1 John 3:18
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Love is a Language of Action

“I love you.” How many times have we said this or heard this? What does it mean? While the words can be meaningful and precious, it is what they convey, imply and promise that is of even greater weight. How many times have these been shallow words, void of promise and only speaking to someone what they so desire to see in reality? What gives flesh to these words are the actions that follow them. If we say that we love God, but we are cold and indifferent to our fellow man is the love of God truly in us or are we just clouds without rain, empty and void of the substance of God’s love.
For love to be meaningful, it has to be a language of action. Its expression is seen in our attitudes, our deed and in the true intent of our heart. I would say most of us often fall short of the kind of love we really want to have. Sometimes, even our best efforts seem in vain, but I believe God sees the motive and the intent of our heart. He is really the means by which we can truly love. The more expression we have of Christ in us, the greater our love, or rather the love of God in us, is expressed and made manifest. It will be seen, not only in the things that we give, but in our tolerance, our forgiveness, our patience, self control, our joy, our peace and in the way that we respond and act toward others. Christ in us is not measured in how much we know about the bible, or how much spiritual revelation that we have. It is not about how much we go to church or how religious that we appear. Christ in us is the measure of God’s love flowing through us. The less that we are in the way, the less restriction there is to the flow of His love through us. This is why we die to self, because self only hinders the flow of God’s unselfish love.
If we think that we truly love God and have His love in us then may our actions speak it and not our tongue. Let us manifest the works that He did. The manifestation of His love through us is God loving His world; this is what signifies to the lost that God is love when they see us give what they do not deserve. Are we a people of words or action?

Blessings,
#kent

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Shine a Diamond

January 28, 2015

Shine a Diamond

Romans 14:19
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

We live in a very negative world in a lot of respects. Life is often taking twist and turns that can bring us discouragement and despair. Many around us only know how to speak death. They, like many of us, can become cynical, skeptical and suspicious in a world that is always seeking to exploit us in one manner or another. It is hard for us to be real, even with one another, for fear that someone will take opportunity in our vulnerability and openness to hurt us or will despise and not respect us because of some weakness that we allow them to see in us. As a result we become individual sealed houses, our own little islands in some respects, keeping a certain amount of distance and aloofness so that we won’t be hurt. Certainly we have to be careful about who we share the more intimate parts of our lives with. Jesus gives the warning in Matthew 7:6, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” As it is with the holy and precious things of God, so it is with the matters of our heart. We need to really know the character of those we share our hearts with. If the love of God is truly operating within them, then they understand the grace that not only they have been given, but that which they must extend to others. God wants us to cover one another’s nakedness, not expose it, gossip about it or despise them for it. He wants us to be a people that can truly edify and build up one another. We need to have that place and safety to truly confess our sins and faults to one another without fear of rejection and judgment. James 5:16 tells us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Does that mean we condone whatever sin someone shares or confesses to us? No, we can’t because then we would share complicity with their sin. The reason for sharing our sins or faults with one another is for repentance, support, help in our weaknesses and restoration of our fellowship with God and one another. If we share our faults with one another it shouldn’t be for approval, neither should it be for judgment but our response to another’s faults should be that of humility and love, knowing that we are also weak and vulnerable to sin. Galatians 6:1 teaches us, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” You see we are not one another’s judges, but we are one another’s watchmen. We watch out for one another, because we are of the same body and share the same common faith and purpose, to glorify the Lord. It can be easy for any of us to become distracted and turn aside or grow complacent concerning our faith. This is why it is so important for us as the body of Christ to have personal friendships and relationships with others in the body, not just for fellowship, but also for accountability. We need to be speaking life into one another to build each other up in who we are in Christ. We need to pray for one another and exhort one another, always stirring up faith. A healthy body is one in which individual members and cells are ministering health and blessing into those around them. The words that we speak into one another’s lives should be for building up and not tearing down, even if they must be honest, direct and hard words, the motive behind them should always be love. Sometimes, like Paul, we must tear down to build up, but what are our motives and the end of what we do?
Are you and I the brush that polishes the diamonds of the Lord? Are we causing others to shine in His glory and come forth in the image of who they are in Christ? Remember that the power of death and life are in the tongue. Our actions and our tongue can make or destroy another’s life. Let our lives and our ministry be for building up and not for tearing down, for edifying and not for condemning. You are your brother’s keeper and he is yours. Let us honor and seek to bring forth the Christ in each other. Speak life, hope and blessing into someone today and let it become your lifestyle. Shine a diamond!

Blessings,
#kent

All of our need is met in Jesus

Philippians 4:19
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

It is interesting to note that this scripture follows Paul commending the Philippians for their faithfulness in communicating and supporting his needs. In Philippians 4:15-18 Paul has just remarked to the Philippians, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.” We can see from these passages that the Philippians weren’t just out seeking the blessings of God, their focus and endeavor was to be a blessing. So often we take the promises of God out of context to meet our particular needs or desires. What is as important as the promises are the conditions of the promise and the foundation it is based on. There are some that have the idea that God exist in order just to bless them. It is God’s heart that we be blessed and that our needs are met, but our heart should not be that of seeking the gift, but the Giver. What we find in the economy of the kingdom of God is that in blessing we are blessed, in giving our needs are met. The Lord increases us for the purpose of being a greater blessing, as well as being blessed.
What we must ask ourselves is what is at the core of our heart when we approach God for our needs or wants. Is it covetousness, the strong desire for what we don’t have, or is it the desire to be a blessing? Is our heart just to get or is it to give. Jesus says in Matthew 6:31-34, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.” Jesus is telling us here that it isn’t the natural commodities of this world we need to be focused on, it is the kingdom of God. When we get in the flow of God’s economy we don’t have to worry about the natural, those needs will be met in the course of our living. Certainly we must still work, the Word exhorts “let him who will not work, not eat.” What we fail to see is that even our work can be a spiritual exercise and function of the kingdom. It is a means for providing not only our needs, but also the needs of others, which is a spiritual principle. Ephesians 4:28 says, ” Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” It is in the meeting of needs that our needs are met.
Paul says in this passage, ‘may God supply all of your need, singular, according to His riches in glory.’ What is your need today? Is it about all of the things in life that we need or is it about knowing that Christ is our greatest need and everything else is worked out as we pursue Him.
May we have the heart of the Father in our giving and being a blessing. In blessing we will find ourselves blessed and all of our need met according to His riches in glory.

Blessings,
#kent

Giving

June 18, 2013

Giving

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Around Christmas time we all think a lot more about sharing and gift giving. We have learned that it is not just the joy of getting, but that it is the joy of seeing someone else’s face light up when they receive something that blesses and pleases them, that is the greater blessing. I guess we tend to give more around Christmas time because it is the season, but we know that it should be an attitude that we carry with us throughout the year.
You know, God is an extravagant giver. He doesn’t just give to us what we deserve it and His gifts aren’t even based on how good we are, because His love is unconditional and it can not be bought or earned. It has been the prayer of my heart for some time now, “Lord, make me an extravagant giver like You are.” We don’t want the giving that is based on how much we have monetarily or in possessions, it is an attitude of God’s nature within us that says, “make me a blessing.”
When Jesus came into the earth as God’s most extravagant gift to mankind, He didn’t grow up to take what He could have rightly claimed as His own, He came to give His life day by day. He cared about people and He showed that love and caring in personal and real ways. His richest gifts weren’t money or wealth; it was himself. Oh, that I might give myself to bless others as He has blessed us.
Christmas often gets caught up in commercialism and gift giving and getting, but our most important asset is a giving heart. In all we give and do, I know that God looks at our hearts. Proverbs 21:2 says, “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.” In Matthew 12:35 Jesus says, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Our giving then is not about how much, but the attitude of our heart in what we give. One day Jesus was observing the people giving their offerings. Many of the rich were presenting their offerings with great pomp and show. It didn’t impress Jesus, but He saw a little widow that humbly put in her two mites or about the equivalent of a penny and he said, “truly she has given more than them all, because she gave all that she had.” The Lord is looking upon our motives that same way.
“God so loved the world.” It is His love that makes us extravagant givers. In as much as He enables and helps me, I want to learn to give like our Father gives and with the same motive of heart, how about you?

Blessings,
kent

Where my faith leads me, I will follow

1Timothy 6:10-12
10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Most of us are aware that faith is paramount and essential to our walk and relationship with God. Without faith we know that it impossible to please God, for it takes faith to believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. We often hear teachings that instruct us that through faith we can obtain all things if we only believe. Perhaps what some of us miss is that faith doesn’t stand alone, it has other key components that work with it if is truly godliness we seek. In our scripture today we see that misdirected faith can lead us to much grief. Here we are instructed not only to pursue faith, but righteousness, godliness, love, endurance and gentleness. We may remember from Galatians 5:22-23 that all of these are attributes and fruit of the Spirit.
Our faith can take us in many directions, but are all of them the will and purpose of God in our lives? How do we know? Faith has a motive. Some of us can listen to teachings on prosperity, health and wealth and all we really hear is God wants to give me all that I want and desire. Yes, God does desire to bless you, but more than that He desires that our hearts are in the right place in the blessing. Our scripture today speaks of the love of money as the root of evil. More than many of us realize our faith can be motivated by covetousness cloaked in religious apparel. If our motivation is wrong then faith won’t lead us where we need to go and we won’t produce the fruit of the Spirit. After speaking to us of the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5 goes on in verses 24-26 to talk to us about motivation, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
It is really the love of God in us that should motivate our faith. Galatians 5:6 tells us, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availed any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Often we wonder why our faith doesn’t seem to work. What is our true motive behind our faith? Love has to be the motivation for our faith to work; otherwise it can’t produce the life and works of God. James 4:3 says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts.” What is the underlying motive of our faith today, is it really to please and walk with God or ultimately to better ourselves. Is it the love of God or the love of self that compels us? Faith can work from each one, but they will not lead us down the same road or produce the same results. To follow God you indeed need faith, but you also need the heart and love of God for your faith to operate out of. Then you will walk by the Spirit for the purpose of pleasing and honoring the Lord and not to fulfill the lust of the flesh. When we are truly walking in the unselfish love of God, then we will see our faith be more effectual and accomplishing the will and purpose of God through our lives. Our faith will lead us in the way of righteousness, godliness, love, endurance and gentleness; these, in turn will become the motivating forces in our life and our faith.

Blessings,
kent

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