Taking Up an Offense

October 15, 2015

Proverbs 18:19
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.

Taking Up an Offense

How many of us today are carrying offenses in our heart towards another. They said something to us, they did something to us, they wronged us in some way and now they are on the black list of our heart to stay. We have all been offended, hurt, disappointed, emotionally wounded and wronged in some way. I guess that is pretty normal behavior in the world, but what about in the identity that God has given us in Christ. In our identity with Him, are we still justified in holding on to these offenses, no matter how justified we reason within ourselves to do so?
Colossians 3: 13 says, ” Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” That is not a request, but a command. Have we never offended or hurt anyone? Are we so unwilling to forgive what we ourselves have been guilty of?
One revelation we all need to get is that we are not of this world and yet we keep thinking like it and acting like it. That is not a renewed mind in Christ, it is being conformed to the world which is an offense to God. When we are unwilling to forgive then we spit in the face of Him who forgave us. That is strong and it should be, because that is how the Lord takes it. He forgave us so much, shouldn’t we be willing to forgive little. Jesus spoke parables about forgiveness and He taught a word concerning it that very few of us are walking in.
Now someone might be thinking, “Will you don’t know what they did to me, I can’t ever forgive them for that.”
Jesus said, ” “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that 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. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:43-46)
Somehow we can all become self-righteous about things. We can see all of the faults in others. We may be carrying an offense against someone that isn’t even our own. We have taken it up for someone else because they were wronged. We tend to somehow feel that we have been given the right to judge others for their wrongs and are justified in condemning them and holding it against them.
Jesus said, ” “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Romans 2:1-4 also addressed this issue, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” It goes on to say that because of this stubbornness we store up wrath for ourselves, because we are going to be judged by the same standards that we judged others and if we showed no mercy, then we can’t expect to receive mercy.
How can we fully walk in who we are in Christ when we hold offense against a brother or another. God is love. His love and forgiveness has been shed abroad in our hearts as believers. Are we now going to annul what He died for? Listen to what 1 John 2:9-11 has to say about this. “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”
Are people, and even brothers and sisters, going to hurt, disappoint and offend us? You can count on it, but what you do with that offense speaks volumes to how real your identity is in Christ. If you really know Him, you will keep His commands. If you really love Him, you will allow His love to dominate and guide your heart. Your mercy will triumph over judgement and you will be the hot coals of love poured over the offenders head.
I would just like to end this with the exhortation given from Roman12:9-21 about how we are to walk in love toward one another. May the Holy Spirit help us acknowledge, to release and forgive any and all offenses that we have been carrying.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Blessings,
#kent

Show us the Father

April 16, 2015

John 14:8-13
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Show us the Father

There are many concepts of God. Some think of Him as an old man with a great white beard setting upon a throne in heaven. Some conceive Him as a celestial Santa Clause. Some see Him as an angry God with a big stick ready to smack all who sin. Men have contrived many ideas and views of God, but what is true? Philip obviously had his own ideas when he asked Jesus to show them the Father.
Jesus once said something to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 about who God is as she was confronting Him about this similar question. “Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”” (John 4:21-24) He tells us something key, God isn’t natural physical substance or being; He is Spirit. The Holy Spirit that abides in you is God in you. What Jesus, the man, manifested and lived out in the earth was the Spirit of God in Him. Because Jesus was never given to the flesh, but only walked by the Spirit, He was the embodiment of the Father, the Spirit of God. Jesus came to get that same Spirit into us, so that we will operate out of faith in His name; embodied and indwelled by His Spirit and nature so that we might do the works that He did. Jesus says, “he will do even great things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Some of us have thought that if we just use the magic words, “In the name of Jesus” all these things would happen. What Jesus is showing through His life of example is that a name is not just words that we speak, but a nature and character that we possess and the Spirit of the Father is what we manifest.
Remember Romans 8:9-17 teaches us? “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” We are no longer naturally minded beings, but spiritual beings operating as sons of God out of the Spirit of God. This why it is so important that we get a hold of our identity and live out of it. We live so much a mixture of flesh and spirit that we negate the power of God in us. Isn’t Father looking for human temples that are consecrated solely to His will and purpose. If we are to see that greater works ministry through our lives then let us do as Hebrews 12:1-3 exhorts us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
If we would see the Father, then let us walk as Jesus walked and operate out of His Spirit, which is the Spirit of the Father. Father already came down into earth and humanity, now He is desiring to bring us up into the Spirit and heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I have shared it before and I will share again a saying I once heard as a teenager that has always stuck with me. “The Son of God became the son of man, so that the sons of men, could become the sons of God.” (author unknown)

