blessings,
kent

Success

February 7, 2013

Success

Joshua 1:8
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

We as a people and a society are very success oriented. There are different ideas and definitions of success. The one most prevalent in the world’s view has to do more with materialism, riches, fame, houses, cars and social position. If we are to be successful as Christians then it only makes sense for us to ask the question, “What is God’s definition of success?” It is interesting you should ask, because the word “success” only occurs one time in the Word of God. That is in our passage for today. I don’t think that there are any of us who don’t want to prosper and have good success. Here is God’s formula for having it. Now whether God’s ideas for success are that of the world’s I think not, but I do believe that God created all things for our enjoyment and pleasure if they are used in the context of His will and purpose. God is telling us today that our key to success lies between two covers that we call the Bible. It is not just the words on a page that bring success in our lives it is what we do with those words that is life and blessing. Notice where that Word has to be. It “shall not depart out of thy mouth.” Remember Proverbs 18:21 that says, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Our words are powerful instruments of both death and life. We know that the Word of God perpetuates Life. John 1:1-4 tells us whom this Word is, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” God wants that Word to never depart from our mouths. What we speak reflects what is in our heart, ” for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Is the Word of God prevalent in our speech and conversation? What we are speaking is what we believe; it is faith in that which we hope for, but may not yet see.
What is in our mouth is the fruit of what is in our heart, which is what brings us to the second part of success. What is the meditation of our heart? Is it our work, our hobbies, our sports, our earthly desires or is it the Word of God? If we want to succeed and prosper in the kingdom of God, His Word must prevail as the primary source of our meditation and contemplation. As we eat of His Word and slowly ingest and digest it, as we pray to fully pursue understanding and revelation, the Holy Spirit is little by little making it alive in us and then through us. It is the staple of our spiritual life that carries over into every aspect of our natural life.
David had the revelation that He gives in the beginning of the Psalms in Psalm 1:1-3 he says essentially the same thing, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
If you and I want to prosper and have good success then it begins and ends in the Word of God. It is the source of Life and Blessing to us. It is our guide and counselor through the instruction of the Holy Spirit to bring us into the mind and will of God. Through it we will experience the prosperity and sweet success of a godly life because His Word fills us with divine life, eternal hope and the riches and treasures that can only be found in Christ. Jesus said it when He said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When our priority lines up with what God is speaking to us today we will experience the abundant life that is in Him.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (3 John 1:2

Blessings,
kent

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