Time and Clutter

February 1, 2016

 

Time and Clutter

Ecclesiastes 8:5-7

Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man [is] great upon him

 

 

               Are you ever overwhelmed in life by all of the clutter that fills your life and the lack of time to deal with it all?  I find that trying to stay neat and organized seems to be an exercise in futility. Our lives are so inundated with mail, junk mail, phone calls, solicitors, bills, materials from work, school, church, kids, and internet.  Then there are always all of the projects we have to do or someone else wants us to do.  In the midst of this deluge of information, materials and pulling from every direction to make this decision and meet that need we can become overwhelmed and overloaded.  There doesn’t seem to be enough time to deal with it all and even if there is, after while we just want to run away and escape all of its demands.  As I look at my desk and the condition of my home and garage I think too much stuff is not a good thing.  Who can keep up with it all?  Obviously some of us are more gifted in that area than others.  While it seems it is hard for many of us to finish one thing before we are distracted and on to something else, thus leaving in our wake a barrage of unfinished business, this is the real world.  It is filled with clutter that demands our time and energy to deal with it.  What’s worse is when you don’t want to throw it away or get rid of it because you might need it someday.  “My God, My God, who shall deliver me?”

               This is for me this morning, so you are welcome to listen in, or not. 

               Our time has to be more and more ordered by priorities.  Most important things first.  This brings us to the spiritual aspect of our lives, which we should have rated number one on our list.   Don’t you find that without God first, the rest of life begins to fall apart?  He is the order in our lives and helps us with focusing on our priorities.  Sometimes it demands getting up earlier in the morning or staying up later at night just to have that time with Him.  Our families should be our next priority.  How often do we neglect our wife or husband, children or grandchildren because they’ll understand if we have work demands, or are wading through all of the clutter that takes all of our time and attention away from them?    

What about meeting the needs of others?  “The needs of others, I hardly have time for my own needs.”  Isn’t this part of our life mission, to reach out to others and meet those needs where we can? We haven’t even talked about work, which usually consumes a major portion of our time and life.   It is a constant juggling act to balance all of the areas of our lives.  Yet, I have to believe that God is our wisdom to walk in this world and deal with all of the issues that we are faced with.  Truthfully, we bring a lot of it on ourselves.  Our possessions bring with them the bondage of time and money to take care of and deal with them.   Simplicity, in as much as it is attainable, is an asset we need to cherish.

In Matthew 6 Jesus give us some wise counsel we need to continually apply to our lives.  In verses 19-21 he says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Doesn’t this deal with our priorities and the things we value in life?  It is so easy for our focus in life to get on the wrong things.  We are not here to gain the world for ourselves, but to gain the world for Christ.  In verses 24-26 and verse 33 Jesus says, ” No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  …But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

               Time and clutter must find their order in the One we serve.  The Lord and people must be the focus of what we live and work for, not things.  The Holy Spirit is the filter through which all things must pass and judgements must be made on their significance or value.  How much clutter do we bring on ourselves that hinders us from the more vital things in our lives?  Let us order and organize our lives for the advancement of His Kingdom and not ours.