Blessings,
#kent

Higher Level Living

March 5, 2014

Matthew 5:11-12

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


Higher Level Living


What is our natural response to insults, verbal and physical attacks, slander, gossip and false accusations?  Isn’t it to fight back, justify, retaliate and begin attacking our attackers.  Suddenly we find ourselves drawn in and participating in the same fleshly ugliness of those who attacked us. We have come down to their level and are fighting with the same carnal weapons they are.  We are opening our hearts to be influenced by the same spirits that are influencing them.  

“An eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth,” some will say.  Funny you should say that because a little further down in Matthew 5:32-42 Jesus says,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”  

Wow, that is pretty unconventional wisdom by this world’s standards and wisdom only a few are willing to walk in.  

Why?

Because it denies all of “my” rights.  It is asking me to give up and renounce what is “mine”.  It is asking me to return good for evil and it imposes seemingly unfair demands upon “me” as a person.  It  seems to be letting injustice prevail and our rights to be taken unfair advantage of.  

When we can all walk in the principles that Jesus gives us in Matthew 5-7 it is probably a pretty good indicator that we are getting very close to being dead unto self and alive only unto Christ.  For us to willingly walk in the principles that Jesus is describing means it can no longer be about me, but only about exemplifying and living out of  Christ.  These are the principles that He walked and lived by.  The reason He could is because His heart and affection weren’t upon His natural man or the things of this world.  

We all have our possessions and things we have worked hard for.  We all have our reputation and our dignity to uphold.  It so goes against our grain to be taken advantage of or exploited or to be spoken falsely about.  

What Jesus is telling us is, there is a higher level of kingdom living that most of us never touch or  really know because we are still so connected and attached to this earthly kingdom and realm.  Many of us still think that the political candidate or president is going to determine the fate of the world, the nation and my well being.   We may believe if others aren’t of our particular denomination or persuasion of belief they are going to hell or will miss it and yet how many of us are really living these principles of Jesus?  

What we all need as believers, who say we love Christ, is a deliverance from a lot of our materialistic and capitalist ways.  They are not His ways, but what the world has taught us is true and valuable.  If we are not of this world then why are these things still so important to us?  The truth is most of us are really living out of a lower level of life and values than what Christ has called us too.  

Sometimes we don’t think much about it until we are put in those positions where we must choose between the conventional wisdom of this world and the wisdom that is from above.  If you want to really stand out as odd, even among most of the Christian community, try truly walking in the principles that Christ lays out here.  

Finally Jesus really stretches us even more in verses 38-43 by saying,  “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.”

Jesus is calling us to a higher place.  It is not a realm where we can operate in conventional wisdom or even love with conventional love.  It  is place that we can only operate out of, by His Spirit and His Agape’ love.   It is a place where our self identity can not live; only our identity in Christ.  It is a place where we need to thank God for our enemies, because they are the only ones who can help elevate us to this realm of living and being.  Are we ready for a higher level of living?

 

Blessings,

kent

Matthew 24:35
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Trivial words fade quickly from the hearing,
as does the familiarity of life from our memory.
When that which is trivial and familiar is passed away,
is there the substance of faith and reality to take its place?
When all that is known, becomes unknown,
and the life we’ve known comes tumbling down,
is our foundation strong to build again upon
those things which can not be moved, eternally sound?
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but God’s Word will always remain.
He is the confidence that anchors our hope,
when all else is stripped from its context and frame.

