Family Relationships

July 31, 2015

Mark 10:4-16
4And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. 13And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Family Relationships

This is an interesting passage where Jesus is not only talking about marriage and divorce, but He is then addressing the importance of children and their part in the kingdom of God. One of the greatest maladies of this age is the moral decline we are experiencing as a society and as Christians because of the breakdown of our homes and our families. We have become either too busy or too broken in our marriages to give our children what they need. There are millions of homes with single parents struggling to make ends meet and millions of children growing up with a lack of love, discipline and mentoring that they need. Even those of us who have homes and marriages that are loving and intact often find ourselves missing the opportunities we need to take advantage of, in investing into spouse and our children’s lives.
I believe Jesus, in this passage is bring out the point that marriage and family are not about putting the ones you love aside. So often we get so caught up in the process of providing for our family that the means takes the place of the object of what our lives are about. We miss out on giving the greatest provision of all, our personal time and attention. If we spend all our resources to buy a farm, but never spend time working the fields, can we expect them to produce anything but weeds? A family is an investment of our lives and it continues on even when our kids are grown and we have grandkids. The most meaningful memories we have from our childhood are probably not what mom or dad bought us, but those special one on one times that we had with them that were special and meaningful. Sometimes we don’t realize the little things that we do or give that are the most significant. God wants us to know that the most precious gift we have to give is our time and ourselves. Passing down memories, teaching and instructing our children and grandchildren are the things that matter. I have felt the Lord’s conviction on my own life that it won’t matter so much whether we were rich or poor, but where we invested our time and our love. Perhaps nothing says more to someone about how important they are and how much we love them than the personal time and attention that we give them. Seize those moments when you can have special time with your family and the ones you love. Few things are more important.

Blessings,
#kent

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To the Faithful

May 25, 2015

To the Faithful

Revelations 17:14
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him [are] called, and chosen, and faithful.

There are those of you who read this, not because you lack understanding of the ways of God, not because you don’t know Him intimately and personally, but because you are the faithful of the Lord. You have learned to feed upon His Spirit Life wherever you find it, because that is the pasture and the feeding place of your souls. Those whom the Lord finds faithful in His kingdom, He does not regard lightly, but they are His delight and joy. There are those of you who have walked with the Lord for many years. Many of you have had your stumbles and falls along the way of life, but you stand here today faithful to Him because He has always been faithful to you.
Those of you who continue to be faithful to read these little Trickles; it is a testimony that there is something deeper, richer that yearns and hungers after the heart of God. Today the word of the Lord is to you faithful. God sees your heart; He has proven you through waters of adversity and the fires of affliction. You know that He will never leave or forsake you; He knows you will not forsake Him. You are the faithful. Many are “called” it says, but not many are chosen. The chosen are those who abide in the vine. They are not there for a season and then whither away; they are there season after season, after season. They are the fruitful branches of the vine, drawing their life from the root and vine of Christ and producing the precious fruit of His Holy Spirit. You are often the unseen ones, unnoticed and most often unappreciated by the world, but when you enter into prayer, heaven and earth can be moved by the words of your heart, for you pray not your will, but the will of the Father.
Psalm 31:23 says this about the faithful, “Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.” Again, Psalms101: 6 speaks to the faithful, “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” It is the faithful who are the sheep of His right hand, who walk with Him in obedience and humility, who esteem His ways above their own.
Even the faithful can grow faint, weary and discouraged for their walk is often not an easy one. They daily must fight the good fight and wage the spiritual warfare to overcome the adversary of their soul. Most often they not only contend for themselves, but also are faithful to stand in the gap and intercede for the saints, the needs of those who are upon their heart and often for those weaker and less faithful.
Faithful ones, here is the Lord’s word to you. Ephesians 1:1 says these promises are to the faithful of God. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” You faithful ones know who you are in Christ because you have read the promises and they have become more than words on a page, they have become substance and life. You are investing your lives into living in the reality of the truth of who you are “in Christ”. The rest of us want to look to these faithful ones as our examples of godliness and righteous living. They are the living testimonies of God and His faithfulness and they can teach what it is to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. These are those whom the Lord covets and is jealous over. These are the hidden diadems of His crown jewels.
Continue on you faithful ones; continue to shine as the morning sun in your life in Christ. Continue to be the living testimony and example before us, that those of us less mature and experienced might see and grasp what it is to walk in faithfulness and in truth. Continue on, you blessed of the Lord, for great is your reward. “His lord said unto him, Well done, [thou] good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

Blessings,
#kent

More than all Burnt Offerings and Sacrifices

Mark 12:33-34
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

While we no longer literally offer burnt offerings and sacrifices we still do it in type. Many times I might rather love my neighbor, whoever that might be, from a distance rather than up close and personal. Just allow me donate some money for their cause, or pray for them, anything, but don’t make me become personally involved in their lives. Most of us like our own space and some of us like to be around friends and family, but even that has its limitations. How much time do I have for my neighbor, those people that I encounter in my daily life, business or work? Many times we might think to ourselves, “You know, I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need to get involved with someone else’s.” If we love ourselves enough to care about our problems, our needs, our wants, desires and goals in life, then aren’t we mandated to care about the similar needs of others as well?
Most of us would agree that in a world where every time you turn around someone wants to sell you something or ask you to contribute something we begin to become rather cold and callused. We build these walls to try and keep these people out. It is true, we can’t be everything to everybody and we do only have so many resources, still, are we loving our neighbor as ourselves? All of the things that I do for me, am I willing to do them for someone else? Personally, I am not a real people person and the majority of the time I am quite content and comfortable to be by myself, doing my own thing, but can I really love my neighbor as myself from that position. Loving others is always stretching us. It causes us to move out of our comfort zone. It causes us to come out of the place of just making the token efforts of the burnt offerings and sacrifices and requires me to get involved. Jesus was involved with those around him and not just with the upper crust, the easy to get along with, the likeable or the ones that could benefit Him. He was relating to humanity at all levels, classes, sexes and races. He would relate with children and adults alike, to the whole and the broken, rich and the poor and to the sinner and the righteous. Jesus was not a respecter of persons and He was sensitive to the heart cry of people. There are a lot of people out there that just want to take advantage and use others. This tends to make us wary and cynical, but the Lord wants us to tune into the heart cry of others. Listen, by the Spirit to the real need in people. It often isn’t what we see being portrayed on the outside or in their actions. We need a spirit of sensitivity, not to be duped by everyone that comes along, but to see into the heart need of others.
As the ambassadors and representatives of Christ in this earth we are the channels of God’s blessing, healing, restoration and reconciliation. If we don’t take the time and make the time for the needs of others, then who will. If I want someone to love me, be sensitive to my needs and to just care then that is the love I need to be extending to others in whatever capacity I have to give it. It isn’t the religious gestures that I make and the token giving that the Lord is looking for. He is looking for my heart to be one with His heart in me. He desires me to love Him through the way I love others, through a heart that is really caring and concerned for the needs of others. So often we are like the Scribe, the Pharisee, “the Christian”, who walks to the other side of the road when we see our neighbor in need. We don’t want the inconvenience and the investment of our time and resources to get involved. If my neighbor is important to the Lord, then they have to become my priority also. We have to remember that our mission in the earth is not about us, it is about Him through the way that we serve others. Loving God and loving our neighbor are all part of the same pie.
“Lord, give us sensitive hearts and eyes to see into the real needs of others and to make ourselves available and willing to minister to those needs in what ever way we can. Give us your heart to really love others as we would love ourselves, not from a distance, but up close and personal. Help us to truly be the extension of your compassion, love and grace. May the world truly know us by our love and not just by our name and religion. Allow us to be willing to pay the price of the personal sacrifice required in the giving of ourselves and that which cost us personally to love You with all of our hearts; to love our neighbors as ourselves, no matter who they may be.”

Blessings,
#kent

Parables of the Kingdom

August 7, 2013

Parables of the Kingdom

Matthew 13:44-52
44″The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45″Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
47″Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51″Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.
“Yes,” they replied.
52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

Jesus has given us some parables here in Matthew to help us grasp a spiritual understanding of the kingdom of heaven. It is much like you having discovered a large reservoir of oil beneath your property. You grasp the potential wealth of what you are sitting on, but until the oil can be brought to the surface it has no practical and realized value or worth to you. Aren’t our lives the same way? We have discovered the great truth and wealth we have of Christ in us, our hope of glory, but as long as He stays locked up in our spirit, our property, remains pretty much unchanged. So what will we do? Now having this knowledge of the great treasure possessed beneath the surface, we will make it our primary pursuit and investment in gleaning the treasure we know is there. We will make what ever sacrifices are necessary of what we now possess outwardly so that we might tap into the rich resources that are hidden in our earth. 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” There is treasure in these here vessels of clay and we need to mine it out. We are drilling for the nature, the power and the life of Christ, and we don’t want to spare any expense or fail to make any sacrifice necessary to lay hold of it. What is more is that as we are in pursuit of the riches within, we want to share the good news with others around us. We want them to know that they also can have this treasure, but we find that many are far too self-absorbed to hear us or lay hold of the truth that we are sharing with them. Paul says in verses 4-6, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” We have been blessed with the revelation of the riches we have within, now it is about laying hold of them till they become resident and manifest in our daily lives. In laying hold of these riches there are other things that we value in life that we will have to let go of. We have to decide where our treasure really is and what we are willing to give up to lay hold of it. If we choose the riches and what is valuable to us in this life then we will lose our grip on the eternal life and fail to realize the riches that we held. On the other hand when we are willing to forsake all else and spend all our resources to lay hold of this treasure within, then we will lay hold of riches that so far exceed those we could ever know in this world.
In another parable Jesus gives here of the net drawing in a great catch of fish we see that the kingdom of heaven is currently made up of a mixture of both good and bad. We see it in the realm of Christianity. It is a mixture of flesh and Spirit. We also see that in God’s time there will be a purification and casting out of all that is bad or that defiles. This same analogy could apply to our individual lives as well. We may often become disgusted with all of the flesh and ungodliness we see in the body of Christ, but we don’t have to look any further than ourselves to see where it comes from. We are like that net of fish, full of a mixture of good and bad. Surely, I am not the only one that becomes so discouraged with myself; with how far I miss the mark and fail to walk after the Spirit in so many aspects of my life. We are a mixed bag that the Holy Spirit is trying to help us sort out as we look and fully lean upon Him. Most any valuable thing in its natural state is impure. That is why God is processing us, to bring out the riches of His pure nature and love. Sometimes it is like going through hell with fire and gnashing of teeth as we deal with these areas of impurity and iniquity in our lives.
In Matthew 13:52 Jesus says something rather interesting, “52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”” It is like, the more the Holy Spirit instructs us in our lives through knowledge and experience in godliness, the more we understand and know of its ways. As we grow in understanding and experience we share that with others who are likewise seeking to know Christ in a deeper and more meaningful way. We all have rich experiences of how the Lord has dealt in our lives and how He has taught us. As we share these with others it is mixture of not just past experiences and knowledge, but also of fresh revelation and insight into areas of our lives. Our lives should be a combination of new treasures and old. It is like building a house, you are continually building upon the former with new material. God’s Word never changes and yet it is always fresh as He unveils new truth, insight and revelation in it.
What kingdom truths is the Lord opening up in your understanding and what are we doing to lay hold and see the reality of these truths come to pass in our lives? He is our resource, our provision and our salvation, but we have to let go of the world with that other hand. It is going to take both of our hands holding fast to His so that He can pull us up into Him.

Blessings,
kent

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