2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Things are not as they Appear

All around me it grieves my heart to see so many people even the family of God struggling financially, out or work or underemployed. Especially when I see that they are faithful men and women of God. They are not lazy or looking for a free ride, they are just struggling in their finances and often in other areas as well. While this is a difficult time for many it is causing us as a people of God to get our eyes back upon Him as our supply. It is bringing us into a greater inner reliance upon the body of Christ to come together to meet one another’s needs. I believe this is a God thing. It is often in our poverty that we obtain the greatest wisdom to handle wealth. I believe a breakthrough is coming and wealth is coming upon the body of Christ, but we are in a training period. This is where we learn that wealth and blessing aren’t just about our needs and wants, it is about learning stewardship to administrate what God gives us for the benefit of others.
Quite frankly, there may be many out there that feels, as Paul, like they also are wasting away. That outward wasting is to bring an inward renewing of your faith and trust in the limitless supply of all that our God is.
“So if God loves me why isn’t He sharing the wealth?”
He is imparting a greater wealth of learning to operate and lay hold of His life and substance in present sufferings and trials. Remember the children in Daniel that were thrown into fire heated seven times hotter. Because they knew who they were in their God and entrusted themselves to His faithfulness rather than bow the knee to idolatry they had to go through this fire. While the fire consumed the strong men that threw them in and burned off only the ropes that bound them, the flames did not harm them or even leave the smell of its presence upon them. The furnace of affliction is for our purification that God may bring us forth as fine gold in the likeness of His image and nature. Don’t allow yourselves to fear the fiery afflictions that you face, ‘for these light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.’ See in the fire the One who stands among them, like unto the Son of Man. Your life is hid in Christ and the only things the fire can touch are the corruptible things that perish with the using.
God is replacing our natural eyes with spiritual eyes and our fears with faith, as we look not at things, which are seen after the natural man, but the unseen things, which are eternal. With this kind of faith vision it is like night vision goggles that allow us to see in the darkness what the natural eyes cannot see. Faith vision is the same way; it sees the Word of God as the reality in the darkness. Take heart and know that God is training you up for greater things. Right now He is causing you to know your heart and where your affections are. Are they upon the things of this world or are they upon Him. God can’t entrust His glory and power to a people that are not of His heart. Even now He is separating out unto Himself those who are His. Faint not in the day of trial, but see beyond to the glory that He is bringing you into and to the victory and blessing that are yours in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

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Real Love and Beauty

August 24, 2015

1 Peter 3:1-7
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Real Love and Beauty

On the subject of beauty:
So many derive their value from outward perception and how they view themselves through the mirror of others. Thus many have believed a distorted view of who they are.
God says we were ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.
Our truest beauty comes from within, not without. See yourself through the beauty
that God has created you to be. The greatest beauty is seen in the one who aligns their heart
with God’s purpose and design to best express Him.

On the subject of love:
Young love is sexy and beautiful. It is fresh, passionate, sensual,
but its roots are young and it thrives more on the feelings of the outward man.
Old love is not always as passionate. It is not as sexually driven or motivated,
but it stills sees the beauty that it first saw. Its roots are now deep, as are the scars and life experiences that have knit and grown these two souls together. What was once expressed
outwardly is now the inward sharing of two hearts that beat as one. They have learned
that it is not always feelings that keep you together, but the decision to love one another even when you don’t feel it. Love is not just an emotion, but a decision of will.

Blessings,
#kent

Complicity

March 11, 2015

Acts 22:20
And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

Complicity

Complicity is the involvement as an accomplice in a questionable act or a crime.
When I was a young boy growing up in my early teens I used to run around with a group of the neighborhood boys. I guess I was kind of known as the “holy Joe” of the group, because I wasn’t into some of the smoking and drinking that most typical kids experiment with. I remember after school walking down to the hardware store with them. At this time they started doing some shoplifting. Now I knew that it was wrong and while I didn’t go in to shoplift I believe I remember asking them to lift an item or two for me. In my mind, my hands were clean because I didn’t do the crime, but that was complicity. What I have come to discover is that a whole lot of our self-righteousness is complicity. Outwardly we maintain our pious front, while inwardly our hearts are participants in sin. I guess it is not so unlike what Jesus said about the Pharisees, “You are white-washed tombs, full of dead men’s bones.” They had the piety of their status and religion, but inwardly they were corrupt and morally bankrupt.
Paul didn’t throw the stones that killed Stephen, but was he any less guilty? He was like the guy driving the get away car for the bank robbery. He didn’t actually rob the bank, but he had complicity in the crime.
How many of us in our daily lives, may not physically participate in a sin or immoral act, but we have complicity through our passive agreement or compliance with these actions? I’m sure we have all done it through what we have taken in through our eyes and senses. Our complacency and lack of taking a stand against what is sin can bring us into this place of complicity with it. Complicity itself is often our sin.

Blessings,
#kent

Love Your self

October 27, 2014

Galatians 5:14
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love Your self

It is interesting sometimes as a photographer to see how people view themselves. Often, when viewing family or individual photographs people can be very critical of themselves. Most often it is the women. They can see and magnify weaknesses or faults that most everyone else considers normal and a part of them. It is not uncommon that great family portraits will fail because mom doesn’t like the way she looks.
In today’s age of technology we have the skills and abilities to actually go in and alter the way someone looks. We can lift and tuck some of the sagging parts, hide the blemishes and soften the wrinkles, but the real issue may not be how we look to ourselves outwardly, but how we perceive ourselves inwardly.
On the other hand I have photographed attractive ladies who may have had a scar that could have easily been removed. I find it is often best to ask people what they do and do not want taken away, because assumptions can get you into trouble. These women that I refer too wanted their scars to remain, because to them they were a reminder of what they had been through and the gift of life that they still had. In today’s world many of us feel the pressure to live this façade of a perfect life, have a perfect body, beautiful looks, a perfect home, children and husband or wife. The truth is that that is not the real world. We all have scars, wrinkles, handicaps and weaknesses whether they are outwardly evident or not. Brushing or photoshoping over them isn’t going to take the reality of them away, nor should it. These blemishes upon our lives are the evidence that we have lived and experienced what life had to offer and that it wasn’t always nice or kind.
The Lord tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, but some of us don’t really love ourselves, so how can we love our neighbor properly? Understand that all real people have weaknesses, faults and frailties. That is a trait of our humanity. Don’t be ashamed of yourself and don’t boast in yourself, but rather see the completeness of yourself in Christ. Christ is not a crutch; He is the fulfillment and the completion of our humanity. The scars, the wrinkles and experiences that we share all testify that by the grace of God we survived them and we are still taking hold of life. The wonderful thing about our relationship with Christ is that where we end, He begins and where we are weak, He is strong.
Don’t be so harsh and judgmental of yourself. I know that sometimes I think, “God, why am I stuck with being me?” It is because in my weakness He is made strong and His grace is sufficient for all of my needs, my infirmities and my weaknesses. If you are down on yourself today it is because you don’t have your eyes on Jesus. Take courage, take heart and know that you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you. Love yourself as Christ loves you.

Blessings,
#kent

Making Healthy Choices

October 22, 2014

Making Healthy Choices

Joshua 24:15
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Life is made up of a series of choices we make everyday. Much like what we choose to eat, our lives eventually begin to show forth physically the fruit of what we have eaten or not eaten. One or two good choices or bad choices do not determine our fate, it is the overall direction that we go with a pattern of decision making that really begins to define who we are outwardly and who we are inwardly.
The best and the healthiest choice any of us made was when we asked Christ to come into our hearts and be our Lord and Savior. That should have began us down a path and a pattern of making much more healthy choices for ourselves and those for whom we are responsible. Why do we read God’s Word, why do we pray, why do we listen to sermons and the messages that come out of those who speak God’s Word to the Church? Isn’t it because we want the mind of Christ to make healthy choices and right decisions? We know that over time these choices will define our life, who we are and what we are with regards to the Kingdom of God.
Let’s be honest, most of us like junk food and fast food. I’m certainly no exception there. We are educated enough to know that a steady diet of this kind of food will result in an unhealthy end. Some of us are already experiencing the effects of those types of choices. And we can’t turn around and sue God because He made them available to us. All of our choices have consequences and we bear the responsibility for those choices. They can be good or bad depending on what they produce. One of the greatest gifts or curses God gave to man was the right and ability to make their own choices.
Joshua is saying in our verse today to the children of Israel, you all have to make a choice about who you want to serve in life. If it doesn’t seem good to you to really serve the Lord, then you can choose other gods, whether that be another religion or the god of self, or some other god, “but as for me and my house (those I’m responsible for) we will serve the Lord.” Joshua had made his choice long before he ever spoke these words and his life was the result of the choices he had made. We all have to make our own choices in life and consequently we all have to answer for them rather in this life or that which is come.
Are you making healthy choices spiritually today? Are Christ, His Word, His Truth, His Life and His Ways what you are feeding on daily? I believe God has given us this life to enjoy His blessings and the goodness around us, but if we have chosen Him and continue to choose Him, then all of our other choices will be centered in His will and purpose for us and not our own. “For in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).” May the Lord help each of us daily to make healthy choices in every arena of life so that our lives may be blessed and we may be partakers of all the goodness He has for us.

Blessings,
#kent

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