When Life gets Turned Upside-down

There can come a time in our life, and it may have already occurred in yours, when either naturally of supernaturally our world, as we know it, falls apart. All that was familiar and comfortable becomes unhinged and discomfited. We may lose our career, a loved one passes, we are bankrupted, our children run away or get in trouble; there are multitude of ways our life can get turned upside down. While those transitions in life are rarely desirable, they may put to the test all that we have lived and believed. All of sudden all the beliefs that we had neatly folded in our box become dumped out and the very fabric of all that we called faith is tested. In those moments of turmoil we may be desperately trying to find God in the midst and thick of it.
“How could He let this happen?” “Why?” ” Where are you God?”
It is probably much the way Job felt when satan was allowed to touch his life in almost every area. If we in our natural mind and reasoning, then all we can see and comprehend are our natural circumstances. We may have grown so accustomed to the blessings of God that we thought we were immune to the trials of life, but God never promised us a life without trials. Satan’s purpose through the trials might be to kill, steal and destroy. Most of all, he wants you to doubt God’s love and faithfulness, so that you would turn from God and count Him unfaithful. He wants to steal your identity in Christ.
We have to ask ourselves in the story we see of Job, what was God heart and His ultimate purpose in allowing such calamity, pain and devastation in Job’s life? In the end it gave Job a greater revelation of God in His holiness and majesty. In the end, because Job retained his integrity and faith, God promoted him to a place of priesthood where he was interceding and making sacrifice for his accusers and fault-finders and he was brought into a double portion of all that he formerly had, as great as that already was.
Father isn’t out to make us fail or to make our lives miserable, but out of pain is often birthed a greater blessing that can bring us up higher into Him. We won’t always understand its purpose at the time and it may feel like God has totally abandoned and forsaken us, but He is causing us flex our faith, not our intellect or natural abilities. He is causing us to trust Him in what we can’t see. Our response should be to bless the Lord in those times, not to curse Him and turn away. Even Job, without the Word of God to draw upon had a revelation of this truth in his heart.
Job 1:21-22 says that after Job heard of all that had come upon his property and family, “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”
Will that be our response if and when our world is turned upside down? These will be the times when the true metal of our faith will be tested. It may be so bad, we don’t think it could be any worse and then it gets worse and it continues to get worse, but God never ceases to be God or to sit upon the throne. If we truly know Him, He will be the anchor in the storm that keeps us from running aground on the rocks of circumstances and unbelief. He is still there in the boat with us as we are weathering our storm and it may seem He is asleep in the hull of the boat and oblivious to all that is happening around us. We may be crying out, “Lord, don’t you care that we perish?”.
Just remember if you perish, Christ perishes with you, because He is in you. In those times, can you still remember who you are, “IN CHRIST”? Circumstances can change, but God’s word doesn’t change and Jesus doesn’t change. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. You anchored to eternity in Him. Even if your outward man would perish, you have a building, a tabernacle made by God, eternal in the heavens.
What we must have as saints of God, is an immovable faith and trust that can not be shaken by heaven or hell. A faith so grounded in Christ that even when our mind can’t wrap itself around it and our reason fails us, our faith remains steadfast and firm. Either God is who He says He is or we have believed in vain.
There may be or come times in our life when nothing makes sense. That is when faith in God’s Word is your anchor. We may be in total disorientation and vertigo, but just as a pilot in darkness and storm must rely upon his instruments to give him bearing and orientation, so we must do with the Word of God. We can’t trust our senses, our feelings or even our intellect; to do so could prove fatal. God’s Word must remain the anchor of our soul, because we know that even though all else would pass away, God’ Word remains.

Blessings,
kent

The Antidote for Fear

November 30, 2012

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

The Antidote for Fear

We live and walk in a world consumed by doubt and fears. Unfortunately it touches many who are believers as well as the world. It is important that if fear and doubt are a struggle that you have that you will be encouraged and exhorted by this word.
The only one that God wants us to fear is Him. When we truly reverence and stand in total awe of who He is then we realize He ultimately has the say and judgement over our life and spirit. Others may be able to afflict and kill the body, but God determines our eternal destiny.
When I find myself in fear and doubt, I find that I am not standing and walking fully in faith. Faith in God’s Word assures me that God is Love. His love is able to keep me, not matter what circumstances surround me or those I love. In Romans 8:28 I am given the assurance that, “all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Even when I am faced with tribulation, persecution, afflictions and death, I need not fear.
Why?
Because God’s perfect love drives out all fear. In Psalms 118:6, the Psalmist declares, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” We have the assurance that as we have received by faith, Christ as our Savior and Lord, He lives in us and we live in Him. He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. All else, spirit or flesh, is under His dominion. If we are in Him then anything that touches us must come through Him.
Our fears come when we lose sight of the identity that we have in Jesus Christ. When we fully grasp and lay hold of the promises and truth of God’s Word, fear has no grip upon us.
Why?
Because we are God’s children who abide in the Love of God. His perfect love casts out fear. Our lives are His. Is there any so great as to pluck us out of the hand of God?
“But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” If we fear judgement and punishment then we lack the assurance that we have been fully washed and cleansed in the blood of Jesus. We don’t fully understand that we are fully justified in Christ, meaning it is just as if we never sinned. When we abide in the Righteous One, then we abide in the full assurance of His salvation. In that salvation is the revelation of God holy and insurmountable love for us. For us to live in fear, means that we have taken our eyes off of who He is in us and put them upon the circumstances that surround us.
When Stephen was about to be stoned by the frenzied mob of the religious, he didn’t fear what they could do to him. He only saw Jesus and had set his eyes on things above. When we, like him, see Jesus setting a the right hand of the Father, then there is no room for fear because Ephesians 2:6-10 assures us, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
When we know who we are, where our position is and what our purpose is then what can man do to us. Our life is hid in Him and He is sovereign over all of the affairs of men. When we get a revelation of this we will better understand the perfect love of God and that God has designed that we should be made perfect in that love. “Perfect love drives out fear.”

Blessings,
kent

The Source of Our Life

November 9, 2012

James 1;21-25
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

The Source of Our Life

Life flows from the inward parts. The source of our life and the well-spring of its origin are manifested in the taste of that which flows out of us. That is why James asks the question in James 3:11, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” Can there be, should there be, two sources of life flowing out of us? The tongue is what betrays the source of our life. It can not be tamed, but speaks what is in the abundance of our heart.
James is saying that this duality and duplicity of nature is not of God. We produce the fruit of what we are planting within our minds and hearts. If is showing up as ungodliness then it is telling us that Christ isn’t our central and primary source of life.
Within the church and many of our own lives there is such a mixture of flesh and spirit. That is understandable to a degree, we are in the state of change and transformation., While we have been crucified with Christ we should be moving in the direction of that place where we no longer live, but Christ is living in and through us. For that to happen we have to be eating out of the garden and from the seed of His life. We must be in constant communion, fellowship and relationship with Him. When we compartmentalize Christ into just certain areas or times in our lives, then we haven’t fully sold out to His life alone. We are living in spiritual adultery as we drink from other cisterns or wells that are not the waters of His Spirit and life. “Adultery” is an ugly word that we don’t like to hear or relate with, but we have to all ask ourselves, where am I drawing my life continually from? Many of us want a spiritual life, but in a worldly context. Thus we are choosing to partake once again of that which Christ died to deliver us out of.
Jesus says we can’t choose two masters. We can’t be both spiritual and worldly, for in doing so we pollute the waters of His righteousness and life. Listen to what James 4:4-10 says, ” You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
It is not the Lord’s heart to condemn us through this word, but open our eyes to where we are, where we are going and what is being produced through our lives. Yes, we all make mistakes along the way, but where is our heart? What are we living fully for and where are we drawing our strength and life to live in that way? God want us to be the purified flow of His life, producing godly fruit in this world. He wants us to remember where our identity is; in Him and not in this world. The world knows Jesus, by what they see in you and me. If we aren’t the real deal, then how will they ever know or even want the real deal. Live out of the life of God that you may produce the works of God. We are often so quick to judge others when it is ourselves we need to judge and correct.
Come, let us repent before the Lord and return unto Him with our whole hearts. Let us continually and solely drink from the wells of God’s salvation and life.

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: