Honor the Lord

January 19, 2016

Matthew 15:8-9

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

9They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”

Honor the Lord

Does the honor of our lips match the integrity and obedience of our heart towards God?

Yes, God loves the honor of our lips if it is coming from a pure heart of love and worship, but if we are just going through the program, singing and saying the things that we are directed to sing and say it is in vain.  It is hypocrisy to honor God with lip service, but then live in rebellion and sin.  A consecrated life is what honors the Father.  It is one that humbles itself before Him and draws its direction and strength from Him.  It is one that willing says “Yes” to whatever Father says do.  

The honor of the lips should proceed out of the honor of the heart.  If we don’t honor Him with our lives then we are hypocrites to honor Him with our lips.  How much of our religious service to God has just been our religious tradition of service and doing our religious duty.  If that is what it is, it is vanity and emptiness.  We don’t become holy by putting on our “Sunday go to meeting clothes” and playing Church.”  The church isn’t the building, it is who we are as the body of Christ.  “No ye not that God does not dwell in temples made with hands?”  He dwells in the temple of His people; those who fear and worship Him out of a broken and contrite heart.   We can no longer just go through religious motions and expect God to move on our behalf.  He is looking for an expression of Himself and to have that we must love what He loves and hate what He hates.  So many that call themselves and identify themselves as Christians really have no revelation of what Christianity is really about.  

This is a sober word, but one I believe God speaking to awaken some of us out of sleep.  Romans 12 exhorts us to present ourselves as living sacrifices which is our reasonable service.  That speaks to a daily walk where we are set apart unto Him.  We still live and function in life, but we are always pursuing His highest and His kingdom, not the kingdom of this world.  

The true church are those who are gathered in one accord to truly bring honor to the Father out a heart filled with gratitude and praise.  True worship emanates out of our spirit that so desires to fully connect with His.   It brings worship and honor because He is truly worthy of all worship and honor.  We are not only honoring Him with our lips, but out of our lives that have become an expression of worship, because they are an expression of Him.  True church endeavors to humble itself under the direction of the Holy Spirit and allows Him the freedom to move and direct the order of our worship.  It is not about a one man show, but a body functioning in His giftings in an orderly fashion where God is honored and the body is edified; building itself up in love.  

We have so missed it by making it all about our agenda and time constraints.  That is one of the reasons we often don’t experience God in the depth and dimension we might desire.   Yes, we still need good teaching and preaching, but we need the balance of the rest of God’s gifts and offices in operation as well.  

It is no longer a time just to play church.  It is the time for us to be the Church, in and out of the church building.  Let our lips praise Him from an honest heart of gratitude and worship, as well as a life that is living after the Spirit and not after the flesh.  We are the organism of Christ’s body, not His organization. 

Blessings,

#kent

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Count Your Blessings

September 3, 2015

Matthew 5:45
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Count Your Blessings

The rain falls softly upon my head,
Water droplets diffuse vision on my glasses,
But I lift my head to heaven to say “Thank You.”
Each raindrop is a blessing, from Father’s hand it passes.

In the midst of the storm that rages,
I appreciate Him who reigns above it.
Even in its darkest times,
His Word is the candle of promise lit.

God’s throne room is filled with lightening and thunder.
He hides Himself in the clouds.
He shows Himself strong in those who trust Him.
He lifts the humble and crushes the proud.

Take heed of this mighty God we serve.
His everlasting covenants obey and preserve.
Can you count the raindrops as they fall?
Such are the blessings from the God of all.

Kent
Blessings,
#kent

Isaiah 66:2
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.