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

Unity in Diversity

October 20, 2014

Unity in Diversity

Romans 12:16
[Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Why is it we struggle so much with our human relationships with other people? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if everyone thought just like us, even if they could just see that the way that we think is the best way to do things? Unfortunately and maybe fortunately, we are quite diverse in how we solve our problems and deal with the issues of life. While that is not so much a problem if we are dealing with just us, it becomes quite a challenge when we are in relationships where we need to be in one accord concerning decisions and policies of how we want to do things. We all have different ideas of how something should be. Often it is not a question of one being right and one being wrong, except perhaps in their own eyes, it is more a matter of being in one accord and reaching a common ground where we can share and come into agreement though we differ in opinion and logic. This is the crux of life, whether it is in business and working relationships, marriage, family, the body of Christ, no matter what the relations, it is often a challenge to come into one mind. How do we find unity in the diversity of our personalities and ways of thinking and viewing things? Well, obviously the world has come up with many ways of dealing with these issues, monarchies, dictatorships, socialism, totalitarianism, democracies and even theocracy.
Perhaps you are struggling in a relationship today. In secular relationships we seek to have the mind of Christ and as Romans 12:18 puts it, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” What about our Christian relationships, our marriages and our families, these areas that we all struggle with daily? Unfortunately we don’t have a much better record at these relationships than the world does, but we should because we have what they don’t have, Christ. If we have committed ourselves to live our lives under the theocracy of God’s will then what our efforts should be focused on is not what my will or my way is or what yours is, but what is the mind of God concerning our decisions. Do we come to the bargaining table with different agendas and different priorities? How do we arrive at peaceable solutions? First, are all parties willing to lay down their rights, agendas and opinions to submit to what God’s will is in a particular area of dissension? Are we willing to approach our differences with respect for one another and our differences of opinion, realizing that we are all made up of strengths and weaknesses? Are we willing to give place to someone else’s gifting or strength in an area? Are we willing to lay these differences at the altar and unselfishly pursue the Lord’s will through praying together and seeking the mind of the Lord? That’s probably not normally our way, but it should be. Are we all honest in our dealings and can we bring our feelings under submission to the Lord? We often want to resolve our differences emotionally which usually only further polarizes us rather than unifying us. Are we willing to come with unselfishness in our hearts and pursue the end that best meets the needs of all concerned? Our God is a God of Peace and He wants us to pursue peaceable means through His love that is within us by being longsuffering, courteous, respectful and giving place to one another.
It comes back to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5).” He became a servant though He was Lord of all and laid down His life for us. We need this mind to be the servant of one another working, living and giving what is best for the benefit of others and not just ourselves. When we get ourselves out of the picture then resolution to our conflicts and differences becomes much easier. Love is about our desire to give and not just to get. The more this love is working in the hearts of all concerned the easier our differences will be resolved and we will find unity in our diversity.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:13-16).”

Blessings,
#kent

Lying Vanities

August 29, 2014

Jonah 2:8
They that regard lying vanities Forsake their own mercy.
Lying Vanities

What is a lying vanity? That is what I wanted to know as the first half of this scripture was coming up in my spirit this morning. As I pursued this phrase I found the scripture in Jonah 2:8, “They that regard lying vanities Forsake their own mercy.” Other translations state it this way; “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” We often think of idols as those false gods of wood and stone that pagans worship, but in truth it can be anything that is not God focused and of eternal value. When we look at our lives, our ambitions and our priorities in light of this definition most of us would have to admit that there are probably a lot of lying vanities in our lives. So much of our lives are caught up in the temporal and temporary things that consume our time and energy but produce no lasting or eternal results. Lying Vanities, these are the idols that get our eyes off of our kingdom purpose and distract us from our true destiny. Their rewards are like a breath that is fleeting and quickly vanishes away. For many that lying vanity is the wealth of this world. Proverbs 13:11 says, “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.” Wealth in itself is not a bad thing, but our wealth should be a God thing. When we are pursuing “getting rich quick” it is wealth received by vanity and it doesn’t last. What we obtain through our faithful labor and acknowledgement of the Lord shall be blessed. Our true increase comes from our faithful service to the Lord. When He is the center of our world and the object of our time and pleasure then He is our reward. Our lives are then about the Father’s business, rather it is in the market place or in church, He is the reason we live, we move and have our being.
As I was having a business meeting with the Father this morning, He has been speaking to me that true wealth is found in love. I had been thinking of ways of business built upon man’s basic needs, such as food, security, sex, sleep and the basic things man needs and depends upon. What I heard the Father say was, “The greatest need man has is love.” We all have the need to be loved. Love is what gives us worth and value. At the time I thought “love?” how can that be a business concept. True love is something that you give away; it is not something that you get. That is where I am wrong. True love, given away, produces a greater harvest of that which is given. True love, God’s love, is not a lying vanity, but an eternal reality. It is what humanity needs most in this life, as well as in the life to come. Only true God lovers can give forth the true love of God. God’s love is what sweeps away the lying vanities that have caused us to forsake His mercy and grace.
It is a time for a new paradigm and way of thinking. My needs are met as I seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all of these things shall be added unto me. Our mistake is that we have been putting these lying vanities in front of God’s kingdom, thus we have forsaken our own mercy and blessings. Love is the currency of the God’s kingdom, not the vanities of this world. When we deal in His currency it will affect our temporal lives, as well as our eternal lives. It is time to take these lying vanities, whatever form they take, and put them behind us, for they are considered idols to our God. It is a new day and our heart is to walk in Kingdom ways, to openly be the expression of His love as Christ is expressed through us.

Blessings,
#kent

Neglect

May 28, 2014

Neglect

Ephesians 5:21
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Does your mind every wander back over the years of your life and you wonder, in retrospect, what you might have done differently to make them even, better, more productive and more loving.
It occurs to me that I will never regret not yelling or being angry with my wife more, but I may well regret the time and attention I neglected to give her. I’ll never regret the times I spent playing with my kids or grandkids and the special memories they created, but I may well regret all of the times I was to busy or involved to take the time with them. Neglect is often something we are not even aware of when it is happening. Usually we have sufficient other priorities to justify it when it is taking place.
In life the most beautiful and productive gardens are those that are constantly tended with a loving hand. Hours are spent watering, fertilizing, planting, pruning, pulling weeds, spraying for insects and all the things that make for a beautiful garden. Will you and I regret that we didn’t spend more time in our gardens nurturing the human relationships that God has allowed in our lives? Will we even remember, what it was, that was so important that we didn’t make the time for those most important in our lives?
Perhaps our gardens aren’t so pretty today, because they have been neglected. Our time and our love can do wonders to restore life and relationship if it comes from our heart. People are no doubt the most important thing on God’s heart. If I am becoming more like Him they should be more important to my heart as well. Especially the ones God has given me responsibility for or accountability too.
Maybe today is a good day to go out and work in the gardens of relationship.

Blessings,
#kent

Be still and know that I am God
Psalms 46:10
Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

One of the most difficult things for us to do in our busy lives with all of its demand is to really be still before the Lord. Even in our prayer life, don’t we tend to want to say our peace to God and then move on? Most times we don’t want to take the time just to be still in His presence, to listen for His voice and meditate on His wonder and greatness. Psalms 4:4 says, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah”
We tend do with God what many of us are guilty of doing with our loved ones, “I would really like to talk with you about it, but I’ve got to run. Maybe we can talk later.” Is that similar to the words that come out of our mouth sometimes? It is often really hard for us to be still, but until we do, we often don’t really hear the things we need to hear. Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “The words of wise [men are] heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.” Even in our human and family relationships, we don’t really hear their hearts until we are willing to take the time to really interact with them and listen to them. The greatest mysteries, the greatest truths, the revelations we receive are most often heard in the quite and still places. Those are the places and times when our minds are at rest and peace and we take time just to listen and focus. We all really need that time every day with our God and with each other to stay in tune and in touch with the ones and the One we really love. Perhaps one of the reasons we don’t want to sit and be still is because, even subconsciously, we are running away from facing issues or confrontations or unpleasant dealings we really don’t want to deal with. Maybe the reason those things even exist in the first place is because we don’t take the time on a regular basis to talk, heart to heart, on a human and a God level. We want the quick fixes of our present society and culture to handle our relational problems, but they don’t. They still take the investment of our time and our true heart to really deal with them effectively.
Our lives are incredibly busy and full, but we need to set aside those times every day when we can just be still and know that God is God and be able hear, should He wish to speak to us. More than likely He is speaking to us, or at least trying to throughout our day, but we aren’t tuned in to see and hear Him working in our lives and circumstances. The way we get ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart that is tender before the Lord, is to be still and really know that He is God in our lives. Don’t neglect the valuable time it takes to get quiet and be still before the Lord.

Blessings,
#kent

Our First Love

February 14, 2014

Revelations 2:3-5

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

 


Our First Love


Many times our marriages and our relationship with Christ have a lot in common.  They both are built upon love and relationship.  They generally start out with great commitment, emotion and passion to love and serve the Lord or to love and serve our spouse.  Through the course of life with all of its trials and demands the polish and gold tends to wear thin on the feelings and commitment we first felt and lived toward the Lord and toward our spouse. Many of us have endured many hardships together and we have trusted the Lord through many of them.  

Even though we are good people, who have worked hard for our marriage and for our spiritual relationship the dynamics have changed.  We’ve somehow lost the closeness and the intimacy of relationship we once had.  

This word “forsaken” in verse 4 in the Greek means, “ to depart, as of a husband divorcing his wife, yield up, expire, let go, let alone, to disregard, to leave, to omit, neglect.”  Do any of these words speak to our hearts as to our relationships in our marriage and in our walk and relationship with Christ?  We are still here in body, going through the motions of marriage and relationship, but have our hearts left the room?  Have they grown cold with complacency?  Sometimes our marriages are measured by how well we tolerate one another rather than how well we really love and bless one another.  Even in our Christianity we so often get in the rut of being religious, going to church, giving our tithe or doing our duty, but our heart and passion are no longer in it.  

It is a time for stirring up the embers and throwing on some new wood.  It is a time we must blow and breathe new life back into the fire of our relationships.  I’ll admit I have been bad about becoming so caught up in my business and the things that concern me, that I have neglected the weightier matters.  Somehow we come to take for granted that this loved one will always be there and everything will be fine, meanwhile we allow the foundation to rot out from under us.  One day we wake up and our house is in ruin.  The signs were all around but we didn’t heed them until our lampstand had been plucked from us and suddenly we found ourselves shut out.  

Here the Lord is warning us about our relationship with Him and also what can happen in our marriages.  We must return to that first love, the courting, the dating, the intimacy and attention that we gave to our partner then.  It can be no less with Christ.  It is not our works that save us in our marriage or our Christianity, it is the relationship that we maintain and cultivate with the one that we say we love. For me, it is often my communication that fails the most.  I get caught up in my own little world and when I fail to communicate, I find I am failing in my relationship.  That communication, especially that which shares my heart, is what my wife needs from me.  She has to feel that connection with my heart to feel close to me and a part of me.  I think this often comes more naturally to women as a general rule than men, but it doesn’t mean that we as men can neglect it.  We have to cultivate it, even when it doesn’t come naturally to us.  It is always remembering that love is not about us, it is about the object of our love.  When we love the Lord or our spouse the way they need to be loved, we will find that our needs are met in our giving and loving.  Let us endeavor to return now to our first love, not just in word, but in deed and with all of our heart. 

 
Blessings,
kent

Returning to Our First Love

December 9, 2013

Returning to Our First Love


Revelations 2:4-5

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.


Love is a many splendored thing, but it can also be a place of vulnerability, heartache and disappointment.  So much depends on the care, attentiveness and tenderness with which we handle the most precious of gifts, one another’s hearts and their love.  

That first found love between two lovers those years back, it seemed so rich.  You loved one another’s presence and you didn’t want to be apart.  Your desire for one another was so strong and you bathed in the love that you had for one another.  Oh, that first love, how rich and full and sweet it was.  

Little by little small offenses began to enter in.  Sometimes unkind remarks were made that wounded your spouse’s soul, neglect, lack of communication, demands of life; so many things can tear at the foundations of your love.  

We begin to take for granted that first love, as we become more familiar with the other.  Those little things that we didn’t notice or didn’t seem to bother us now become a source of irritation and conflict.  Our hearts that were so warm and open begin to close as we often, without even knowing why, transform from that loving unity, to opponents and foes.  Little by little we can shut down in our emotions and our love to the point we forgot why we even liked this person, let alone loved them.  

We can often wander and drift away from our first love for Christ the same way.  Instead of being continually awed and thankful for all that Christ has done and continues to do for us, He becomes common, just another element of our lives and not the substance of them.  How blind we all can become to the hardness that can come over our hearts with regards to the ones we love and what we have held so dear.  Many of us have lost that which we once cherished more than life itself.

What has changed?  Is it them or is it us?  Maybe it is like our environment.  We love the beauty of the water and streams, the woods and forest, the mountains, oceans and wildlife, but if we have them before us every day we may take them for granted and lessen in our once great appreciation of them.  Somewhere in there our motives for gain, for what benefits us and for what we think will better our lives out weighs our appreciation for the other.  At the environment’s expense, we begin to deplete our forest, tear up our mountains, pollute our waters and destroy what we once held so dear.  It is the same thing that we do to our marriages and our relationships.  

We lose sight that our spouse is our teammate that we are dependent upon one another to make life easier and sweeter.  Yet we are so blind at how the enemy of our soul comes into to kill, steal and destroy what was the most precious thing in our lives.  Our unity is destroyed and our marriages turn from bliss to ashes.  Isn’t it because we have bought into the lie?  When one of us in our marriage loses we both lose.  There are no winners and losers, because we are a team. A house divided against itself cannot stand.  

The older my wife and I grow together, the more dependent we are on each other to remember things, to help each other, and to be the strength in the other’s weakness.  On the other hand there is the temptation to find more fault with the other’s shortcomings, especially when they have chided you for yours.  We have to realize that we are a team. We need each other more than ever.  Love cannot become a selfish thing that only looks out for itself. If it has and is becoming that then it has left the boundaries and definition of love.  The nature of love is to serve, to give and bless another.  Love always exalts the other above itself.

Perhaps it is time for many of us to remember and to return to our first love both in our physical and spiritual relationships.  It is time to give the precious gifts of our humility, our forgiveness and our first love.  It is time to make a safe place where we can come together, not to find fault or blame, but to find reconciliation and healing for our hearts and our relationships. Isn’t this what God wants for us?  I believe He will help in this endeavor if we call upon Him and His love to fill our hearts.  Let us cherish and once again hold with such tenderness and sanctity the gift of one another’s hearts and love.  In the same way let us recommit to our first love for Christ and find the first passion that so consumed our soul.

 

Blessings,

kent

Faithfulness in Marriage

August 21, 2013

Faithfulness in Marriage

Malachai 2:14-16
You cry out, “Why has the LORD abandoned us?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made to each other on your wedding day when you were young. But you have been disloyal to her, though she remained your faithful companion, the wife of your marriage vows.
Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “It is as cruel as putting on a victim’s bloodstained coat,” says the LORD Almighty. “So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife.”
Our hearts are not different than those that have gone before us. They are still deceitfully wicked and perverse. Unless guarded and kept under the Lordship of Christ and led by the Spirit they will lead us in the ways contrary to His will. We live in a day when the divorce rate is somewhere around fifty percent. One out of two marriages end in divorce. What is even more sad is that it isn’t a whole lot better even among the Christian community. What is this telling us about the condition of our hearts? In Matthew 19:8 Jesus says, “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
From today’s passage we can readily see that this isn’t the will of God and what His attitude about divorce is. The enemy is doing a masterful job of destroying our homes, families and marriages. The moral fabric of our society is deteriorating before our very eyes, as we become more complacent and accepting of it. So many of us end up playing right into this destruction and we wonder why God isn’t blessing us and answering our prayers. Could it be that we have become too self-centered rather than God centered? Probably the only ones who will continue reading this if it is an issue in their lives are those who really care more about God’s will than their own. None of us like to be confronted with our sins. We, like the world, want to run from the light. The difference is that we are children of the light and if we are really Christ’s then our spirit won’t let us run away even when we are in error. We have a conviction to return to what is right and repent of what is wrong.
Our biggest temptation today is self-isolation. We become too absorbed in what we want to do, what is important to us and what meets our needs and wants. As a result we isolate ourselves from the demands and needs of those around us, especially our spouses. Life begins to slowly and subtly take us in different directions and begins to place a wedge in our relationships. I can be perfectly content going my own way and doing my own thing, but when I got married and committed to that woman my life, love and loyalty, I gave up being just about myself. It is the two of us that make up one person and while we are individuals with differences we are one flesh both of us living for the good and well being of the other and not just ourselves. I know how oblivious I can become to the needs of my wife because I get so caught up in what I need to do and what is important to me. I have to remember that my top priority next to God is my wife. When I forget that I begin to unwittingly open myself up to a breakdown in our relationship. Just as I must cultivate and spend quality time in my relationship with the Lord, I can do no less with my spouse.
What I am learning is that our spiritual relationship is directly related to our natural relationship with our spouse. When there is disharmony and dissension in the natural, it hinders the spiritual dimension of our relationship with the Lord. As 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” We have to remember that we are not in this by ourselves, we are together in union with Christ. We need that unity to maintain right relationship spiritually. This is another reason we as husbands and wives must commit to keeping our hearts in an attitude of submission before the Lord and to one another, willing to pray together and share our hearts together without fear of reprisals. We will all have our difficult times, but if our hearts and attitudes remain right we can resolve them.
If we are finding ourselves in the place in our lives where the storms of divorce are brewing, start by submitting your hearts to the Lord and His will. It is only in being right with Him that we can be right with each other. Love has to be the conquering force to all obstacles and we know that His love is greater than ourselves. Let His love reign in your hearts and relationships always and let us submit ourselves to one another in the spirit of that love.

