God, On Our Terms

August 14, 2015

1 Corinthians 3:10-16
10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

God, On Our Terms

Most of you who are reading this know Christ as the sure foundation of your life. We have received Him into our hearts by faith and we place our trust in Him. We have the sure foundation of our lives, which He is. The question then becomes as the apostle Paul addresses here, “what are we building upon this foundation?” Paul indicates that there are different materials that can be used to build this temple which we are. Some of them are fireproof and others are not, but He does warn us that there will be the Day that will bring to light what our house is made of.
Perhaps it is not so unlike the little story of the Three Little Pigs. Each one’s house was tested and those that were made of sticks and straw did not stand. The little pigs verily escaped by the hair of their chinny-chin-chin. I don’t think that this is how we really want to build upon this foundation that we have in Christ. Yet we have to consider the quality of the materials and the work that is going into building this temple.
Many of us have embraced Christ as our Savior, but do we really know Him as our Lord. Many of us have faith, but we still want God on our terms, rather than ourselves on His. We must understand that with the building of the temple there is a continual demolition of the old. While the grace and mercy of God builds us up we are allowing the cross to crucify and tear down that which is of the natural man and that which is not eternal, but will pass away. If we continue to build a corruptible temple on an incorruptible foundation, then there will be a day the building of our lives will come to ruin and destruction. What we invested our lives in building will come to naught, because it was on our terms and not His. We built with wood, hay and stubble instead of the nature of God, the redemption of God and His precious truth. God will allow us to build our house with whatever materials we choose, but their will come a day of final inspection and if we haven’t built according the blueprint and the materials declared in His word, then we can’t expect our house to pass inspection. Which of us wants to come to the end of our lives and then find out there was nothing lasting, permanent or of eternal value in what we did?
Jesus taught us that the foolish man built his house upon the sand and when the floods came it was washed away, but the wise man built his house upon the rock, the sure foundation of Christ. The same materials that have been used in the foundation must continue to be used throughout the building of the house. Then we will know and have confidence that it will stand and remain in the day of testing and fire. Consider that unless we know Jesus as the Lord, the One we relinquish all control too and are in true submission to His headship, then we are building with corruptible materials that will not be of lasting value or substance. That is the price of having God on our terms.

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

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

What does this tree of knowledge of good and evil mean today? I would suppose the same thing it meant when God told Adam not to eat of the tree of good and evil, but to partake of the tree of Life. The Word tells us, “The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord.” The Word of God defines what the fear of the Lord is, by telling us it means to hate evil.
When we live in this world, we live around good and evil each day of our lives. We are to live a life trying to find out what pleases the Lord and to avoid evil or the mixture of good and evil at all cost.

The Word also tells us we are to “Put on the Mind of Christ.” We are to “Renew our minds in Christ Jesus.” In fact, we are to be so identified with Christ, Paul tells us, “It is no longer I that lives, but Christ Jesus who lives within me.” How about, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.”
The Word also exhorts us to “Not walk after the flesh but after the Sprit.” It also tells us “What so ever things are pure, what so ever things are lovely and of good report, think on these things.” I believe when the Word tells us to put on the Mind of Christ, it is so important to understand that it is an act of our will…and act of our choice. Adam and Eve both had the same choice and because of their wrong choice, look what it has cost all of mankind.

We have but one life time to live for God so we in turn will live out eternity in His presence…with all Adam and Eve had before they chose to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and lose His presence in their lives. When Jesus came, He led the way back to the Father, showing us He came only to do His Father’s will and we have the same choice. We should strive to live as Christ out of the Spirit of Christ in us. Because man could not earn for himself God’s approval, Jesus came to not only live His life doing God’s will…but yielded up His life of His own choice to pay the price so we wouldn’t have to try and earn God’s approval.

In the book of Exodus, just as the death angel passed over all the houses in Egypt who bore the blood of a lamb over the door posts, so also eternal death will pass by all who are covered by the Blood of Jesus. When we have chosen to be identified with Christ and what Jesus did for us on the cross, this is finding God’s approval; this is the mindset we are to live for. If man could have saved himself, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come and pay the high price He paid for our sin.

Blessings,
Sharon

A Purpose Driven Life

December 3, 2014

A Purpose Driven Life

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Haven’t all of us that have embraced Christ by faith and entered into a relationship with Him, been called according to His purpose. Often we confuse our purpose with His purpose and they are not always the same. Many of us have our own agendas, our own aspirations and goals, but they may not necessarily be in line with God’s purpose for your life. The Lord has given us a will and if we are bent on our ways rather than pursuing what He has for our lives, we can make that choice.
Jesus says, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” 1 Corinthians 16:19-20 tells us, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” If we truly love the Lord then we need to acknowledge that we are His and no longer our own. 2 Timothy 1:9 speaks of what God’s purpose is, “Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” Most of us, quite honestly, tend to compartmentalize our lives into spiritual and non-spiritual, what is God’s and what is ours. The Lord’s intent is that all that we are is spiritual and belongs to Him, body, soul and spirit. What are we missing in the purpose and will of God for our lives because we are caught up in our own ways. How much of our lives do we filter through the Holy Spirit, seeking His direction and council and asking that His will and purpose are accomplished in all that we do and the decisions that we make? Do we instead, forge headlong into the desires and purposes of our own heart and expect God to be a part of and bless what we have purposed to do? 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
We can be really thankful that our God is so loving, patient and kind; and that He endeavors to deal with our hearts and speak to us in our times of self-discovery. We can listen to the gentle dealings of the Lord or we can ignore Him and continue on until one day we must come to terms and the consequences of our own actions.
Father has a purpose and calling for each one of our lives. Are we embracing and living fully in it? If we truly love Him and have been called out of the world by Him, then we have the assurance that all that the Lord is working in our lives is for the good. At times it may not seem good, but that is where we have to trust the heart of God and His promises concerning our lives.
Are we living in God’s purpose today? Are we living the destiny He has called us too? Those things can only be discovered and found out in Him through a yielded spirit and a contrite heart. The Lord will lead and direct our lives if we allow Him to do so.
Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us in this purpose, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Are we living God’s purpose driven life for us today?

Blessings,
#kent

Beware the Seductress of Your Soul

Proverbs 7:1-5
1MY SON, keep my words; lay up within you my commandments [for use when needed] and treasure them. 2Keep my commandments and live, and keep my law and teaching as the apple (the pupil) of your eye. 3Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4Say to skillful and godly Wisdom, You are my sister, and regard understanding or insight as your intimate friend– 5That they may keep you from the loose woman, from the adventuress who flatters with and makes smooth her words.

Proverbs 7 is an exhortation and an illustration of what can happen to any one of us, at anytime as we travel through life. God has called us to be fishers of men to bring the gospel and the good news of the kingdom to our world and sphere of influence. We are the lights and the instruments of God’s choosing and using to draw men to Him. Even as men are persuaded to righteousness and faith in Christ by the drawing of the Holy Spirit unto life, there is an antithesis that works unto death. Satan is a fisherman also, continually casting the lure and bait that appeals to our base appetites. It is rare that one is so foolish to walk into an obvious trap, so what we get caught up in usually starts out very unthreatening and alluring. We’ve no doubt all been there at one time or another and to one degree or another. Some of us, by the grace of God, have been delivered in areas of our life where the enemy was able to bring great devastation and damage because he was able to get his hook into us and we couldn’t seem to get loose. Some of us may well still be experiencing the prison of this entrapment are still battling issues in our lives from wrong choices that we made or others that were close to us have made. How many of us have felt the effects in our lives from alcohol, drug, sexual addictions, fraud, lying, cheating, stealing and just plain selfishness? Sin has touched all of us directly and indirectly.
Listen to how the seductress and loose woman of Proverbs 7 seduces and ensnares her prey. The young man is vulnerable because he is simple, empty-headed and empty-hearted.
“And behold, there met him a woman, dressed as a harlot and sly and cunning of heart. 11She is turbulent and willful; her feet stay not in her house; 12Now in the streets, now in the marketplaces, she sets her ambush at every corner. 13So she caught him and kissed him and with impudent face she said to him, 14Sacrifices of peace offerings were due from me; this day I paid my vows. 15So I came forth to meet you [that you might share with me the feast from my offering]; diligently I sought your face, and I have found you. 16I have spread my couch with rugs and cushions of tapestry, with striped sheets of fine linen of Egypt. 17I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; let us console and delight ourselves with love. 19For the man is not at home; he is gone on a long journey; 20He has taken a bag of money with him and will come home at the day appointed [at the full moon]. 21With much justifying and enticing argument she persuades him, with the allurements of her lips she leads him [to overcome his conscience and his fears] and forces him along.” This woman is a chameleon and will take on the guise of whatever is necessary to capture your heart. She is a savage beast in beautiful array. Her one intent is to draw you into temptation that she may destroy your faith and devour you. Her ways are death and lead to hell. She has entered the backdoor of your soul in order to drive her dagger into your spirit. In verses 22-27 we see his end, “Suddenly he [yields and] follows her reluctantly like an ox moving to the slaughter, like one in fetters going to the correction [to be given] to a fool or like a dog enticed by food to the muzzle 23Till a dart [of passion] pierces and inflames his vitals; then like a bird fluttering straight into the net [he hastens], not knowing that it will cost him his life. 24Listen to me now therefore, O you sons, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. 25Let not your heart incline toward her ways, do not stray into her paths. 26For she has cast down many wounded; indeed, all her slain are a mighty host 27Her house is the way to Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead), going down to the chambers of death.”
Our exhortation is to avoid her and not to even flirt with her, for her ways are death. The way we avoid her is by not being simple minded, but Christ minded. We set our mind on things above. We fill our hearts with word of God and His wisdom and discernment. We do not allow ourselves to become ignorant or naïve concerning the ways of the world and the enticements that it holds. We keep our hearts humble and trembling before the Lord, for we know that ‘pride preceedth a fall’. In all humility we seek to warn others lest they also become the prey of satan and their faith is shipwrecked. Hold fast to the Word of Life. It is the anchor and preserver of your soul.

Blessings,
#kent

Friend or Foe

November 7, 2013

Friend or Foe

Matthew 16:13-28
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15″But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ,] the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Most of us would agree that Jesus’ disciple Peter was a friend of the Lord. He really did love the Lord and while a little rough around the edges Peter had some great qualities about him. I think most of us would say that we are a friend of the Lord’s, that we love Him and like Peter, we have committed our lives to follow after Him.
It is an interesting passage that we read today because first we see Jesus asking the question about who men think that He is. We see Peter chime in, with spirit of revelation, that Jesus is the Christ. Peter is called blessed and commended of the Lord. The Lord gives him the keys of the kingdom and the power to bind and loose in heaven and earth. Peter must have been feeling pretty good about himself about then like maybe he was just one up on the others cause he had the goods. He had the revelation of the Christ.
We then see a quick turn of events where Jesus reveals the purpose and plan of his life to suffer and die in Jerusalem at the hand of the elders, chief priest and teachers. Peter, perhaps a little full of himself, begins to rebuke the Lord and let Him know that we are never going to let this happen. Suddenly we see a friend turned foe as the Lord rebukes Peter and says, “Get thee behind me satan.” That must have really taken the wind out of Peter’s sails. Jesus goes on to explain the definition of discipleship and the exchange of life that must take place which means the death of the self life to experience the resurrection of God’s life.
I think that we are not so unlike Peter. We have a true zeal and love for the Lord. We have a revelation and understanding of many things, but we become the enemy of the cross because we want to preserve our life when we need to lose it and reckon it dead. We want to hold on to the natural things of this world rather than to die to them that we may possess the treasures of the kingdom. We are like a baby that would rather hold on to a rock than exchange it for a silver rattle. We are much like Peter, spiritual on one hand and unwilling to embrace the cross on the other. What if Peter had had his way? He thought his intentions were noble and good. He wasn’t going to let Jesus have to go to the cross. Often we view the death that the Lord is leading us into as the worse thing for us, because we see the price of suffering and sacrifice. What we fail to see by faith, is what is on the other side of that death, it is abundant and eternal, resurrection life with great reward. We may be traveling that road to Calvary today and satan may be working through agents and people that mean well, but they don’t comprehend the way we must go and why we must go there. We must be careful that we don’t allow others to turn us from our call to discipleship and the cross or that we don’t become a stumbling block to others to keep them from walking that way as well. In order to fully realize who we are we have to die to what we were. It takes two hands to embrace discipleship. We have reached out in faith with one, but we have to release our world and the things we have held dear to take hold of the Lord with the other. The things of this world keep pulling us down into death while the Lord is pulling us up into life, but it takes both hands laying hold of His for us to be pulled up into the fullness of His life.

Blessings,
kent

Come out from among them!

October 21, 2013

Come out from among them!

2 Corinthians 6:17
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,

When we saw the light of the truth that was in Christ Jesus we were drawn to it and started a journey to walk into that light out of the darkness of ignorance and sin that we had formerly dwelt in. For too many of us, walking into that light through our initial conversion and born again experience was enough for us. We may have seen that there is greater light on up ahead, but we have become comfortable in the measure of light we possess. Maturity always requires responsibility. We often want the benefits, but we don’t like to pay the price. Many of us dwell in that place of twilight where darkness is all around us, but we still have a measure of light. It is a place where our flesh can still be comfortable, but at the same time we have enough spirituality that we feel we have satisfied that need. Is this the place where God is content that we dwell? In 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 Paul exhorts the Corinthians who were in this place, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” The Lord is requiring of us purity. He is not a God of compromise, mixture and confusion. By His very nature of truth, He is requiring that we walk in the light of the truth that we have and by the same token continue on to know the Truth. The Spirit of Truth is constantly shining brightly before us and the Spirit within us is compelling us to keep walking toward the light. As the light increases it reveals more and more of the shadow areas of our lives that have been hidden by darkness. As they are revealed the Lord wants to deal and separate ourselves more and more unto Himself. Our God is a consuming fire. As we walk into that fire, the fire is consuming the corruptible things in our lives while at the same time it is purifying the incorruptible and eternal things. In the book of Daniel when the three Israelites were thrown into the blast furnace that was heated seven times hotter, so that even those that threw them in perished; they were seen walking in the furnace, with a fourth person, like unto the Son of Man. The only thing the fire was touching on them was the ropes that bound them. Our flesh is like the rope that binds us from experiencing the fullness of Spirit life. As we walk into God, He is burning away our bondage, compromise and uncleanness.
Moms know that if they put nice clean pretty church clothes on their little children and then let them go outside and play, what is the first thing that is going to happen? The first place they head is to the dirt. Our spiritual lives are much the same way. The Lord is saying you can’t mix with the dirty things around you if you want to stay clean. You have to come away from that and be separated. We can’t still have our fellowship in the world and constantly be around that mindset and spirit if we want our walk pure and clean.
When the Lord is telling us to “come out from among them and be ye separate,” He is exhorting us to separate ourselves unto the truth that He is bringing into our lives. The more we are growing up into Him the more and more He is separating us into a place of holiness and purity, because He wants us to be the light and manifestation of His righteousness and truth. We have already discussed the fact that the world is so turned off to Christianity, because they see so much of the spirit of compromise and hypocrisy at work in our lives. We are fountains of bitter and sweet water. We can talk Jesus out of one side of our mouth while we curse men with the other. God is imparting His truth to us in order to set us free. Our problem is we have to want that freedom, more than we want to maintain our bondage. Are we willing today to hear and heed the Word of the Lord to “come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing?” It is a time for us to no longer linger in the twilight of compromise, but to continue on in our pursuit of truth and righteousness. It is the separation that allows the Lord to receive us into His presence.

Blessings,
kent

When You Get Weary

April 4, 2013

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

When You Get Weary

You who are believers, do you ever get discouraged in your Christians walk? Do you ever get tired of swimming upstream and going against the flow? Do you ever just want to give up and give in?
You’re not alone. I think all those that have really walked their faith have had those times and maybe you are struggling right now. You may have grown very weary with the trials and the assaults of the enemy. It may seem the more you try to live for Jesus the worse things get and the more others try to get you to compromise and back off.
That only means you are doing something right. If we were not facing opposition of some kind, then we may need to examine how earnestly we are walking in our faith, because the Word says, ‘those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.’ The Lord is just letting us know that it goes with the territory.
I know we can grow weary and we are all continually tempted to compromise with the world and its values. Just remember this, you have fought the good fight. You have persevered in faith, prayer and holding fast to God’s Word. Just as in a natural war, the ground you gained spiritually has come at personal price and sacrifice. It was ground that you had to do spiritual warfare to gain. The last thing you want to do is retreat and give it up.
The enemy wants to wear us down, discourage us, make us feel defeated and lose sight of the prize of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus. Sometimes when we are walking uphill and get tired and exhausted we don’t realize what ground we have gained until we look back and see how far we have come and how steep the grade. The same is true of your faith.
Yes we can just let down, give in and quit fighting so hard, but if we aren’t moving forward we are moving backwards. God knows you need times of rest and refreshment and He will never allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but He will stretch you beyond what we may think we are capable. He wants you to know that the strength and power that you need is not in you, but in Him. When you have nothing left then you find the rest and the strength of His arms that carry you through. He will honor your faithfulness.
Remember that no ground that is lost is easily regained. It is much harder the second time around, so be encouraged and stay the course. Enter into the strength of God’s rest, and trust Him to help you to continue on, knowing that He who began a good work in you is able to bring it completion. You are not alone. Your identity is now in Him and through Christ you can do all things.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Blessings,
kent

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