Christ in You

May 3, 2016

 

Matthew 25: 35-40

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 

35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 

36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 

37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 

38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 

40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 

Christ in You

You are a ray of sunshine.

You are the extension of God’s divine.

You bring healing in the midst of pain.

You are heaven on an earthly plane.

When you walk into a room it brightens up.

When you spend time with me you fill my cup.

You are my companion when I feel alone.

The voice of love is in your tone.

You are the servant that gives your all.

You pick those up who stumble and fall.

You encourage those who have lost their worth.

You share the life that brings new birth.

I see His face when you smile.

I see His walk when you go the second mile.

I see His love in your unselfish ways.

Yes, you are His expression day by day.

Kent Stuck

Blessings!

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Peacemakers

March 11, 2016

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 

Peacemakers

We can not always control how others feel about us.  We can only be responsible and accountable for our own actions.  Obviously, in the course of life, we encounter those people who do not like us for one reason or another.  We can’t always submit to their way of thinking and being.  What we are expected to do in the Lord is walk in love and humility toward all men, submitting to the authorities over us to the degree that we don’t become disobedient to the Lord which is our highest authority.  Even our enemies we are to love and treat with kindness and respect, even when they deal to us a much lower hand.  We want to do what is right in the sight of all men, so that our deeds will not be evil spoken of.  We are the ambassadors of the Lord, so we must represent Him in our behavior, character and actions toward others.  When opportunities arise or even as much as you can, show acts of loving kindness toward those that despise and don’t like you.  By taking the high road and not returning evil for evil, we bring conviction and we demonstrate God’s love toward us, in that while we yet sinners Christ died for us.  

In as much as it is in your power, do the things that make for peace, in your home, with the body of Christ, in the work place and in the world.  Let us be a people of peace. Let go of those areas that are critical, judgmental, provoking and attitudes that stir up ill will and strife.  Don’t become self-righteous, but be righteousness of God in the love of Christ.  

Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9

Blessings,

#kent

Taking Up an Offense

October 15, 2015

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

Taking Up an Offense

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

Blessings,
#kent

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Three Things that God Requires

We, like the children of Israel before us, often carry a mindset that says we can live and operate on one set of values in the market place or our social lives and then another set of values when we want to approach God in church or worship. How many people that consider themselves Christians think that they can appease God by having a religion, offering their tithes or offerings, performing a few rituals and then it is back to business as usual. How many seek to put on a holy face before God on Sunday only to defraud their neighbor on Monday. How many times have those who wear the name Christian been less than ethical in their dealings with others and especially with other Christians. We try to live out of two different value systems as we compartmentalize our life into business, pleasure and religion.
God is saying that if you are truly a Christian then Christianity is your business. He is not appeased by what we try to do for Him and with our token efforts to please Him. He is interested in where our heart is. He tells us that there are three things that He requires of us. The first is to act justly. A just person is one who is upright in all of their ways. They act out of justice, fairness, without prejudice and favoritism. It is basically the act making right judgements. Every day we have to make decisions of right and wrong, of what benefits just us or what can do to benefit others and what is selfish and what is unselfish. When we act and live out of the mind of Christ, allowing the Spirit of God to direct our ways then we will act justly, because of Him who is the righteous judge within us.
The second thing the Lord requires is that we love mercy. When we live in this mercy we are living out of goodness, kindness and faithfulness not only toward God, but also toward our fellow man. In our society many of us are very big on our rights and our privileges. Many will not hesitate to take you to court or sue you if they think that you have violated their rights in some manner or you are in some way responsible for some misfortune. There may be times when that is necessary, but if we had more mercy, so many times it wouldn’t be. Mercy is the act of love that is longsuffering, slow to be offended, hasty to forgive and patient in tribulation. Often we as Christians are quick to judge the world and those of the world, especially when they don’t fit within the paradigm of what we think is proper and good. The mercy of Jesus was not shown favoring the arrogance and self-righteousness of the religious near as much as it was shown toward the outcast and the sinner. ‘Jesus came not to judge the world, but that world through Him might have life.’ He was a life-giver and life-imparter. The apostle Paul reminds us of God’s mercy toward us in Ephesians 2:3-5, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” God’s mercy working through us is to bring others into His mercy for them.
Finally, God says I require that you ‘walk humbly with your God’. Nothing can make us more humble than just reflecting upon the love and mercy of God toward us. When we walk in the fear of the Lord there will be that humility that expresses our submission and dependency upon Him. Many of us have forgotten that and with our wealth and prosperity we boast in what our hands have done. We tend to think we don’t really need God so much in our lives, at least not till things fall apart or we get into a major crisis. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and walking humbly with your God.
Paul sums these principles up so beautifully in Romans 12:3-21so let us conclude meditating upon this passage. “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Blessings,
#kent

Riches in Christ

July 24, 2015

Riches in Christ

Colossians 1:27
To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Did you ever express the desire to be rich? When you find Christ, you have found the storehouse of God’s riches. There is none to exceed them in all of the earth. Many people miss His riches, because it doesn’t have all the glitter and shine that earthly riches have. It doesn’t make you the most prominent and honored by the people of this world. That’s why so many missed Jesus. They were looking for the worldly standard of riches, but the King of Kings was born in a barn, to a meager couple. In the world’s eyes, His mother had gotten pregnant out wedlock and no doubt bore the shame and reproach of an illegitimate birth. Farm animals and shepherds were the King’s attendants. There was nothing that rang of riches by the world’s standards. Yet, in heaven, the angels rejoiced and heaven celebrated the fact that the King of Kings had been born in the earth of a virgin to bring salvation to men. They were full of glad tidings, because they recognized the rich gift that God had just deposited into the earth, but the world comprehended it not.
What you and I contain in Christ is nothing less than phenomenal. We contain a treasure that the universe would covet, but your next door neighbor might not even notice. We contain the potential glory that even the angels of heaven stand in awe and wonder. How often do we, ourselves, treat this treasure and the riches within us as every day and common? We carry within our earthen vessel the outshining of the Father’s glory and yet so many of us have become complacent with it. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 says, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” Why we miss the Christ in us, is because there is still so much of us, that, like the world, we don’t even begin to appreciate and cherish this treasure within us. Think about what that means, “Christ in YOU!” The reason we don’t appreciate the Christ is because the “YOU” is too big. It is still trying to be our treasure instead of it just facilitating the Christ, who is our treasure. Ephesians 2:4-7 tells us, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us; Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Look at the position in which God has placed you…”made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus.” You and I are in the Christ. We are in the King. We sit down at the right hand of the Father in Him. Colossians 3:1-4 reaffirms this, ” If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” This is so often such a hard concept for us to really grasp and live in the reality of, “that it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives within me.” We are one, as a husband and wife are one. Our name is now His name. Being faithful in our fidelity to our Lord Christ, all that we are is now to please Him and for His glory alone. Likewise His covenant with us is too meet our need. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Christ and us now live unto each other. He is the motivation, the focus and the strength out of which we live and move and have our being. The heart of God for all of His people is, “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3).” You see Christ is our riches and our treasure house in which all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are stored. Could we, with these finite minds, begin to comprehend what we fully possess in Christ? It is not possible, for the natural mind and understanding doesn’t comprehend it, but the Spirit of Christ within us does. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 says, “9However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”[a]— 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” We have the potential of understanding and having a revelation of far more than we may think, but it will never be through the natural mind. You and I are a rich people today. Let us be careful not to despise, treat lightly or common the gift and riches that we have been given. They are often masked in pain, suffering, persecution, and adversity. All are the processes of bringing the gold out of the darkness and into the light; so let your light so shine before men, Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is our riches and treasure for eternity.

Blessings,
#kentGod

Romans 10:19
But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by [them that are] no people, [and] by a foolish nation I will anger you.

Why we should be Thankful

Some nearly four hundred years ago God led a small handful of people out of the religious oppression and intolerance of Europe to a new land, unfounded and virtually uninhabited by the civilized world of that day. These people possessed within their spirits a calling and a mandate of God to come out from among the religious beast of Europe that proclaimed its self to be Christianity. They stepped out in the faith of God, forsaking all to become the pilgrims that we remember as the founders of our nation. This little handful of people, who were no people in the eyes of the world, they heard a calling to a promise land that flowed with milk and honey. A place where they could worship in the manner that they chose without fear of reprisals. Here they could be true to themselves and to God. It was this kind people with which our God founded this great nation we live in today called the United States. If any ever doubts that there is a God or that He was the One who was at work to bring forth this great country, let them follow the true history and accounts that took place when this country was formed and through its growth, even till today. All that we are and all that we enjoy is only due to the sovereignty, goodness, mercy and the blessings of God.
How it must grieve Him that now we have laws that we can destroy our unwanted children, laws that prohibit our teachers from teaching the truth of God in public schools, that deny God as the Creator and forbid His Word from being read, along with the freedom to openly pray. We have tolerated those who would strike His name from every public place and have courts that will not even allow the display of His commandments. What kind of religious freedom is this that tolerates every other religion being taught about in our public schools except the one true gospel? What spirit have we allowed to come in that has blinded the hearts and minds of so many and even we, His people, have become complacent and lethargic?
These early pilgrims gave their very lives to establish a precedent of religious freedom. Even when the captain of the Mayflower offered to take them back to England, not one of them would go, even in the face of such great adversity and loss. They counted Him faithful who had called them out of darkness and brought them into the light. It didn’t come without great sacrifice and loss. Many of us don’t really think about or really appreciate all the sacrifice of so many throughout the history of this country that has sustained its freedoms and liberties.
Let us remember our heritage and how we that were no people, God has made us a great people with blessings like none other upon the earth. He has taken that which was nothing and has made it something. He has taken the weak and made them strong. He has taken the poor and made them rich. Great is the Lord!
God, please forgive us when we take so much that You have done for us for granted. Help us to truly acknowledge You and truly give thanks from the depths our heart and soul. We are a blessed people and You are the reason for that blessing.

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

Unity in the Body

April 8, 2015

Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Unity in the Body

I was just thinking about if my right thumb got offended with my index finger and decided to leave my right hand go over to my left. Now I’ve got two left thumbs. Then my left big toe has falling out with my left foot and decides to go join up with my nose. Now I’ve got my former big left toe trying to function as a nose. Do we get the picture of how dissension and disunity in the body can quickly bring dysfunction and misalignment? It doesn’t take long before we no longer have a functioning body, but a freakish mess. Does that resemble how we see a lot of the body of Christ trying to operate in today?
Why, because we are all so easily offended and willing to move out of the place where God has set us. It is important that you truly seek God to place you in a body and that when He does you are not moved except by Him. Most of us know that when you start rubbing a lot of different personalities together you may well create a blister or a sore spot. Our first tendency is get up and just move to a different seat or a different church. Just because our brothers and sisters are Christians doesn’t mean everything in our relationship with them is going to be rosy. What we may overlook is there is always an enemy at work to kill, steal and destroy and while he may well be at work to cause disunity and division, there is also God that is at work to mature us in our love and tolerance of one another.
I see people come and go out of our particular body of Christ all of the time. Most of them are precious men and women of God. I observe that so many times it is personal dislike, disagreements or offenses with others that make them move on. Maybe it was in God’s time to move them on, but a lot of times I think it is because we won’t allow ourselves to be perfected in love. Our love is still mostly about our personal preferences, opinions and how we think things should be. Because we took up a grievance and moved out of position of where God placed us, how do you think that ends up impacting your ministry for yourself and for others. Now you move someplace else until you are offended or in disagreement again and so the cycle goes. Thus so many play the game of musical churches.
What we are missing is some of the spiritual clothing that we are suppose to have put on. Instead of our suit and tie or our going to Sunday dress let’s put the clothing that the Word exhorts us to be clothed with. Compassion, having more of a heart for others than we do for ourselves. Kindness, which extends itself to looking after the interest of others and not just self. Humility, which is strength under control, so that despite who and what you may be in the Spirit, you are always coming under and lifting others up. Gentleness, it is not harsh, or brash, but handles others with the love of Jesus. Patience, last but not least, it is the patience of God that helps us to endure the offenses, misdeeds and issues of others. Remember that, unless you’ve started walking on water, you have some issues of your own that others have to tolerate in you. The bottom line is we have to grasp and lay hold of what true agape’ love is, if we are going to start seeing unity at work in the body. As long the body is always upset and fighting among itself it can never come into the focus of its purpose. The first revelation we all have to get is that body ministry and functionality is not first about us; it is about Him! We come together to first worship and serve Him, not just to get our ego stroked and our preferences met.
We have entered into an hour and season where love and unity in the body is paramount to what God is doing at this time. He is calling us to be a healthy, living breathing organism ruled and compelled by love, not a misfit organization trying to play church. We’ve come to treat our relationship with the body of Christ like we do many of our marriages, when it gets to messy we bail out of it. As long we keep running away and moving on, we can’t come into the fullness of unity, love and purpose God has for us.
I am not going to tell you that everything leadership or somebody else in the body did to you was right or justified. It probably wasn’t, but what does the Word say? “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Have we all truly done that? It would be great if we were all perfect in our love and didn’t have to deal with these issues, but the truth is that it takes dealing with these issues if we are going to mature in the love of Christ. You don’t think there were days Jesus might have felt like kicking his disciples to the curb and saying, “I don’t have to put up with this.” It was because He clothed himself with these very attributes that He not only put with them, but endured the cross for them, as well as us. If it is our desire to be identified with His nature and character, then we are going to have to endure some of the work of the cross in us. Be where God places you and stay there until He moves you. If you are going through some things it is because you need to grow through some of these things. Remember it is the lowest valleys that prepare you for the highest mountains.
The body must truly put on the love and humility of Christ if we are to walk in unity to accomplish the purpose of the Father. He said we would be a bride without spot or wrinkle. Well, obviously there is a whole lot of cleaning and ironing that needs to go on to get us there. Allow His love to have its perfect work in you.

Blessings,
#kent

Why Should I Drop My Rock?

December 9, 2014

John 8:1-11
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Why Should I Drop My Rock?

The law of sin and death apprehends us in our sin. The accuser comes before the Lord proclaiming our sin and demanding just retribution. “The Law says” and condemnation follows.
There we are, lying in the dust, naked and ashamed, fearing what may soon follow. We can’t justify ourselves. Our sin has found us out and Jesus has every right to say, “do what the law says and stone the sinner,” but He doesn’t. He stoops there, almost oblivious to the crowd, the railing accusation, the demands for justice and in that place of rest and peace He just writes with His finger in the dirt. Perhaps He is listing all the sins of the accusers.
Finally, Jesus speaks one sentence so amazing, profound and convicting that it shuts the mouth of every accuser and a disperses the angry and blood thirsty mob.
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The law of sin and death has to bow to the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus. If that were us lying there naked, ashamed and in sin, awaiting the rocks and stones to fly and pelt the life out of us, what would it mean to us to be justified by Jesus. He didn’t justify the sin, but He justified the sinner, making it as though she had never done it. Jesus was without sin. He had every right to condemn and judge her. He could have thrown that first stone and yet He chose to throw mercy and forgiveness upon her instead of judgement.
How many times could Jesus have cast me out and cast me off, because of my sin? Instead He has always chosen to forgive me and exhorts me to not live in that place of sin any longer. Are we any different than this woman? Are our sins so much more righteous than hers? Does God really measure sins or are they all a falling short of Him and His highest for us?
I believe that this was a life changing moment for this woman when the kindness of God led her to repentance and change. I believe she saw in Jesus, someone who could do for her what she could not do for herself. She found forgiveness in Him, who looked not upon her shame and failure, but rather saw her value even in her sinful state.
When we read this, we should realize that is exactly what God did for me. He took my sin away, He exonerated me, forgave me and justified me; just as if I had never done it. In the light of that grace, what justification would I have to judge and condemn another? Knowing the debt that Christ paid for me, who am I to hold another accountable for the little debt they may owe me, or the sin they may have perpetrated against me? If God could forgive me so much, why, as His child, am I willing to forgive so little?
Again, Jesus would say to you and me, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
How many of us have failed to drop our rocks and stones of offense and unforgiveness against others? “Father forgive me my trespasses and sins, as I forgive others.”

Blessings,
#kent

The Blessing of Giving

November 26, 2014

Matthew 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Blessing of Giving

The greatest blessing we can give and gift that we can receive is in giving something of substance and ourselves that is life changing and life giving to someone else. There are few things more rewarding than the joy we feel when we have made a difference for someone else. Some of us struggle with that. We have become so focused on how to sell ourselves, our goods and services trying to provide for our own that we have missed the joy of caring and blessing another. There is always a constant barrage of mail, phone calls, pleas over the television and radio all asking for our contributions. We often begin to build walls that automatically shut out any plea for help. Realistically we can’t give to everything. Few of us have the financial resources to do that, but at the same time we don’t want to harden our hearts to become insensitive to every need that passes before us. This is where we need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and where He would have us to extend ourselves in our time and our finances. We each have different gifts and abilities, but all of us have something we can give. It is wonderful that we give our tithes, but what can we offer of ourselves as a tithe. It isn’t really our money that God wants from us, He wants our hearts. Our tithe is an expression of obedience, worship, thanks and giving back in a small portion what He has provided abundantly toward us.
Our lives will be so much richer when they are filled with random acts of kindness and giving. We are the hands, the feet, the mouthpiece and the body of Christ to carry out His works. Acts 10:38 speaks of the works of Jesus, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” God has anointed us with the same Spirit that indwells Jesus. He has given us power and authority to act in His Name. Let us be sensitive in our every day lives to not pass by the opportunities to express the love of God in the lives of others. May we let our words and our deeds carry with them this anointing that was in Jesus, so that we are life givers and a blessing in the earth.

Blessings,
#kent

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