Beware of the one who seeks to take your Life Luke 2:1-15 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the eastand have come to worship him.” 3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5″In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6″ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'” 7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” We have often read and seen the nativity of Jesus most generally around Christmas time. It is easy to see by this account that the Magi or wise men were not at the stable where Jesus was born in Bethlehem like many of our plays would lead us to believe. That was when the Lord’s star appeared in the heavens signifying His birth and arrival in the earth. It was the beginning of a two year pilgrimage for the wise men of the East that brought them first to Herod to inquire and actually enlighten him to this future King’s presence. It was the star that continued to lead them to the house where Jesus was living with His parents. They had come such a long way to worship this “King of the Jews”, but more than that, the King of all Kings. They had a revelation of what most of the Jew’s didn’t even know. Now Herod knew, but he saw it in the natural as a threat to his earthly throne. Herod serves as type of satan, the god of this world. He is threatened still not just by the Jesus Christ of this day, but by the Christ that is birthed into a people of faith and who are starting to mature in authority and power. The objective is to destroy the life before it can come into maturity and then into the power and dominion of its authority and life. Satan fears what has been birthed in us. We are not ignorant of his devices to rob, kill and destroy the life of the spirit. He uses temptation, manipulation, intimidation, deceit, trials and tribulation and even physical death. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus says, “And fear not them which kill the body (satan and his agents), but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him (God) which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” We see this scenario played out again in Revelations 12:1-7, “1A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. 7And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” The point I believe the Lord wants to make to us in the simplest of terms is this. There is a divine life that has been maturing in the womb of the church and is seeking to come to birth. There is an evil one who knows this will be his final demise for it is the union of Christ coming forth in fullness within His body. This union of Christ manifest in His body is the start of the final nail in satan’s coffin. The great red dragon is desperate to destroy it before that life can really manifest. God wants us to recognize, not only what it is that He is doing in this time and place in history, but what is taking place is being birthed out of eternity. He is speaking to us that if we will walk in obedience and faithfulness to the calling that is within us and the life that He has birthed, He will preserve that life. Our hiding place and protection is in Him. Satan can’t touch what is God’s without God’s permission and if we are allowed to be touched then it is for a reason that God is working. Our umbrella of protection is in living in the center of God’s will. Outside of that umbrella we open ourselves up to the attack of the enemy in our lives. It is the time that the Lord is gathering His own unto Himself and they that are His own will hear His voice and will not listen to the voice of another. There is one who seeks to devour and destroy the precious life that has been birthed within you. If you and I will return to the Lord with all of our hearts and with repentance He will be our fortress and protection in an hour of the great outpouring of satan’s wrath. As the Redeemed of the Lord we must walk as Jesus walked receiving our instruction from the Father and hearing Him for ourselves. It is no longer about us listening to everyone else and all of the voices of Christendom, it is about a personal relationship between you and God where you come to hear and obey Him as your Shepherd. Beware of those that seek your life and lure you into complacency and worldliness. They are as the harlot in Proverbs 7 that would lure your soul to hell. Be wise and seek the Lord’s instruction. Press into to know Him now like you never have before. Our time grows near.

 

Blessings,

#kent

September 12, 2013

The Blessing of Our Women

Proverbs 31:8
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her.

Most all of us have a woman or women that are very special in our lives. They are often so dependable, constant and such a continual source of blessing that we often become complacent and even unappreciative in our attitudes toward them. Much like our attitude can become toward the Lord, we can become very insensitive to their presence, their continual serving and blessing and all that they contribute to our lives. We often are far more acutely aware of their faults, their nagging, and their expectations. Yet it is often some of these little irritating qualities that keep us on track, that help us live up to our abilities and responsibilities, and they are often the cornerstones of our households. These little ladies look after us, pamper us, serve us, bless us, love us, even when we are unlovely and are constantly laying down their lives to unselfishly serve and bless their families.
Often we relegate one day a year to commemorate and recognize these special ones, which is much like just going to church on Christmas or Easter. We should be so cognizant to love and appreciate them every day, in every way and through all of the little actions as well as the larger ones. Sure they have their human side. They can get cranky and irritable and some times hard to live with, but that may be a good indication that we as men and children aren’t doing our part to support, love and care for them.
I know my wife is so giving and far more generous than I am. While I’m always carefully watching the bottom line, if there is something I really need or want, she doesn’t hesitate to try and bless me with it if it is in her power to do so. Time would fail me to tell all of the examples of her giving and blessings in my life. She is such an example of love and Christ to me in these areas. Often, I get irritated with her for always asking me if I remembered this or that, but if she didn’t she knows that there is a good chance I would go off and forget it. What I am saying is that these special women are such a constant source of blessing and help to us, and we usually cop an attitude with them in their efforts to help us keep on track.
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” We men and children that have godly women in our lives are very blessed and should never fail to praise and appreciate them. They wear innumerable hats, continually work at daunting tasks and yet manage to love and serve their household in that process. Many of us truly have heroines living among us whom we don’t love and appreciate nearly enough. They deserve our best, because they give no less of themselves.
It is interesting that some of Jesus’ last thoughts and concerns, while hanging on a cross, were for His mother. He delegated her care to the disciple John. If we see Jesus throughout His ministry so tender, loving, forgiving and caring of women should we, as men, be any less so? He valued women as few men did of that time. The Word exhorts us husbands in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
We must ask ourselves, as men, husbands and children, are we really everyday appreciating and showing the women in our lives how special they are? Our encouragement and praise means so much to them and helps them to continue on in their endeavor to serve and bless us. I speak this as strongly to myself as I do anyone else; that the women in your life are an extension of you in one way or another. If we love ourselves then we must not fail to love and bless them as a part of ourselves. Many of our marriages and relationships fail, because we cease to really love and appreciate one another. We become focused on all of the faults and shortcomings and actually cause them to become accentuated through the negative confessions of our lips. What if we were to speak, sometimes by faith, what we see or would like to see more of them, in a positive way? What if we were to be sure and praise and appreciate often the positive aspects of one another while humbly and willingly receiving loving correction and exhortation from one another. None of us are the perfect husband or wife, mother or child, but we can move and encourage one another toward that through the positive reinforcement we can bring to one another’s lives. Let today and each coming day be a day of true appreciation of those special women in our lives. Let us continually let them know how special they are and how much they bless our lives.

Blessings,
kent

The Labor of Love

September 3, 2013

The Labor of Love

Galatians 4:19
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

A woman and prospective mother endures all of the discomforts and demands of pregnancy for the joy and the hope that she carries within her. Then comes the day of the birthing, which without modern medicine is on the extreme of pain, discomfort and tremendous laboring. Yet she will endure all of that, not only once, but often, again and again for the joy of the life that it brings forth. Out of all that pain, discomfort and labor a miracle is brought forth. The miracle of a newborn life, formed in the image of its maker and its parents. This was Paul’s analogy in describing what it was to Him to birth Christ in others. It wasn’t just about telling them about Jesus and having them come to the altar and pray the sinner’s prayer. That may have been where it began, but certainly not where it ended. That was only the conception. The process of Christ’s life being formed in these former Gentiles and Jews was a long process of intense prayer and intercession, teaching and counseling, living before them the example of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, forming the likeness of Christ in them. Far too often, after Paul had poured out His heart and soul in love and instruction to these new converts to Christ, he would experience the heartbreak of them turning aside to another doctrine, or becoming caught up again in legalism or allowing sin to come again and pervert the purity of their faith. No one knows like a parent, the heartbreak you feel when your child turns away from the path of righteousness and understanding that you have laid before him or her. Slowly, patiently, repetitiously you taught your children from infancy, through childhood, puberty and into adulthood. You sought to instill your belief system and core values into them. All that you valued and hold dear, you tried to impart to them. You continually prayed for them and when they were younger you prayed with them to help them establish a relationship with their God and yours.
Oh, the sting and the heartbreak you felt if at some point they rejected your values, the truths you held dear, and made choices in another direction. You may not only have prayed for them, but pleaded with them and reasoned with them to help them to see and repent from the error of their ways.
This principle is true when discipling and pouring out your life so that Christ might be formed in others. Often it is those ones that so loved you and would have done anything for you that now take on a different spirit. Now they despise and reject you because of the truth you are trying to speak into them. In Galatians 4:16 Paul says, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Often truth is no longer our friend, or the messenger who bears it, when it goes in the face of what we want to believe and the direction we want to go. As rebellious and as otherwise directed as some may become, the love of God compels the travail of love that seeks to love them and bring them back into the truth and right fellowship of who they are in Christ. It does not cease its travail until again Christ is formed in them.
We can all thank God for parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, friends and those ones God has placed in our lives to help establish and form Christ in us. Many of us can look back at times we may have erred or lost our way and yet these ones the Lord set in our lives did not forsake us, or reject us. They prayed for us, they may have tried to counsel with and speak the truth into our lives, but they continued to love us even when we rejected and were perhaps hateful with them. They continued to demonstrate the tenacious love of God for us that ‘it is not God’s will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9).
Someone has labored over your life today so that Christ might be formed in you. Someone is caring and praying for you even in those times you may have slipped back or turned another direction. It is the Spirit of Christ in us that causes us to travail as Paul did. Sometimes the source of deeper inner groanings and utterances are birthed of the Spirit and not in the understanding of man. God’s desire for each one of us is not just for us to have a religious understanding of who God is. It is that the revelation of “Christ in you” is formed, birthed and established in you so that we would no longer live and function out of natural understanding and desire, but out of the mind, will, love and heart of the Christ that indwells us and of whose nature we now are. We all are the labor of His love.

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

Tips for Teens

January 25, 2013

Exodus 20:12
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

Tips for Teens

Those parents that you are diss’in right now, the ones you don’t think know anything about you
and are just trying to keep you from becoming your own person. Those people are you in another 15 to 25 years. Guess who you are going to be the most like then?

That’s right, those ones you may be carrying such a ‘tude with now.

Guess what you are going to draw most from when you are dealing with your kids that are just like you now?

That’s right, how your parents raised you. If you can learn from their mistakes and be better parents, all the better, but right now, cut them some slack, they are probably doing the best they can from how their parents raised them.

The love that says, “no” is to protect you from what you
don’t see coming, even when you think you see everything.

Blessings,
kent

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