Honor the Lord

January 19, 2016

Matthew 15:8-9

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

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

Honor the Lord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

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A Broken Man

June 15, 2015

Isaiah 66:1-2
Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

A Broken Man

There is something powerful about a broken man. A broken man has no reliance upon his ability or strength or wisdom. A broken man, in himself is poor, he is undone and his esteem can no longer be found in himself. A broken man is one that is not defeated, although defeat may have brought him to this place. He is not a worthless man, even though he has come to realize that his worth is not in himself. The broken man is not a man given to his own wants and pleasures, but he trembles and has a godly fear before the Lord. He has come to the end of Himself as He has caught a glimpse of the magnificence of His God. Now, He bows before his Maker in full surrender, humility and his brokeness becomes his strength. It is his strength because it has caught the eye and the attention of the Almighty. The Lord has found a gem that is not given to himself, but is given to the Him and that which pleases Him.
2 Chronicles 2:9a says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him.” He is looking for the broken person in you and me. He is looking to us to be the floodgates through which His power and life might flow. He is looking for a people of integrity, faith and obedience. He is looking for the broken man and woman that know there is no good thing in themselves, except the Christ that indwells them and redeems them. The key to our being able to release the power of God is not in our prayers, laying of hands or speaking the right words. It is like it was for Jesus. It is moving in the will, direction and the power of the Spirit. It hearing the will of the Father and doing it. We are simply the gateways and the doorways for God to release Himself to others. He could adequately do it without us, but He has chosen to use us as the instruments of His expression and love. The perfect vessel for Him is a broken one, one that is emptied of it’s self so that He may shape it and fill it with Himself. There is great power and potential in a broken man, because he can capture the eye and the heart of God.

Blessings,
#kent

Boys to Men

January 21, 2015

Ephesians 4: 14-16
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Boys to Men

As I was meditating this morning an old John Wayne movie came into my thoughts called “The Cowboys”. Many of you may still remember it. It was about a rancher who had to drive his cattle to market, but he couldn’t get any men to help him so he had to take a group of boys to drive his cattle. Along the drive they are confronted with cattle rustlers who capture them. John Wayne never allows fear or intimidation to be seen on him. He stands up to these rustlers and demonstrates before these boys what a man of courage and integrity is all about. In the process the leader of the rustlers kills him and they go on to take the cattle. The only other adult is the old cook. After John Wayne’s death, these boys rise to the occasion and they no longer see themselves as boys, but as men. They plan their strategy and take the cattle back from the rustlers, defeating them in the process and killing their leader. They then take the cattle on to market and complete their mission.
What I felt the Lord was showing me through this is that we have a man who has walked before us and shown us the true nature and character of God. He has never shown fear or been intimidated by His enemies, but demonstrated before us the greatest degree of courage and self-sacrifice as He gave His life for us. We are like those boys, who have never seen ourselves really as men, but God is placing us in circumstances that we must gird up our loins as men and walk the walk of the Savior. There comes a time we put aside our childish ways and we come into manhood and I speak this figuratively for women as well as men. The Holy Spirit is there to give the wisdom and guidance to grow up into Him which is the head, even Christ. As we come into maturity, we put aside our petty bickering and differences and we function as one man, one team filled with the Holy Spirit, with power and authority. I believe that in this time the Lord is telling us to grow up and go from boys to men. We know the way; Jesus walked it before us, now it is time that we walk His walk, not going where we choose, but where He leads us. Many of us may be weak or of no special ability or strength, but God has chosen the foolish to confound the wise and the weak to prevail over the strong. It is not because of who we are that we are anything, but it is because of who He is in us that we are everything and capable of anything. It is time we take our eyes off of our immaturity and childishness. It is time we place our eyes upon Him that we have been called to be conformed too and begin to walk in His image and likeness. Faith sees what is not evident and without faith it is impossible to please Him. It is that faith of who He is in us that is taking us from boys to men.