Blessings,
kent

A Loving Moment

August 14, 2013

A Loving Moment

1 John 3:18
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

How do we show our love? Do you find that in the fast paced society we live in, we are constantly on the move, meeting demands, deadlines and obligations? In today’s society, especially, time is a commodity we seem to have the least of. Everything around us is in competition for the little bit we have. I know from personal experience that this is an area we easily get most out of balance in our lives. Time becomes a day to day scheduling of priorities and often what we put at the top of our list would not be what God would put at the top of His. God tells us in His Word to seek first the Kingdom of God. What is the first thing on your priority list each day and where do you spend that time? While some of us hardly have time for God, others of us are so absorbed with spiritual things we may be failing to really meet the needs of those closest to us for trying to meet the needs of everyone else. Time management is an issue that I wrestle with even as I am writing this and I am sure it is an issue with many of us. It is hard for us to be everything to everybody. While we can tell people and loved ones that we love them, nothing really communicates that like our personal time and attention. We have all seen instances where childcare, TV, electronic games, computers and other modern day conveniences and inventions raise our children. Many of us are guilty of this to varying degrees ourselves.
The point of this is not to condemn us for what we have failed to be or where we have failed to demonstrate our love in action. What we want to do is bring our time and agendas before the Lord and examine them in the light of His purpose and will for us. It is the investments of our time that are the true currency in making a difference in the ones we love. When the Word says we are to love “in deed and truth” isn’t it really talking about “quality giving,” whether it is of our time or our substance? In order to improve the quality of our love, we have to improve the quality of actions and demonstration of what we say with our words. The greatest testimony against Christianity today is that we are not demonstrating what we say with our words. We are all talkie, talkie and no walkie, walkie. As we sincerely begin to seek to move in the Spirit of God, we must constantly be willing to change our thinking, our priorities and our plans. God is not always going to move according to our agenda and schedule. We must learn the flexibility of moving to His. That means we may have let go of what we are doing, at the most inopportune times. If you are a person that likes structure and consistency in your life you will find this tuff. The Lord is shaping and molding our lives to move with the leading of His Spirit and will, not ours. We have to become like the harnessed horse that is willing to submit to the direction of the bit. Our life is all about service and surrender. When Jesus taught His disciples, He didn’t recruit them and send them off to seminary to get a good theological education. He showed and mentored them through day to day, moment to moment life experience how to walk out the love of God in a practical way. We see times Jesus and His disciples desperately needed some rest and space to themselves and how Jesus gave up His needs to meet the needs of others.
Time is a precious commodity and we all have accountability for how we use it. The Word tells us to “redeem the time for the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).” Let us make the moments of our lives count as we invest them wisely in the lives of others rather than just the business of life. What is it that we do that will matter a week from now, a year from now, a lifetime from now? It is my prayer that the Lord will give us all a greater wisdom when it comes to how we spend and invest our time. We must remember that it is our time that can both build and make a meaningful relationship or the lack of it, which can destroy it. May our time become a series of loving moments that translate into a lifetime of loving in deed and in truth.

Blessings,
kent

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