Colossians 3:18-19
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

The Road back to Love and Intimacy

Remember when your romance was as sweet as honey and the love of your life could do no wrong. You adored them, idolized them and wanted to spend every moment together. Many of us, looking back at those younger years, ask ourselves, “what happened to that first love?” We still may love each other, but many couples struggle with the “feelings of love” that are missing. The romance has died way down and now you may find that instead of really loving and cherishing that wonderful man or woman you are struggling to get along with them. The man may feel like the wife is always nagging him, he can never do enough or anything right, she doesn’t respect and honor him. The woman may feel like the husband has become an insensitive jerk that never communicates or works through the problems, he doesn’t meet her needs. Over the years and the cycles of good and bad times, we can accumulate a lot of baggage. If I ask you if you love your husband or your wife, you would quite likely reply, “will of course I do,” but neither one of you may be experiencing the love from one another that you feel and know should be there. We may say we hold no unforgiveness toward one another, but in reality both parties bear scars, wounds, unresolved conflicts and issues that linger in the subconscious ready to rear their ugly heads at the right moment, opportunity or provocation. We find that we fail to often treat each other with the love, dignity and respect that both parties are due in a marriage.
Fifty percent of our marriages fail due to these kind of issues, but how many more are struggling and hurting? We need to return to that place of intimacy and closeness that we once shared, but we can’t until we are able let down the walls we’ve built up and are willing to let go of all the offenses, hurts and bitterness that we carry.
When the Word says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord,” that submission might be just creating a safe place where your husband can share with you. It needs to be a place where you aren’t venting your anger, frustration, criticism and unhappiness, no matter how justified you may feel with those feelings. If you want your husband to communicate and be sensitive to your needs, you have to create an atmosphere of submission where you really want to see, feel and understand his heart. That can be a hard place for a man. He may not be in touch with his feelings the way you are, so be gentle and be patient and above all, be kind.
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” Husbands can be very confrontational, critical and harsh, but many repress their feelings and emotions. They retreat into that shell of seeming insensitivity and non-communication. Many times it is a response of self-preservation. Often the harder the wife tries to break through that seeming insensitivity with harsh or critical words the more the husband withdrawals. If you want the turtle to stick his head out of the shell you have to stop beating on the shell and make him feel that when he sticks his head out it won’t get bit off. Husbands can hold a lot of things in their hearts that they may not even be fully aware of. Their means of retaliation may be more passive or subtle, but it may be coming from a bitterness that has built up in their hearts against their wives. They, on the other hand, need to really listen to the heart of their wives and make those needs their goals to fulfill. They need to make them feel secure in your love for them and remember them often in the little gifts, the things you do and say. Marriage is a teaching ground for unconditional love and service. It is where we should both be learning to lay down our lives for the other. Love is not always about feeling, but about commitment, covenant and a decision to love your spouse unconditionally even when they don’t derserve it.
Maybe we need to come together as a couple where we can agree that the love of Christ is going to rule and dictate our behavior and response to one another. We need to hold one another, not sexually, but intimately, while we confess our sins, our hurts and failures to one another. We need to truly commit to a willingness to really forgive and hear the other person’s heart. We need an uninterrupted time of reconciliation where we can write down and commit to one another some realistic goals where we will begin to address some of our deepest issues. Keep it simple and not more than we can realistically deal with at one time. Start with just three things each. Then let’s make a date for our next intimate time we can meet with the same right heart and attitude, in the love of Christ to see how we are doing. Again, we need to keep it safe and non-confrontational. This is a team project and we can’t succeed if we only have our own agenda and interest at heart. We can’t expect to mend and restore a broken down barn in a day or even a week, it will take time to restore, just as it took time to deteriorate. We can change the cycle and the direction of our marriages if we will both commit to it and stay with it. We will begin to see our true intimacy and love begin to come alive in our feelings and the way we treat one another. God wants to see our marriages strong and alive with His love. There is a lot of truth to the addage that ‘the family that prays together, stays together’. It is hard to be right with each other when we are not right with God. If we are committed to Christ, then we must also be committed to one another, for we are one flesh. Together let’s build the road back to true love and intimacy like we had in our first love.

Blessings,
#kent

The Good Shepherd

July 17, 2015

Psalms 23:1
The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Good Shepherd

The Lord is sufficient for every need that we have. One of the hardest things for us to do at times is to lie down in green pastures when in our perception all there is dead grass. One of the most important things that the Lord wants to teach all of us is to rest in Him. That is hard to process when the natural world around us is falling apart, bills need to be paid, physical afflictions are besetting us. It is hard for us to rest when our children are in rebellion, our spouse is leaving us or that special someone is in critical condition.
God is not in our fears, He is in our faith and faith causes us to rest when everyone else is franticly trying to do something to solve the problem. Some problems are out of our control. They are bigger than we are and there is nothing else we can do except believe and trust in the Lord. We can never put God in a box and say if I just do this, then He will do that. Sometimes He doesn’t rescue us out of our disasters, but He will always be there with us as we go through them. Sometimes God works through miracles and sometimes it is through our hard life experiences. The important place for us to be is in the Shepherds arms. The Psalmist David rested in the profound truth that the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He knew from the experience of being a shepherd that a good shepherd would always act in the best interest of His sheep. Sometimes that meant rescuing them out of trouble and sometimes it might mean breaking their leg, so that they would learn not to stray. Whatever was necessary the shepherd would act out of his love for the sheep. They were an extension of him and his purpose, just as we are an extension of Christ and His purpose.
Today, the good Shepherd is watching over you. If you truly believe and rest in Him, then you shall not want. ‘He is able to meet all of your needs according to His riches in glory.’ “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6

Blessings,
#kent

Psalms 30:7-12 LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled. 8 I cried out to You, O LORD; And to the LORD I made supplication: 9 “What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? 10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!” 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Attitudes that Nullify or Qualify

There are times we come to some very hard places in our lives. Some of us have lived in those places for a very long time. We have no doubt cried out to God to remove our mountain, whatever form of adversity and trial it may take. I found it interesting that the Psalmist David says here, “Lord, you have made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face and I was troubled.” There is no doubt a lot of us that have been, and maybe still are, in this place. The question is, “have we viewed it as the Lord’s favor?” One thing God often does with us is that He puts us between a rock and a hard place. We find ourselves in such a pit that the only we have to look is up. Our resources dries up. Our strength fails. We are left with two choices: forsake our faith, as we mummer and complain, or encourage ourselves in our God and the power of His might. We see two examples in the Word. We see the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and led into a wilderness where there is no food and water. A great many of them choose to murmur and complain when they find themselves against the mountain of adversity. They want some one to blame for their trials and problems. They focus on death and what they left behind and how bleak the picture is before them. They are always looking at how big the problem is and not at how big their God is. On the other hand, we have someone like David. Here is a man who has seen and experienced the reality of God and yet finds himself seemingly forsaken as King Saul pursues him to take his life. I believe the reason David found such favor before the Lord is because he refused to allow his fears to be the giant that conquered him. He saw himself in God in the sense that he knew God would not deny or forsake Himself. He expresses the fact more than once that he became discouraged in his soul, but in his spirit he would rise up and say, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Forget not all of His benefits.” It is the favor of God that causes our mountain to stand strong. It is not that He may beat us down, it is so that He can build us up. Philippians 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Until we develop the eyes of the Spirit our fleshly mentality will keep us just going around and around our mountain. It is with the eyes of faith and by the Spirit that we will, in due season, go through the mountain and that mountain will be cast into the sea. Our mountain is our place of spiritual preparation and the place where God is honing us for a greater purpose. We have two choices: murmur and complain or praise and worship. Which do we think will bring us more quickly into the purposes and plan of God for our lives? Philippians 4:6 reminds us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Our problems and our mountains aren’t always going to go away like we might like them too, but we are not alone in the trial. Enter into your God and His mighty promises. He will, in His time, turn your mourning into dancing. He will put off your sackcloth and clothe you with gladness. Encourage your soul today, “How great is our God.” He will never fail us or forsake us. “O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever!”

Blessings,

#kent

John 4:1-3
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

The Journey is as Important as the Destination

Here is a scripture that we often read right over and don’t really think about as being significant. There are events that happen in life that cause us to go from destination to destination. Often, especially as men, we become only focused upon the destination and not the journey. As Christians our ultimate destination is heaven and eternal life in Christ Jesus. If that is all that we see then we will miss the importance of the journey that takes us there.
In John 4 it as Jesus is traveling to the destination of Galilee that He passes through Samaria and encounters the woman at the well. That encounter was a life changing moment for this woman and for her entire town. Most all of the miracles and works that Jesus did were while He was on His way from one place to another. It is important for us to not only focus on our destination, but to be open to the Holy Spirit’s work and movement through us as we journey to our destination. The journey is where we grow in experience and exercise of where we are going too. Divine providence often accompanies upon our journeys and it is important that we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit when He brings people into our lives that may just seem an inconvenience and annoyance to us. The Lord has just brought to mind a story I recently read that illustrates this very thing. I believe it is His purpose today to share this with you.

HAIRBRUSH EXPERIENCE OF BETH MOORE AT THE AIRPORT

For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters.

This is one of her experiences:

April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane. I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I’d had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least
of which is your ego.
I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair
hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man. I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I’d just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport… An impersonator maybe? Was a camera on somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served up on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let’s admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern,and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.
I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall.I’ve learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my
spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. ‘Oh, no, God, please,no.’ I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, ‘Don’t make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I’ll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don’t make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!’ There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, ‘Please don’t make me witness to this man. Not now. I’ll do it on the plane.’Then I heard it….’I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.’
The words were so clear, my heart leap into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainier. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, ‘God,as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I’m on this Lord. I’m your girl! You’ve never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man.’
Again as clearly as I’ve ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. ‘That is not what I said,Beth. I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.’
I looked up at God and quipped, ‘I don’t have a hairbrush. It’s in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?’ God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God’s word: ‘I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.’ (2 Timothy 3:17)
I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, ‘Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’
He looked back at me and said, ‘What did you say?’
‘May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’ To which he responded in volume ten, ‘Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you’re going to have to talk louder than that’
At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, ‘SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?’ At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Long Locks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, ‘If you really want to.’
Are you kidding? Of course I didn’t want to. But God didn’t seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, ‘Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don’t have a hairbrush.’
‘I have one in my bag,’ he responded.
I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger’s old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man’s hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don’t do many things well, but must admit I’ve had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I’d done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands,remembering to take my time not to pull. A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man’s hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this soun ds so strange, but I’ve never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I – for that few minutes – felt a portion of the very
love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while.
The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God’s. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant’s. I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knee and said,’Sir, do you know my Jesus?’
He said, ‘Yes, I do’
Well, that figures, I thought.
He explained, ‘I’ve known Him since I married my bride. She
wouldn’t marry me until I got to know the Savior.’ He said, ‘You see, the problem is, I haven’t seen my bride in months. I’ve had open-heart surgery, and she’s been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.’
Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we’re completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand,was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I’ll never forget it.
Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I’d acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.
I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, ‘That old man’s sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?’
I said, ‘Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!’
And we got to share.
I learned something about God that day. He knows if you’re exhausted,you’re hungry, you’re serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you’re hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you’re sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!
I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way … all because I didn’t want people to think I was strange. God didn’t send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.
John 1:14 ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father,full of grace and truth’
Life shouldn’t be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting,’Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Lord!’

Blessins,
#Kent

A Heavenly Perspective

May 16, 2013

Colossians 3:15-17
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

A Heavenly Perspective

Today is a day to be glad, rejoice in life and embrace your life with hope. We are a blessed people. Some would say, “if you saw my condition you wouldn’t think I was very blessed.” I can certainly appreciate all that life throws at us sometimes. Outward circumstances can get incredibly harsh, cruel and difficult to bear. The apostle Paul says this, in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” For most of us, our biggest stumbling block is that we are always focusing on what is seen, rather than what is not seen. We tend to base our life, our success, our happiness and our worth on what we see as reality in the natural world around us. What the Word is teaching us is, if that is the case, you are living out of a wrong perspective and viewpoint. Colossians 3 gives us some perspective in where our mindset and viewpoint of life must now come from. “1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” If we are living in discouragement and defeat it most likely has to do with the perspective of our minds and our hearts. This present life can offer some crushing blows and some real discouragement, but when we begin to understand that if we are in Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father, then nothing can really touch our life without first going through the Father. If these things are allowed to touch our lives then it is our opportunity and privilege to know that as we keep our eyes upon Him, He is giving us the grace to walk through whatever it is. Often times, we come to the point where there is really nothing more that we can do outwardly. The Words tells, “Having done all, stand.” Stand in the faith that the Lord is God and He is upon the throne of our lives working all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Perhaps the Lord allows us to go through some of these things so that we can begin to practice living out of the mind of Christ, rather than the mind of our flesh. The mind of Christ will look with the eyes of faith, resting in the Lord to work all things out according to His will and purpose. It will rejoice in hope and confidence in the God of its salvation. The mind of the flesh will be agitated, fearful, and full of worry, anger, frustration and doubt.
Many of the saints of old went through great times of trials and testing. It was their faith and confidence in the Almighty that sustained them and brought them through. Most of us would rather avoid and run away from our problems, but that is not where growth is or that which builds our faith. Like the song by Andre Crouch goes, “if I never had a problem, I would never know that God could solve them. I’d never know what faith in His Word can do.”
Don’t allow your countenance to fall today. Look up and make the decision to have joy in your life in spite of any circumstances that may be pressing on you. God will see you through.

Blessings,
kent

Confusion

February 15, 2013

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Confusion

When the centrifugal forces of life’s unsettling circumstances pulls you away from your center and secure place. When you are standing in confusion with your head still spinning.
When life has ceased to make sense, your landmarks have shifted, and the world offers no true answers or solace. There is still one place you can go, one truth you can hold on too.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~ Jesus
He is your center and your safe place, your Savior and your friend.

Life can throw you some strange twist and turns. None of us are immune to trials and tribulations that are common to man. They can come in so many forms and ways. Some of these storms can be quite devastating to the point where we don’t know how to cope. We don’t have the answers, the resources or the means to solve this problem. The world offers little solutions, only many means of escapism, like alcohol, drugs, sex, sleeping and so on. These, at best, can only numb the pain and usually only exacerbate the problem. There are times we just don’t know what to do and sometimes when we think, “It couldn’t get any worse,” it still does. Our problem is greater than our ability to resolve it.
In the world you lose hope. You may even entertain suicide or some other drastic measure to end the problem.
Wait a minute. There is hope and God’s got an answer. He may not share it with you in the moment, but if you will trust Him and enter into His peace, He will work it out.
Some people may remark that “Jesus and Christianity is just a crutch.” No, He is the whole package and anybody that thinks they can play God and do a better job is a fool. God created us. He knows everything about us and He didn’t create us to be complete in ourselves, but to be complete in Him. Sometimes we think we can control and manipulate God, but God is the one that is always upon the throne. Even for Christians, there will be times when God doesn’t move in the ways we think He should move. He doesn’t do things the ways we think they should be done and many times He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we thought they should answered. We operate in the finite of what we know and understand. God works in the infinite, far above our ability to understand and comprehend.
So what is the answer?
We learn to trust Him, to totally rest in Him, to praise Him in all things and to know that He is LOVE. Everything that God does comes out of that place.
Jesus promises us His peace, not as the world gives. He tells us, “Don’t sweat it and don’t be afraid. I’ve got your back. Your mine, I love you and if you will trust Me, I’ll work it out My way and for My glory. Nothing in heaven or earth can separate you from My love. I am working all things to the good of those who love Me and are called according to My purpose.”
We can’t believe everything we see around us, because in Christ, that is not our reality. Our reality is our faith and trust in Him and in His Word. Enter into His REST. That is the place of peace, joy and comfort; even in the midst of life’s most unsettling storms. Don’t be confused, just know that Father has it all figured out.

Blessings,
kent

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