Blessings,
#kent

Green Pastures

October 13, 2014

Green Pastures

Psalms 23:2
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

There is a place in the Lord where He is leading us and causing us to rest. It is the green pastures of His rest. There He causes us to lie down as we feed upon His life and truth. There He keeps us safely under His watchful eye.
Some of us are still searching for this green pasture. It seems all we have known is the wilderness, living from blade of grass to blade of grass, thirsting for the waters of life. Our outlook and attitude is usually dim and pessimistic as we trudge on, one foot in front of the other.
It is interesting that the children of Israel were not so unlike a great flock of sheep whom the Lord brought out of Egypt. Often they were so taken by their circumstances and what they saw as their lack, that they failed to recognize, acknowledge and reverence the hand of the Great Shepherd that was over them. When God does not meet our need in the way and time frame of our thinking our first inclination is to begin to murmur and complain. Our minds become filled with the thoughts that God is not faithful. ‘He has led us out here to let us die. We should have never trusted Him. We should have stayed where we were; at least there in Egypt or the world, we knew what we had.’ Perhaps God has you and I in that place today where, like the children of Israel, He is proving what is in our hearts. In Exodus 15, after a mighty deliverance, God led the people of Israel to the waters of Marah. The waters were bitter and the people could not drink. Have we ever tried to trust God through a situation and it seemed that He had led us to a place where we worse off than before and everything seemed to be against us? Instead of His blessing, it may have seemed we had been cursed. Perhaps these are our waters of Marah or bitterness where He is proving what is in our hearts. Exodus 15:25, says, “And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, [which] when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.” Can we find the rest of His green pastures even in those times of trial and testing? Can we find the pools of still water in the midst of the turbulent rapids that are swirling around our lives? Do we get anxious and panic? Do we get angry, frustrated and murmur against God, because it appears He has forsaken us and failed us in our time of need. Those are the places where He wants us to find the green pastures of His rest. Calvary provides the only tree that can make the waters sweet again. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Those green pastures speak of His life. That is the substance of what we must feed from? Isn’t it His Word and His Truth?
When we go out to buy a used car won’t we walk around it, look it over real good, kick the tires and test drive it? We are testing it for integrity and service. We want to know that it is reliable and won’t fail us in our time of need and dependency. God often proves our faith the same way. He is not just looking at the paint job and the high gloss wax; He is proving the inward parts. He wants to know the overall integrity and faithfulness of our hearts. Not only does He want to know, but also more importantly we need to know who we are in Him. It is through our travels of faith in Him, He often leads us to these waters of Marah or bitterness, where we are tested, but oh how sweet it is when we finally pass the test. When we hold fast to His Word and His promise through the time of testing and trial and then we see His deliverance and provision. It is in those times that we experience the green pastures of our rest where we have just laid down in Him, where we have snuggled up in His faithful arms and just declared God, you are God in my circumstances. No matter what happens, You change not, You are no less God and You are no less faithful.
Perhaps the green pastures of His rest are there, but with our natural eyes all we are seeing is desolation and wilderness. Faith is what leads us into those green pastures where we lie down beside the still waters, because our rest and our completion are in Him and not in us or the world around us. Psalm 23:3-6 goes on to say, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Our security and our rest are not in this world or in our circumstances, but only in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

