Peacemakers

March 11, 2016

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 

Peacemakers

We can not always control how others feel about us.  We can only be responsible and accountable for our own actions.  Obviously, in the course of life, we encounter those people who do not like us for one reason or another.  We can’t always submit to their way of thinking and being.  What we are expected to do in the Lord is walk in love and humility toward all men, submitting to the authorities over us to the degree that we don’t become disobedient to the Lord which is our highest authority.  Even our enemies we are to love and treat with kindness and respect, even when they deal to us a much lower hand.  We want to do what is right in the sight of all men, so that our deeds will not be evil spoken of.  We are the ambassadors of the Lord, so we must represent Him in our behavior, character and actions toward others.  When opportunities arise or even as much as you can, show acts of loving kindness toward those that despise and don’t like you.  By taking the high road and not returning evil for evil, we bring conviction and we demonstrate God’s love toward us, in that while we yet sinners Christ died for us.  

In as much as it is in your power, do the things that make for peace, in your home, with the body of Christ, in the work place and in the world.  Let us be a people of peace. Let go of those areas that are critical, judgmental, provoking and attitudes that stir up ill will and strife.  Don’t become self-righteous, but be righteousness of God in the love of Christ.  

Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9

Blessings,

#kent

Advertisements

The Deliverer

October 21, 2015

Psalms 107:6 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he delivered them out of their distresses.

The Deliverer

The Word of God is a book of deliverance. Time and time again in story after story we see God moving on behalf of His chosen people to deliver them. Many times it was their sin and rebellion that had brought them to the place where there was no way out but God. The ultimate Deliverer we have found in the person of God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. He has not only delivered us from the law of sin and death, but He continues to be our Deliverer today. We, like the people of God before us, often cry out in faith for the Lord’s deliverance. Psalms 34:4 holds as true for us today as it did for David, “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Many of us are seeking the Lord for areas of deliverance in our personal lives. We find ourselves captivated by fear, doubt, sickness, debt, sin, oppression and other areas that have brought us into a bondage in which we have no way out. I believe the Lord is that same Deliver He has always been, both in the Old and the New Testament. He will hear the cries of His people who humble themselves and pray. Some of us may believe the Lord is our Deliverer, but we have become discouraged in the wait. Our faith may be wavering as we may have stood for a long period in hopes of our deliverance. Moses had a similar issue when He was waiting on God to move in delivering God’s people from Pharaoh’s bondage. In Exodus 5:22 –23 it says, “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou [so] evil entreated this people? why [is] it [that] thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.” Sometimes, like Moses, we know the Lord is faithful to His promises, but we don’t see anything happening. In fact, sometimes it just seems to get worse instead of better. There is a period gestation and pregnancy before a child is brought forth. So it is with many of God’s promises. When they are brought forth it is often through great travail and pain, but we can’t give up on the child of promise. We must continue to carry it till it is the Lord’s time. Galatians 6:9 admonishes us, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Continue to hold fast to the promises of God and His deliverance for He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Blessings,

#kent

Taking Up an Offense

October 15, 2015

Proverbs 18:19
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.

Taking Up an Offense

How many of us today are carrying offenses in our heart towards another. They said something to us, they did something to us, they wronged us in some way and now they are on the black list of our heart to stay. We have all been offended, hurt, disappointed, emotionally wounded and wronged in some way. I guess that is pretty normal behavior in the world, but what about in the identity that God has given us in Christ. In our identity with Him, are we still justified in holding on to these offenses, no matter how justified we reason within ourselves to do so?
Colossians 3: 13 says, ” Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” That is not a request, but a command. Have we never offended or hurt anyone? Are we so unwilling to forgive what we ourselves have been guilty of?
One revelation we all need to get is that we are not of this world and yet we keep thinking like it and acting like it. That is not a renewed mind in Christ, it is being conformed to the world which is an offense to God. When we are unwilling to forgive then we spit in the face of Him who forgave us. That is strong and it should be, because that is how the Lord takes it. He forgave us so much, shouldn’t we be willing to forgive little. Jesus spoke parables about forgiveness and He taught a word concerning it that very few of us are walking in.
Now someone might be thinking, “Will you don’t know what they did to me, I can’t ever forgive them for that.”
Jesus said, ” “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:43-46)
Somehow we can all become self-righteous about things. We can see all of the faults in others. We may be carrying an offense against someone that isn’t even our own. We have taken it up for someone else because they were wronged. We tend to somehow feel that we have been given the right to judge others for their wrongs and are justified in condemning them and holding it against them.
Jesus said, ” “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Romans 2:1-4 also addressed this issue, “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. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” It goes on to say that because of this stubbornness we store up wrath for ourselves, because we are going to be judged by the same standards that we judged others and if we showed no mercy, then we can’t expect to receive mercy.
How can we fully walk in who we are in Christ when we hold offense against a brother or another. God is love. His love and forgiveness has been shed abroad in our hearts as believers. Are we now going to annul what He died for? Listen to what 1 John 2:9-11 has to say about this. “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”
Are people, and even brothers and sisters, going to hurt, disappoint and offend us? You can count on it, but what you do with that offense speaks volumes to how real your identity is in Christ. If you really know Him, you will keep His commands. If you really love Him, you will allow His love to dominate and guide your heart. Your mercy will triumph over judgement and you will be the hot coals of love poured over the offenders head.
I would just like to end this with the exhortation given from Roman12:9-21 about how we are to walk in love toward one another. May the Holy Spirit help us acknowledge, to release and forgive any and all offenses that we have been carrying.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Blessings,
#kent

