My Friend, Billy

June 4, 2015

John 14:15-20
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

My Friend, Billy

John was a middle-aged man of medium height. He lived on a street called Marigold Drive in a small house that his mother had left to him after she died. John was a reclusive man, with few friends and outside interests. John was an auto mechanic by trade and he worked on cars in his garage accessed by the alley behind his house. His work came from word of mouth and he kept relatively busy as he was conscientious about his work and his prices were quite reasonable.
John had never married or had kids. He had been a loner all of his life. Some thought John a bit eccentric and strange, but most saw a gentle and quite man who had just never really engaged with the society that surrounded him.
John had some customers come in one day that had a young boy, about eight, named William. His friends all called him Billy. Billy was very engaging and outgoing. He seemed to take to John right off when they came in. He was fascinated with the mechanics and workings of a car, so he had a barrage of questions for John as John was assessing the problem with their vehicle. For a lot of people, Billy would have been a bit of a nuisance and agitation, but the boy’s curious nature and vivacious personality really impressed John. He patiently answered and explained question after question that Billy had for him. The folks lived relatively close to John, so John invited the boy to come over and help him if he would like. Billy was very excited about the prospect of being an auto mechanic and launched a massive plea for his parent’s approval and permission. They agreed that after Billy had gotten his chores done around that house he could ride his bike over to John’s and help him out. John and Billy seemed to just hit it off from the start and Billy became to John that close friend that he had never really had. Billy respected and accepted John for just who he was and John appreciated in Billy all the things that he wasn’t.
As John and Billy’s friendship grew, Billy was over John’s at every opportunity, hanging out with his new best friend. John was teaching him what he knew and Billy was helping John better grasp the world around him. They were good friends that met needs in one another.
Now Billy’s parents were strong Christians who had raised Billy up in the Lord and Billy had a strong faith and personal relationship of his own with Jesus Christ. Every Sunday morning he was gone to church, but in the afternoon he loved to go over and just hang out with John. John had never been around religious people or grown up with a knowledge of the Lord. He was a good, honest, hard working individual, but he didn’t know the Lord in a personal relationship. When Billy would come over on Sunday afternoon, he would excitedly share with John all that he had learned that day at church. John saw in little Billy qualities and attributes that he desired and wished were in himself. He admired his faith and Billy would always want to say the blessing whenever they shared a meal together. Billy began to ask John if he would come to church with him. John was reluctant and negative about going at first, but Billy could be quite persistent in his own eager way, so John finally agreed to go. This was a totally new and strange environment for John. He felt totally uncomfortable and out of place. He didn’t understand all that was taking place and much of what was said was like a foreign language to him. The only real comfort he had was his friend Billy sitting next to him, smiling at him whenever he looked over. As he listened to the sermon, his heart was touched that there could be this One called Jesus that could love him so much that he would be willing to die for his wrong-doing. After several Sundays of going to church with Billy, John walked up that aisle and gave his heart to Jesus. With the love of Christ welling up in John’s heart, now it was John that became like a sponge soaking up all that Billy could tell him about this Jesus.
Meanwhile, next door to John lived an older widow woman who liked to always have her nose in someone else’s business. When she observed Billy always over at John’s and the close friendship they had, she began to gossip with her neighbors and make accusation and suggestions about what must be going on between them. After all, that John had never gotten married, so he was probably some sort of pervert or pedophile. John’s neighbors stopped speaking with him and began to look on him as some sort of criminal. John began to notice his business was dropping off and fewer people were coming to him.
Then, one day the worst thing of all happened. Billy came over in the car with his parents. They came in and talked to John about the accusations and rumors that were circulating around town. When John looked over at Billy, he had obviously been crying and was very upset. Billy’s parents felt it wasn’t a good idea for Billy to come around John anymore as people were apparently getting a wrong impression about what was going on. They said they were sorry, but the friendship had to end. When they left, John just sat there for hours with a blank stare on his face. He had never felt such hurt and pain in all of his life. His heart was broken and he didn’t know what to do. Finally as he looked over he saw his Bible setting on the table next to him. He picked it up, looked up to heaven and said, “Why God, did you take my best friend away?” He opened his Bible at random and it fell open to John 14:15-20 and he read, ““If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
John heard the Lord speaking to him that He had not left him alone. Billy had brought him into a friendship that no one could take away from him. Even if Billy could not be there, the Lord would be there with him and would reveal Himself to him. John began to break down and cry as he realized that the Lord had brought Billy into his life to reveal Himself to him. John was never the same after that. He refused to allow the accusations and rumor destroy him. He chose to forgive his neighbor who had created them. He became active in his church, eventually teaching Sunday school and growing in favor with God and man. He in turn began to share the love and truth of Jesus Christ with all that came around him all because one little boy was willing to share that great love with Him.

Blessings,
#kent

The Hidden Things

March 24, 2014

 

The Hidden Things


1 Corinthians 4:5

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


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

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

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

 
Blessings,
#Kent

Consecrated Son

July 23, 2013

Consecrated Son

1Samuel 1:9-11
So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD And she [was] in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

Most of us know the account of Hannah and how she cried out in her bareness for a man-child. We know that Eli spoke a prophetic word to her, she conceived and gave birth to a child she called Samuel, who was a wonderful prophet and man of God. The only thing is that as Hannah had vowed, when the child was weaned she would come and present him to the Lord. The child was consecrated unto the Lord according to her promise. She had to fully relinquish the normal routines of a mother raising a child. The priesthood raised him and she only had visitation rights.
John 1:12 tells us,”But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:” When we come to Christ there is a spiritual dedication and consecration that takes place within us. Our soul, through its vow to Christ, dedicates the spiritual child within that is birthed to God. Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:5-7, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Most of us who are Christians are very aware of our new birth, or born again experience. We understand the concept of that new creature which we now are and still are becoming, is the product, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. We should understand, like Hannah, that this spiritual seed, which is the product of the faith in our soul uniting with the promise of the Spirit of God, has produced a spiritual man-child within us. Our body is the tabernacle of this holy seed of God. What we often forget is that this child doesn’t belong to the soul. It belongs to the Spirit. We gave up our rights and dictates to it when we received Christ. As such we must remember and honor our vow that we are no longer our own. We belong wholly to the Lord. For many of us, even though we have been spiritually birthed, we have never been really separated unto the Lord. We are still being raised by our soul. The result is that our spirit man reflects the soulish woman rather than the godly man after the image of the Father. Who is raising your spirit man, your man-child that resides within? Is he becoming just an extension of your soul, of your mind, will and emotions? Or has he been truly consecrated and given to God? Is he being raised in the discipline of the Word of God and godly correction? Is he learning to truly bear the nature of the heavenly rather the earthly? Roman 12:1-2 exhorts us, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” God has answered the cry of our soul to birth a part of Himself in us. We are exhorted to keep our vow and commitment to now let that spiritual man within us grow up in obedience and consecration to the Father and the instruction of His Word. The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a mentor, a spiritual governor, advisor, helper, comforter and instructor to help us grow up into the priesthood of God. We are men and women of God. We are not ordinary and common people of the world. We have been consecrated and set apart unto God, for His glory and for His purpose. We must, as Samuel did, grow up into our calling and relationship with our Father. We are purposed and destined of God. We are not our own, we were purchased with a price. Has our soul relinquished the man-child we are and the destiny we have before us to be conformed into the likeness of the Son of God? If not, perhaps it is time we make good on our vow. What we give up in the natural, can in no way compare to what we gain in the Spirit. Let’s make sure we have been truly consecrated and released to God.
The soul or the mother is the vehicle to produce the son. She must then give place for the son to grow up in the likeness of his Father. The soul must decrease and the spirit man must increase. Have you consecrated your son?

Blessings,
kent

Our Children

May 13, 2013

Our Children

Psalms 127:3
Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward.

There are perhaps fewer things in life that can bring us greater joy or deeper sorrow than our children. There are perhaps fewer things in life that can help us relate with our heavenly Father than our children. In our children we see the individual and we also see ourselves. Through our children many of us may have tried to live out a part of ourselves, our children thus becoming an extension of ourselves in their youth. We are given the awesome responsibility to raise them up into adulthood, to be their examples, their mentors, their disciplinarians, and the ones they turn too and trust in. Our heavenly Father has given us a role in a much smaller sense, yet similar to the role He plays in our lives.
Our children, while under our authority, still have a free will to make right and wrong choices. Through those choices they can either bless our hearts or break them. The Lord tells us in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 concerning raising our children, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Our foremost responsibility, besides caring and providing for our children is to raise them, seeking every opportunity to instill in their hearts the Word of God. We do this through our personal instruction, our lifestyle, example, and the atmosphere in which we raise them. Hopefully we learn to instruct our children in the love and grace of God, not just in harshness and legalism. In our exuberance to have them conform to godly ways we may use God like a club to beat them over the head, using condemnation and judgmental tactics to try and control them. This may not be so different than what many of you grew up in. On the other hand some may give there children too much lee way, not providing a loving atmosphere of discipline and correction to guide them and train them into maturity. The bottom line is most of us try and do the best we can to raise our children in a right way. Being human ourselves, we are prone to make mistakes along the way and we pray God’s grace will fill in the potholes of our shortcomings.
Sometimes our children grow up fulfilling all of our expectations to our delight and joy. Sometimes our children falter, but then recover to still grow up and bless our hearts. Sometimes our children become headstrong, rebellious and turn away from the principles of right and wrong we endeavored to instill in them. They may reject our values and us to go their own way. As a result many have ended up in trouble with the law, have broken homes and marriages, have children and relationships outside of marriage, or have adopted lifestyles and behaviors contrary to the way we sought to raise them in. They may be the source of our greatest hurt and heartache today. Even as much as we disapprove of their actions we never stop loving them. Our natural tendency is to some how take responsibility for their actions and the choices they made. Sometimes it leads to marital strife and tension because one spouse blames the other because of some weakness or failure on their part. We all have shortcomings, but at some point our children choose to no longer submit to our authority as their parents. At that point they take the responsibility upon themselves for their choices. Many of us know that while we may no longer have control in the natural we continue to take our petition into the heavenlies unto the throne of our Father. We begin to identify with how we must break the heart of our heavenly Father through our own rebellion, self-will and defiance of His authority. Yet, He is our example of patience, grace and love that is unconditional and whose arms are always open to receive us back into relationship with Him.
Wherever you are at today with your children we know that God knows our heart as a parent. Hopefully your children are an area of blessing and delight to your soul, but even if they aren’t you are their greatest ally and intercessor. Rather they appreciate you or curse you, you are still the heart and example of the Father to them. They have to know that your love is unconditional even if your approval isn’t. They have to know that in their darkness you are the one that lights their candle before the Lord through your faithful prayer and intercession. As the prodigal’s father stood believing and watching in faith for his son to come home, so many of us must stand, watching and believing God to bring our children back home. Faint not, the Father knows and feels your heart. If you have planted good seed in their hearts and lives, never give up looking for the harvest. “For as a man sows that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).”

Blessings,
kent

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