For My Own Sake

July 8, 2015

Isaiah 48:8-11
You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ear has not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth. 9 For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off. 10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.
For My Own Sake

We are not so unlike Israel of old to whom the prophet speaks these words from the Spirit of the Lord in verses2-4, “you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city and rely on the God of Israel— the LORD Almighty is his name: 3 I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. 4 For I knew how stubborn you were;
the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze.” You know we can be very self-willed at times and determined to go ahead and do what we are going to do. We are the Lord’s people and yet we often don’t really listen and obey what God is telling us in this hour. We are complacent. We are caught up in our personal lives and agendas that aren’t about our God. They are about us, what we idolize, esteem and deem important. Thus it often takes God’s strong hand to align us with His word and purpose for us.
Many of us know that as parents our children can bring us praise or they can bring us reproach by their behavior. They may have been instructed and taught better, but if they ignore their instruction and upbringing, doing what negative things is in their heart to do, then don’t you bear the reproach of their actions as a parent? What we don’t realize is that we are the Lord’s glory, but we can also be His reproach when the world observes us living in unrighteousness and contrary to what we teach and believe. How does God get the glory from that? God is still dealing with the rebellious nature that still wants to manifest in many of us and He will take us through the furnace of affliction, not for our destruction, but for our transformation.
The Lord says in verse 11, “For my own sake, my own sake I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield My glory to another.” If we have been created and purposed for the glory of God, then God must do whatever is necessary to bring us into that purpose that He may be glorified. God is not glorified in our selfishness. Selfishness seeks God’s glory for its own and God says, “I will not give my glory to another.” If you are the Lord’s glory then you must be wholly His. How can you see the glory of the Lord fully expressed from you until you are wholly His?
In this hour God is giving us the word to return with all of our hearts unto Him. Again, He is speaking great and wondrous things to our generation through His word and through the prophets. The trumpet is sounding, but if you are too caught up in the noisiness of your own life you may fail to hear it and even if you do hear it, it is easy to ignore and become distracted. It will be as the Lord says in verse 3, “I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.” Are you ready when the Lord acts upon what He said? We must not allow our stubborn and rebellious ways to cause us to miss what God is doing. It is for this purpose that you were created. We must not foolishly miss the train that is headed for our destiny. Our destiny is to be the expression of His glory, unto His glory and for His glory alone. Hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying, “Prepare you hearts and pursue His presence. Let all else become secondary to your relationship with Him. In Him you must live and move and have your being.”

Blessings,
#kent

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Be Careful How You Lead

April 28, 2015

Hosea 4:14
“I will not punish your daughters when they turn to prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery,
because the men themselves consort with harlots and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes—
a people without understanding will come to ruin!”

Be Careful How You Lead

Often we as parents are quick to judge our children for wrong things they do or choices they make. Often we as Christians are quick to judge our fellow believers who get caught up in sin or those who don’t agree with or accept our Christ. Are we above reproach? Have our own sins and shortcomings been the license for those who choose unrighteousness? Will not God hold us first accountable who are the leaders and the examples for others to follow?
Romans 2:1-10 declares, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.”
The Jews and the Gentile are like the leader and the follower, the parent and the child, the teacher and the disciple. If we don’t walk in the understanding that God has given us then we will come to ruin and we have the responsibility for the ruin of those who follow our example.
Before we point the finger at others let’s first examine the person behind the three fingers pointing back. Are you living in righteousness or self-righteousness? Is it more important that we are right or righteous? For the world to honor and desire Christ they must first see Christ in us. They must see in action what we profess in words. How can we judge them if we don’t even live the example before them?
Father is saying, ‘Take stock in the example of life that you are leading. If we are not walking in righteousness and in the light of understanding that God has given you, then you must ask who is the responsible one here?’ Often what we see in the lives of those who follow us is the reflection of ourselves.

