The Low Places

October 15, 2020

The Low Places

1 Peter 5:5

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

              As I was looking out the window this morning and asking the Lord what to share, I noticed the cover on our hot tub.  It has a depression on one side and anytime there is any moisture, water is standing in it.  I believe God used that little illustration to begin to speak to me about humility.  He brought to mind that it is always the low places that carry and store the water in life.  Spiritually we know that water can be symbolic of God’s living water which is His Life and Spirit, such as in John 4 where Jesus is speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well concerning true water and drink.   In John 4:14 Jesus tells the woman, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”  In John 7:38 Jesus tells His disciples, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”  You see, we are the catch basins of God’s Grace.  He doesn’t give grace to the proud; He gives it to the humble.  Why should we humble ourselves and become lowly, not seeking our recognition and glory? It is the lowly ones that are the greatest recipients of God’s goodness and blessings.  The proud ones rely upon their strengths and abilities to bless and sustain them.  They rely on their own words and deeds to promote them.  The more we realize there is no good thing in us, it is only in God who resides in us, then we empty ourselves of who we are.  Instead we come as containers, as depressions in the earth, as river beds and stream basins that God may fill us with His living water of life, blessing and supply.  

              Some of the saddest people to observe are those who have great talents, looks or abilities.  Because they have these things it is so easy for them to fall into the snare of becoming full of themselves, lifted up in pride and arrogance.  For the rest of us who are average, mediocre or less than best, perhaps we are the more blessed because we know we can’t depend and rely upon our abilities or our strength, or our looks.  If God isn’t it, we don’t have it.  The result is we are the humble, the poor, and the needy who cry out to the Lord to fill up our lack, to be our strength and to make us rich in Him. 

              1 Corinthians 1:26-31 should be a source of encouragement to many of us for it says: “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called 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.”  You see, God isn’t looking for the cream of the crop as man sees it.  He is looking for broken, humble vessels that will allow Him to be glorified through them.  Because you are the lowly you become the container that God can fill with Himself rather than the hill that His goodness and mercies run off of.  Where do the mercies and goodness and blessings run off too when the proud refuse to receive them?  Aren’t they going to flow into the low places, which are His humble ones?  Does it not say, “the meek shall inherit the earth?”  The Lord says in Proverbs 3:32, “For the froward [is] abomination to the LORD: but his secret [is] with the righteous.”

              When we become the potholes, the wells, the ponds, the lakes, the streams and the rivers of God’s righteousness and life, doesn’t that result in those who thirst after righteousness and salvation having a place to come and drink?  A place where they, like the woman at the well, might drink the water that satisfies and causes them to thirst no more.   Our humility and reliance upon the Lord is a good thing because out of it no one receives the glory, but the One who is worthy of all the glory.  Many of us have heard the saying that “the limb that bears the most fruit, hangs the lowest.”  Don’t despise your lowly estate, because it is the place where the Lord can lift you up on High and you are in the position to be the instrument of His righteousness and blessing.   “[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 (Romans 12:16).”

Blessings,

#kent

Unto Good Works

September 10, 2020

Unto Good Works

Titus 3:1-8

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

            How has our nature changed with regards to how we view and relate with others?

Do we still have a spirit of political dissidence?  Are we still tuned into the all the little faults of those around us?  Do we still gossip and offer our expert opinions about how others should change their lives? 

              If so, we need to be reminded of whom we were before Christ and what we would still be outside of His mercy and grace.  Paul is telling Titus to remind the body of Christ that Christ has not saved us to sit in judgement of others, but to be the extension of His love and mercy through good works.  It is the humility and the evidence of a transformed life living through us that is most going to impact our world for Christ.  The Holy Spirit is looking for vessels that are not intent on their agenda and not just full of their opinions and feelings.  He desires vessels that are offered up to Him willingly and are open channels for Him to live and move through.  We are encouraged not to fall into the pitfalls of those that are contentious and only want to strive with us and get us to operate out of the flesh rather than the Spirit.  It is the power of the godly life we lead in word and deed that is our greatest testimony and witness of God really living in us and through us.  Many of us only want to talk about our faith, but really have no substance when it comes to living it out in our day to day world. 

