Colossians 3:18-19
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

The Road back to Love and Intimacy

Remember when your romance was as sweet as honey and the love of your life could do no wrong. You adored them, idolized them and wanted to spend every moment together. Many of us, looking back at those younger years, ask ourselves, “what happened to that first love?” We still may love each other, but many couples struggle with the “feelings of love” that are missing. The romance has died way down and now you may find that instead of really loving and cherishing that wonderful man or woman you are struggling to get along with them. The man may feel like the wife is always nagging him, he can never do enough or anything right, she doesn’t respect and honor him. The woman may feel like the husband has become an insensitive jerk that never communicates or works through the problems, he doesn’t meet her needs. Over the years and the cycles of good and bad times, we can accumulate a lot of baggage. If I ask you if you love your husband or your wife, you would quite likely reply, “will of course I do,” but neither one of you may be experiencing the love from one another that you feel and know should be there. We may say we hold no unforgiveness toward one another, but in reality both parties bear scars, wounds, unresolved conflicts and issues that linger in the subconscious ready to rear their ugly heads at the right moment, opportunity or provocation. We find that we fail to often treat each other with the love, dignity and respect that both parties are due in a marriage.
Fifty percent of our marriages fail due to these kind of issues, but how many more are struggling and hurting? We need to return to that place of intimacy and closeness that we once shared, but we can’t until we are able let down the walls we’ve built up and are willing to let go of all the offenses, hurts and bitterness that we carry.
When the Word says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord,” that submission might be just creating a safe place where your husband can share with you. It needs to be a place where you aren’t venting your anger, frustration, criticism and unhappiness, no matter how justified you may feel with those feelings. If you want your husband to communicate and be sensitive to your needs, you have to create an atmosphere of submission where you really want to see, feel and understand his heart. That can be a hard place for a man. He may not be in touch with his feelings the way you are, so be gentle and be patient and above all, be kind.
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” Husbands can be very confrontational, critical and harsh, but many repress their feelings and emotions. They retreat into that shell of seeming insensitivity and non-communication. Many times it is a response of self-preservation. Often the harder the wife tries to break through that seeming insensitivity with harsh or critical words the more the husband withdrawals. If you want the turtle to stick his head out of the shell you have to stop beating on the shell and make him feel that when he sticks his head out it won’t get bit off. Husbands can hold a lot of things in their hearts that they may not even be fully aware of. Their means of retaliation may be more passive or subtle, but it may be coming from a bitterness that has built up in their hearts against their wives. They, on the other hand, need to really listen to the heart of their wives and make those needs their goals to fulfill. They need to make them feel secure in your love for them and remember them often in the little gifts, the things you do and say. Marriage is a teaching ground for unconditional love and service. It is where we should both be learning to lay down our lives for the other. Love is not always about feeling, but about commitment, covenant and a decision to love your spouse unconditionally even when they don’t derserve it.
Maybe we need to come together as a couple where we can agree that the love of Christ is going to rule and dictate our behavior and response to one another. We need to hold one another, not sexually, but intimately, while we confess our sins, our hurts and failures to one another. We need to truly commit to a willingness to really forgive and hear the other person’s heart. We need an uninterrupted time of reconciliation where we can write down and commit to one another some realistic goals where we will begin to address some of our deepest issues. Keep it simple and not more than we can realistically deal with at one time. Start with just three things each. Then let’s make a date for our next intimate time we can meet with the same right heart and attitude, in the love of Christ to see how we are doing. Again, we need to keep it safe and non-confrontational. This is a team project and we can’t succeed if we only have our own agenda and interest at heart. We can’t expect to mend and restore a broken down barn in a day or even a week, it will take time to restore, just as it took time to deteriorate. We can change the cycle and the direction of our marriages if we will both commit to it and stay with it. We will begin to see our true intimacy and love begin to come alive in our feelings and the way we treat one another. God wants to see our marriages strong and alive with His love. There is a lot of truth to the addage that ‘the family that prays together, stays together’. It is hard to be right with each other when we are not right with God. If we are committed to Christ, then we must also be committed to one another, for we are one flesh. Together let’s build the road back to true love and intimacy like we had in our first love.

Blessings,
#kent

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The “Be” Attitudes

June 3, 2015

Matthew 5:1-11
Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
3″Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11″Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The “Be” Attitudes

” Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Why would I want to be poor in spirit? When I become rich in my own eyes I become prideful. I am no longer in a place of need, a place of seeking, openness, wanting and searching. Psalms 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalms 34:18 says, “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” The poor in spirit is a condition of heart that is receptive and desiring of the richness of God’s presence and will in their lives.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Mourning is a yearning, hurting and grieving of all that is not conformed to the will and the purpose of the Father. It is the state of a repentant and contrite heart. It is always crying out for Abba Father. It is always travailing until Christ be formed and brought to birth in fullness. It is the mourning of the death that still operates through sin and all that is in our lives that is less than Him.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
The meek shall inherit the earth, because their strength is not outward, it is inward. It is the strength of Christ under the control of the Holy Spirit. It is a strength that is not flaunted or boasted of. It is a strength that is, because He is. It gives place to others, it submits to authority, it exalts others above itself and it gives honor where honor is due. It is often not recognized as strength by natural standards, but is the greatest strength by divine standards.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” we do not pray for mere physical substance. We are praying for Christ to fill us, for He is the bread of life and we must partake of His flesh and His blood daily if we are to have His Spirit life living and operating through us. Jesus told His disciples in John 4:34, “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work.” That needs to become our place of hunger and the fulfillment of that hunger is operating in the will and purpose of the Father. Those who hunger and thirst for this righteousness will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Mercy is the heart of God. James 2:12 exhorts us, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” Romans 2:1-4 reminds 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?” If you desire mercy, show yourself merciful, forgiving others as God through Christ gave mercy unto you.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
What makes us pure in heart but the cleansing blood of Jesus? As all sinful and impure motives are cleansed away our lives should have no motive or agenda other than the receiving and the expression of His life in us. His love is pure and when it fully captures our hearts it makes all things pure in us. 1 Peter 1:22 says, “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.” In His love and purity we see Him.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
Peacemakers are a restoration people. They restore breached and broken walls and relationships. They bring reconciliation where division has been present. They help restore man back into a right relationship with his God and Savior. The sons of God reconcile a lost creation back to its God. They walk by the Spirit to accomplish the work of the Spirit.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Those who suffer for righteousness sake see a glory and hope beyond this natural man. The natural man will not suffer long for that which is spiritually discerned, but the spiritual man who knows the hope that is before him is willing to pay the ultimate price even as Christ paid it for him. Romans 8:17-18 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Jesus says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” In the world we will have suffering and tribulation, but nothing can separate us from the love of God and we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. No matter what the cost our life is His

These “be” attitudes are the make-up of kingdom people who have the vision of a spiritual kingdom and walk. They won’t make sense to the natural world, because they are not the attributes of the natural, but of the spiritual man. These are the foundation stones upon which we must live and build our daily lives as we are being transformed into His image from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). Let these attitudes so be in us as they were exemplified in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

The Favor of the Lord

June 10, 2014

Psalms 67:1
God be merciful unto us, and bless us; [and] cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

The Favor of the Lord

Did you know you are the object of the Lord’s favor and blessing today? Today as Father looks upon you He says, “Because you are my blessing in the earth, so shall I bless you.” Yes, you are blessed and highly favored of God. You are His child and He relishes in the very thought of you. You haven’t escaped His attention even for one minute.
You may have thought He didn’t care, or He didn’t hear you when you prayed or He couldn’t possibly love you with all of the adversity you are going through or the places you know you’ve failed. What you may forget is that because Christ is in you, He walks with you through every adversity and trial you face. Again, you may have lost sight of who you in Christ, because you have become so identified with the trials that are pressing in upon you.
May I remind you of another character in the Bible that was blessed and highly favored of God. Job 1:6-12 records this dialogue between God and satan, ” One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.”
May I propose to you that satan has no power or authority over you unless he be given permission by the Father. Remember Colossians 3:1-3, it tells you where he has positioned you. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” For satan to get to you he has to get through God and Christ, because that is where you are hidden. May I also suggest that while satan may think he has power and control God uses him as a smith and an instrument to perfect His saints and bring them into the authority of who they are and destined to be in Christ. He is simply an instrument to bring us into our destiny. Without a battle there can be no victory, without and adversary there can be no overcomer. Strength and power are developed out of opposition and resistance. God allows certain things to touch our lives for our ultimate good and triumph, not because He is mean of vindictive.
What does Romans 8:28-30 say? “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Believe me, when Job went through his trial he wasn’t experiencing what seemed to him to be the warm and fuzzy side of God, but God through those trials was transitioning him into a place of priesthood and double portion ministry and living.
Don’t despair because you are in the place of trial and testing. It only speaks to the fact that you are highly favored and blessed of God. “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? (Hebrews 12:4-7)” Be encouraged beloved and highly favored of the Father.

Blessings,
#kent

Let’s stretch Ourselves

October 24, 2013

Let’s stretch Ourselves

Luke 6:27-36
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Jesus tells us to do some things here that are pretty contrary to a lot of our human nature. I would venture to say, that in all of us, we probably aren’t fully walking in what Jesus is telling us to do in this passage. Let’s arm our selves with these instructions that the Lord has given us and as we go out each day let’s endeavor to stretch ourselves, step out of our comfort zone and the way that we have always done it. Let’s step out of our character and into His. Let’s do something radically kind and generous. Let’s endeavor to be a blessing to all that we meet, especially those that are irregular people in our lives that we struggle to even tolerate, let alone like them. Put on the mind of Christ today as you look out and see your world. See it through His eyes and His love. What would Jesus do? How can I get out of my thinking and into His? Bless someone in a spontaneous and unexpected way. Forgive that person who has offended and hurt you. Refuse to retaliate when others abuse you, treat you wrongly or speak unkindly to you. Return blessing for evil, love for hate and kindness for unkindness.
Let’s dare to be different today. Let’s dare to let the Lord stretch us and use us in new and uncommon ways. That means we have to step out of the character of who we have been and into the character of who Christ is and wants to be within us and through us. Go out and assault your world with random acts of kindness. Take the time to tell others how special they are and what a difference their life makes to you. Edify those around you. Be thankful that you get to go to work and that you have a job. Let everyday be another great day, because Christ is living in you and through you.
Dare to let go of the things that you hold onto so tightly. Rest in the Lord that he is your provision and your supply. As 2 Corinthians 8:15 says, “As it is written, He that [had gathered] much had nothing over; and he that [had gathered] little had no lack.” There are untapped resources within us waiting to be released, as we are willing to stretch into the Lord’s principles and commandments. How many times have we read this passage and others like it, but how much of it is actively working in our lives and everyday behavior. What Jesus speaks here is not often seen in natural behavior. Jesus wants to stretch us out of what we have been that is like everyone else and stretch into what He is. If He has commanded us to do these things then He has provided the resources for us to do it. Are you willing to stretch today?

Blessings,
kent

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