Real Love and Beauty

August 24, 2015

1 Peter 3:1-7
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Real Love and Beauty

On the subject of beauty:
So many derive their value from outward perception and how they view themselves through the mirror of others. Thus many have believed a distorted view of who they are.
God says we were ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.
Our truest beauty comes from within, not without. See yourself through the beauty
that God has created you to be. The greatest beauty is seen in the one who aligns their heart
with God’s purpose and design to best express Him.

On the subject of love:
Young love is sexy and beautiful. It is fresh, passionate, sensual,
but its roots are young and it thrives more on the feelings of the outward man.
Old love is not always as passionate. It is not as sexually driven or motivated,
but it stills sees the beauty that it first saw. Its roots are now deep, as are the scars and life experiences that have knit and grown these two souls together. What was once expressed
outwardly is now the inward sharing of two hearts that beat as one. They have learned
that it is not always feelings that keep you together, but the decision to love one another even when you don’t feel it. Love is not just an emotion, but a decision of will.

Blessings,
#kent

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Love Your self

October 27, 2014

Galatians 5:14
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love Your self

It is interesting sometimes as a photographer to see how people view themselves. Often, when viewing family or individual photographs people can be very critical of themselves. Most often it is the women. They can see and magnify weaknesses or faults that most everyone else considers normal and a part of them. It is not uncommon that great family portraits will fail because mom doesn’t like the way she looks.
In today’s age of technology we have the skills and abilities to actually go in and alter the way someone looks. We can lift and tuck some of the sagging parts, hide the blemishes and soften the wrinkles, but the real issue may not be how we look to ourselves outwardly, but how we perceive ourselves inwardly.
On the other hand I have photographed attractive ladies who may have had a scar that could have easily been removed. I find it is often best to ask people what they do and do not want taken away, because assumptions can get you into trouble. These women that I refer too wanted their scars to remain, because to them they were a reminder of what they had been through and the gift of life that they still had. In today’s world many of us feel the pressure to live this façade of a perfect life, have a perfect body, beautiful looks, a perfect home, children and husband or wife. The truth is that that is not the real world. We all have scars, wrinkles, handicaps and weaknesses whether they are outwardly evident or not. Brushing or photoshoping over them isn’t going to take the reality of them away, nor should it. These blemishes upon our lives are the evidence that we have lived and experienced what life had to offer and that it wasn’t always nice or kind.
The Lord tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, but some of us don’t really love ourselves, so how can we love our neighbor properly? Understand that all real people have weaknesses, faults and frailties. That is a trait of our humanity. Don’t be ashamed of yourself and don’t boast in yourself, but rather see the completeness of yourself in Christ. Christ is not a crutch; He is the fulfillment and the completion of our humanity. The scars, the wrinkles and experiences that we share all testify that by the grace of God we survived them and we are still taking hold of life. The wonderful thing about our relationship with Christ is that where we end, He begins and where we are weak, He is strong.
Don’t be so harsh and judgmental of yourself. I know that sometimes I think, “God, why am I stuck with being me?” It is because in my weakness He is made strong and His grace is sufficient for all of my needs, my infirmities and my weaknesses. If you are down on yourself today it is because you don’t have your eyes on Jesus. Take courage, take heart and know that you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you. Love yourself as Christ loves you.

Blessings,
#kent

Making Healthy Choices

October 22, 2014

Making Healthy Choices

Joshua 24:15
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Life is made up of a series of choices we make everyday. Much like what we choose to eat, our lives eventually begin to show forth physically the fruit of what we have eaten or not eaten. One or two good choices or bad choices do not determine our fate, it is the overall direction that we go with a pattern of decision making that really begins to define who we are outwardly and who we are inwardly.
The best and the healthiest choice any of us made was when we asked Christ to come into our hearts and be our Lord and Savior. That should have began us down a path and a pattern of making much more healthy choices for ourselves and those for whom we are responsible. Why do we read God’s Word, why do we pray, why do we listen to sermons and the messages that come out of those who speak God’s Word to the Church? Isn’t it because we want the mind of Christ to make healthy choices and right decisions? We know that over time these choices will define our life, who we are and what we are with regards to the Kingdom of God.
Let’s be honest, most of us like junk food and fast food. I’m certainly no exception there. We are educated enough to know that a steady diet of this kind of food will result in an unhealthy end. Some of us are already experiencing the effects of those types of choices. And we can’t turn around and sue God because He made them available to us. All of our choices have consequences and we bear the responsibility for those choices. They can be good or bad depending on what they produce. One of the greatest gifts or curses God gave to man was the right and ability to make their own choices.
Joshua is saying in our verse today to the children of Israel, you all have to make a choice about who you want to serve in life. If it doesn’t seem good to you to really serve the Lord, then you can choose other gods, whether that be another religion or the god of self, or some other god, “but as for me and my house (those I’m responsible for) we will serve the Lord.” Joshua had made his choice long before he ever spoke these words and his life was the result of the choices he had made. We all have to make our own choices in life and consequently we all have to answer for them rather in this life or that which is come.
Are you making healthy choices spiritually today? Are Christ, His Word, His Truth, His Life and His Ways what you are feeding on daily? I believe God has given us this life to enjoy His blessings and the goodness around us, but if we have chosen Him and continue to choose Him, then all of our other choices will be centered in His will and purpose for us and not our own. “For in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).” May the Lord help each of us daily to make healthy choices in every arena of life so that our lives may be blessed and we may be partakers of all the goodness He has for us.