To God Be the Glory

May 19, 2014

Acts 14:8-10
In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

To God Be the Glory

Is the word that we speak one that creates faith in the hearer? Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” When we truly speak the Word of God it should produce faith in them that receive it. When Paul perceived the faith that was produced in this man’s heart, he simply spoke to it and it manifested in the man’s healing.
Don’t we believe that God wants to do like-miracles among people that we are willing to speak the word into? The danger of men is that they want to put their eyes upon what is seen rather than what is unseen. They want to get their eyes and worship on the facilitator rather than the Healer. If we are not void of that self identity we are apt to take this glory and praise unto ourselves rather than channeling it back to Christ where it belongs. When ever we allow people to start lifting us up then we are already setting ourselves up for a fall. In the following verses where the people saw the miracle of what happened to the crippled man they began to worship and want to make sacrifices to Paul and Barnabus. It was all they could do to restrain the people from doing this, but they didn’t make themselves out to be anything more than mere men. They were telling the people we are not God, we are simply the messengers sent from God to communicate and confirm God’s good tidings toward you.
God is looking to work through a people that aren’t in it for themselves. A people who aren’t really seeking their own glory, attention, or the recognition of men. How many did Jesus heal and then told, “go and tell no man.” God is looking for us to be the signs and wonders that point all men to Him. Many a vessel of God started out with the right heart, but got caught up in the glory and the praise of men. They began to think upon themselves more highly than they ought. They began to think that all that they did was okay, because they were God’s man or woman of the hour. Many of the those men or women have since fallen. The fear of God we must maintain in our hearts is that, ‘too whom much is given, much will be required’ and James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
When God begins to break out through us in a greater works anointing, it is important that we judge and discern the motives of our heart in all that we do. Pride and self will quickly spring up if the root of them is still in you. An interpreter should never take credit for what the speaker is communicating. Their responsibility is to communicate what they have heard as clearly and distinctly as possible, but not to take credit for what was said. We are God’s conduits and while we carry the source and the power of His life and we are His distribution system, we don’t usurp His place as Lord or take from His glory. That is His to give to us and through us, but not ours to take from Him.
Prepare your heart for what God wants to impart through you and search your heart that there is no unclean or selfish motive to misuse what He wants to give you.
“They cried out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the lamb!”” (Revelations 7:10)

Blessings,
#kent

Hypocrisy

April 16, 2014

Hypocrisy

James 3:17
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

The definition of a hypocrite is, one who answers, an interpreter, an actor, stage player, pretender, one who is feigned, disguised or is insincere. It is one who wears a mask or false identity. It is a fact of human nature that what you see is not always what you get. From the time we are children we grow up learning to play the game of human interaction. We learn to put forward what others or society expects of us which often is not who we really are. We want to be people pleasers and accepted of others. Sometimes we have so many identities we don’t even know who we are.
Then, when we become Christians we are introduced to the religious system and we learn how to wear that mask. We learn the right phrases, how to act and put forward what is “acceptable Christian behavior.” Never mind the arguing, fighting and ugliness we showed toward our spouse and children as we were getting ready for church and on the way. As we step out of the car and walk into the church suddenly this transformation takes place. Suddenly we put on this godly smile and countenance and to those we encounter all is right with the world. If we are honest all of us have experienced this kind of behavior in our lives and probably still do. There is this duality in our lives that keeps us from being who we really are for fear that that is unacceptable. Many of us spend our lives living a lie and fashion ourselves around the dictates of others. We are so afraid of being seen in the nakedness of who we really are. It is true that many of us have some pretty hideous deformities and abnormalities in our lives, but are they ever dealt with and healed by masking them over. Our lives become one big game of pretending to be something or someone we really aren’t. What is worse, we then judge others out of our pretentious hypocrisy, because they don’t live up to the standard. The truth is they just don’t play the game as good as we do.
Is this what God wants us to be? If ever Jesus railed on anyone, it wasn’t the outright sinner it was the hypocrite. The one who liked to condemn and point the finger when inside he was no different than the ones he condemned. ” For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye (Matthew 7:2-5).”
We have been talking a lot about light and darkness. It is time we all come out into the light and be real with who we are. The truth is that most all of our lives are a mess in one area or another. We know that God sees us for who we really are. We know that it is only His power and grace that can transform us. How can this take place if we can’t even face up to who and what we are? It starts with us being honest with ourselves and with God. His love and mercy has already been extended to us in that, “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” He loves us no matter how ugly the sin our lives has been, but He loves us too much to leave us that way. His desire is bring us out of darkness into the light so that there it is exposed and we can repent, receive forgiveness through the blood of Christ and begin a path in the opposite direction of our sin, dependent upon the Lord to help us walk that way. We are all in this walk together and we are going from glory to glory, but we are at different stages in our maturity and walk with God. Our purpose as a body is to help each other along the way. We have to deal with these sin issues with honesty if we are going to be set free of them. If we want to continue to hold on to them then the dealings must become more severe, because these are stumbling blocks and hindrances to who we really are in Christ and what He has called us to be. Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” It is time that we quit playing games with God and with others and be real. Let’s deal with who we really are, because only then can we come into what God wants us to be. It is time we stop living the lie of hypocrisy and become the forgiven vessels of His mercy and grace no matter how humble that may be. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently: (1 Peter 1:22).”

blessings,
#kent

 

A Series of Right Decisions


Proverbs 3:1-12

1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline 

and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.


The essence and sum of our lives can be measured and is made up of a series of decisions.  There will be things in our lives that we have no control over other than how we respond to them and what we do with them.  When we look back over our lives and to the point that we presently live, we can see that our lives are the result of a good number of smaller decisions and choices. Some of those have had more impact on our lives than others but even the little decisions have contributed to the larger whole.  When we understand that each day is made up of a series of decision that can impact and guide the direction of our lives, we then understand the importance of making right decisions.  

Proverbs 3 speaks to us out of the wisdom of a Father to his son.  As we read this we insert ourselves into the object of this conversation.  The Father is reminding the son that to live a prosperous and healthy life there are certain things you need to maintain, remember and exercise in your decision making.  The foremost is that you keep the teachings and the commands of God’s Word in your heart.  The continual meditation upon the Word of God will serve to keep your life focused and continually aware of what your life is about.  

The way that we exercise the Word that we store up in our hearts is through love and faithfulness.  These are the keys that allow us to partake of the treasures of God’s wisdom and grace and to put them into the vocabulary of our daily lives and actions.  Love, trust and obedience, these are the essentials that need to be with us in every decision making process.  When we have them and exercise them, and then they will assure a right motive to the decisions that we do make.  

Even with these essentials we realize that we lack the insight, understanding and wisdom to really know what is best for our lives and if the decision we are making may be the best choice we could have made.  

Again, the Lord reminds us to trust Him with all our whole heart and to lean not upon our own understanding.  God knows so much more about our lives and the impact of our decisions than we do. It only makes sense to really trust Him to guide us and lead us.  He says He will make our paths straight.  Romans 8: 28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  These are those ones that are practicing Proverbs 3.  If we acknowledge Him, trust Him and love Him with all of our heart, then He is able to take even the bad things in our life and work them for our good.  There are going to be times in our life we won’t be able to grasp the whys and wherefores of how God operates and the reason He has allowed things to happen as they have.  He never told us we had to understand Him, just acknowledge, love and trust Him.  

We can never boast in ourselves, in our ability, our prosperity or our wisdom.  We do acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from above.  Sometimes we are tempted in our spiritual or natural successes to be lifted up to think we are something or somebody more than somebody else is.  We have to always keep our feet on the ground while we keep our heart in heaven.  Spiritual pride is a foolish man’s prize.  We are all the products of God’s rich grace and mercy.  None of us can boast in ourselves for it is God alone that gives us value and worth.  If we fear God and turn away from evil then it will be health to our body and nourishment to our bones.  

I heard a minister the other day who was sharing that the temple had five gates.  There was a priest stationed over each one of those gates as a watchman to assure that no danger or that nothing unclean entered the gates.  He went on to share that these five gate are like our five natural senses and God has set us as a priest to watch over them and insure that nothing harmful or unclean passes through them into the temple which we are.  This is much like the principles of Proverbs 3.  If we will do our part to love, acknowledge, trust and obey the Lord, He will do His part to direct and order our steps.  

As He honors us, we must in turn honor Him with the firstfruits of our increase.  We can’t bring the leftovers or the second best.  We must honor Him with the firstfruits of our best.  He assures us that we won’t lack because of it.  

We are His children.  He loves us and whom the Lord loves He chastens, disciplines and corrects.  We can’t become discouraged when our lot in life is tough.  It is not God’s anger and displeasure at work; it is His love.  The trials and tribulations in our lives are what shape and mold our character and integrity.  They are a part of the process of bringing us into conformity with Father’s nature and character.  All that God is working in us is in preparation for a much more glorious life.

Just remember that it is the series of everyday decision that add up to the sum of your life.  Allow God to be a part of every one of them.  

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

The Love

March 6, 2014

1 John 4:7-12

7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 


The Love


This scripture in 1John is so simple and yet so profound because it sums up who we are to be in Christ.  We are love, because He is love.  Here, we are not talking about a superficial love or even a friendship kind of love.  John is talking about an “Agape” kind of love, God’s love.  His love is not selfish, but is ever giving to the point of laying down its life for another.  

If most of us think about how easily we are offended by others we are going to catch a glimpse at how shallow the waters of our love are.  In order to love like Christ, we have to move into Christ and it has to be His Spirit and life abiding in us that enables us to love with this level of love.  We are called unto a high calling of Love.  The reality of that love abiding and operating through us will speak more to the glory and reality of God than a thousand sermons.  People in the world so rarely see the operation of that level of love and yet it should be commonplace within the body of Christ.  God’s love is a gift that is worth living for and it is worth dying for.  

God’s love is much like an expression of freedom.  It is freedom from the tyranny of sin, oppression and selfishness.  While men may come against you with all manner of hate and violence, your choice to love in Christ is something no man or spirit can take from you unless you allow them too.  God’s love doesn’t operate out of feelings; that is how our love normally operates.  Our feelings come and go, they change, but God doesn’t change.  He has continued to love us even when we least deserved it and when we were His enemies.  Can we love with that kind of love?  Only in Christ can we love with that manner of love.  It is not a love that is earned, but a love that is given.  It is not a love that seeks only one’s own good, but works to the good of those it comes into contact with.  It is not a love that is to be manipulated or used, but stands firm in integrity and righteousness.  It works to the higher good in others even when they don’t recognize and understand the means to an end.  It operates out of the wisdom of the Spirit and in harmony with the nature of Christ, for it is one and the same.

The reason this love is a testimony, to who we are in God, is because it is a love that can not be counterfeited or self produced.  It is only found and obtained as we release who we have been and are becoming what He is through a life yielded completely to Him.  The love of God in us is released in proportion to the level we are allowing the Sprit of Christ to operate in and through us. Even as your body houses your spirit, your spirit houses His Love and presence.  That, in turn, should be expressed back through our body, as we are the servants and instruments of righteousness in God’s love.

We may see ourselves as a long way from this level of love in us, but it is much closer than you think.  The only thing that stands between God and His love expressed through us is ourselves. That is why we must be willing to pick up our cross daily and follow Him.  As we are crucified, His love is released.

 

Blessings,

kent

Bridge over Troubled Waters

November 27, 2013

Bridge over Troubled Waters

John 14:1
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Our hearts are often burdened and troubled with many things, our children, our marriage, our loved ones, our finances, our health and the list goes on. Jesus tells us this is a part of this earthly life. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)” It is true to the selfless nature of Christ that in the last hours before His apprehension and subsequent crucifixion Jesus is not trying to find comfort for Himself, He is instead comforting and reassuring His disciples, preparing them for what is to come. In our lives we will come to these crossroads of great tribulation when our world will get turned upside down. It will be hard to make sense out of the devastation that we feel and heartache we may incur, but Jesus wants us to know that He has not forsaken us in these times. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to be our comforter, our peace, our reassurance that God has not left us or forsaken us. Our Father doesn’t rescue us from all of the tragedies of life. We are destined to walk through them and the consequences that sin has had in the earth. The peace we have is that our Christ lives in us. He is the source and the resource of our ability to walk through the fires and trials of life and not have the smell of smoke upon us. Invariably our first inclination is to begin reasoning and fighting in the power of our flesh, but our salvation is not in us, it is in Him. It is entering into the rest of our God and knowing ‘He is working all things to the good of them that love Him and that are called according to His purpose.’ Our peace comes only as we enter into that place of faith and trust. We know that we serve a great God, who is sovereign over all the earth and the affairs of men and while God doesn’t always change the course of history or events for our particular circumstances, that doesn’t mean He isn’t at work in them. We get so nervous when we are not in the driver’s seat, but God is well able to guide and direct our situation far better than we are. When Job was met with the tremendous tragedies that took his children, his wealth and his health, was he effected emotionally? You bet that he was What made the difference with Job is that he knew life was not about the things of this earth, it was about his relationship with the Father. Job 1:20-22,”20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. [c] The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” How different from so many today who face trials only to blame God and turn away from him because He let these bad things happen to seemingly good people. Even as the second set of trials were laid upon Job with the afflictions of his flesh, his response bore out his rest and full relinquishment of his life to God. Job 2:7-10, “7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”
Our peace in the midst of our tribulation comes from not being devastated by what is happening without, but by turning within. It is by worshipping our God in the midst of trials, by placing ourselves fully within His hands to perform whatever it is He would work out through what we may only see as evil. He is our ark of safety, our fortress, our high tower, our shield and buckler. The Overcomer dwells within us. He has conquered death and the grave; He ever lives to make intercession our behalf. If our eyes and our heart are upon Him, then we are already looking at our victory regardless of what is happening without.
Is your heart troubled today? We have become anxious about many things. Perhaps we are angry with others because they are not doing something to help us. Martha was upset with Mary, her sister, because she was setting at the feet of Jesus feeding off of His words, rather than helping with the natural food preparation. Complaining to Jesus, He tells her, ““Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” Instead of being anxious, we also need to choose the one thing that is needed, which is feeding off of the Word of God and sitting in His presence. If you need that peace today, you will find it there in His presence as you rest in Him. He is that bridge over troubled waters.

blessings,
kent

Boys to Men

October 25, 2013

Ephesians 4: 14-16
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Boys to Men

As I was meditating this morning an old John Wayne movie came into my thoughts called “The Cowboys”. Many of you may still remember it. It was about a rancher who had to drive his cattle to market, but he couldn’t get any men to help him so he had to take a group of boys to drive his cattle. Along the drive they are confronted with cattle rustlers who capture them. John Wayne never allows fear or intimidation to be seen on him. He stands up to these rustlers and demonstrates before these boys what a man of courage and integrity is all about. In the process the leader of the rustlers kills him and they go on to take the cattle. The only other adult is the old cook. After John Wayne’s death, these boys rise to the occasion and they no longer see themselves as boys, but as men. They plan their strategy and take the cattle back from the rustlers, defeating them in the process and killing their leader. They then take the cattle on to market and complete their mission.
What I felt the Lord was showing me through this is that we have a man who has walked before us and shown us the true nature and character of God. He has never shown fear or been intimidated by His enemies, but demonstrated before us the greatest degree of courage and self-sacrifice as He gave His life for us. We are like those boys, who have never seen ourselves really as men, but God is placing us in circumstances that we must gird up our loins as men and walk the walk of the Savior. There comes a time we put aside our childish ways and we come into manhood and I speak this figuratively for women as well as men. The Holy Spirit is there to give the wisdom and guidance to grow up into Him which is the head, even Christ. As we come into maturity, we put aside our petty bickering and differences and we function as one man, one team filled with the Holy Spirit, with power and authority. I believe that in this time the Lord is telling us to grow up and go from boys to men. We know the way; Jesus walked it before us, now it is time that we walk His walk, not going where we choose, but where He leads us. Many of us may be weak or of no special ability or strength, but God has chosen the foolish to confound the wise and the weak to prevail over the strong. It is not because of who we are that we are anything, but it is because of who He is in us that we are everything and capable of anything. It is time we take our eyes off of our immaturity and childishness. It is time we place our eyes upon Him that we have been called to be conformed too and begin to walk in His image and likeness. Faith sees what is not evident and without faith it is impossible to please Him. It is that faith of who He is in us that is taking us from boys to men.

Blessings,
kent

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