Offenses

December 23, 2014

Proverbs 18:19
An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

Offenses

Did you ever wonder why the body of Christ is so often offended with one another. Think about what is at the heart of most of our division within the body. It is offenses. Out of these offenses we do exactly as Proverbs 18:19 says, we become more unyielding than a fortified city and we become close minded. What is at the heart of these issue if it is not our pride and our determination to be right.
Our pastor once shared something to the effect that religion is the need to be right, but true Christianity is the need to pursue righteousness. Why do you think many that heard Jesus, in particular the religious crowd, were offended with much of what Jesus had to say? Jesus trampled on their pride because He spoke the truth about what was in their heart. He revealed God in a way that didn’t fit within all of their traditional perimeters.
What we have to understand about offense is it usually reveals a heart condition in us. Peter swore up and down to Jesus that though everyone else might be offended in Him, he would never be offended. What resulted as Peter was confronted with being one of Jesus’ disciples was his denial. It was the testing that revealed his heart condition that he was blind too until that moment of testing came. There are many things in life we are going to want to be offended about and we may feel totally justified in doing so, but remember offenses are but a test to reveal what is really in our heart.
I love a statement our pastor recently ministered, “Offenses are simply opportunities turned inside out.” They test where our faith is, where our love is and where heart is for others and for God. When we can pass these tests of offenses then we can move on to the next level in our walk with Christ. Discipleship is not just calling yourself a Christian, it the learning of how to walk out your faith and not be offended. It is the love that can forgive your accusers, those that curse, malign, abuse, deceive and defraud you. It is walking as Jesus walked, without offense, even when He had every right to be offended.
When we can walk without offense. When can release and forgive our offenders, then we have moved past pride and the need to be right, to find true love, humility and righteousness of the God kind.

Blessings,
#kent

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Leader of the Pack

May 5, 2014

Leader of the Pack

1 Samuel 22:1-2
David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard [it], they went down thither to him. And every one [that was] in distress, and every one that [was] in debt, and every one [that was] discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

It is interesting that when David became an outcast, rejected and hunted by the King, he became identified with a different group of people. David was the anointed of the Lord and even though he was anointed to become king of Israel, David never presumptuously pursued to gain that by his own means and with his own hands. He was submitted to the Lord’s work in his life and the Lord’s timing. He had his chance to do it his way. He was tested, he was given opportunity and encouragement, he could have justified it, but David never raised his hand against Saul, whom he also regarded as the Lord’s anointed.
David became the outcast of the traditional and proper Israel. It was through no rebellion or disobedience of his that now he is running and hiding for his life. When the anointing is operating in our life it can create some interesting dynamics. Those you think would accept you and embrace you, may well become your greatest persecutors. They may be the leadership of the church, the ones regarded of men to be spiritual pillars of the community. So why would they reject you if you carry the anointing of God? The same reason they persecuted Jesus and the prophets. This is one way to discern between those operating under a religious spirit and those who are operating out of the truth and spirit of God. A religious spirit will have the pretense and the appearance of the real, but its interest is in control and domination, not in developing the anointing and calling of God in other people’s lives. Especially when their spiritual stature and abilities exceed those of the present administration.
One thing that is interesting about this anointing is that while it causes rejection and persecution from the religious spirits, it will attract the sinner, the distressed, the debtor, the discontented and the needy. There is something in their spirits that is drawn by this anointing. They have already experienced the disappointments of the world, they are hoping and looking for something and someone not of this world, someone who has touched God and carries in themselves the reality of His presence and life. We can readily see these qualities in both David and Jesus. Look at the people that both David and Jesus were surrounded with. They were not exactly the socialites or the happening crowd by the world’s standards. They were often the outcasts, the hurting, the needy and the discontents. They are often people that would take you out of your comfort zone and not necessarily those you would choose in the natural for friends. That anointing in you is like the smell of water to a thirsty animal. They will be drawn to it, because it offers life, hope and salvation in their time of need. Their spirits are the poor, broken, humble and meek. Their heart is in a condition to receive the life of the Spirit.
Those that are drawing near to Christ in relationship, prayer, praise and worship are becoming like the David’s of their generation. In that place of fellowship with the Father and the Son they are being anointed of the Holy Spirit. There will be a day when the Holy Spirit will lead you into the wilderness and there you will begin to live out of this Anointing and Spirit life. It is not for you alone, it is for those whom the Lord will attract to you and place you with.
Father is not looking for the rich, the famous and the social up and coming. 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 says, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where [is] the wise? Where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Many of us know that we are nothing by the world’s standards. We may not be exceptional, outstanding or distinguishable as someone of any significance in the world’s eyes. But God is not the world and He sees something valuable and significant in you and I, because we see that He needs to be everything in us for us to be anything. Paul goes on in this passage to say, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are That no flesh should glory in his presence But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:27-31).” If Christ is bringing forth His anointing in you and I today, then we mustn’t despise those of low estate, just as Christ did not despise us. All that He places in us and however He uses us is for none other than for His glory alone. God is in the business of making somebodies out of nobodies. Aren’t we His examples? Take those Christ brings to you and nurture them as He has nurtured you.

Blessings,
#kent

Tenderhearted

May 10, 2013

Tenderhearted

2 Kings 2:19
Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard [thee], saith the LORD.

What is the condition and state of my heart today? As you and I ask that question of ourselves today, what is the true answer? Through our life experiences, choices and decisions, we can find our heart in many different states. It can become hardened because of sin and willful living. It can become broken from abuse, disappointment and hurt. It can be elated with life and living or it can become cold and unfeeling. Life and experiences can have a lot to do with shaping the condition of our hearts, but so can the choices we make with what comes to us in life. It would be safe to say that no matter what befalls us in life our safe place is a place of a tender heart before the Lord. That is the condition of the heart that touches His heart.
Sometimes life can be so devastating that we feel like we are like a tree that has been cut down and all hope of life is lost. Yet even Job, in his state of abject suffering and loss makes this statement in Job 14:7-9, “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; [Yet] through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.” I believe a tender heart toward God is our hope in every circumstance of life. Only the Lord can take that which bad and turn it for good. Only He can bring life out of death. Only He can take the crushed grapes of our life’s sufferings and trials and make sweet wine. James 5:11 makes the observation about the condition of God’s heart toward us when we continue in a place of obedience and tenderness before Him. “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
Jesus is the Rock and it says that with Him one of two things can happen, either we are broken upon the rock through a tender and repentant heart or we become broken by the Rock through a rebellious and hardened heart. What is the state of our heart today?
Isaiah 66: 1-2 says, “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest? For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” The Lord is looking and desires above all our sacrifices and the works of our hands that our hearts are right and tender before Him. If He is ever going to manifest His presence and perform His works through a people, it is going to be a people who have a tender and contrite heart before Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him… “No matter what life has dealt us let our hearts become tender, broken, pure and right before the Lord. This is the condition of heart we need to have in order to experience His visitation and presence. This is the place where we find the rest and the true fast of God. This is the ground that is broken up and is ready to yield the fruit of His divine life.

Blessings,
kent

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