Blessings,
#kent

Leaking Cisterns

June 16, 2014

Leaking Cisterns

Jeremiah 2:13
For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

A cistern is a well, pit or a storing place usually of water for any who may not be familiar with what a cistern is.
Jeremiah is unveiling the state of Israel as the Lord sees them. He would speak to us much the same way in this hour. We are a people that began with a faith in Christ and His righteousness. He was our fountain of living waters. He washed us in His blood and made us whiter than snow. He clothed us with the righteousness of His saints and He was our source of life and the focus of our daily living. We rejoiced in His fellowship and had great joy in our relationship with Him. Unfortunately, little by little our fidelity began to wane. Gradually the Lord ceased from being our all in all as we began to turn our eyes and hearts to other things and desires. Without even realizing it we began to move away from our fellowship as our focus and dependence became more and more on the world around us. Outwardly we would deny that anything was wrong with our spiritual state, but inwardly we knew we were losing the fountain of our fellowship and life.
What do we do to hide this spiritual breech of intimacy and life we had with the Lord? We create substitutes. We hew out our own cisterns of religious and spiritual appearances so that we can maintain a façade of spirituality and holiness to those around us. We don’t openly forsake the Lord, but we create a storefront of spirituality while, we live out our own desires in the backroom. Obviously this façade is our broken cisterns. They are fashioned like the real, but they are created in the flesh and as a result cannot hold the life of God. For those casually looking in everything may seem right and good, but we have become like Jesus’ description of the Pharisees, “whitewashed grave sites, full of dead men’s bones.” In our deception of ourselves we deceive others and lead them down our same path of destruction and ruin. Jeremiah 2: 19 says, “Your wickedness will punish you;
your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.” When we lose that fear, awe and respect for the Lord it takes us into dangerous territory. Many of us may find ourselves there today if we honestly and without guile search and discern our own hearts. The Lord warns us of our state so that we might judge ourselves and turn from our wicked ways, before God Himself has to judge us. This is where we return to those first principles of repentance from dead works. This is where we acknowledge our sinful and deviant ways before the Lord and turn back to Father with a broken and a contrite heart which the Lord says He will not despise. This is where we abandon the cisterns of our own making and turn again to drink from the fountain of living water. There we will find His grace and forgiveness if we will but fear Him and repent.
Father is calling those out who will hear His voice to be separated unto Him. It is not yet a separation unto judgement, but the lines of spiritual separation are being drawn between the sheep and the goats, the wheat and the tares. Let Him who has an ear hear what the Spirit is saying to the church in this hour. “Come out from among them and be ye separate.”

Blessings,
#kent

I Have Declared the Former Things from the Beginning
Isaiah 48:3
I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did [them] suddenly, and they came to pass.

One of the ways that God reveals to us that He indeed is God and not some other object of our affection or worship is that He is all knowing. He knows from the beginning to the end and nothing is hid from Him. The book of Daniel shows us one example of this when Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream. He was going to put to death all of his wise men, sorcerers, astrologers and soothsayers, because not only did he want them to tell him what the dream meant, he wanted them to tell him what the dream was. There was only one that could meet his request and that was Daniel after the Lord revealed it to him. Even the great Nebuchadnezzar had to acknowledge that God was God.
All through the Bible God has given a prophetic Word that spoke of what He would do and what would happen in the future. This is a testimony and witness to us to know that God is God. If it were not so, He says because of the hardness of our hearts, we would give credit to our idols. “Because I knew that thou [art] obstinate, and thy neck [is] an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared [it] to thee; before it came to pass I shewed [it] thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them. (Isaiah 48:4-5)”
Many of us have found ourselves in the captivity again of a worldly and religious system that has captivated our minds and thinking. We attempt to walk in Christ, not led by the Spirit, but led by men of natural minds, steeped in religious thinking and ways. The Lord is about to do what He has said in Daniel 12:3-4, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
Look for the Lord to begin to declare a thing in and through His people. The Lord is calling us out of Babylon and into Him. That Babylon is the religious tradition and kingdoms of men. Does that mean we aren’t suppose to go to churches? What it means is that God is raising up His true bride in the midst of her who has only had the outward appearance of holiness, but inwardly is full of abominations and wickedness. This is the day to tune your ear to the Spirit of God and begin to hear His voice. He will lead you into the place of true worship and return you to spiritual Jerusalem. He will give witness to your spirit when you are in the place of true communion with Him.
There is a stirring in my spirit that we are about to see a great increase in divine revelation and knowledge as the Lord begins to declare it through the spirit of His saints and increase revelation knowledge of Him. Look for Him to do it in you as you get quiet before Him and seek Him in the inner chambers of your heart. This is a revealing of Himself not to puff us up, but to further affirm in our hearts that we are His redeemed, called out of the world to declare and live unto the majesty of our God. Seals are being removed from the Book and the things shut up are being opened because this is the day of their unveiling.
“20 Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians! Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it.
Send it out to the ends of the earth; say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob.” 21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock and water gushed out. 22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD , “for the wicked.” (Isaiah 48:20-22)” God is calling us into a day of spiritual liberation. It is the day to get in touch with who we are, not as a religious people, but as God’s people. We belong to the organism of the body of Christ, not to the organization of religion. We are on the brink of the great things of God and we want to be in the flow of God’s Spirit when He unveils them. He has spoken His Word to us to prepare us and suddenly it will come to pass, what we have taken for granted and become complacent about. This is an hour to be stirred up and preparing your hearts for the Lord’s unveiling.

Blessings,
#kent

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