Blessings,
#kent

The Art of Storytelling

January 14, 2015

Psalms 34:11
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

The Art of Storytelling

Many of us experience the difficulty of relating with our children and grandchildren. They live in a high tech world of video games and fast paced television. To them we may seem pretty boring and out of touch. Even so, I think children still have the same need to be able to be taught and nurtured by us. Often we are perceived as just the yellers and disciplinarians. Yet part of the role of an adult parent or grandparent is the role of a teacher. God has given us a good number more years to experience life first hand through both success and failures. We tend to forget the wealth of experience that we possess. Used in the right way, this can be one of the greatest avenues for us to relate and teach our children the positive lessons of life. It is our way to make real to them the reality of God and how He personally works in our lives.
God exhorted the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “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.” It is a parent’s responsibility to pass on the laws, principles and precepts of God’s Word to their children. Many of us have been very guilty of ignoring this responsibility or feel like we have met our obligation by giving our kids religious videos and taking them to Sunday school. That is all well and good, but God has given us the responsibility to instruct our children. Maybe we don’t feel qualified or we think that just entails us sitting them down while we read scripture to them. No, the Word of God has to become alive to them through us. We have to convey to them spiritual reality.
Our grandchildren love all the things that other kids love, but I find that they are fascinated to sit and listen as we tell them the stories of how God has worked in our lives. We can share with them our victories and our failures. When they understand how God has worked for us and in us then they can mentally handle God in the flesh. It becomes reality to them and it makes the stories of God’s Word more of a reality to them as well. It is amazing to see the hunger in our grandchildren as they ask to hear story after story. The neat thing is that as you are telling them the stories you can teach God’s Word to them in a meaningful and interesting way.
We may not think we have much to share, but maybe we need to take some time to really meditate back through our lives and think about all of the times God has been there for us. As we think about it, most all of us have experiences where we have seen God’s hand in our lives, His blessing, His protection and His provision. We may find that encourages and stirs up our faith as we remember and reflect on all of God’s goodness in our lives. Be faithful to teach your children and instruct them in the ways of the Lord. They need it because it is what gives them a sense of identity and purpose for their own lives. There is perhaps no more effective way than through the art of storytelling. It is the way that cultures have passed their values and their heritage on to the younger generations throughout history. We don’t want to lose this art in our high tech world. Take the time to share your stories and do it often. It is the way that we instill godly character, values and knowledge about who God is, what He is and what He wants to be to them.

Blessings,
#kent

Hope, Joy and Crown

November 24, 2014

Hope, Joy and Crown

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

When we selflessly plant ourselves into other people’s lives what is our gain if they can’t reward us and we see no earthly or monetary benefit? What do we hope to see in our children through the years of raising them, nurturing, teaching and mentoring them? It is not for what they can pay us back in material gain that we do it. It is a labor of love and the harvest we long to see, that we continue to pray for, hope for and believe for are lives that are healthy, productive and that produce a legacy. A parent’s greatest reward is to have children that love and respect them, but also that hold to the values of faith that were instilled in them and that they in turn instill those same values in their children. We long to see a perpetual legacy of generations that follow on to know and obey the Lord.
The churches that the apostle Paul established were his children. He taught them, mentored them and raised them up in the faith and knowledge of Christ. It wasn’t a job for him; it was his life, his purpose and his joy. When he stood before the Lord there was no greater testimony to his faithfulness and his greatness as a servant of God than those that he had raised up in Christ. He was able to stand with the Lord and look through the generations at the harvest he had been instrumental in producing in the earth. This stood as Paul’s greatest, hope, joy and crown. This was his greatest reward.
Our greatest reward in heaven won’t be about our businesses, our finances or our status in the community; it will be about what we planted in others. It will be about what we sowed into their lives through our faithful commitment and walk with Christ. We want to see it in our children and our grandchildren. We want to see it in the ones that we helped disciple and bring to Christ. Nothing breaks our heart more than to see what we have treasured and nurtured stolen and destroyed by sin. It is for this reason that our Lord Jesus ever stands as our high priest making intercession on our behalf. He too, longs after us to be His hope, joy and crown.
Let us not grow weary or complacent concerning the awesome responsibility that we have toward those who under our spiritual authority or influence. We must remember that we are the priests of our home and have the responsibility to pray, intercede, teach and persuade our families in the ways of righteousness and salvation. Be faithful to the gift, the calling and instrument that God has created you to be. How we respond and use what He has created us to be and how that translates into the lives of others will be our hope, our joy and crown. Our legacy is our glory and our joy.

Blessings,
#kent

Our Father, Guardian and Instructor

Proverbs 13:1
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.

Why is it that God’s people should read and study the Word of God? Why is it that they should listen and read from Spirit Anointed men and women? Why are prayer and meditation so important?
As God has given us earthly parents that for a short time to teach and correct us, Our heavenly Father is continually our guardian, instructor and corrector. Hebrews 12:10 tells us, “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” Isn’t that our goal and destiny as people of God, to share in God’s holiness and nature? Isn’t this our new nature as we have been born again by the Spirit? As the wife and I read through the book of Proverbs we can’t help but be impressed with this message, ‘God will give us wisdom and life defining principles that will give us good success, long life and immortality. The condition is that we must take heed to listen and follow in these principles and ways of life. We all know that we have areas of weakness, failure and folly in our lives. We need correction, for without it we will perish. This is what distinguishes the wise from the foolish and the righteous from the wicked, the righteous and wise son will heed, receive and embrace correction and rebuke. He will not be offended by it because he knows that it is working life and godliness in him. Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” Now none of us are overly fond of correction, because it generally hurts our ego or our flesh. Many of the trials that we endure are a form of correction, not because we are bad, but because God is exercising us in faith and in application of the principles and tenants of His Word. How do we get good at anything? Isn’t it by much repetition and practice? We are in God’s boot camp and His training ground for developing and exercising righteousness and right living. How are we going to know the right responses and ways to handle our trials and the circumstances that life throws at us if we don’t study the manual and listen to instruction? This is why we want a close walk and relationship with the Lord so that we can hear and discern the Holy Spirit’s voice. He is our personal teacher and life coach. He will teach us through our everyday life experiences if we are tuned in and listening to Him. Most of us are so busy blasting through life our own way we rarely give time or attention to even inquire or listen for the Holy Spirit. I wonder why we struggle so?
The wisest and richest man in the earth wrote Proverbs. Much of what is shared in Proverbs is a contrast between wise and foolish, simple and knowledgeable, righteous and wicked and life and death. We are continually instructed on right response and behavior and wrong response and behavior. It makes plain to us the consequences of our response and choices.
If any of us have had rebellious or disobedient children then we can relate with what the Lord puts up with in us. Somehow they can’t receive the fact that you are telling them things and limiting them from things that will result in their hurt. They perceive it as you being overbearing, unfair and just out of touch. As a result they choose to go down the hurtful path that results in pain and suffering for all. Many of us are certainly no different when it comes to obeying God’s Word.
We want to challenge you to read a chapter of Proverbs every day for a least two years and see if it doesn’t change your life, your finances and your situation as you begin to put these principles and proverbs into practice. There are thirty chapters, one for each day of the month. What Sharon and I are doing is reading a new chapter and then we reread the chapter we read the day before to reinforce it. God’s Word will change us if we will not only read it and hear it, but seek to give it application in our daily lives and circumstances. This is what develops holiness in the fear of God. This is what gives us faith and life and hope in every situation. Take the challenge and prove God’s Word. His promises and His Word will not come back void, they will work positive changes in your life. God is a good God, a wonderful and loving Parent and One that is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Blessings,
#kent

The Hidden Things

March 24, 2014

 

The Hidden Things


1 Corinthians 4:5

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.


How many of us know that things are not always as they appear outwardly?  Many of us may be very surprised at the ones that are ruling and reigning with Christ, because we judge by the outward vision and natural understanding, but God judges after the heart.  Big names and ministries, credentials and degrees, accomplishments and awards so often impress us.

When you see someone who stands out and is accomplished in an area our tendency is to admire that individual.  Is every individual that distinguishes themselves, self-made?  If you look beneath the surface you will probably see parents who sacrificed their wants and dreams for their children.  You will see teachers, instructors, coaches and mentors who poured into these promising individuals to help them rise to their potential.  The point is no one is great in and of themselves.  There is much invested in bringing people to greatness that most of the world never sees.  They are the hidden ones.  They live and work in the background and are never in the limelight.  They aren’t the ones that receive the recognition, awards and accolades, but they just may be the truly great ones because they know how to invest in making others great.  

Paul, the apostle was experiencing some of this same frustration in his ministry.  Paul saw time and again where he would pour out his life for the church, which so quickly would turn to some other ministry or doctrine.  The Jews or some other element would come in after he had left to pollute and lead the people off track from the gospel foundation that Paul had laid for them. We have the hindsight to look back at the legacy and tremendous impact Paul had on the early church, the New Testament and on the church throughout history.  We can easily see from our perspective what a great and awesome man of God that Paul was.  Do you think that a lot of the people of his day saw him in this light?  What they saw outwardly in Paul probably wasn’t that impressive.  He was this tentmaker and itinerate preacher obsessed this Christ.  He probably wasn’t that striking in his natural presence.  He was pretty much a hand to mouth type of guy who didn’t have a nickel to his name, but what he had he used it to advance his agenda about this Christ.  He was a passionate kind of guy and he preached a good word, but perhaps a little offensive at times.  He would go to any lengths to try and communicate this Christ and who He was and what He stood for, but probably not the kind of guy that would impress you by outward appearance or status.  In 1 Corinthians 4:9-16 Paul tells us a little bit about his glorious life as a great apostle, “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We [are] fools for Christ’s sake, but ye [are] wise in Christ; we [are] weak, but ye [are] strong; ye [are] honourable, but we [are] despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, [and are] the offscouring of all things unto this day I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn [you]. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet [have ye] not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” Everything that Paul should have been in the natural was imparted to others.  The great ones aren’t the ones that have everything imparted unto them and the world marvels at, the great ones are those seeming nobodies that are the vessels and channels of imparting.  Their lives are spent and poured out to make others great.  They are fathers whose glory is in their children and what they become is because of what they were given.  Have you have found yourself discouraged because you have given and given, only to be taken for granted, despised and unappreciated?  Remember there is a day when the hidden things will be revealed.  It doesn’t matter what men think of us, the Lord is our judge.  In due season we will reap our reward if we faint not.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:4, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Just be faithful to do what God has put in your hand to do.  Judge nothing before its time, for God will bring the hidden things to light.   

 
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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