The Love of God

October 20, 2015

John 3:16-21
“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. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

The Love of God
John 3:16 is one of those scriptures that many of us as young Christians memorize. Sometimes in its simplicity we forget or miss how profound it truly is. How many of us as fathers can really grasp what it would be like for us to give our only son as a sacrifice for someone else’s misdeeds? Romans 5:6-8 tells us, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So even if you could be willing to allow your only son to be sacrificed for someone would it be your enemy? Would it be for the one who deserved your wrath and judgement rather than you love and mercy? When we really stop to analyze and think about God’s love for this world it should just blow us away, because it makes absolutely no sense to the natural mind or reason. How can we take this manner of love so lightly? How can we even regard it as common or ordinary? Our God is such an extraordinary God that works through such a supernatural and incomprehensible love towards us and the world rejects it. So many times, even we, as the people of God, treat as common place and ordinary this holy love, displayed and sacrificed for mankind. If we do, it is because we don’t truly comprehend it or have it operating fully within us. Those who go willingly and offer their lives as willing sacrifice for the gospel of Jesus Christ have come into a revelation of that love. They comprehend that if this love is so great that even the holy Son of the living God and Creator would lay down His life for us then it is worth our laying down our lives as well. Most of won’t even sacrifice our comforts let alone our lives.
One of the things a true revelation of God’s love will bring us too is that there is something so much greater at stake than just us. It will give us the heartbeat of God for creation. It will empower us to love the unlovely, the rejected and the destitute. It will cause our hearts to hurt for the lost and dying, just as Father’s heart hurts and longs for them to come to Him.
As human beings perhaps one of the things we like least is having our darkness exposed. We are often comfortable in our sin and deception even though it only brings us misery and pain. We don’t want to see ourselves for what we are and as God sees us. The capacity of the love of God is to see past our faults and see our need and it is to that need that He addresses Himself. He created mankind to rule and reign with Him, but we exchanged the truth for a lie and righteousness for pleasure. Romans 1:21-25 says, ” For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”
“For God so loved the world.” What a blessing and a privilege that we have come to an acknowledgement and acceptance of this love by our faith in Jesus Christ. Is our love now so shallow that His love towards us stops with us? No, an immature child is one that is only concerned for their own needs, but when one comes into maturity they learn to become the givers and not the takers.
What is our revelation of God’s love in us today? Are we still just content to take it and not give it? God didn’t build us to be reservoirs to horde and store up for only ourselves, us four and no more. He is wanting to impart His heart of love into us that we may become the conduits and pipelines of His love and blessing. We are the salt of the earth and a city set upon a hill. We are the outshining of his glory and the expression of His love. If not us, then who?

Blessings,
#kent

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Luke 20:17
And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

The Rock in the Middle of the Road

There is a rock in the middle of the road that is often traveled on foot. Those that pass by the rock, what will they do with it? Most will ignore and walk on. Some who are not paying attention will stumble over it. Some may kick it. Some may throw it or toss it aside. How many of a multitude of people will take the time to pick up the rock, examine it, value it or keep it? Why, because it is a common rock of no particular value or significance to those who pass by. What if it were a gold nugget obscured in granite or a diamond hidden in an ordinary exterior? This is what Jesus was and that is why He was missed by so many. It wasn’t the outer beauty that attracted men to Jesus; it was what was within the man.
Jesus passed a lot of ordinary rocks as He walked down the road of His life. Rocks that people passed by all of their time and never gave a second thought too. There were harlots, tax collectors, blind men, lepers, beggars, cripples, little children, demon possessed, those who were dying or those who were dead. The list goes on and on, but the point is that Jesus took the time to pick up a lot of rocks. He didn’t just see the ordinary or common without, He saw they were precious to the Father and so they were precious to Him. He ended up giving His very life for a lot of ordinary, common and undeserving rocks.
As we travel down life’s road it is easy for us to pass a lot of rocks and never give them another thought or glance. I know I need that sensitivity to take the time to pick up some of those rocks and as I can, make their lives better in some way. I may well be treading over gold ,diamonds and precious gems unawares. Peter shared what God had spoke to him in a vision in Acts 10:28, “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
As you go through life today, think about that rock in the middle of the road. As God has picked you up, pick up and value those around you.

Blessings,
#kent

Exodus 26:14
And thou shalt make a covering for the tent [of] rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering above [of] badgers’ skins.

Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover

If we read the description in the Old Testament of the interior of the Tabernacle we find that it was made up of very costly and finely made furniture and pieces. We know that within the Holiest place were the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. We know that the very presence of God Himself would manifest and come into that place. Isn’t is strange that with such beauty and holiness within, God chose to have a ram’s skin dyed red and an old plain ugly badger skin to be the outward covering? The person that would look upon the tabernacle from without and that didn’t have knowledge of its contents would not think that it was anything particularly special. It looked very ordinary, plain and unattractive.
We have all heard the expression, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That was very true of the tabernacle. We can speak to the symbolism of the tabernacle in several different ways. We know it was a type of Christ, but we also know that it can be symbolic of our lives as well. Let’s look for a moment at how it pertains to us. The old badger skin covering is like our bodies, which house our soul and our spirit. The man and woman of God contain something within them that is far more precious than silver or gold. They are the containers of the Christ and the Holy Spirit of God. The outward man, though he or she may be very plain, are the essence of this structure. The body simply serves to house and facilitate the soul and spirit’s function and activity. The ram’s skin dyed red speaks to the redemption of the soul washed in the blood of the lamb. The soul again is the residence of the spirit.
God often wraps His most precious gifts in plain brown paper. If our ideas of wealth, success and power are all about what we see as beauty in the outward world or in the outward man, then we have overlooked the truly rich, wealthy and powerful. The riches of God are hidden throughout the earth covered in plain, ordinary badger skin. The world will be amazed at the unveiling of the sons of God, when Christ is made fully manifest in them. Those they disregarded and counted as nothing will be the kings and priest that rule and reign.
Maybe you don’t even think that you are anything today. Maybe all that you see in yourself is that old badger skin that is getting more weathered and worn with time. What God sees is the rich and eternal presence of His life within you. What God sees is that you have become the habitation of His praise and worship. He covets His redeemed and He nurtures us under the shadow of His wing that which others may see as just a covering of badger skin. Jesus said, “ The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20-21) Don’t be so concerned about your outward status or success or beauty, come to know how rich you are in Christ and cultivate the riches of His grace within you. One day the cover will be opened and your book will be read by all.

Blessings,
#kent

This Day

September 22, 2014

This Day

Genesis 50:20
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.

Joseph makes this statement in Genesis to his brothers who had sold him into captivity in Egypt. What would have appeared to the outward man to be a shipwrecked and cursed life, God was using to train the man that would be the salvation of his people and many others as well.
How is your life? Maybe it seems anything but blessed. Trials and tribulations may be old familiar friends. Outwardly your life may look like the tabernacle in the wilderness, covered with badger skins, very ordinary looking to the world without. The question is, “what is God working within you?” How is He preparing you for your destiny and are you partnered in faith with Him as He prepares you for “this day”?
Joseph couldn’t have possibly understood the entire calamity that touched his life. Most people would have become very disillusioned and even bitter against God. We see in Joseph a calm faithfulness. The dignity and stature of his life wasn’t dependent upon his status or circumstances it was in knowing who he was and in knowing his God. How many lives and stories have missed a great ending because people gave up and lost their faith? All Joseph had was a few dreams and an upbringing that had taught him about Jehovah. There was a connection of faith in God that Joseph never let go of even in the worst of times.
We must lay hold of the truth that Joseph found. What others may have meant for evil God meant it unto good. It is all leading us to “this day” when our purpose is realized and we are brought forth to fulfill the purpose of God in our lives. You may already be at this point or you may still be in the process. Everyday of life has a purpose, even if it is just enduring in hope and faith. Know that God has a destiny and purpose for each one of us. Our life is about finding that purpose and fulfilling it in God’s time and His way. We can only know that and realize it as we walk each day with the Lord and pursue His will for our lives.
Be like Joseph and don’t lose hope. Hold fast even in the darkest of times, because it is always usually darkest just before the dawn.
“This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24)
Blessings
#kent

Our First Love

February 14, 2014

Revelations 2:3-5

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

 


Our First Love


Many times our marriages and our relationship with Christ have a lot in common.  They both are built upon love and relationship.  They generally start out with great commitment, emotion and passion to love and serve the Lord or to love and serve our spouse.  Through the course of life with all of its trials and demands the polish and gold tends to wear thin on the feelings and commitment we first felt and lived toward the Lord and toward our spouse. Many of us have endured many hardships together and we have trusted the Lord through many of them.  

Even though we are good people, who have worked hard for our marriage and for our spiritual relationship the dynamics have changed.  We’ve somehow lost the closeness and the intimacy of relationship we once had.  

This word “forsaken” in verse 4 in the Greek means, “ to depart, as of a husband divorcing his wife, yield up, expire, let go, let alone, to disregard, to leave, to omit, neglect.”  Do any of these words speak to our hearts as to our relationships in our marriage and in our walk and relationship with Christ?  We are still here in body, going through the motions of marriage and relationship, but have our hearts left the room?  Have they grown cold with complacency?  Sometimes our marriages are measured by how well we tolerate one another rather than how well we really love and bless one another.  Even in our Christianity we so often get in the rut of being religious, going to church, giving our tithe or doing our duty, but our heart and passion are no longer in it.  

It is a time for stirring up the embers and throwing on some new wood.  It is a time we must blow and breathe new life back into the fire of our relationships.  I’ll admit I have been bad about becoming so caught up in my business and the things that concern me, that I have neglected the weightier matters.  Somehow we come to take for granted that this loved one will always be there and everything will be fine, meanwhile we allow the foundation to rot out from under us.  One day we wake up and our house is in ruin.  The signs were all around but we didn’t heed them until our lampstand had been plucked from us and suddenly we found ourselves shut out.  

Here the Lord is warning us about our relationship with Him and also what can happen in our marriages.  We must return to that first love, the courting, the dating, the intimacy and attention that we gave to our partner then.  It can be no less with Christ.  It is not our works that save us in our marriage or our Christianity, it is the relationship that we maintain and cultivate with the one that we say we love. For me, it is often my communication that fails the most.  I get caught up in my own little world and when I fail to communicate, I find I am failing in my relationship.  That communication, especially that which shares my heart, is what my wife needs from me.  She has to feel that connection with my heart to feel close to me and a part of me.  I think this often comes more naturally to women as a general rule than men, but it doesn’t mean that we as men can neglect it.  We have to cultivate it, even when it doesn’t come naturally to us.  It is always remembering that love is not about us, it is about the object of our love.  When we love the Lord or our spouse the way they need to be loved, we will find that our needs are met in our giving and loving.  Let us endeavor to return now to our first love, not just in word, but in deed and with all of our heart. 

 
Blessings,
kent

The Thunder of My Presence

October 7, 2013

The Thunder of My Presence

Job 26
1 Then Job replied: 2 “How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the arm that is feeble!
3 What advice you have offered to one without wisdom! And what great insight you have displayed! 4 Who has helped you utter these words? And whose spirit spoke from your mouth? 5 “The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them. 6 Death is naked before God; Destruction lies uncovered. 7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. 8He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. 9 He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. 10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. 11 The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. 12 By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. 13 By his breath the skies became fair;
his hand pierced the gliding serpent. 14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

How often do we stop and really meditate on the awesomeness of our God, how great His ways and how marvelous His acts? I marvel at God’s seemingly infinite patience with man and even myself, as I think how such a mighty and wonderful creator endures the insolence, arrogance and foolishness of man. Especially when we see how God sees mankind in Genesis 6:5 when is says, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.” The fact that mankind still exist is a testimony to God’s incredible loving-kindness and long-suffering. How many times He must have been grieved that the creatures that he created in His own image and honored with dominion and authority over the earth would turn from Him and despise Him through their actions and their deeds. If our God had not had a plan and a vision wherein He saw the end product of what He was bringing His creation too, surely He could not have endured us.
It is incomprehensible that the very God who created the immeasurable vastness of the universe with all of its wonders, stars, constellations, planets and all that is contained therein, could care about you and me. We, who in His sight, would be less than microscopic dust in light of His great creation. Yet, He tells us that He loves us and His thoughts toward us are more than we could even recount. Psalms 40:5 tells us, “Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” If God showed Himself to us as He did to the Children of Israel we would become as dead men in the fear and dread of His Almighty presence. Exodus 20:18 tells us about when the people had gathered before the mountain of God and He revealed His holy presence, “When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance.” After that, they didn’t want God speaking to them, they wanted Moses to speak to them on His behalf for the fear of Him. When we get an inkling of the Holiness of God it will make us quake and fear Him. God doesn’t want us to be afraid of Him, for He has not given us a spirit of fear, but we do need to greatly reverence and hold Him in the utmost respect. Because God’s grace has been so rich toward us many of us have in our minds and hearts reduced God to someone on our level or who is simply there for our benefit. We treat God as common and regard Him lightly. We must realize what an insult and offense this is to the Holy God that has given His all for us.
Leviticus 10 reveals how God feels about that kind of an attitude when we see what happened when the two sons of Aaron, offered up strange fire before the Lord. They decided they would do things their way, instead of His. They lost their fear of God and counted His holiness as common. It says, “Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3 Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: ” ‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’ ” Aaron remained silent.” We see a similar incident in the New Testament church in Acts 5 with Ananias with Sapphira when they lied to the Holy Spirit.
What we must realize as the people of God is that we have been called apart unto holiness and we must take very seriously the responsibility we have to sanctify ourselves before the Lord. Why? Ezekiel 39:27 tells us, “When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations.” God has purposed us to the expression of His holiness. We can not be what He has purposed us to be until we truly see and reverence Him for who He is in the fear of the Lord. The Word tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We can be like the children of Israel and know God from a distance through the revelation of others, but if we want to know Him intimately and personally we must approach in the fear of His holiness with boldness, confidence and full assurance of faith. Jesus tells us in John 14:21 to whom He and the Father will reveal themselves, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

blessings,
kent

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