God Works Best in Broken Vessels

Has life, experiences and people brought you to a place of brokenness? Has all that you sought to build and do came to nothing? Have you fully come to the end of yourself and your efforts? If you have that is a good place to be. It doesn’t always feel good or appear good, but it is at the end of ourselves that we finally find God’s will and purpose. It is there that we come to the full revelation that we are nothing outside of Him who is everything. It is there that we can confront God in naked honesty and abandonment of self. It is there that we fully realize that He alone is God; He establishes and He tears down, but what ever remains has to be of Him. It is the poor, humble and contrite man that comes in total honesty and brokenness before His God. There are no pretenses, no self-righteousness and no illusions that He is anything outside of God’s will and purpose for His life.
Often the inroads to this state and place are very hard and painful. Often we come there through the loss of all that we held dear in this world. Yet, in that place there is such honesty in our brokenness. We have finally come to a place where now God can fill the emptiness with Himself. We have come through our Gethsemane place of temptation and we have experienced a Calvary through the work of the cross in our lives. We have died to self, but in that death we are now about to experience our resurrection in the greater place of His life. It is on the other side of the cross that we touch God’s glory and we find a restoration beyond that which we have experienced in the world or through any efforts of our own.
No wonder God is looking for this person of a broken, poor and contrite spirit. One who now trembles at God’s Word and lives in the awesome fear of Him. This man is now ready for God’s use and His power to be demonstrated through Him, because in this place none will receive the glory other than God who gives the increase. This person is an emptied vessel that God can fill with the richness of Himself and His Spirit.
“God, as painful as it may be, bring us to this place. This is the place of true godly men and women that are ripe for Your increase and Your outpouring. Bring us to that state of spirit because you work best in broken vessels.”

Blessings,
#kent

With Eyes Set Only upon Jesus

November 25, 2014

Ephesians 4:1-6
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

With Eyes Set Only upon Jesus

Set your eyes on none other than Jesus Christ, the high priest of your confession, for He alone is the author and the finisher of your faith. Many eyes are upon men, but no man can save you or transform you. There is one new man of which all the saints are a part. It operates out of the Spirit and anointing of Christ. It moves in accordance as the head directs it and energizes it with His power and life.
“It is not man that you are to be mindful of says the Lord, it is Me. Set your eyes upon Me for I will not disappoint you.”
Man will always disappoint. Follow after the example of Christ you see in others, but know that they are subject to the same weaknesses and frailties as you.
Jesus says there is only One good, God the Father. Our goodness is only in the measure that the Father expresses His righteousness through us by faith. Christ in you, that is your righteousness. The spirit of a man may be willing, but his flesh is sometimes weak. In all your ways, set your eyes upon Jesus. He is your Savior and Messiah.
Many are hurt and wounded in the body of Christ, because they have lifted up the man of God, rather than the Christ in him. When the man falls down, often the faith of the those looking to him falls with him. We do want to respect and hold in honor those who are spiritual leaders. While they may guide us and teach us, they can not save us. Never transfer upon them what only Christ can do for you. Our faith should never be moved by what happens to man. They walk by the same grace that holds you and I. Pray for them that they would not fall, for they are often under great attack and pressure. It is not our criticisms that will stay them, it is our prayers and intercessions for them. They bear the same infirmities and weaknesses as we do, but the burden of responsibility is so much greater upon them.
We are a body that under-girds one another, upholds one another, ministers and serves one another. What we give to leadership in prayer and support is every bit as important as what they can impart back spiritually. A true leader is not a lord, they are a servant. Their burden and responsibility are the ones they serve. Likewise the ones they serve have the responsibility to encourage, support and pray for them that serve in this office. None of us are above another, but some do carry greater responsibility. We all have the responsibility to help them to stand, not alone, but with the strength of our gifts (spiritually and monetarily) and our prayers.
Call no man Father, for you have but one Father, but know that there are those that father you in the faith and help you to grow in the likeness of Him. Respect and honor them, but do not set your faith and trust in them, but in the Christ they have led you to know and believe in.
This is no longer a day of big names and men of renown. It is a day when the kingdom is at work in the body of Christ teaching each of us to function in our gifts and callings. Each of us needs one another, for together, with Christ who is our head, we make up the whole new man in Christ Jesus.
Beloved, love one another, care for one another and pray for one another. Honor and pray for those that labor over you. Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us, ” It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” It is time for the body to grow up into the fullness of what God has called us to be in Christ. Ephesians 4:4 reminds us, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Let us all flow in the unity of that one Lord who has loved us and gave Himself for us. Ephesians 4:25-32 goes on to exhort us in our behavior toward one another. ” Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
We are one another’s keepers. Lift each one up in the faith, in love and prayer He has called us too. In Him we are one man and one body.

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

Deceitfulness of Sin

April 29, 2014

Hebrews 3:12-14a
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

Deceitfulness of Sin

We are a people that are much moved and guided by our souls: our mind, will and emotions. Often we use these natural senses to define our truth and often they are the inroads that satan uses to turn us from faith to an unbelieving heart. Often the lust of our flesh, the lust of our eyes and the vainglory of this life dictate our values in life. Even when we have embraced a faith in Christ the ways of the world we live in are most often in direct conflict and opposition to it. Our faith in Christ takes us down a very rewarding road, but the rewards are not always evident or seen. Those rewards, like the very nature of our Christian walk, are often ones of faith. The apostle Paul makes a statement in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” It is not always in this life that we see the wonderful riches of Christ manifested. True Christians have to be a people of faith, love and vision. When we loose sight of those attributes, then our hearts can become unbelieving and we start looking at the world. We see the temporal rewards of this life that may be passing us by. In those times of weakness our eyes and heart begin to turn from the Word of Truth, the promises of God, which we possess by faith and the deceitfulness of sin can enter in. Justification and compromise become more and more a part of our lifestyle as we begin to believe the lie and embrace the sin.
Brethren, in Christ, we have not chosen the easy way. The way of the cross is never easy and it can often be demanding and painful. But we endure the cross, despising the shame, even as Jesus did, for the greater hope that is set before us. We have the assurance and vision of our faith that Paul gives us 2 Corinthians 4:13-18, “It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Again, he says in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “We live by faith, not by sight.” The deceitfulness of sin gets our eyes off of these spiritual realities and on the temporal rewards and gratification of this present world. What we often fail to see is what the fish fails to see when he takes the bait, which covers the hook. What looks good and even innocent to the outward man gets a hook in us that takes us where we don’t want to go, keeps us longer than we want to stay and cost us more than we want to pay. It doesn’t matter how rich we are, how famous or powerful we are or how much we have if we become the servants of sin and the enemy controls us. The man that possess nothing of this world, yet possess the freedom of his soul in Christ, is a far richer man than the one controlled and ruled by sin. How quickly we can lose sight of this truth.
We can’t allow our confidence to be shaken, by the disappointments of this life. Don’t look back as Lot’s wife did who was turned to a pillar of salt. “We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” Our inheritance is not of this world and we must maintain our vision to see beyond the things of this world. We must be of one mind and vision even as Paul has shared in Philippians 3:12-21, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Here he speaks to us of the results of the deceitfulness of sin, as well as to the glorious hope we have in Christ. Be encouraged in your faith and don’t waiver from it. This world has nothing for us.
We are a people that are entering into the rest of God where we know Him as our all in all. We are not moved by what we see, but by what the Word of God and the Spirit of God are telling us. We are a people with a faith, a love and a vision. We will not be moved. We will not harden our hearts in sin, but with a humble and contrite heart we will find our forgiveness in the blood of Jesus that we might continue to press on into the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

2 Kings 18:28-35

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and spoke, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you from his hand; 30 nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, “The LORD will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”’ 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive groves and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” 33 Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivah? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 35 Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’” 


When Fear comes Knocking


As we read this passage of scripture today that took place during the reign of Hezekiah, we see him faced with the greatest challenge and threat to his kingdom that he had ever known.  The king of Assyria, which typifies satan, sent his messenger of fear, Rabshakeh, to attack the faith and trust the people of Judah and Hezekiah had in the Lord and replace it with fear of the natural. They were facing the greatest force and enemy of their day. Assyria was undefeated and it had taken every nation that it entered into, including Israel.  Now Hezekiah is faced with the decision to either give in or trust the Lord.  Everything in the natural is saying give it up, you don’t stand a chance.  You don’t hold a candle to this giant that now stands before you.  What Rabshakeh said was true, no other nation or gods had been able withstand them.  Where Rabshakeh and the king of Assyria failed was in counting the Lord God as like unto the gods of wood and stone.  

There are times when we are faced with similar circumstances in our lives.  We face giants and situations that are far greater than we are in the natural.  They blaspheme or mock our God and expect that we should bow to them.  Our very lives or livelihood may be at stake.  What will we do?  Will we bow in fear to the enemies’ demands or will we throw ourselves before the Lord and plead our case before Him as Hezekiah did?  

It is often in our weakness that God’s strength and power are manifest.  If fear is able to undermine and rob our faith then we will not see the salvation of our God.  If we dare to stand firm in Him then we will see His salvation work, even though it may not be immediate.  There are areas in life that we have to walk by faith, humbly and fearfully before the Lord, so that we are not reliant upon our strength or ability, but we wholly lean on Jesus name.  The enemy will kick up dust, he’ll rant and rave and do all that he can to strike fear and unbelief in our hearts, but it is our faith in the All Powerful One that prevails.  Through prayer and faith we hide ourselves under the shadow of the great Jehovah.  We know that when He goes out to battle on our behalf then we cannot fail or be defeated.  We are more than conquerors through Christ who has loved us.  

In 2 Kings 19:5 we hear what the Lord says through Isaiah, His prophet concerning these blasphemous threats. “So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah.  And Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.  Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”’””  God is still saying to us, “ Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard.” We must know our Lord today as Hezekiah and the people came to know Him then.  He is a mighty Fortress and Deliverer.  He will take up the cause of the righteous and in His time and His way that enemy will be defeated.  When fear comes knocking, don’t be afraid, only trust and obey. 

 
Blessings,
kent

Ecclesiastes 9:11

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race [is] not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 


The Way of the Lord Leads Home


The way of the Lord leads home.  His ways are just and true.  He lifts up the brokenhearted and releases the captive from their captors.  Freedom is found in the Lord and in His presence. Joy is found in His fellowship and wisdom comes with understanding, which the Spirit imparts to man.  

Rescue the perishing, provide and have mercy toward the poor, the fatherless and widows.  Your mercy shall not go unnoticed, but will in due time reap its just reward.  

The expected gives place to the unexpected and wealth gives place to poverty.  The just shall live by faith, but the upright shall possess all things.  The man who is high in his own eyes shall be brought low and the humble before the Lord will be placed in their stead.  

Seek the Lord while He may be found, before the day of indignation and tribulation.  Know Him as the oil of your lamp and the life of your vessel.  As long as you are steadfast in your hope of Him, none will quench the light from your lamp, for the Lord Himself shall sustain you.   It is not by the will of man, nor his determination that establishes a soul, it is by the steadfast faithfulness of a broken and contrite heart that a man is lifted up and set in the high places.  Whom the Lord establishes and exalts, none shall remove.  Their place continues to abide.  Their eyes and heart are never set upon themselves, but in the might of the Lord they abide and their light shall not fail.

Watchmen, sound the alarm in Zion, sound the trumpets of battle.  The day of battle is at hand. The mighty Prince of Peace, the King of King mounts His horse and the sword of truth proceeds from His mouth.  Behold your King comes with His host of righteous ones.  Prepare for the day of battle that you may be among His noble ones.

 
Blessings,
kent

The Fast of the Lord

January 20, 2014

 

The Fast of the Lord


Isaiah 58:3-11

Wherefore have we fasted, [say they], and thou seest not? [wherefore] have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as [ye do this] day, to make your voice to be heard on high Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? [is it] to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes [under him]? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? [Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? [Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 

 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I [am]. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And [if] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 


Isaiah 58 is a good chapter to take and read in its entirety.  We have quoted enough here to give us some of the meat of what it is saying.  Many of us consider ourselves religious or spiritual. We profess to love God, we may have our set times to pray, read the bible, fast, go to church or other such spiritual activities we do in the name of the Lord for Him.  If we are doing all of these things to seek God and please Him, then we may ask, like the people of God in that day, “Lord, why don’t you hear our prayers and answer them?  We serve you, but we aren’t blessed.  How come you don’t acknowledge all of our efforts Lord?”  

He may in turn ask us, ” If you do all of these activities and things to seek and please me then why are your lives no different than those of the world around you?  Why is it you yell and argue with your family all the way to church and then come in to praise Me?  Why is it you fast and pray and then get up off of your knees to go and do your own pleasure?  Why is it you go to church, but are angry with the minister if he doesn’t get you out in time to beat the rush to the restaurant or see the sports game on TV?”   Could it be that a lot of our spirituality is phoniness and hypocrisy done more to make us feel like we have done our duty to God than doing what really pleases God.  If we want God to meet us in a greater way than He has before then it isn’t God that has to change, it is us, and more religious activity isn’t the answer.  

God takes the time in this passage to tell us where His heart is and what is meaningful to Him.  He tells us to do such things as “loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free, and that ye break the yoke?”  What does all of that mean?  Could it mean that we are outwardly spiritual, but inwardly wicked?  We talk down to people, we talk about people in a demeaning way, and we’re critical, hateful, judgmental, gossips, backbiters and controllers.  We may want to put all of our baggage, laws, rules and standards upon others when we can’t even live up to them ourselves.  How often do we do things for others in the guise of being so nice and generous to help them out and then turn around and hold those things we gave or did for them as a yoke to control and manipulate them?  There are times we give or loan things to people and they can’t pay them back.  Sometimes we need to just release those debts and forgive them even as God forgave ours.  We can be cruel taskmasters to one another and to others.  When the world looks at that, are they seeing Christ?  Could it be that God wants us to quit being above others and treating others, that don’t have what we have in areas, as inferior and as servants?  Maybe it is time we become like Christ, to use what we have, to get under them to lift and build them up, to be their servants rather than them being ours.  

God goes on to tell us if you really want my blessing then you need to care about the things I care about.  Are you clothing the naked and feeding the hungry?  Are you visiting those in prisons, nursing homes, jails and shut-ins?  Are you even really taking care of your own family and making sure they have not only their physical needs met, but their emotional and spiritual needs met?  Are you spending the time you need to with them and nurturing them?  Are we pointing our finger in judgement and condemnation of others while we ignore the other three that are pointing back at us?  

When we start getting the heart of God then will we begin to hear from God and see His blessing.  This is the true fast of the Lord.  It is not about going to church, it is about being “the Church.”  We have to become in lifestyle and practice what many of us now only pretend to be.  We have a form of godliness, but we deny the power of it.   God despises pompous, pretentious spiritual pretenders.  I have been there more than I like to admit, how about you?  If we are going to have the real thing then everything we do has be about the Lord and what honors and pleases Him.  Ouch!  That’s pretty tough on my flesh, but then I said I reckoned it dead with Christ, so what’s my problem?  My problem is always “I.”  The more it is there the less effective I can be for God, because the less of Him that is in me.  It is only the death of self that can give place to the life of God.  This is the true Fast.  

 
Blessings,
kent

Good Enough

December 13, 2013

Good Enough

God is not looking for those who can be good enough to earn His favor, but humble enough to receive the favor and forgiveness He has already given us in Christ Jesus. In Him, there is no more condemnation.
Kent Stuck

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