              Are we mummers, complainers, discontents, political activist, always unhappy about the way things are and the laws and policies we must live under?  Or… do we see that we are strangers and sojourners in this world.  Yes, we speak out against social injustice and sins of society, but we realize that the only way men will change in their hearts and thinking is when they also are partakers of Christ and the Holy Spirit transforms their heart and thinking.  Yes, we cast our vote for righteousness and have our say in government and the laws of our land as long as we have the freedom to do so.  What we must realize though is that we, by our godly lives and good works, should be the thermostats of our society, setting the standard not just by laws, but by example. 

              Many of us are guilty to one extent or another of saying one thing but living another.  That obviously lends very little credibility to what we preach and teach about Christ.  Christ is more than rhetoric; He is a lifestyle.  We will change the world around us when we all come into conformity with how Christ wants to live through us with regards to our good works and attitudes toward those around us. May we prepare our heart unto every good work as we give our hearts and lives for the Holy Spirit to live through, showing all meekness, humility and gentleness toward others.

Blessings,

#kent

Appreciation

January 28, 2016

 

Appreciation

 

Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

 

               One thing that is common in both God and man is that everybody likes to be appreciated.  We will go to great lengths sometimes for others if they have a grateful heart and are appreciative of our efforts.  It is important that we always appreciate the Lord.  It is this appreciation that keeps us mindful of Him and all of His wonderful attributes and the blessings we so richly enjoy from Him.  It is a dangerous thing for us to develop an ungrateful spirit.  That spirit shuts us off from people and causes us to only be caught up with ourselves. 

               We see that thankfulness and appreciation to the Lord are basic steps of etiquette to entering into His presence and fellowship.  Psalms 100:4 tells us, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.”  We can never appreciate the Lord too much and that heart of thankfulness and praise should be resident in us continually. Appreciation gives value to the one receiving it and it is an act of humility and respectfulness on the part of the one delivering it.

The lack of appreciation has far different results.  As many in the world were caught up in sin, it caused their hearts to become hardened toward God, as it can ours.  What was the result of their ungratefulness and lack of appreciation to the glorious God and Creator who authored our lives and gave us life?  Romans 1:18-32 gives the account of man’s ungratefulness and what results.  “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

               Our ungratefulness and lack of appreciation causes a perverted and arrogant way of thinking and leads us to God’s wrath and judgement.  On the other hand, a truly grateful, thankful and appreciative heart can lead us into God’s very presence and the fullness of joy.  What does God command us to do?  Love Him with all of our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves.  That means we truly need to appreciate the Lord and appreciate those that God places in our lives.  We might be amazed at the difference we would have in our relationships if we really became sensitive and attentive to appreciating those around us.  We all want to feel that the things we do are worthwhile and that we are valued.  We all want to be appreciated, even God.

Blessings,

#kent 

When We Call

January 15, 2016

 

Psalms 138:3

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.

When We Call

This morning, I waited for some time before the Lord dropped this scripture in my spirit.  It made me realize that God does hear us, but we don’t always hear His answer right away.   What makes us bold and stouthearted is the confidence in His Word and in Him that is answering us even through we may not audibly hear or physically see the answer right away.  As we wait upon the Lord, we need to do so from the perspective of worship and faith.  

Now let me share with you the two verses preceding verse three.  “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.  I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.”  Notice the approach and attitude toward God, as David, the Psalmist, approaches God for his answer.  David first exalts the Lord in praise, secondly he bows and prostrates himself in the attitude, position and spirit of worship.  Then he makes declaration of the Lord’s faithfulness to His Word and to His name.  

Sometimes, in our busy life and Christianity we forget that there is a protocol to our coming before the Lord.  In the light of that protocol that we see here, we might see how rude it could be for us to just pray as we go; telling the Lord all that we are having problems with and all that we need.  Most of the time we are never get quite or still long enough to listen and see if the Lord has anything to say back to us.  Remember the awesome, holy God we pray too.  He is not just a part of our “to do” list and He’s not just a part of our “to do it for us list”  He is worthy of our every day, every moment, highest regard, reverence and praise.  God wants to meet with us and have relationship with us, but let us never get so flippant and complacent that we dishonor Him in the way we approach and seek Him.   

Listen to whom God says He is, to whom God says He will look and to whom He will listen in Isaiah 66:1-2.  “This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.

Where is the house you will build for me?  Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord.

“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”  

You see, the attitude and position of our heart has a great deal to do with how God receives us.  This word “esteem”  means to look, consider, pay attention to.  If we wonder why we seldom or never hear from God, then we might want to consider how we approach and honor Him with our lives, our praise, worship and prayers.  Learn to ascend into His presence.  Remember, when we call upon the Lord, to follow how Psalms 100 gives us  instruction on how to approach our awesome and wonderful Father.  

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Blessings,

#kent

A Word from the Lord

November 10, 2015

A Word from the Lord

Romans 13:12

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Leave this day the things of the earthly realm behind you. Look into the dawn of the New Day for from the East arises your salvation and from the West the sun is setting on the former things and the things of this time and place. Open your heart to me and I will fill it. Open your mouth to me and I will fill it. Open your hands to me and I will fill them. I will be your supply and your provision. All of your need is met in me. Lean not upon the arm of the flesh to feed and provide in your day of want. I am your Provider and the supplier of every need. Lean not upon your own understanding, but lean on the council of My Word, for it is the light unto your path and a lamp unto your feet. Take care that you walk in the light of the council of my Word. It is a sword to prove you, to divide and separate soul and spirit. Far too long my people have been a mixture and double-minded in their ways. Let your eye be single and your heart true to the calling that I have given you to walk in My ways and obey My commands, if you do this, then do you love Me. Far too long my people offer up the oblations of praise and worship, but their hearts are far from me. Outwardly they do their homage, but within their heart and their thoughts they entertain wickedness and impurity. I do not judge the outward man, but the inward man, the man of the heart. What value does a beautiful cup or vessel have if it is full of abominations and wickedness? The fire is sent to purify that which I have sanctified. It will burn with unquenchable thirst until there is no more left to feed its desire. Mercy and grace will wet and temper the steel of godliness in my people, lest they be consumed in judgement. My people shall turn to me from the least to the greatest and those that are mine shall gather beneath My wing. There I will shelter them from the storm. It is a time of pruning and separation so that those who would bear fruit may do so more abundantly and those that are dead upon the vine may be cut off and cast into the fire. What a man has sown and what he is now sowing will bear its fruit and he shall eat the fruit thereof either to life or to death. Take care how you plant into your life and into the lives of others. Clay pots hold divine life. Only as they are emptied are they perpetually filled. Stop holding the life till it becomes stagnant and putrified. Pour out that which I place within each one of you. It is only in giving that you truly receive. Release the life. You are not vessels for storage, you are the vessels of daily use to wash the feet of common people and make their way clean and sure. Some of you say, what do I have to give? Give your life, your service, and My love that abides within you. With Me there is never a lack of supply or increase. You are shallow, because your deeds are shallow. Become the vessel that is tipped over and poured out. If you sow sparingly you will reap sparingly. Revelation is coming, but it comes with a price. It must be received with humility and obedience. The revelation of the Most High is revealed in what you live and not in what you know. The revelation of Jesus Christ in you is revealed through a crucified life, laid upon the altar of obedience and service. Today is the day to seek Me and lay all else aside. I am your refuge, your hiding place, your mighty fortress, but you must truly know me to be hid in me. It is no longer about outward actions of religion and godliness, it is a day to know intimately my heart and come into the inner sanctuary of relationship and abiding that is only found in intimacy and relationship. Come quickly, for the days are getting short and times and seasons are at hand. Rouse you up out of your sleep and slumber and come away with me. I speak these things to you, because I love you. Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit is speaking to the Church. It is the day for the Bride to prepare herself and make ready for her Groom. Take heed and act quickly.

Blessings,

#kent

Set Your Mind on Things Above

Colossians 3:1-3
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Where do we live in our thoughts and affections? What is the nearest and dearest thing to our hearts? What do we truly worship, spend our money on, and spend our time and energy in pursuing? An honest thoughtful answer may bring to us a revelation of where we are at in relationship with our God. Can we honestly say that He is at the foremost of all of these questions? If our pursuit is truly a closer walk with God, a greater sense of His presence and an increasing revelation of who He is, then this is a key to where we can start. I have heard it said that, “we become what we worship”. What are you becoming today? In order to walk close to our God, we must abide in His presence. This is the place we find holiness, communion, and the presence of God. Christ doesn’t want to be just a part of our lives; He wants to be our life. That is why we die to natural affections, that He may live in us and through us.
In order to be accomplished at any thing you must practice it over and over again. In the process of learning and perfecting a skill you will make many mistakes and experience some setbacks. That should not discourage us, but cause us to persevere the more. The Lord wants us to apply this principle to “practicing His Presence”. It becomes that place where we are ever mindful of Him, whether consciously or subconsciously. He becomes constantly a part of our thoughts. We are constantly filtering the world and activities around us through Him and through that mind of Christ that we have put on. We are constantly in silent or verbal conversation with Him. He becomes a unified part of our daily life and breath. We are in constant heavenly communication and communion. This is abiding in Christ. This is setting your mind on things above. This is the place where we enter in beyond the veil of the outer court things and we begin to commune with our God heart to heart, mind to mind and spirit to spirit. In this place our lives have become centered on His will, His purpose, His design and plan for us. It is no longer about us; it is all about Him. Our family, friends and those in the world around us get to become the recipients of God’s grace and love working through us. They may not always respond in a positive way. Jesus said your enemies might be those of your own household. When satan throws all he has against you, the blood of Jesus covers you. You simply rest, in humility and love. Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” When you find yourself in this place you will know that you have left off friendship with the world and you have become a friend of God. In this place of spiritual pursuit, guard against spiritual pride that wants to enter in. It is easy to begin judging others, seeing yourself as better, more spiritual and alienate yourself due to that spiritual pride. Jesus became as one of no reputation. He became the servant that got under the lowly and lifted them up. He was always bringing up the low places while He resisted and brought down the high places of spiritual arrogance and pride. His focus was always first to God and then to men. He didn’t isolate Himself, but became the servant of all.
Think what it is to set your mind on things above. Paul states it well in Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Blessings
#kent

Be Perfect

August 7, 2015

Be Perfect

Matthew 5:43-48
“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.”

When we read the passage in verse 48 where Jesus tells us, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” what does that mean to you? Are you thinking that is impossible or yeah, maybe when I get to heaven? Why would he tell us this now when we perceive ourselves in such an imperfect state? How could we ever aspire to be perfect, as he is perfect? We are not only to aspire to it, it is our calling. Why would Jesus call us to do what was impossible to do?
Jesus throughout Matthew 5 is calling His disciples and following to a higher order of love than that of the world. He is calling us out of natural reasoning and fairness. He is calling us to a level of love that we have come to know as Agape’ love. It is a love that is not governed by what others do to me, it doesn’t respond to circumstances. It is an action and not a reaction.
The word “perfect” used in verse 48 is the Greek word “telios”. It means brought to its end, consummate human integrity and virtue, full grown, adult, of full age, mature. The purpose of God is to bring us unto perfection, to bring us into His unconditional love and divine nature. This is the reason He gives the five fold ministry in Ephesians 4:11-13, “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.” The word mature here is that same word for perfect. It is going to take our faith to grasp this concept, because all that we see in us and in the body of Christ around us pretty much testifies against this. What we have to see here is that there is a standard that has been set before us, but what is impossible with men, is not impossible with God. God is the one that has called us to this standard and He alone can be the ability to attain it. It is obvious to us that it is not in our natural ability, so that is our first clue that we need to be walking and living in something that is beyond the natural. We are called up to walk in the supernatural. We are called to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. It is only in the realm of the Spirit that we can even comprehend the perfection that Christ has called us too.
Listen as 2 Peter 2:2-4 reiterates our calling and where the power comes from, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” We see here that perfection and maturity in Christ is a calling of faith, because it is in laying hold of the promises of God’s Word that we move into this realm. There is no perfection without His power and life working in us, changing us and transforming us. The ability is not in us to change ourselves to perfection, but to position ourselves in Him, by faith and through a broken and contrite heart to yield to the working and moving He is doing in us. What we perceive as trials, hardships and adversities may truly be opportunities to exercise and mature in His divine nature.
Abraham became the friend of God because he had enough faith and vision to move out of the realm of the seen into the realm of the unseen. He counted God faithful to do that which He had promised. Are we counting Him faithful to perfect our lives in love and in all that pertains to godliness? Are we willing to quit looking at our circumstances and our inability’s long enough to see His ability and His promises to us? Are we like-minded with the apostle Paul to press into the high calling we have in Christ Jesus? “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you (Philippians 3:12 –15).”

Blessings,
#kent

Unity in the Body

April 8, 2015

Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Unity in the Body

I was just thinking about if my right thumb got offended with my index finger and decided to leave my right hand go over to my left. Now I’ve got two left thumbs. Then my left big toe has falling out with my left foot and decides to go join up with my nose. Now I’ve got my former big left toe trying to function as a nose. Do we get the picture of how dissension and disunity in the body can quickly bring dysfunction and misalignment? It doesn’t take long before we no longer have a functioning body, but a freakish mess. Does that resemble how we see a lot of the body of Christ trying to operate in today?
Why, because we are all so easily offended and willing to move out of the place where God has set us. It is important that you truly seek God to place you in a body and that when He does you are not moved except by Him. Most of us know that when you start rubbing a lot of different personalities together you may well create a blister or a sore spot. Our first tendency is get up and just move to a different seat or a different church. Just because our brothers and sisters are Christians doesn’t mean everything in our relationship with them is going to be rosy. What we may overlook is there is always an enemy at work to kill, steal and destroy and while he may well be at work to cause disunity and division, there is also God that is at work to mature us in our love and tolerance of one another.
I see people come and go out of our particular body of Christ all of the time. Most of them are precious men and women of God. I observe that so many times it is personal dislike, disagreements or offenses with others that make them move on. Maybe it was in God’s time to move them on, but a lot of times I think it is because we won’t allow ourselves to be perfected in love. Our love is still mostly about our personal preferences, opinions and how we think things should be. Because we took up a grievance and moved out of position of where God placed us, how do you think that ends up impacting your ministry for yourself and for others. Now you move someplace else until you are offended or in disagreement again and so the cycle goes. Thus so many play the game of musical churches.
What we are missing is some of the spiritual clothing that we are suppose to have put on. Instead of our suit and tie or our going to Sunday dress let’s put the clothing that the Word exhorts us to be clothed with. Compassion, having more of a heart for others than we do for ourselves. Kindness, which extends itself to looking after the interest of others and not just self. Humility, which is strength under control, so that despite who and what you may be in the Spirit, you are always coming under and lifting others up. Gentleness, it is not harsh, or brash, but handles others with the love of Jesus. Patience, last but not least, it is the patience of God that helps us to endure the offenses, misdeeds and issues of others. Remember that, unless you’ve started walking on water, you have some issues of your own that others have to tolerate in you. The bottom line is we have to grasp and lay hold of what true agape’ love is, if we are going to start seeing unity at work in the body. As long the body is always upset and fighting among itself it can never come into the focus of its purpose. The first revelation we all have to get is that body ministry and functionality is not first about us; it is about Him! We come together to first worship and serve Him, not just to get our ego stroked and our preferences met.
We have entered into an hour and season where love and unity in the body is paramount to what God is doing at this time. He is calling us to be a healthy, living breathing organism ruled and compelled by love, not a misfit organization trying to play church. We’ve come to treat our relationship with the body of Christ like we do many of our marriages, when it gets to messy we bail out of it. As long we keep running away and moving on, we can’t come into the fullness of unity, love and purpose God has for us.
I am not going to tell you that everything leadership or somebody else in the body did to you was right or justified. It probably wasn’t, but what does the Word say? “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Have we all truly done that? It would be great if we were all perfect in our love and didn’t have to deal with these issues, but the truth is that it takes dealing with these issues if we are going to mature in the love of Christ. You don’t think there were days Jesus might have felt like kicking his disciples to the curb and saying, “I don’t have to put up with this.” It was because He clothed himself with these very attributes that He not only put with them, but endured the cross for them, as well as us. If it is our desire to be identified with His nature and character, then we are going to have to endure some of the work of the cross in us. Be where God places you and stay there until He moves you. If you are going through some things it is because you need to grow through some of these things. Remember it is the lowest valleys that prepare you for the highest mountains.
The body must truly put on the love and humility of Christ if we are to walk in unity to accomplish the purpose of the Father. He said we would be a bride without spot or wrinkle. Well, obviously there is a whole lot of cleaning and ironing that needs to go on to get us there. Allow His love to have its perfect work in you.

Blessings,
#kent

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

Practical Application for a Holy Life

Colossians 3: 1-3
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

The first thing we need as Christians is a revelation of who we are in Christ. In Christ, the former man with it natural affections has passed away and we are putting on a new man renewed in thought, purpose and deed; reflecting and producing the image of Christ. Colossians 3 is a great application for who we are and what we are becoming, as well as what we need to be doing to get there.
We start out by realizing positionally where we are at, “raised with Christ” who is seated at the right hand of God. We are in Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. We aren’t going to find many positions higher than that. We, who are in that position, have come to a new mindset different from the one we formerly carried. We must be a heavenly-minded people whose affections are on things above and not on things below, who walk after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Many of us are still holding on to that old unrenewed mind and earthly affections. It is bringing us down and robbing us of who we are and what we have “in Christ”. It is only as we behold Him that the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Colossians 3 is an instructional in the practical ways we are to become heavenly-minded and have a renewed mind. The first thing that it instructs us to do is often the hardest for us to put into practical application. Verses 5-11 instruct us, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming, 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Do you happen to recognize any of these attributes still lingering around your life? The hardest thing to put to death is our flesh. It has an instinct for survival and it will do anything, compromise anyway, promise to be good, it just doesn’t want to die; yet it must. We can see the value of keeping Christ and the Word of God constantly in front of us, so that we have a mirror of who we are in Christ and we don’t loose vision of where we are going and what our purpose now is. These little daily devotionals are just one more means I pray the Holy Spirit uses to continually prompt and exhort us in His ways and not our former nature. We tend to want to turn away and ignore the things that put a finger on our sin and our reluctance to yield certain areas of our lives to Christ. We all have our little weaknesses, our idols, and those things that our flesh covets and doesn’t want to give up. Yet, if we are unwilling, then we are living in rebellion and disobedience to Christ, we are not being true to who we are “in Christ”, thus we deny His best and His highest for us.
These scriptures tell us what we must take off, but what about what we must put on. God never takes anything away but what He doesn’t give us something better to replace it with. Verses 12-17 instruct us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” God is in affect telling us to be clothed now with His nature, which is the holy apparel that is consistent with heavenly citizenship. The world around us must see something unique, different and special about the people who bear the name of Christ. If we are no different than the world, then we haven’t really changed identity or clothing. We are still living in the same old unredeemed man. Its not all about us going to church, or just talking about Jesus, or telling the world they are sinners bound for hell unless they repent; it is about a lifestyle and behavior that exemplifies who and what we are in Christ. That speaks so much more loudly than words. Give me a person that truly lives Christ before me and that will more quickly move me to change than all of the words and arguments they could give. When you put on Christ you don’t just put on different behavior, you put on a holy presence. It is a presence that exudes the love and power of the Spirit that you are of. God now has place and platform to glorify Himself through you.
Colossians 3 concludes by these instructions to the households of believers and the reminder that at the end of this natural life there is a reward and an inheritance. A reminder that it is Christ we serve and that if we choose to do wrong, that wrong bears its consequences without respect of persons. Verses 18-24 instruct us, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
Thus we have simply laid out for us the guide for living the practical Christ centered life that is consistent with whom we now are. Daily we present our bodies a living sacrifice and daily we renew our minds in Christ. We apply these practical instructions with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, that in all things we might be conformed to His life and live consistent with the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

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