God’s Love though You

July 14, 2015

1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

God’s Love though You

Inherent in the nature of God is love. Jesus Christ is the personified expression of God’s love towards us. God is “agape” love, unadulterated, pure, undefiled, unselfish expression of affection and good will. 1 John 4:9-12 goes on to exemplify this love that God wants to see manifested in our lives, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” We see expressed in this love of God the sacrificing of what is most precious to Him on our behalf. God is looking first to our interest and need. This love is not earned or deserved, it is simply expressed and freely given. Through this love we see the true heart of God toward us. He is working in our best interest and in what will bring us out of death and into life. Now He is saying this same love that you see exemplified from Me through Jesus Christ My Son, is to be your expression and your nature. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 defines for us the attributes of this love, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.” As the children of God this is our legacy and the expression of the Father that is now resident in us, because Christ is in us. This attribute, above any other, is what should define us, as God’s own. God is telling us that if this is not actively working in our lives then we don’t truly know Him. God is saying for us to know Him is to become like Him and that which most defines Him is His love. Most of us would agree that we probably fall desperately short of being the expression of God’s love, but here we see the commandment, not the request of God in 1 John 4: 7, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” Our very ability to express this love is a God thing. We are able because of Christ in us. If we are missing it, it is because He is not the fullness of our heart and desire. When we are the expression of love to others, we are in affect loving on God, because to be the expression of His love is to love and honor Him. The world needs the fresh expression of the love of God through a people that are not looking for anything in return, but just want to bring glory and honor to the One who has first loved them. This love must first be resident within the household of God and how we treat and care for one another. We all have our personal agendas, but God’s agenda for us is that we be the expression of His love. Let us be cognizant of His nature within us and not stifle it with our own self-interests and agendas. He is our first priority and His first priority of us is that we would love others as He has first loved us.

Advertisements

The Lord’s Friendship

John 15:14-15
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Jesus says there is a characteristic that goes along with friendship with Him and that is obedience. Our obedience to the Lord is something we all probably take much too lightly. We tend to go our merry way through life and regard lightly the many ways and places in our lives that we offend the Holy Spirit and regard lightly the Lord’s will and commandment for our lives. It becomes an unconscious act on our part, because we get caught up in our busyness and our lives. We fail to always keep the Lord constantly before us, so that our day, our thoughts, our actions and words are centered around and in Him. Jesus is more often our afterthought rather than our forethought. What the Lord is communicating to His disciples is that in order to be in that relationship as a friend of God, rather than just a servant of God, requires obedience and cognizance of His will and His ways in all that we do. Obedience on our part is an expression of our love and friendship with the Lord. We are communicating that we value Him above ourselves and the relationship we have with Him is of more value than our personal will and desires. Jesus speaks in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In this fourteenth chapter of John where Jesus is basically bidding farewell to His disciples before His Passion, He emphasizes this aspect of love, friendship and obedience quite strongly. “At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me (John 14:20-24).”
Most all of us want a closer and more intimate relationship with Christ. We want to hear His voice and experience His manifest presence in our lives. It is the consecration of desiring Him above all else that brings us to that place. Would we want to be or abide someplace where we were ignored, put aside, unappreciated and not valued? Yet, somehow we expect to experience the presence of the Lord when this is often the attitude of our hearts toward Him. If the Lord is to feel welcome in us and extend His tent over our lives, then we have need of a heart attitude that reflects true love, reverence, respect and obedience to Him. He needs to know that we are truly His and not our own. He will not usurp the will He has given us and we can certainly override His will for our lives. Most of us have learned that when we do this, we rob ourselves of God’s best for us. Is there anything really better than abiding with Him, experiencing His closeness and abiding in the heartbeat of God? That is the place we really realize the fullness of joy, contentment and purpose.
The Lord wants to be our friend. He wants to reveal Himself to us in a much more personal way. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.” Jesus wants to be that friend to us that is closer than a brother, but we must show ourselves friendly through our response and obedience to Him. Our obedience is the expression of love to our dearest Friend.

Blessings,
#kent

Spiritual Fitness

March 27, 2014

Spiritual Fitness

1 Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.

We live in a time and a society that is very health and fitness conscious. It almost seems ironic, considering over half our population would fall in the obese or overweight category. Yet we are hearing about it all of the time. The truth is we want to eat and enjoy all that we want, but we still want to have buff and gorgeous bodies and looks. Somehow God didn’t seem to create them to go together very well. If we want physical fitness, then we know that it requires discipline and effort on our part. People and companies have made billions of dollars by selling pills and products that told us we could have the one without the other. If I set in front of my TV and watch a workout program that should somehow help me to get fit. If I eat a snickers candy bar and a diet coke, then I think I’m on a diet and am going to lose weight. If I watch a lot of sports, then somehow that makes me an athlete.
This scripture makes an analogy. There is nothing wrong with physical training and staying in shape. Like anything it can get out of balance. While physical training in a natural sense can be good, in the light of what is really meaningful in life it isn’t that high on the list. We are in the process of maturing and training up our spiritual man. As in the physical, to be spiritually fit requires an investment of time, of dedication, discipline and exercise. What kind of spiritual shape is our life in today? Are we armchair and couch-potato Christians? Do we warm a pew, say a few weak amens, listen to a sermon or a word and then continue on through life without it affecting any change in our behavior, or actions, or involvement? Are we lethargic, complacent, dull, and self-willed? What is the state of our spiritual fitness today? How would you honestly rate yourself on a scale of 1 to10? When I look at my physical man and see how indulgent I have become in so many areas of my life, I realize that the same mentality can very well carry over into my spiritual life. Are we a nation of out of shape and overindulgent Christians? Outwardly we are very blessed, but inwardly do we fit the profile of Revelations 3:17? “17For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” This is not written to condemn us, but it is a call to action for all of us. Many of you who are reading this are spiritually strong and fit, but others of us may be strong with our words, but weak in our actions.
The apostle Paul gives us another analogy in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither.
26Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary.
27But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].”
We all need to come to grips with the fact that God has a calling and a purpose in our lives. I am being convicted today that there needs to be both a physical and spiritual discipline in my life. I am not talking about legalism, but like Paul, I need to conduct my life with temperance, self-control and have myself in check, spirit, soul and body. God is calling us in this hour to prepare ourselves for a time of great spiritual battle and a time of His revealing. Most of us aren’t prepared for that with the mentality and habits that we harbor. God is calling us to spiritual fitness through such things as prayer, fasting, personal time with the Lord and walking out our faith in love and actions that reveal the character of who we are in Christ. We are a called out people, a separated people and a holy people. We are a people called after God’s own name and for His glory. We are being called to the gyms of spiritual fitness to be exercised in godliness and righteousness. We have an adversary who has been lulling us to sleep and into spiritual laziness. This is the day to discern our spiritual state and develop a mentality and lifestyle that is in harmony with God’s desire for our spiritual fitness. The overcomer is a person of spiritual strength and fortitude. Spiritual strength is developed in discipline, consistency, a right state of mind and a vision of what we are being strong for. We don’t want to find ourselves, after believing, coming up short and missing the mark of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus. Let us press on with all of our being into Him and be strong in the power of His might.

