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

Faithfulness in Marriage

August 21, 2013

Faithfulness in Marriage

Malachai 2:14-16
You cry out, “Why has the LORD abandoned us?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made to each other on your wedding day when you were young. But you have been disloyal to her, though she remained your faithful companion, the wife of your marriage vows.
Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “It is as cruel as putting on a victim’s bloodstained coat,” says the LORD Almighty. “So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife.”
Our hearts are not different than those that have gone before us. They are still deceitfully wicked and perverse. Unless guarded and kept under the Lordship of Christ and led by the Spirit they will lead us in the ways contrary to His will. We live in a day when the divorce rate is somewhere around fifty percent. One out of two marriages end in divorce. What is even more sad is that it isn’t a whole lot better even among the Christian community. What is this telling us about the condition of our hearts? In Matthew 19:8 Jesus says, “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
From today’s passage we can readily see that this isn’t the will of God and what His attitude about divorce is. The enemy is doing a masterful job of destroying our homes, families and marriages. The moral fabric of our society is deteriorating before our very eyes, as we become more complacent and accepting of it. So many of us end up playing right into this destruction and we wonder why God isn’t blessing us and answering our prayers. Could it be that we have become too self-centered rather than God centered? Probably the only ones who will continue reading this if it is an issue in their lives are those who really care more about God’s will than their own. None of us like to be confronted with our sins. We, like the world, want to run from the light. The difference is that we are children of the light and if we are really Christ’s then our spirit won’t let us run away even when we are in error. We have a conviction to return to what is right and repent of what is wrong.
Our biggest temptation today is self-isolation. We become too absorbed in what we want to do, what is important to us and what meets our needs and wants. As a result we isolate ourselves from the demands and needs of those around us, especially our spouses. Life begins to slowly and subtly take us in different directions and begins to place a wedge in our relationships. I can be perfectly content going my own way and doing my own thing, but when I got married and committed to that woman my life, love and loyalty, I gave up being just about myself. It is the two of us that make up one person and while we are individuals with differences we are one flesh both of us living for the good and well being of the other and not just ourselves. I know how oblivious I can become to the needs of my wife because I get so caught up in what I need to do and what is important to me. I have to remember that my top priority next to God is my wife. When I forget that I begin to unwittingly open myself up to a breakdown in our relationship. Just as I must cultivate and spend quality time in my relationship with the Lord, I can do no less with my spouse.
What I am learning is that our spiritual relationship is directly related to our natural relationship with our spouse. When there is disharmony and dissension in the natural, it hinders the spiritual dimension of our relationship with the Lord. As 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” We have to remember that we are not in this by ourselves, we are together in union with Christ. We need that unity to maintain right relationship spiritually. This is another reason we as husbands and wives must commit to keeping our hearts in an attitude of submission before the Lord and to one another, willing to pray together and share our hearts together without fear of reprisals. We will all have our difficult times, but if our hearts and attitudes remain right we can resolve them.
If we are finding ourselves in the place in our lives where the storms of divorce are brewing, start by submitting your hearts to the Lord and His will. It is only in being right with Him that we can be right with each other. Love has to be the conquering force to all obstacles and we know that His love is greater than ourselves. Let His love reign in your hearts and relationships always and let us submit ourselves to one another in the spirit of that love.

Blessings,
kent

Three Men in a Desert

March 25, 2013

Proverbs 13:22
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

Three Men in a Desert

Three men started across the desert. One man was loaded down with canteens of water and lots of food. The other man had a tent, umbrella, blanket and some water. The third man had a hat, a canteen, a Bible and faith in the Lord.
After a couple of days of walking the man with all of the canteens and food died of exhaustion from the weight of all of his water and provisions. The other two men buried him, split up the remaining water and food, and continued on. On the fourth day a gust of wind caught the one man’s umbrella as he was climbing over a rocky hill, threw him off balance and he fell to his death upon the rocks. The third man buried him and used the remaining resources to finish his journey.
The moral of the story is that often the Lord uses the resources others strive to gain and hold on too, to bless those who walk in faith and trust in Him.

Blessings,
kent

Characteristics of a Fool

September 26, 2012

Characteristics of a Fool

Psalms 92:5-6
O LORD, how great are thy works! [and] thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.

We have characterized wisdom, perhaps it is a good time to look at the opposite side of the coin and look at the characteristics of a fool. While it is likely the true fool would not spend their time reading this, let alone taking it to heart, it might speak to the wise. Part of getting wisdom is realizing and correcting our own follies and the error of our ways. While in viewing these characteristics we might be prone to judge some that we may think fit this category, it will probably be far more profitable for us to judge and correct our own hearts where we see some of the characteristic active in us.
One of the first characteristics of a fool is seen in Psalms 14:1 and 53:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.” He is in denial of God and His salvation. A fool can be defined as being pretty much full of themselves, “The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise.” They are not one to listen to advice, counsel or the admonition of others. Proverbs 15:5 tells us the root of where foolishness begins, “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” Proverbs 17:10 says, “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.” They never learned to receive and heed correction as child. Their nature is stubborn and rebellious. They are a god and an authority unto themselves.
Proverbs 13:6 talks about how most people rationalize and come to conclusions based on facts and evidence, not so the fool. “Every prudent [man] dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open [his] folly.” Ecclesiastes 2:14 says that the “The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness.” There is spiritual and moral ignorance and darkness that is prevalent in their lives. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise.” Proverbs 13:6 tells us, “Every prudent [man] dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open [his] folly.” From these observations it is clear that fools are presumptuous, impetuous, not stopping to consider all the factors in making decisions, poor decision makers and ruled by their own thoughts and opinions which they value above sound judgement, wisdom and instruction. “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2)” They are arrogant, proud, boastful, full of themselves, lacking understanding, discernment and wise in their own eyes.
Ecclesiastes 10:3 tells us, “Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is.” He is characterized by ignorance and stupidity revealed in actions.
The fool is what we would term the troublemaker, always stirring up strife and contention. Proverbs 10:23 says, “[It is] as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.” Proverbs 14:16 says, “A wise [man] feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” The thing about a fool is that there is no reasoning with them as with a rational person, whose mind is open. Proverbs 23:9 says, “Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.” “If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace. (Proverbs 29:9)” “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. (Proverbs 26:4)” The only time that a fool is thought to be wise is when he keeps his mouth shut. “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. (Proverbs 17:28)” Like the saying goes, “it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” The character of the heart of a fool is readily seen through his words and subsequent actions. Normally the fool has little regard for what he says or how it will affect those around him. Ecclesiastes 10:14 says, “and the fool multiplies words. No one knows what is coming- who can tell him what will happen after him?” The fool likes to hear himself ramble and spout off, but has no soundness in his words, neither does he govern his emotions or anger and is noted for his lack of self control. “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (Proverbs 29:11)” Isaiah 32:6 says, “For the fool speaks folly, his mind is busy with evil: He practices ungodliness and spreads error concerning the LORD; the hungry he leaves empty and from the thirsty he withholds water.” The fool is set in his ways and will always return to his perverse nature. “As a dog returneth to his vomit, [so] a fool returneth to his folly. (Proverbs 26:11)” The fool will not remain in a right path, but will go back to the folly and the error of his ways.
The fool is the counter part of the wise man. By his folly we better see wisdom, just as we wouldn’t recognize light without darkness. “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. (Ecclesastes 10:2).” Wisdom takes the high road, but fools will always take the low road. Wisdom is characterized in the godly and the spiritual man, the fool is seen to be sensual, devilish and perverse.
Perhaps in summary Proverbs 28:26 says it best, “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” What and whom we trust in says a lot about how wise or foolish we are. We have all grown up in degrees of foolishness, but our wisdom, our safety and our security are realized in our trust and obedience to God’s Word and His ways.

Blessings,
kent

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