The Trust of an Office

April 27, 2016

 

1 Corinthians 4:2-5

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. 

The Trust of an Office

As we know God has imparted to each one of us gifts and offices or positions of trust both in the natural and in the spiritual.  With our position of trust comes responsibility to honor and obey God, honor those in authority or position over us and carry out the responsibilities of our particular office to the best of our abilities as God enables us to do so.  That office or position of trust is not given to lord it over those beneath us or to exploit them.  It is to help and enable them to carry out their office and position of trust and authority.  All of us are ultimately accountable to God for how we do this.  The greater our office or position, the greater is our accountability to those we are over. 

Let’s take Moses for an instance.  Here is a man that God has ordained and raised up to lead His people out of bondage.  It is obvious that God is with him and has empowered him to carry out his commission.   What we see time and time again is that he is judged, ridiculed, mocked, slandered, condemned, criticized and murmured against when things get tough or there is a trial facing them.  Who this is really directed against was not Moses, but it was God in Moses.  These insults and dishonor were really directed at God.  That is why God dealt so harshly and severely with some of this murmuring and complaining, which is nothing short of rebellion and disobedience.

Whatever our office or position of trust is today, we are accountable to God, those in authority over us and to the people that we serve and have accountability for.  We must be faithful where we are to carry out that office to the best of our God given ability.  Meanwhile, those of us that are under authority need to guard against our judgements, condemnations, criticisms and the rebellious nature that we can develop against those who over us.  Paul basically says, it doesn’t matter what you think or even what I think, what matters is what God thinks.  Don’t judge a thing before its time.  It is before God that we stand or that we fall.  

There will be those in authority over us in life that we may not respect, consider competent, and feel they are totally wrong.  Does that give us the right to judge and condemn them?  When we murmur and complain against them are we really murmuring against them or against God who placed them in that place?  Sometimes, rather we can receive it or not, what seems all wrong about the person in that place is the very thing that may be working in us exactly what God wants us to develop in.  

Romans 13: 1-7 helps put some of these principles into perspective.  “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. God has established the authorities that exist. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”  It matters not what walk of life we are in, God always has an order.  If you are children then respect and honor your parents.  If you are a wife, honor and respect your husband. If you are husband and father, honor and respect the Lord.  Let us yield and honor the offices that are over us.  Let us pray for those in authority over us rather than murmuring and complaining against them.  They need our prayers, encouragement and support; not our criticism and condemnation.  The same holds true in the workplace, business, government, schools and the church.  Honor those in authority over you, as you would have those in submission to you, honor you.   

Romans 2:1-4 teaches us, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? 

Let us, with humility and trust in God, carry out the office of trust where He has placed us to His glory and honor.  Let us also be careful to honor the office that God has placed others in and be careful and fearful in our judgements against them.  One of the greatest detriments of our society today is our lack of honor and respect for others.  

Blessings,

#kent

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Romans 2:1-8(Amplified)
THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. 2[But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things. 3And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict? 4Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? 5But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed. 6For He will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]: 7To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.
8But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath.

Judgements, Intimidations and Manipulations

There was a time when Sharon and I were first married that we had a lot of conflict in areas. I had been a Christian most of my life and Sharon was only about a year old in the faith at this time. She had come to accept Christ as we had shared the Lord and read the Bible together. It was at Easter time as she watched the movie, “The King of Kings”, that the Lord made those scriptures alive to her and drew her to Himself. Before we were married we lived in two different cities. I had been going to college in the town where she lived. After leaving school that year I had a time of tremendous drawing to the Lord and was trying very much to walk with Him in every aspect of my life. By the time we got married in August she was encountering someone in me, different than who she had come to know. All I seemed to think about and care about was the things of God. It’s not that this was a bad thing, but I seemed to think that Sharon should be where I was. Instead of watching TV she should want to read her Bible and pray. So there was this rift between us. I remember praying one night and saying something to the effect, “God I don’t know what to do, I’ve tried to do what’s right and I’ve tried to change her but I can’t.” The Lord spoke to my heart in that time and said, “That is not your job to change her, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Your job is to love her.” When I stopped trying to change and drag Sharon in my strength, she began to start coming forth in her own relationship with the Lord, because it was His doing and not mine. I say all of this to let us know that there are many of us that knowingly or unknowingly are still judging, intimidating and manipulating others to be what we think they should be or do what we think they should do. THAT’S NOT OUR JOB! STOP IT! You let the Holy Spirit deal with them in His time and His way. Meanwhile, know that while we are so busy trying to control others we have some issues of our own that we need to be focusing on. Maybe people aren’t all you think they should be or do for you all that you think that they should, but who made you the judge of them? We are all at different places in our life and in our relationship with the Lord. We have to respect that in one another. We all want to encourage one another in the things that are right and good, but that doesn’t make us someone else’s judge when they don’t live up to our expectations. We only see things through our own colored glasses and if we were to look at things through there perspective it may look a lot different and we may have a whole lot more empathy for why they are like they are. Only the Lord knows the thoughts and the motives of the heart. He alone is qualified to truly judge each individual.
If we are trying to control others, even if our intentions are good, that is a form of witchcraft. We use guilt, judgements, intimidation, seductions and various other means to control others to our way of thinking and doing. In some cases our intentions may be good, as mine were with Sharon, but our methods are the flesh. If one stubbornly is self-seeking, self-serving and disobedient to the truth then eventually they will answer to God for it if they refuse to repent and change their course. We have all been at times, either the perpetrators or the victims of these types of control. For some of us they have become a normal way of life and how we get our way. Instead of using God’s truth with mercy and grace we have wielded it like a club of condemnation and judgement to bring others to our way of thinking. It takes place in the other dynamics of our human relationships as well.
Take the time for a little introspection to see where you might be doing this to others. Remember that by the same standards that we judge others we ourselves will be judged. We need to be far more focused on judging our own walk, relationship and obedience to Christ. Our calling is to strengthen and encourage one another, not to be their judge. After all, that’s not our job; that’s His.

Blessings,
#kent

The Passion of Our Hearts

Psalms 86:12
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.

As Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ, we come from many different backgrounds and influences in our lives. We’ve even congregated and gravitated to groups or denominations that most reinforce our particular view, opinion and understanding of God and scripture. The primary problem we find with this is that it tends to separate us into different camps and we get caught up in internal squabbling over our sacred dogma or opinion. It seems to me that in this hour the Spirit of God is working in His body to tear down these walls of division. He is still “one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:5-6).” While it is fine for us all to have our own opinions about scripture, there are certain foundational truths we should all embrace and be in agreement about. What the Spirit of God wants to speak to us about is that our faith is not just about what we think or just us, it is about Him and what He thinks. The Word and Christ teaches us that the most important commandment is that, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. “ This is the foundation upon which all of the law and the prophets hinge and rest upon. If we miss this we are building upon sand. We all know the adage, “Divided we fall, united we stand”. This is why it is so important that unity be restored back into the body of Christ. Psalm 133:1 reminds us, “Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!” When part of my body starts conflicting and fighting with other parts I get sick and I can no longer function to my potential. God desires for us to lay down our pet peeves and doctrines and start becoming one with the rest of the body of Christ concerning what God’s will and purpose is for us in this hour. We must learn to build each other up and not tear each other down.
Isn’t it funny how when we meet someone and discover that they are a Christian, the first thing we want to ask them is, “where do you go to church”? We are more concerned about seeing what brand or mark of religion they have on them than seeing if the mark of Jesus is in them. We are all at so many different stages in our walk with God and most of us would agree that have been Christians for some time, that our views and ways of seeing and understanding things has changed over time. We may not have even accepted ourselves for the way we are now if we were judging ourselves by what we use to think and believe.
The thing that should be driving our lives is not our religion or denomination, but our passion for Christ and our love for Him. God sees men after the heart, not their denomination or belief system. What do you love the most? What is your deepest passion and desire? That is where Christ must be at the forefront or we are missing it. Our love and compassion for others should be a close second. Let us focus on what is important to God’s heart and not just our intellectual satisfaction. When we love and are able to lay hold of the truth, the truth will set us free from our wrong opinions. Often we think it is our duty to set everyone straight on how to believe. We need to quit stepping on the Holy Spirit’s toes and let Him do His job. Our responsibility is to judge our own hearts and make sure that we are walking in faith and obedience to Him. If we are all impassioned with Christ that will be our bond of fellowship and communion with one another and with Christ. Allow God’s law to be written upon the tablet of your mind and heart. “The letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life ( 2 Corinthians 3:6).” God’s Word will guide us and His Spirit will give us peace. Be at peace with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Love them where they are at and if you have a greater revelation or insight then speak it through the way you live your life and in your actions. Above all things, be passionate in your love and pursuit of Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

Be Careful How You Lead

April 28, 2015

Hosea 4:14
“I will not punish your daughters when they turn to prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery,
because the men themselves consort with harlots and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes—
a people without understanding will come to ruin!”

Be Careful How You Lead

Often we as parents are quick to judge our children for wrong things they do or choices they make. Often we as Christians are quick to judge our fellow believers who get caught up in sin or those who don’t agree with or accept our Christ. Are we above reproach? Have our own sins and shortcomings been the license for those who choose unrighteousness? Will not God hold us first accountable who are the leaders and the examples for others to follow?
Romans 2:1-10 declares, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.”
The Jews and the Gentile are like the leader and the follower, the parent and the child, the teacher and the disciple. If we don’t walk in the understanding that God has given us then we will come to ruin and we have the responsibility for the ruin of those who follow our example.
Before we point the finger at others let’s first examine the person behind the three fingers pointing back. Are you living in righteousness or self-righteousness? Is it more important that we are right or righteous? For the world to honor and desire Christ they must first see Christ in us. They must see in action what we profess in words. How can we judge them if we don’t even live the example before them?
Father is saying, ‘Take stock in the example of life that you are leading. If we are not walking in righteousness and in the light of understanding that God has given you, then you must ask who is the responsible one here?’ Often what we see in the lives of those who follow us is the reflection of ourselves.

Blessings,
#kent

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

Beware of the Pack Mentality

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

Blessings,
#Kent

Shine a Diamond

January 28, 2015

Shine a Diamond

Romans 14:19
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

We live in a very negative world in a lot of respects. Life is often taking twist and turns that can bring us discouragement and despair. Many around us only know how to speak death. They, like many of us, can become cynical, skeptical and suspicious in a world that is always seeking to exploit us in one manner or another. It is hard for us to be real, even with one another, for fear that someone will take opportunity in our vulnerability and openness to hurt us or will despise and not respect us because of some weakness that we allow them to see in us. As a result we become individual sealed houses, our own little islands in some respects, keeping a certain amount of distance and aloofness so that we won’t be hurt. Certainly we have to be careful about who we share the more intimate parts of our lives with. Jesus gives the warning in Matthew 7:6, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” As it is with the holy and precious things of God, so it is with the matters of our heart. We need to really know the character of those we share our hearts with. If the love of God is truly operating within them, then they understand the grace that not only they have been given, but that which they must extend to others. God wants us to cover one another’s nakedness, not expose it, gossip about it or despise them for it. He wants us to be a people that can truly edify and build up one another. We need to have that place and safety to truly confess our sins and faults to one another without fear of rejection and judgment. James 5:16 tells us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Does that mean we condone whatever sin someone shares or confesses to us? No, we can’t because then we would share complicity with their sin. The reason for sharing our sins or faults with one another is for repentance, support, help in our weaknesses and restoration of our fellowship with God and one another. If we share our faults with one another it shouldn’t be for approval, neither should it be for judgment but our response to another’s faults should be that of humility and love, knowing that we are also weak and vulnerable to sin. Galatians 6:1 teaches us, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” You see we are not one another’s judges, but we are one another’s watchmen. We watch out for one another, because we are of the same body and share the same common faith and purpose, to glorify the Lord. It can be easy for any of us to become distracted and turn aside or grow complacent concerning our faith. This is why it is so important for us as the body of Christ to have personal friendships and relationships with others in the body, not just for fellowship, but also for accountability. We need to be speaking life into one another to build each other up in who we are in Christ. We need to pray for one another and exhort one another, always stirring up faith. A healthy body is one in which individual members and cells are ministering health and blessing into those around them. The words that we speak into one another’s lives should be for building up and not tearing down, even if they must be honest, direct and hard words, the motive behind them should always be love. Sometimes, like Paul, we must tear down to build up, but what are our motives and the end of what we do?
Are you and I the brush that polishes the diamonds of the Lord? Are we causing others to shine in His glory and come forth in the image of who they are in Christ? Remember that the power of death and life are in the tongue. Our actions and our tongue can make or destroy another’s life. Let our lives and our ministry be for building up and not for tearing down, for edifying and not for condemning. You are your brother’s keeper and he is yours. Let us honor and seek to bring forth the Christ in each other. Speak life, hope and blessing into someone today and let it become your lifestyle. Shine a diamond!

Blessings,
#kent

Establish the Earth

October 23, 2014

Isaiah 49:8-9
8Thus says the Lord, In an acceptable and favorable time I have heard and answered you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you; and I will preserve you and give you for a covenant to the people, to raise up and establish the land [from its present state of ruin] and to apportion and cause them to inherit the desolate [moral wastes of heathenism, their] heritages,
9Saying to those who are bound, Come forth, and to those who are in [spiritual] darkness, Show yourselves [come into the light of the Sun of righteousness]. They shall feed in all the ways [in which they go], and their pastures shall be [not in deserts, but] on all the bare [grass-covered] hills.

Establish the Earth

Christ came to establish the kingdom of God in the earth. He came as a prototype and first fruits of that company of people that He would use to propagate and infuse this kingdom into the hearts of men throughout the earth. The Lord Jesus gave us a commission to go out into all of the earth and bring the gospel and the good news to them. What the Lord began with the Jews He has accomplished through the Gentiles, because as a whole, His own received Him not.
Romans 11:25 says, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” The rejection of Christ by the Jews has become the Gentile’s salvation. We have reaped the benefit and blessing of their rejection. God will not cast off His people for all time, but will again establish and restore their habitation and ruins. God has given us as a new covenant in Christ. He has also given us the commission and the honor to establish this covenant in the earth. What God has given us as a commission to do, He has not left us in our own strength and devices to carry it out. Religions of men are built on such devices and the strength and wisdom of men will always fall short. The Lord has given us His signet ring, His authority and power for us to go to those who are bound in spiritual darkness and bring them into the light of the Son of righteousness.
We are more than we think we are. There is more potential power and authority in you than you can even imagine. There is about to be a spiritual explosion in the earth. The spirits of darkness and of light will manifest themselves as never before. God has prepared us for this hour to magnify, declare and, with all spiritual authority, establish His Name in the earth.
Most of us look at ourselves and say who am I? What do I have? What can I do? You can be the instrument of God’s righteousness and deliverance. Through our obedience and faith we can and will walk in places of spiritual authority and power that we have never known. Take your eyes off of your flesh and get them upon Christ, for His headship and His life is being expressed through His body to carry out His will and covenant. Our weakness is insignificant next to His strength.
In 1 Chronicles 28:7-8 the Lord speaks concerning Solomon, “Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day. Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave [it] for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.” The Lord has given us His covenant to establish His kingdom. What is working in us, will work through us, as we are constant to keep the Lord’s ways and set our hearts steadfastly upon Him. The Lord is stirring in the hearts of His people to prepare our hearts. that we may walk in the faith and footsteps of the Son of God.

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

Religious Icons

October 25, 2012

1 Samuel 4:4-10
So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim. And Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
5When the ark of the Lord’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook. 6Hearing the uproar, the Philistines asked, “What’s all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?”
When they learned that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp, 7the Philistines were afraid. “A god has come into the camp,” they said. “We’re in trouble! Nothing like this has happened before. 8Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the desert. 9Be strong, Philistines! Be men, or you will be subject to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Be men, and fight!”
10So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

Religious Icons

This scripture in 1 Samuel captures a truth that is prevalent for us today and needs to be considered by us as God’s people.
There was no greater representative symbol of God and His presence in that day than the Ark of the Covenant. To the Israelites it represented the presence of God in their midst. In past times the Ark of the Covenant had not been taken into battle.
Here is a principle that religion has failed to grasp. God gives us natural symbols to show us spiritual truths. It helps us to conceptualize spiritual realities that we have a hard time grasping with natural understanding. Religion tends to take the symbols of truth and make them icons of idolatry because it teaches us to put our faith in the symbol rather than the reality of the truth that it represents. Our symbols, outside of the context of the truth they represent, become no more than good luck charms we believe will wart off evil and give us God’s favor.
God gave the tabernacle and all of its furnishing as type and shadow of that truth that would be fulfilled in Christ Jesus. They were all symbols of the truth, but not the reality and substance of it.
In this passage in 1 Samuel 4 we see the two priests, Hophni and Phinnehas who were suppose to be the representatives of God, but were living godless and sinful lives. Maybe the underlying thought was that if we the Ark of the Covenant and bring into the battle we’ll be holding God hostage, because surely He won’t allow the ark to be captured and He will give us the victory. One thing we learn about God is that not even the temple that carries His name is sacred if the hearts of His people are wicked. He is jealous over our spirits, not our religious icons. He will destroy even the most sacred natural thing in order to restore the spiritual reality and truth of it.
Look even at the example in 1 Corinthians 5 where a man was in relations with his father’s wife. Paul passes a judgement that the lesser be destroyed that the greater might be preserved. “When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.” God will destroy the natural to preserve the spirit no matter how spiritual the natural may seem. He has done it with many great men of God that allowed sin to enter in.
How many times do we come naming and claiming in the “Name of Jesus”, but our lives are not aligning with His nature, character and purpose. Like the Israelites here, we may often suffer defeat because the spiritual reality of the truth is not in place and practice. If we want God to show up in our battles then we need to be carrying and practicing His presence. If we are relying on a symbol or icon to bring us victory then we have missed the greater truth. Truth is not in the icon, it is in what it represents and symbolizes. If the truth isn’t alive in us then the icon is not going to save us no matter how religious it is. You and I are the temples that carry and house His truth. If we want to see the victory in our battles then we must live out of the truth of the Christ that we carry, not in just the symbol of the cross, but in the reality of all that it represents.

Blessings,
kent

Passing Judgments

August 28, 2012

Romans 2:1-4
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

Passing Judgments


Most all of us, at times, have adorned ourselves with the robes of self-righteousness and appointed ourselves to the bench of judge to look upon the injustice and the faults of others. There we look down our noses with intolerance at the shortcomings and misdeeds of others.  There, in our infinite wisdom, insight and righteousness we have somehow deemed ourselves worthy of judging the hearts of others.  Perhaps it is because we can focus so prominently upon the offences of others that our own seem so insignificant.
Here is what we don’t seem to get, where we set the bar in our judgements and condemnation of others is really setting the bar on how God will judge us.  If we show no mercy, little will be shown to us.  What right do we have to sit in the place of judgement over others when we are all flawed.  We may not have the same struggle with a sin as another, but we can be assured that most likely is just sin in a different flavor and manifestation.  I have been appalled to see others make railing accusation, judgements and condemnations of others; literally killing with the hate, venom and condemnation of their tongue and yet in their own eyes they stand justified, because they themselves see themselves as the victims or they have taken up the offence of another.  What we may not realize that in presuming upon this place of judgement and condemnation of others we usurp what God alone is qualified and justified in doing.  Many times we may have promoted ourselves to the position of judge, jury and executioner.  We make the presumption that God is on our side and He must feel the same way we do.
Really?
That is why this scripture is in here to correct us and cause us to know that it is not our right or position.  If we want to ignore that and continue in the role of judge, then it makes it very clear that in effect we judging ourselves.  We will by no means escape God’s judgement.
If God’s own law was not able to change and transform our lives, do we presume that our judgements are so much more righteous?  How arrogant can we be?
If we want to error, we want to error on the side of mercy, not judgement.  “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:6, ‘the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.’  If we are operating out of the Spirit of God then we will produce the fruit of God, which is what?  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)”  It doesn’t mention judgement, condemnation, self-righteousness or retribution.  The part of the believer is the ministry of reconciliation and restoration of the sinner to God.  God alone, has the right to judge, because He sees all the motives and the intents of the heart that we could never see.
Romans 2:17-24 goes on to say, “Now you, if you call yourself a Jew (Christian); if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; 18if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
Those who are the biggest advocates of condemning the sinners are often the ones seen as the biggest hypocrites as they condemn others while still having sin in their own lives.  1 Corinthians 11:31-32 exhorts us, “But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.”  The old saying goes that when we point the finger there are thee pointing back to us.  We need to judge our own heart and lives before the Lord and leave the judgement of the rest of the world to God.

Blessings,
kent

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