Blessings,
#Kent

Hot Spots, Cold Spots

October 29, 2013

Hot Spots, Cold Spots

Revelations 3:2-3
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

If the Lord were to do a geological survey of our spiritual lives today, what would that topographical map look like? Would we see a high plateau of spiritual consistency with every area of our lives being in alignment with the Spirit of God? I think we are not so much different than the seven churches of Revelation 2-3 that John addresses by the Spirit of God. Each one had their strengths and weaknesses, their high points and their low points. While the Spirit commended them in their strengths, He rebuked their weaknesses and exhorted them to pay attention and give diligence to correcting them. Our spiritual lives are not so different than the churches, because we can see ourselves represented in them. Each one was in a different place, under different circumstances, but each one was exhorted to have an ear to hear the Spirit and overcome. When we honestly survey our spiritual lives most of us can see hot spots and cold spots. We see areas that we are fervent and faithful in, areas of strength where we are walking and doing well in the Spirit. Then, on the other hand, most of us can see areas in our lives where we are in compromise and weak in faithfulness and obedience to the will of God. We tend to preach from the areas of our strengths, while we try to hide and disguise the areas of our shortcoming that we hope others won’t see in us. While the Lord wants us to maintain the strengths that we have and the areas of victory we possess, He is, at the same time, wanting to show us the areas of shortcomings that are hindering us from His highest and best for us. He is constantly calling us to come up higher, to cast off the earthly garments of unrighteousness and put on Christ. These areas of weakness are as varied as we are as individuals, but the Holy Spirit knows our spiritual typography. He knows our high and low places. What we want Him to do in us, as we act in faith, is to bring us up in those low areas so that every area of our life is dwelling in the heavenly places. That place, where there are no holes in our faith and walk with Him that are still abiding in the flesh.
Many of us go to great lengths to put up walls and barriers so that we isolate certain areas of our lives from others. Many of us have a spiritual side and fleshly side. We just conveniently put on what we feel is needed at the time for the place and circumstance we are in. When we are in the worldly setting we act as the world, when we are in a spiritual setting we act spiritual. This is hypocrisy in us. God wants a people that are wholly and consistently His in every area of their lives. Our spiritual destiny and reward with Him is dependent upon it. When we read what the Spirit is saying to the churches here in Revelations, there are strong consequences if areas of offense and weakness are not repented of and corrected. Do we think it is any different with us?
In order to allow the Holy Spirit to have His perfect work in us we need to be willing to allow Him to be Lord in every area and aspect of our lives. We need to have the kind of relationship with Him that we get quiet before Him, listen to Him to speak to us about areas of our lives, through His Word, His Spirit and what other avenues He chooses to use. Then we need to make them a matter of prayer and priority to address and change. Our days are filled with much busyness and distraction, but it is imperative that we prioritize the will and work of God in our lives. What we are speaking of has eternal consequences in our spiritual walk. We can’t afford to allow the temporal things of this life to distract and rob us of our eternal destiny and calling in Christ. He must be the first priority of each day and each area of our life.

When we get too many hot spots and cold spots, we tend to mellow into lukewarm. Revelations 3:15-16 says, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” If God is turning up the heat in our lives it is so that we might become hot for Him. We must allow the heat of His Holy Presence to come into those cold areas of our lives and melt the ice cubes of selfishness, inconsistency, complacency, compromise and sin. God wants us to be all or nothing.

Blessings,
kent

God- Our After-thought

December 14, 2012

Jeremiah 18:15-17 (The Message)
But my people have left me to worship the Big Lie.
They’ve gotten off the track, the old, well-worn trail,
And now bushwhack through underbrush in a tangle of roots and vines.
Their land’s going to end up a mess— a fool’s memorial to be spit on.
Travelers passing through will shake their heads in disbelief.
I’ll scatter my people before their enemies, like autumn leaves in a high wind.
On their day of doom, they’ll stare at my back as I walk away, catching not so much as a glimpse of my face.”

God- Our After-thought

In Jeremiah’s day God was probably regarded like many people regard Him today. It may be that it is not because they don’t believe there is a God or even a Savior, but they have forgotten Him, to serve the “Big Lie”. The big lie for us has become our self-indulgence and gratification. It has become our financial success and status. It has become about whatever tickles our fancy, but where is God? If He is in our thoughts at all; He is an afterthought, perhaps just a twinge in our conscience. He is someone whose presence would really just cramp our style, so He is relatively forgotten. This reality takes place among so-called Christians as well as those of the world.
Where is God in our lives? Is He at the fore-front of our thoughts? The One we open our eyes thinking upon and praising each morning? Where is God in our thoughts? Where is He in our lives?
Why am I so obsessed with thinking about God?
I am glad you asked. When we loose sight of God, His importance and place in our lives, we may outwardly still be blessed, but inwardly our spiritual life is spinning out of control on a crash course to destruction. Where it goes our natural life will soon follow. We see it taking place in our nation right before our eyes. As wickedness and godlessness has perverted our land, so the great blessings that we have enjoyed as Americans is following it right out the door. We are going to reap what has been sown.
Jesus made the statement in Matthew 6:33, ” But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” If we want the blessing and the best that God has for us, He can not just be an afterthought of our lives, our time, or our resources. He must become the forethought, the first thought of each day and the last thought of each night. He must become the reason I live, because the purpose of my life is found in Him. I was not created for my glory. I was created for His!
If life, finances, relationships are going downhill, consider where God is at in your life. Is He just an after-thought? If so, repent and give Him the rightful place in your life so that you are not scattered as the autumn leaves in a high wind; your life decimated by your rebellion and self-will. He who honors the Lord, the Lord will honor. What holds true of the relationship and position God holds in our lives also holds true in our marriage, family and other relationships. If things are falling apart it is probably because they are out of order and our priorities have become misplaced. When we will make God first and our families second we will start to see order and restoration come back into our lives. Are our priorities where they need to be?

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: