God’s Toolbox

May 27, 2015

God’s Toolbox

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

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

Blessings,
#kent

2 Corinthians 2:10
For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds

Through the Heat of Battle

In the trenches of spiritual warfare you are not often going to look your best. In the daily battles and encounters we have we are often sweaty, dirty, tired and even bloody, bruised and wounded. Those who are walking out their faith are not dressed for ceremony they are dressed for battle. In the battle you most likely will not feel like a good warrior or hero. You may be scared, discouraged, fatigued, hurting and just trying to survive. While you may feel inside to be anything but an overcomer, that is who you are as you endure the battle and stand faithful to the banner of your faith. The survivors and heroes of war weren’t wearing their medals on their chest in the midst of the battle, those medals were the result of their fortitude, their faithfulness, their courage in the midst of the battle when all they were seeing around them was pain, suffering and death. Yet there was something in their character and in their hearts that brought them through the battle. Those men and women weren’t decorated with medals because they conducted themselves well, when everything was going good and they were at peace. Most medals are won in the midst of battle where if we get through it, it is not without loss and pain physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Many of you are on the spiritual battlegrounds today. It may not have been your choice, but you are there in the midst of the battle none the less. Most of us would like to just speak a word and have those battles resolved and go away, but we find that we are in a war that often rages on day after day. Some days we are not sure we can make it through another one, but somehow, by the grace of God, we do. God wants you to know that this is not a sign of your weakness or your defeat, it is the proving ground of your victory and your triumph. The enemy is fighting to take your life, but by your faithfulness and the fortitude of your faith, God is forming in you the heart of courage and the qualities of heroes. By your continued faithfulness you are prevailing and you are conquering, even though in your heart you may feel very discouraged and defeated. It is in these places that we learn to crawl out of the weakness of our flesh and put on Christ who is our strength and our life. We may have to endure the battle while in these weak and frail bodies, but in our spirits and in our hearts we have put off the flesh and put on Christ who is our strength. Through Him we are more than conquerors and can do all things. If He leads us into battle then we must trust that He can sustain us through it.
Whatever your battle and whatever front your are fighting on, whether it be health, finances, job, emotional, family problems, persecution, or whatever, He is there for you. In these places of battle the enemy tries to strip us of our dignity, our faith, our confidence and assurance. He rails upon us with condemnation, throwing before us our weakness and defeats. We can not take his bait. Sometimes he causes hurts so severe that we will harbor, hate, anger and unforgiveness. He assaults us on many fronts, but we must be wise and discerning of His tactics, holding fast the Word of God as our standard of truth and reality. We are what the Word of God says we are. 1 Peter 2:9-11 says of us, “9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Be encouraged today; strengthen yourself in His faithfulness. Stay the course, endure the battle and finish the race. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)”

Blessings,
#kent

Galatians 5:13-15
13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Beware of the Pack Mentality

One of the things that I have often observed in the work place or social gatherings where people are in frequent association is what I will call a pack mentality. It is so subtle that often we don’t even realize that we have been caught up in it. I know I have at times and probably most of us have and perhaps still are.
It often goes something like this, someone, especially someone outside our circle or click, has a weakness or makes a mistake. Some one of our peers begins to make jokes either to the person or about the person to others. Before, long others are chiming in with their wise crack, comments and jesting. Suddenly we find ourselves adding to that dialogue as we all laugh at that person’s expense. The person may seem to take it in stride and may even laugh along with you, but what is going on inside of the person who is under attack? That person is being demoralized, made to feel less of a person and has become a victim to a group of people who are delighting in biting and devouring the person’s dignity and worth. This can be very demoralizing to a person and many of us have been on the side of the victim so we may well know or remember what that feels like. What may have started out in light ribbing or jest can become a blood bath for the victim. The more blood that is drawn the more the “pack” moves into devour and tear apart. Gossip works that same way.
This kind of behavior not only takes place in the work place and social gatherings; it can and does often take place in our churches and among our assembly. While this may afford some of us great entertainment it usually doesn’t come without a price, but as long as we are not the one paying it, who cares, is often our attitude.
Our scripture today reminds us that walking in love is to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we are a part of doing something to someone that we wouldn’t want done to us, then we are not walking in love. Our jesting and faultfinding can sometimes turn very ugly and hateful as one party may try and out insult the other. What started out in fun can become very personal and hurtful. The Spirit of Christ is seen in Philippians 4:8, which should be our guiding, light. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.” We have the Spirit of the life of Christ in us and by His very nature we are to be life-givers and not life-takers. Speak those things, which edify and build up. In the pack mentality that will make you like a wet blanket in a blazing fire, but we were not called to be a part of the world and their thinking.
Each day, make it your objective and desire to see how many people that you can build up, edify and speak good things about. Be quick to praise others and very slow to find fault. There is a need for life-givers in a cruel and negative world. Let us fit the description of Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Blessings,
#Kent

Romans 5:6-8
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

God Loves Us Even when We are Ugly

Isn’t it wonderful that God didn’t just limit His love and grace to the few us humans that are cute and cuddly? He didn’t just love us when we loved Him and didn’t withhold His greatest expression of love toward us even when we least deserved or merited it.
Have you ever been around someone that was hard to love and get along with? On in any given day that could probably apply to any one of us. We can all have our ugly times and our ugly ways. Then there are some with which it has become a way of life. You know the ironic thing is that it is usually with the people that we love the most that we are often the most ugly. We can be ripping our spouse or children up all-day and then come to a stranger and be perfectly nice and polite.
Why is that? Perhaps it is because we feel safe venting our anger, frustration and anxieties upon the ones that we love because we feel we are safe doing it with them. Maybe it is because the ones we “love” aren’t meeting our expectations or living up to our standards. Perhaps we feel those loved ones will still love me even when my raw side is showing. Unfortunately, what was maybe a once-in-a-while bad hair day, can become a habitual bad hair life. We can become abusive on a continual basis to the ones we should love and respect the most. It may be our husband, our wife, our children, parents, family or friends.
There is a great lesson here as we look at God’s love. We see His love is unconditional and that He did love us in spite of our inward ugliness. He teaches us to be the same in our love for others. We see it coming through in the attributes of His Holy Spirit, love, joy, longsuffering, self-control, kindness, goodness, peace, meekness, faith and gentleness. As His people these attributes should be an ever-increasing part of our lives. When others are ugly toward us we have to look with the eyes of the Spirit into their hearts and ask why is this person hurting so bad that they treat others this way? Is there anything I can do in Christ to minister and help to heal those inner hurts, wounds and scars?
In our closer personal relationships perhaps we may be reaping in our loved one seeds of discontent and strife that we have sown by our own actions or insensitivity. Perhaps we have played a big part in why this loved one has become that not so lovely person. What do we need to do out of the love of Christ and the love we have for them to change our dynamics toward them to relieve these angry and resentful feelings that they may be expressing? So often anger and emotion keep us from coming to a resolution of our issues. Sometimes the expression of our anger and emotion only serve to drive those we love further away from us and cause them to withdrawal. You will never bring the head of a turtle out of his shell when he knows he is going to get clubbed as soon as He shows it. We need a truce, a cease-fire and to lay our emotions aside. We need to reconcile ourselves through the love of God to really hear and respond to the issues of the heart. Most all of us are creatures of habits and it may be those habits that are a constant source of irritation and dysfunction. Let us love one another enough to change those habits and behaviors for their sake and to help them become that lovely person again that we once knew.
What is love? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” Let us love one another as God in Christ has so loved us.

Blessings,
#kent

Qualifying

September 24, 2014

1 Peter 1:6-9
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

James 1:2-4
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Qualifying

How many of us have endeavored to do something in life that required us to qualify to participate. If we ever went through basic training in the military, or went out for sports or any number of other events, there was a difficult period we went through of preparation and trials. Many of us can probably remember times in our life when physically and maybe even mentally and emotionally we were pushed to our limits. We may have hurt so bad or been so discouraged we thought we couldn’t go on, we couldn’t make it. Something didn’t just magically happen that suddenly made us qualified and we were taken out of the testing. If we qualified we had to stay the course, we had to persevere and endure. Maybe some of us didn’t make it when all was said done, but the one sure way we were disqualified is if we gave up and quit.
Our life in Christ is often like that qualifying period when God is working in us a greater thing of His nature and character. Sometimes we are pushed to our limits and we want to give up and quit. The old ways of life were so much easier for us. Many do give up when trials come and forsake their faith. They allow the precious seed to be robbed from them and they fall by the way side.
James says that faith produces patience and it is that patience that must have its perfect work in us. We are like a raw sacrifice until we are cooked over the fires of tribulation and trials. It is that faithfulness and steadfastness in the trials that make us to be a sweet smelling savor unto the Lord. It is then that He can say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” It is faithfully keeping our eyes and heart on Him that is the demonstration of our faith and overcoming. Only faith can count as substance that which it cannot see and physically experience. It is that faith that pleases God. It is faith that sees beyond the natural realm and counts God faithful even in the thick of our trials and testing; that is the faith that is more precious than gold.
Today, if you are discouraged, if you are broken, if you are hurting, if you’re feeling bankrupt and destitute, hold fast to your faith. Don’t give up, don’t give in, just keep your heart steadfast in Him. Jesus will carry you through. He will become in you what you cannot be in yourself. It is only as we lose ourselves that He can be. Place it all on the altar. Reckon yourself dead unto sin and the world and alive unto Christ. He will qualify you as you hold fast your faith.

Blessings
#kent

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