2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Things are not as they Appear

All around me it grieves my heart to see so many people even the family of God struggling financially, out or work or underemployed. Especially when I see that they are faithful men and women of God. They are not lazy or looking for a free ride, they are just struggling in their finances and often in other areas as well. While this is a difficult time for many it is causing us as a people of God to get our eyes back upon Him as our supply. It is bringing us into a greater inner reliance upon the body of Christ to come together to meet one another’s needs. I believe this is a God thing. It is often in our poverty that we obtain the greatest wisdom to handle wealth. I believe a breakthrough is coming and wealth is coming upon the body of Christ, but we are in a training period. This is where we learn that wealth and blessing aren’t just about our needs and wants, it is about learning stewardship to administrate what God gives us for the benefit of others.
Quite frankly, there may be many out there that feels, as Paul, like they also are wasting away. That outward wasting is to bring an inward renewing of your faith and trust in the limitless supply of all that our God is.
“So if God loves me why isn’t He sharing the wealth?”
He is imparting a greater wealth of learning to operate and lay hold of His life and substance in present sufferings and trials. Remember the children in Daniel that were thrown into fire heated seven times hotter. Because they knew who they were in their God and entrusted themselves to His faithfulness rather than bow the knee to idolatry they had to go through this fire. While the fire consumed the strong men that threw them in and burned off only the ropes that bound them, the flames did not harm them or even leave the smell of its presence upon them. The furnace of affliction is for our purification that God may bring us forth as fine gold in the likeness of His image and nature. Don’t allow yourselves to fear the fiery afflictions that you face, ‘for these light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.’ See in the fire the One who stands among them, like unto the Son of Man. Your life is hid in Christ and the only things the fire can touch are the corruptible things that perish with the using.
God is replacing our natural eyes with spiritual eyes and our fears with faith, as we look not at things, which are seen after the natural man, but the unseen things, which are eternal. With this kind of faith vision it is like night vision goggles that allow us to see in the darkness what the natural eyes cannot see. Faith vision is the same way; it sees the Word of God as the reality in the darkness. Take heart and know that God is training you up for greater things. Right now He is causing you to know your heart and where your affections are. Are they upon the things of this world or are they upon Him. God can’t entrust His glory and power to a people that are not of His heart. Even now He is separating out unto Himself those who are His. Faint not in the day of trial, but see beyond to the glory that He is bringing you into and to the victory and blessing that are yours in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

The Root

October 27, 2015

The Root

Proverbs 12:3
A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
As it has come to be the season where the leaves have changed their color and are falling to the ground I take stock of my own life and see that age is coming upon me, the hair is receding and the winter is before me. As we grow older we begin to see that it is not always the outward that is permanent and beautiful, for that beauty will fade and pass away. Even in the Christian world we see a lot of outward demonstrations of worship and religious fanfare. All of these outward manifestations have their day and they catch the eye, but most soon fade and pass away. Proverbs 30:31 says, “Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” This outward life is like the beauty of a woman. It is vain, as is the favor of man, for it is not the outward that is the heart and soul of a substance, it is the root. When all of the outward beauty falls from a plant and outwardly it looks cold and dead, there is still the life that remains, but it is hidden to the outward eye.
So many Christians go through life living by the appearance of what looks good or spiritual, but the true life and tenacity of a thing is in the root. The root is not really concerned for the outward things, the outward beauty that stems from the root comes as a natural manifestation of that which it is by nature and character, but the root is more concerned in the things which are not seen. It is always seeking to go deeper into the ground and extend itself into new places of moisture and nutrition. That is the description of the man and woman of God. They aren’t nearly as concerned for the outward beauty, as they are for going deeper and more intimate in their relationship with Christ, which is their life, their source, supply and water. Judging a person by the outward appearance is a vain and shallow thing. In order to truly judge a thing, you must first truly know its heart and its root. There are those in the kingdom of God today that by their outward appearance and circumstances you might consider them forsaken, barren and cursed of God. That is because you don’t know their root. Their roots have wrapped themselves around the very heart, life and fiber of God. They live, move and have their being out of that life. Outwardly there may not be beauty that one would desire them and others may in fact pity them, but some of these ones have more life and reality of God than all the pretty Christians will ever know. That is because they have come to experience and lay hold of God in the dark places, in the droughts, in the heat of the summer, the freezing of winter and the fires that have burned away the outward beauty. There is no comeliness that you should desire them. They are really quite similar to another root that is spoken about in Isaiah 53:2-7, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. ¶ Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
This is a day and an hour when we don’t want to be moved by what we see outwardly. Judge a matter by its root and where its heart is. Situations and circumstances will not move one who is firmly and deeply planted in God. Miracles and outward manifestations and lofty words will not move them. Even the Anti-Christ can manifest these. Look to the heart and the root of a matter, there you will find the true revelation of what it is or what it is not. Out of what many will have judged to be nothing will come the true oaks and trees of righteousness; the planting of the Lord.

Blessings,
#kent

Luke 20:17
And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

The Rock in the Middle of the Road

There is a rock in the middle of the road that is often traveled on foot. Those that pass by the rock, what will they do with it? Most will ignore and walk on. Some who are not paying attention will stumble over it. Some may kick it. Some may throw it or toss it aside. How many of a multitude of people will take the time to pick up the rock, examine it, value it or keep it? Why, because it is a common rock of no particular value or significance to those who pass by. What if it were a gold nugget obscured in granite or a diamond hidden in an ordinary exterior? This is what Jesus was and that is why He was missed by so many. It wasn’t the outer beauty that attracted men to Jesus; it was what was within the man.
Jesus passed a lot of ordinary rocks as He walked down the road of His life. Rocks that people passed by all of their time and never gave a second thought too. There were harlots, tax collectors, blind men, lepers, beggars, cripples, little children, demon possessed, those who were dying or those who were dead. The list goes on and on, but the point is that Jesus took the time to pick up a lot of rocks. He didn’t just see the ordinary or common without, He saw they were precious to the Father and so they were precious to Him. He ended up giving His very life for a lot of ordinary, common and undeserving rocks.
As we travel down life’s road it is easy for us to pass a lot of rocks and never give them another thought or glance. I know I need that sensitivity to take the time to pick up some of those rocks and as I can, make their lives better in some way. I may well be treading over gold ,diamonds and precious gems unawares. Peter shared what God had spoke to him in a vision in Acts 10:28, “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
As you go through life today, think about that rock in the middle of the road. As God has picked you up, pick up and value those around you.

Blessings,
#kent

As the Spirit Moves

April 15, 2015

John 3:5-8
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

As the Spirit Moves

We live in a world of natural and spiritual. The natural things we perceive and understand through our senses. They are based on taste, touch, seeing, hearing and smell. We have experienced a natural birth. The water broke and we came forth from the womb. Just as we have a natural birth we must have a spiritual birth because they are not one in the same. Jesus is making a comparison. Natural begets natural, but Spirit begets spiritual. Our natural birth brings us into this world, but our spiritual birth brings us into the heavenlies and the dimension of the kingdom of God. We have been born from beneath and now we must be born from above if we are to enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus compares it to the wind. It is often hard for us as natural beings to quantify, analyze and rationalize the spirit realm and that part of us. Jesus says it is much like the wind. It doesn’t move under our control, but it blows where it will and wherever it pleases. We can’t see air or wind, but the wind shows itself as it is manifested through natural things. The wind will pick up dirt and leaves and give a visible sense of its presence as these are moved, not through there own initiative, but through the power and the force of the wind. It is much as the Sprit moves in and through us. Sometimes He is very still and we don’t feel his presence at all and yet we know He is there because He is the spiritual air we breathe.
I think of how the Lord came to Elijah when he had fled to Horeb, the mountain of God, discouraged, fearful and ready to give up. There, in 1 Kings 19:11-13, the Lord showed Elijah how to discern between the natural and the spiritual. “The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
You see Elijah, like most of us, had allowed his eyes to view things in the natural and not in the Spirit. God was not in all of those natural calamities and forces of nature, He was in the still small voice that spoke to the inner man. Be careful about judging things from the outward circumstances. It is God who rules and is upon the throne. Here, God showed the wind of His presence was in the still small voice that spoke to him in his spirit. We may see God move as a gentle breeze, blowing across His people with His presence and anointing. Sometimes He is a forceful wind to be reckoned with. However the Lord is blowing upon our lives we want to bend in His direction and be sensitive to His movement. We are the manifestation of His presence. We are the natural elements that are moved by Him as He blows upon our lives. Just as you can never tell about the wind, where it will blow or where it will go, so we never know when we will be moved by the Spirit of God in this direction or that situation. We do want to hear His still small voice within us assuring us that His work is not finished, but that this is the way of the Lord now be faithful to walk in it.
The Lord may be asking us what we are doing before Him in our fears, doubts and unbelief. We must remember whom we have been birthed into, who we are in Christ Jesus and that we are called according to His purpose and design. Now allow His still small voice and His breeze, not the natural elements of circumstance to move you wheresoever He will.

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

Not the Outward, but the Inward

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The church is not so unlike the Jewish nation before us. We have taken the principles of the kingdom of heaven and have fashioned them into laws and burdens that are placed on the backs of men. So many of our denominations have taken a revelation and a truth, dug their foundations and built their denominations and that is where they have staid. God is not stagnant. He is an ever-moving river of truth. He is continually unfolding and unveiling His plan before us. His truth is all there in His Word, but the revelation of that truth has not been fully manifested. It is a progressive thing. One of the chief kingdom principles is never think that you have it all and never be content to build your faith and religion on present day truth. That is not to say it isn’t truth, but it may be only a facet and part of the whole.
From the early days of Christianity men have done what the religious leaders of old did with Judaism. They try and make our faith a mandate of rules and regulations. Men still try and dictate and control by taste not, touch not and eat not. If Christ taught us anything He taught us to change the outward there must be a change inwardly. Jesus once told the Pharisees, “ It is not what goes into a man’s belly that defiles him, it is what comes out.” Jesus knew that unless the condition of the heart is changed no amount of rules and regulations will really change men. They may try to act correctly outwardly, but inwardly they are still the same. The kingdom of heaven in us begins with a heart change. It must change from the desire for earthly enrichment and expression to the desire for the Spirit of God to have expression through us. No longer my will, but Your will be done. What we find is that when we really get in step and in sync with God’s heart and the Holy Spirit, we have set out on a God adventure and there is no telling where it may take us. It is exciting and it is ever fresh and new. The neat thing is we are not struggling to control it, but we have relinquished control to the Holy Spirit. Now our chief desire and ambition is to flow in harmony and obedience to Him. It is no longer about religion telling us we have to do this and we can’t do that. The law that governs us lives within our hearts and we know that our obedience to Him leads to heightened relationship and fellowship. We have found that our faith is not of the ceremonial outward protocol, it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Instead of ceremony we celebrate who and what we are in Christ and all that He is becoming in us. Perhaps that would explain why there is such a large movement away from traditional religion and more of a move toward non-denominationalism. The kingdom of heaven is not about the organization it is about the organism in which the Holy Spirit is released and free to move in and through His body according to His will and purpose and not the dictates of men and their programs. Where the Holy Spirit is free to move is where you will find that it will be as the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God [is] not in word, but in power.” Isn’t that what we desire and seek today? We have heard countless words, but God we want to behold your power. We want to see the kingdom manifested in the lives and affairs of men. This is what we press into as we seek the deeper experience of the kingdom of heaven. We want to find the lover of our soul, our King. We want to find the place of intimacy and relationship with Him where we have true communion and dialog with His presence.
May our hearts become inflamed with an everlasting passion for our Christ and His coming as well as His manifest kingdom. When we are consumed in our love for Him, the things of this world become strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Righteousness then becomes a state of who we are by association and relationship with Him who is righteous rather than something we seek to achieve through outward efforts and works. The kingdom of heaven in you is allowing and giving place to Christ being all that He desires to be in you. Allow the kingdom to flood into every part and fiber of your being and your life. As He is in you, so will you be in this world.

Blessings,
#kent

The Hidden Things

March 24, 2014

 

The Hidden Things


1 Corinthians 4:5

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.


How many of us know that things are not always as they appear outwardly?  Many of us may be very surprised at the ones that are ruling and reigning with Christ, because we judge by the outward vision and natural understanding, but God judges after the heart.  Big names and ministries, credentials and degrees, accomplishments and awards so often impress us.

When you see someone who stands out and is accomplished in an area our tendency is to admire that individual.  Is every individual that distinguishes themselves, self-made?  If you look beneath the surface you will probably see parents who sacrificed their wants and dreams for their children.  You will see teachers, instructors, coaches and mentors who poured into these promising individuals to help them rise to their potential.  The point is no one is great in and of themselves.  There is much invested in bringing people to greatness that most of the world never sees.  They are the hidden ones.  They live and work in the background and are never in the limelight.  They aren’t the ones that receive the recognition, awards and accolades, but they just may be the truly great ones because they know how to invest in making others great.  

Paul, the apostle was experiencing some of this same frustration in his ministry.  Paul saw time and again where he would pour out his life for the church, which so quickly would turn to some other ministry or doctrine.  The Jews or some other element would come in after he had left to pollute and lead the people off track from the gospel foundation that Paul had laid for them. We have the hindsight to look back at the legacy and tremendous impact Paul had on the early church, the New Testament and on the church throughout history.  We can easily see from our perspective what a great and awesome man of God that Paul was.  Do you think that a lot of the people of his day saw him in this light?  What they saw outwardly in Paul probably wasn’t that impressive.  He was this tentmaker and itinerate preacher obsessed this Christ.  He probably wasn’t that striking in his natural presence.  He was pretty much a hand to mouth type of guy who didn’t have a nickel to his name, but what he had he used it to advance his agenda about this Christ.  He was a passionate kind of guy and he preached a good word, but perhaps a little offensive at times.  He would go to any lengths to try and communicate this Christ and who He was and what He stood for, but probably not the kind of guy that would impress you by outward appearance or status.  In 1 Corinthians 4:9-16 Paul tells us a little bit about his glorious life as a great apostle, “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We [are] fools for Christ’s sake, but ye [are] wise in Christ; we [are] weak, but ye [are] strong; ye [are] honourable, but we [are] despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, [and are] the offscouring of all things unto this day I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn [you]. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet [have ye] not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” Everything that Paul should have been in the natural was imparted to others.  The great ones aren’t the ones that have everything imparted unto them and the world marvels at, the great ones are those seeming nobodies that are the vessels and channels of imparting.  Their lives are spent and poured out to make others great.  They are fathers whose glory is in their children and what they become is because of what they were given.  Have you have found yourself discouraged because you have given and given, only to be taken for granted, despised and unappreciated?  Remember there is a day when the hidden things will be revealed.  It doesn’t matter what men think of us, the Lord is our judge.  In due season we will reap our reward if we faint not.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:4, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Just be faithful to do what God has put in your hand to do.  Judge nothing before its time, for God will bring the hidden things to light.   

 
Blessings,
#Kent

The Pothole of Self Pity

February 28, 2014

 

The Pothole of Self Pity


Jonah 4:1-4

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.  And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, [was] not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou [art] a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for [it is] better for me to die than to live.  Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? 


In the Word of God perhaps Jonah serves as kind of the poster child of self-pity.  He had to go where he didn’t want to go, preach to a people he didn’t want to preach too, and then see God’s mercy toward them when they repented, that he didn’t want to see.  He made no bones that he had an attitude concerning the matter.  So he is just telling the Lord to end his life, it’s not worth living any more.

While it is easy for the reader to see how wrong Jonah’s attitude was, he didn’t see it and most of the time we don’t really see it in us either.  

I really think the enemy tries to feed our minds with thoughts of how unfair life is to us and how we so often are mistreated, abused, neglected or unappreciated.  That is not to say that there is never any substance to these feelings, for often there are valid reasons we feel this way.  What we must guard against is the subtly of the enemy and our own self, as we tend to get our eyes on us and all of our woes.  

The Lord gave me a good revelation of this in myself recently.  Request were always being made of me to do this or that which was okay, but then I began to feel that they really never seemed interested in caring and responding to my needs.  Now the thing about self-pity is that it’s like a good stew, the longer it simmers the better it gets, the more justified we feel and the more unfair life seems.  So finally it all came out and the other person had to sit and listen to all of my “woe is me”.  The truth is they probably had feelings of being neglected or taken advantage of just like I did.  Afterwards I began to get a revelation of the pothole of self-pity I had stepped into.  Here is all of this talk about how we need to lay our lives down and walk in love and all of sudden I look up and see this big old stain of selfishness in me.  Sometimes we get these wake-up calls about how shallow our love really is.  I realized that whenever I am turning inward and caring more about me than about others, I am going to be discontent and unhappy, because my needs and expectations will seldom be really met by others.  I need to be leaving those feelings with the Father, because He is the one who completes me and fulfills me.  The truth is, I am probably often going to be a disappointment to others in meeting their wants and needs just as they are in meeting mine.  How many times do needs and expectations not get met because we are living selfishly, upset about what we don’t have while we fail to consider if we are really meeting the needs in others.  This introspection usually just leads to greater and greater polarization.  That is why the Word is always exhorting us to get our eyes off ourselves and on to the needs of others.  The less place that we give to self, the less place it has to feel sorry for itself.  

We often think or say, “Will, if the Lord had given me a better husband or wife, or better children, or a nicer neighbor or better Christian friends, or different relatives, I wouldn’t feel and act the way I do.  Do we ever consider that may be exactly why we have these people in our lives?  In a perfect world you will never be stretched and grow beyond where you are at.  Only opposing forces cause us to reach further, try harder, and exert more energy to overcome our opposition.  We say, “Well, that person just brings out the worst in me.”  Praise God, how would you and I ever know what was in us if we didn’t have people that revealed our true heart.  It is the irregular people in our lives that give us the opportunity to exercise and practice our Christian values.  Instead of seeing the irregular people in our lives as our problem, maybe we need to view them like our spiritual gymnasium where we can workout, exercise and practice our Christian love, values and the nature that God wants to work in us.  It is only when I see and acknowledge my sin and weakness that I can repent of it and seek the Lord’s help in overcoming it.  There is no one that can help us become more conformed to the image of Christ than our enemy.  If Jesus would have had no Judas or religious leaders to betray and falsely accuse Him, there would have been no Calvary and we would not have the salvation we are now partakers of.  Our adversity can serve to bring us up into godliness as we meet it with the Spirit and attitude of Christ.  If we have a selfish or self-centered attitude, then like Jonah we are going to become angry and bitter as we justify and feel sorry for ourselves.  

Watch out for that pothole of self-pity.  It is one you can really twist your ankle on and cripple your walk.  Do all things as unto the Lord and for His glory and honor, counting it all joy that in your service you first serve Him. “Let all your things be done with Love (1 Corinthians 16:14).”

 
Blessings,
kent
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