Why We Hate to Wait

August 3, 2015

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

Why We Hate to Wait

Life is moving at incredible speeds most of the time. We live in a world where we have schedules to keep, deadlines to meet and goals to attain. We don’t have time to waste and so we get very impatient when we have to wait. In spite of that, much of our time is relegated to waiting. We wait in traffic, or for the bus, for the family to get ready to go, to speak to an appointment or in a grocery line. We wait at the doctor’s office, when we have to see a person to get a matter of business taken care of, for our car to get repaired, and for something to start or something to finish. We are always wanting to go a hundred miles and hour, but we are always impeded by that frustrating person in front of us. Don’t you just hate to wait? For all of the waiting that we do, patience and longsuffering isn’t often one of our strongest virtues. Instead it tends to gender more stress and emotional issues.
Now we turn to the spiritual side of our life and here is God telling us we need to wait upon Him, but we don’t have time to wait because we have a life to live and an incredible amount of demands and tasks to get accomplished. We feel like we need to be running, not waiting. Why do we have to wait God?
Since I have been writing this paper, it has taught me more about waiting upon the Lord. Everyday that I write, I have to come to Him and ask Him about what to write and then wait upon Him for the direction. Many times He may give me something right away, sometimes I have to wait a good period of time and occasionally nothing comes at all. Now I can charge ahead and just decide for myself what I will write and I have probably have done that on occasion whether I was aware of it or not, but I know that life comes from the daily bread that the Father gives. Each day I want to approach Him with, “Give me this day, my daily bread.” Spiritually I need for the Father to provide that spiritual food rather it comes through His written Word, a personal word or a word given through an outside source, I need to hear from Him. That means I have to shut up and start listening rather than just talking. We all know that we need to pray and talk to God, but do we all know that we also need to be still and listen. We expect that God should always listen to us, but do we take the time to listen to Him? Now I will be honest with you. There are times I have prayed about matters over a period of time and listened, but I didn’t hear much directly from the Lord. Those are times when as I proceed I place those matters in His hands and ask Him to direct the outcome and His will to be done. There are times when we should have enough of the Word and spiritual principles within us that God expects us to step forward and operate out of His life within us in different situations, but that doesn’t negate the need for us to wait upon the Lord.
If you and I were servants in a house and our lives were to wait upon the master of the house what would we need to do? Our sole responsibility is to wait upon him. Now that doesn’t mean that we just pull up a chair and sit down, it means that we operate in a manner that ministers and meets our master’s needs and not our own. His priorities are our priorities and when He does speak to us, we respond with prompt obedience. Now wouldn’t it be out of place for us to take our agenda to the master and say here is what I’ve got going today, can you help me out? You see many of us get our roles reversed, we are trying to run God rather than serve Him. Waiting is an exercise in putting God’s agenda first in our lives.
We are like batteries. If we are constantly putting out, but never taking in, we will exhaust ourselves and burn out. Waiting upon the Lord is like spiritually recharging one’s self. It causes us to slow down and focus on the things that pertain to life and godliness. It is a time when God renews our strength and empowers us with His life to do His will. If we are living life out of our strength and effort we are like a firecracker that goes pop and we’re done. Nothing lasting was accomplished but a brief noise, but in Christ we are like a slow burning candle giving off the scent of His life and character. It may not seem like we are anything or anyone of great significance, but when we operate out of the Spirit by waiting upon the Lord our life will have meaning and impact. It will make a difference in our world and isn’t that what we really want our lives to be about. Don’t hate to wait upon the Lord, look forward to it. It is your time to be renewed in His life and strength

Blessings,
#kent

Romans 2:1-8(Amplified)
THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. 2[But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things. 3And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict? 4Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? 5But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed. 6For He will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]: 7To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.
8But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath.

Judgements, Intimidations and Manipulations

There was a time when Sharon and I were first married that we had a lot of conflict in areas. I had been a Christian most of my life and Sharon was only about a year old in the faith at this time. She had come to accept Christ as we had shared the Lord and read the Bible together. It was at Easter time as she watched the movie, “The King of Kings”, that the Lord made those scriptures alive to her and drew her to Himself. Before we were married we lived in two different cities. I had been going to college in the town where she lived. After leaving school that year I had a time of tremendous drawing to the Lord and was trying very much to walk with Him in every aspect of my life. By the time we got married in August she was encountering someone in me, different than who she had come to know. All I seemed to think about and care about was the things of God. It’s not that this was a bad thing, but I seemed to think that Sharon should be where I was. Instead of watching TV she should want to read her Bible and pray. So there was this rift between us. I remember praying one night and saying something to the effect, “God I don’t know what to do, I’ve tried to do what’s right and I’ve tried to change her but I can’t.” The Lord spoke to my heart in that time and said, “That is not your job to change her, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Your job is to love her.” When I stopped trying to change and drag Sharon in my strength, she began to start coming forth in her own relationship with the Lord, because it was His doing and not mine. I say all of this to let us know that there are many of us that knowingly or unknowingly are still judging, intimidating and manipulating others to be what we think they should be or do what we think they should do. THAT’S NOT OUR JOB! STOP IT! You let the Holy Spirit deal with them in His time and His way. Meanwhile, know that while we are so busy trying to control others we have some issues of our own that we need to be focusing on. Maybe people aren’t all you think they should be or do for you all that you think that they should, but who made you the judge of them? We are all at different places in our life and in our relationship with the Lord. We have to respect that in one another. We all want to encourage one another in the things that are right and good, but that doesn’t make us someone else’s judge when they don’t live up to our expectations. We only see things through our own colored glasses and if we were to look at things through there perspective it may look a lot different and we may have a whole lot more empathy for why they are like they are. Only the Lord knows the thoughts and the motives of the heart. He alone is qualified to truly judge each individual.
If we are trying to control others, even if our intentions are good, that is a form of witchcraft. We use guilt, judgements, intimidation, seductions and various other means to control others to our way of thinking and doing. In some cases our intentions may be good, as mine were with Sharon, but our methods are the flesh. If one stubbornly is self-seeking, self-serving and disobedient to the truth then eventually they will answer to God for it if they refuse to repent and change their course. We have all been at times, either the perpetrators or the victims of these types of control. For some of us they have become a normal way of life and how we get our way. Instead of using God’s truth with mercy and grace we have wielded it like a club of condemnation and judgement to bring others to our way of thinking. It takes place in the other dynamics of our human relationships as well.
Take the time for a little introspection to see where you might be doing this to others. Remember that by the same standards that we judge others we ourselves will be judged. We need to be far more focused on judging our own walk, relationship and obedience to Christ. Our calling is to strengthen and encourage one another, not to be their judge. After all, that’s not our job; that’s His.

Blessings,
#kent

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

Galatians 5:13-15
13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Beware of the Pack Mentality

One of the things that I have often observed in the work place or social gatherings where people are in frequent association is what I will call a pack mentality. It is so subtle that often we don’t even realize that we have been caught up in it. I know I have at times and probably most of us have and perhaps still are.
It often goes something like this, someone, especially someone outside our circle or click, has a weakness or makes a mistake. Some one of our peers begins to make jokes either to the person or about the person to others. Before, long others are chiming in with their wise crack, comments and jesting. Suddenly we find ourselves adding to that dialogue as we all laugh at that person’s expense. The person may seem to take it in stride and may even laugh along with you, but what is going on inside of the person who is under attack? That person is being demoralized, made to feel less of a person and has become a victim to a group of people who are delighting in biting and devouring the person’s dignity and worth. This can be very demoralizing to a person and many of us have been on the side of the victim so we may well know or remember what that feels like. What may have started out in light ribbing or jest can become a blood bath for the victim. The more blood that is drawn the more the “pack” moves into devour and tear apart. Gossip works that same way.
This kind of behavior not only takes place in the work place and social gatherings; it can and does often take place in our churches and among our assembly. While this may afford some of us great entertainment it usually doesn’t come without a price, but as long as we are not the one paying it, who cares, is often our attitude.
Our scripture today reminds us that walking in love is to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we are a part of doing something to someone that we wouldn’t want done to us, then we are not walking in love. Our jesting and faultfinding can sometimes turn very ugly and hateful as one party may try and out insult the other. What started out in fun can become very personal and hurtful. The Spirit of Christ is seen in Philippians 4:8, which should be our guiding, light. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.” We have the Spirit of the life of Christ in us and by His very nature we are to be life-givers and not life-takers. Speak those things, which edify and build up. In the pack mentality that will make you like a wet blanket in a blazing fire, but we were not called to be a part of the world and their thinking.
Each day, make it your objective and desire to see how many people that you can build up, edify and speak good things about. Be quick to praise others and very slow to find fault. There is a need for life-givers in a cruel and negative world. Let us fit the description of Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Blessings,
#Kent

Unity in the Body

April 8, 2015

Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Unity in the Body

I was just thinking about if my right thumb got offended with my index finger and decided to leave my right hand go over to my left. Now I’ve got two left thumbs. Then my left big toe has falling out with my left foot and decides to go join up with my nose. Now I’ve got my former big left toe trying to function as a nose. Do we get the picture of how dissension and disunity in the body can quickly bring dysfunction and misalignment? It doesn’t take long before we no longer have a functioning body, but a freakish mess. Does that resemble how we see a lot of the body of Christ trying to operate in today?
Why, because we are all so easily offended and willing to move out of the place where God has set us. It is important that you truly seek God to place you in a body and that when He does you are not moved except by Him. Most of us know that when you start rubbing a lot of different personalities together you may well create a blister or a sore spot. Our first tendency is get up and just move to a different seat or a different church. Just because our brothers and sisters are Christians doesn’t mean everything in our relationship with them is going to be rosy. What we may overlook is there is always an enemy at work to kill, steal and destroy and while he may well be at work to cause disunity and division, there is also God that is at work to mature us in our love and tolerance of one another.
I see people come and go out of our particular body of Christ all of the time. Most of them are precious men and women of God. I observe that so many times it is personal dislike, disagreements or offenses with others that make them move on. Maybe it was in God’s time to move them on, but a lot of times I think it is because we won’t allow ourselves to be perfected in love. Our love is still mostly about our personal preferences, opinions and how we think things should be. Because we took up a grievance and moved out of position of where God placed us, how do you think that ends up impacting your ministry for yourself and for others. Now you move someplace else until you are offended or in disagreement again and so the cycle goes. Thus so many play the game of musical churches.
What we are missing is some of the spiritual clothing that we are suppose to have put on. Instead of our suit and tie or our going to Sunday dress let’s put the clothing that the Word exhorts us to be clothed with. Compassion, having more of a heart for others than we do for ourselves. Kindness, which extends itself to looking after the interest of others and not just self. Humility, which is strength under control, so that despite who and what you may be in the Spirit, you are always coming under and lifting others up. Gentleness, it is not harsh, or brash, but handles others with the love of Jesus. Patience, last but not least, it is the patience of God that helps us to endure the offenses, misdeeds and issues of others. Remember that, unless you’ve started walking on water, you have some issues of your own that others have to tolerate in you. The bottom line is we have to grasp and lay hold of what true agape’ love is, if we are going to start seeing unity at work in the body. As long the body is always upset and fighting among itself it can never come into the focus of its purpose. The first revelation we all have to get is that body ministry and functionality is not first about us; it is about Him! We come together to first worship and serve Him, not just to get our ego stroked and our preferences met.
We have entered into an hour and season where love and unity in the body is paramount to what God is doing at this time. He is calling us to be a healthy, living breathing organism ruled and compelled by love, not a misfit organization trying to play church. We’ve come to treat our relationship with the body of Christ like we do many of our marriages, when it gets to messy we bail out of it. As long we keep running away and moving on, we can’t come into the fullness of unity, love and purpose God has for us.
I am not going to tell you that everything leadership or somebody else in the body did to you was right or justified. It probably wasn’t, but what does the Word say? “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Have we all truly done that? It would be great if we were all perfect in our love and didn’t have to deal with these issues, but the truth is that it takes dealing with these issues if we are going to mature in the love of Christ. You don’t think there were days Jesus might have felt like kicking his disciples to the curb and saying, “I don’t have to put up with this.” It was because He clothed himself with these very attributes that He not only put with them, but endured the cross for them, as well as us. If it is our desire to be identified with His nature and character, then we are going to have to endure some of the work of the cross in us. Be where God places you and stay there until He moves you. If you are going through some things it is because you need to grow through some of these things. Remember it is the lowest valleys that prepare you for the highest mountains.
The body must truly put on the love and humility of Christ if we are to walk in unity to accomplish the purpose of the Father. He said we would be a bride without spot or wrinkle. Well, obviously there is a whole lot of cleaning and ironing that needs to go on to get us there. Allow His love to have its perfect work in you.

Blessings,
#kent

Deuteronomy 8:1-5
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

First the Test, then the Blessing

As a people of God we can often relate with the children of Israel out in the wilderness. Most all of us have experienced our share of trials and tribulation and some of us more than others. While we pray and trust God, sometimes we may be tempted to murmur, if not out loud, then in our minds. When we pray we expect God to just listen up and get that prayer answered. So why doesn’t it always work that way? Why do we sometimes have to wait and endure so long to see our answer?
One of the first things we have to remember here is who is the parent and who is the child. Who is training whom? There are many instances in our present day society that it is evident that the child is in charge and not the parents. When the child demands the parents obey promptly to keep that spoiled child happy and content. God wants to bless us, but He doesn’t want to spoil us. He is not the great celestial Santa Clause that some like to imagine and even believe that He is. God is the Father and He is not just any Father. He is the awesome creator God and Father. The first thing we must learn, to operate in alignment with His kingdom, is that we are not in charge, He is! That seems an obvious statement, but it is one that we often seem to forget in practical living.
James 4: 3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Our Father is not raising his children to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, so when we ask we are often tested to see what is truly in our hearts. It is not so much for God’s benefit as for ours, so that we can really see our true motives.
What leaps out to me as I read this passage in Deuteronomy 8 is “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna. What came first the test or the provision? It has to be obvious even to the unbeliever that well over a million people could not have survived out in a wilderness without a supernatural provision. It is apparent in this scripture that when they received the manna and the provision it wasn’t always in accordance with their timetable and expectations. As a result, many of them would begin to grumble, murmur and complain. While I am sure none of us reading this have ever been guilty of doing that, it is enlightening to know that in God’s economy, provision and blessing works on His time table and not ours. Why do we need faith if we never have to believe in hope for the expectation of its manifestation?
Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” We love to rejoice in the goodness and blessing of God. We love to rejoice in the salvation we have in Christ and the forgiveness of our sins. We should, these are glorious, but then look what it says we should also rejoice in. Suffering! Why should we have to endure suffering? Didn’t Jesus do all of that? No, He was our example of suffering and what it works in us. Suffering is a training tool to teach us obedience along with the attributes of obedience which are patience, perseverance, character and hope in what does not disappoint us.
Hebrews 5:7-10 says of Jesus, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” God is calling those that can here this to this same high priesthood in Christ Jesus, but to walk in the priestly calling we must be willing to walk where Jesus walked and suffer like He suffered. This identification with His life will bring the ultimate blessing, but first we must walk through the ultimate test. Do not despair if you are in this hard place of testing and suffering, use it to learn the perseverance, patience, character and hope that you need to press into His highest and inherit the blessing. “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. (Luke 6:40)”

Blessings,
#kent

Offenses

December 23, 2014

Proverbs 18:19
An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

Offenses

Did you ever wonder why the body of Christ is so often offended with one another. Think about what is at the heart of most of our division within the body. It is offenses. Out of these offenses we do exactly as Proverbs 18:19 says, we become more unyielding than a fortified city and we become close minded. What is at the heart of these issue if it is not our pride and our determination to be right.
Our pastor once shared something to the effect that religion is the need to be right, but true Christianity is the need to pursue righteousness. Why do you think many that heard Jesus, in particular the religious crowd, were offended with much of what Jesus had to say? Jesus trampled on their pride because He spoke the truth about what was in their heart. He revealed God in a way that didn’t fit within all of their traditional perimeters.
What we have to understand about offense is it usually reveals a heart condition in us. Peter swore up and down to Jesus that though everyone else might be offended in Him, he would never be offended. What resulted as Peter was confronted with being one of Jesus’ disciples was his denial. It was the testing that revealed his heart condition that he was blind too until that moment of testing came. There are many things in life we are going to want to be offended about and we may feel totally justified in doing so, but remember offenses are but a test to reveal what is really in our heart.
I love a statement our pastor recently ministered, “Offenses are simply opportunities turned inside out.” They test where our faith is, where our love is and where heart is for others and for God. When we can pass these tests of offenses then we can move on to the next level in our walk with Christ. Discipleship is not just calling yourself a Christian, it the learning of how to walk out your faith and not be offended. It is the love that can forgive your accusers, those that curse, malign, abuse, deceive and defraud you. It is walking as Jesus walked, without offense, even when He had every right to be offended.
When we can walk without offense. When can release and forgive our offenders, then we have moved past pride and the need to be right, to find true love, humility and righteousness of the God kind.

Blessings,
#kent

%d bloggers like this: