1 John 4:8-15 (Amplified)
He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins. 11Beloved, if God loved us so [very much], we also ought to love one another.
12No man has at any time [yet] seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us! 13By this we come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we abide (live and remain) in Him and He in us: because He has given (imparted) to us of His [Holy] Spirit. 14And [besides] we ourselves have seen (have deliberately and steadfastly contemplated) and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son [as the] Savior of the world. 15Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he [abides, lives, makes his home] in God.

What is God’s Heart for You?

God’s heart is and ever has been that He loves you with a love so massive it defies comprehension. Until we fully embrace and come into the love of the Father for us, we can’t really know Him, for His identity is LOVE. Which of us would willing lay down our life for another, much less give our only son to die for someone else. It was through this demonstration of love that the Father and the Son corporately as one gave their life for the very humanity that had become their enemies; despising, rejecting and living in rebellion and opposition to God. Romans 5:6-11 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” That is God’s heart for you!
Now what is our heart for God? 1 John 4:15 says, “Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he [abides, lives, makes his home] in God.” God’s heart for us has so consumed us with His love that we embrace the gift of His love by our faith in Christ. His Holy Spirit comes into our heart to bear witness that we now belong to Him and the evidence of His presence is that we continually grow in His nature, which is love. After all, verses 16 and 17 go on to tell us, “And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. 17In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.”
What is He? He is love! What are we? His love exemplified through word and deed.
The question we all must ask ourselves is when others see me do they see God’s love, because I am His expression of love to others. If the answer isn’t positive then I must ask myself, “Am I so abiding in His love that it can’t help but show up through me? If we try and just do God’s love then it will always fall short, because it is out of conditional human effort and ability, but if we can become so lost in Him, that we just start to become like the One we worship and abide in then it will it come out of our being and not our doing.
The law of the kingdom of God is contained in this one word LOVE. When LOVE is what rules our hearts, our desires, our motives and our actions then God’s kingdom has come in us. When God’s love rules over all that we do then there are no limitations on what He can manifest through us in His power and glory, because it is all of Him and for Him. This is the heart of God for us and this is the kingdom we were called to live into and out of.

Blessings,
#kent

Advertisements

More than all Burnt Offerings and Sacrifices

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

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

Blessings,
#kent

Orphan, Son and Father

April 14, 2015

Luke 15:11-31
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Orphan, Son and Father

Many of us have read or heard sermons on this parable many times before, but the Lord was dropping into my spirit just a few key principles from this example that I don’t know that I had ever heard or thought about before.
In the midst of Christianity today there are many of us that have an orphan spirit. It is one that really doesn’t know its identity. It is one that is not secure in who they are in Christ and they don’t often have a good sense of what the nature of their Father is. They are often only looking after their own best interests, they like to hoard and keep things for themselves and they really lack that security of just being loved and accepted. As a result most of their world is pretty much about them.
In this younger son we see such a spirit. He had everything and yet all he could see is what he thought he didn’t have. He didn’t want to build into his father’s house, but wanted to take his inheritance and use it to his own self-indulgence which is another quality of an orphan spirit. So father gave him his inheritance and let him go. Now, an orphan spirit, isn’t interested in legacy or building and sowing into something greater than himself. All he really sees is himself and often carries a victim mentality and sense of entitlement. After all, his father “owed him” his inheritance because it was rightfully his. He had a “right” to be free and spend his inheritance how he wanted. What an orphan spirit does is take us down a road of perpetual poverty, because we never see beyond ourselves. All that we think we have or gained becomes dust and blows away, because we don’t have a vision to see our Father’s heart.
Now this orphan spirit son finds himself where this spirit will always tend to lead you, being dependent upon others to feed you the pig’s food. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20So he got up and went to his father.” Finally, he gets a revelation that even his father’s servants are living better than he is and it would be better to go back to father as a servant than to live starving and dwelling among the pigs. He now sees the fruit and the consequences of his orphan spirit.
Now we see the heart of the Father as he comes back home. ““But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
You see the Father’s heart is always for restoration and legacy. He was willing that his son departed for a time that eventually he might come to repentance and be restored. The Father never saw this boy as any less than a son when he left and when he returned. His love, his heart and longing was always for him. The father didn’t receive him back because he deserved it. He didn’t kill the fatted calf and celebrate because of his great choices and he didn’t put the ring on his finger because he deserved to be a part of the family any longer, but because the father wanted him to know who he was to him and know that he still belonged to the family not just as servant, but as a son.
Now we see the spirit of the son. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
The older son has been faithful to his father and to his father’s house. He has staid the course and paid the price, so this causes a great offense in his heart when he sees how his younger prodigal brother is received back with celebration and royalty. He becomes very angry. For those that are in the Christian faith who have been sons and have walked the walk and staid the course, take note, because the day is coming when the prodigal is going to come home and your hearts are going to be tested in similar manor. The son sees from the perspective of what is deserved, but the Father’s heart is one of grace and restoration. Just because we are sons doesn’t mean that we have a father’s heart, but God wants us to get one, because it is the next level of maturity. It is where we understand that it is not about us and never has been. It is about the kingdom. It is about restoration and reconciliation of that which was lost being restored back to the Father. It is not that the father didn’t already love the older faithful son, but what did he tell him?
““‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” This is what we must understand as sons; all that that the Father has is ours and it is our for a reason so that which is lost may be found and restored back to the Father. As sons we have to catch the Father’s heart or we will be offended. Just like Jesus, we must descend so that we can ascend and bring others up with us. It is not about us, it is about the Father’s house and kingdom, His love for the lost and His desire for legacy which is a lasting representation of His nature and character in the earth.
Thus we see the Father’s heart to restore the orphans to sonship and the sons to fatherhood, so that Father God’s kingdom will come and His will, will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

Blessings,
#kent

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Closing the Door on God’s Forgiveness

One of our most blessed benefits in knowing Christ is our ability to call upon the blood of Jesus to forgive us of our sins when so often we stumble and fail. 1 John 1:8-9 teaches us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” With that promise of forgiveness in 1 John also comes the condition that Jesus gives us in Matthew 6:15. God requires that we give forgiveness to receive forgiveness. We can no doubt all think of times when others may have done things to us that are, in our minds and hearts, unforgivable. God would ask us a question. What if He considered the things we have done in our lives unforgivable? None of us can attest to deserving or earning God’s forgiveness. We have all come, or at least should have come to the realization that we have fallen short of the glory of God. We are all sinners standing condemned under the law of God, estranged from God except for the grace of the blood of our Lord Jesus that has atoned for us. For all of those who have acted in faith in asking Christ into their hearts to be the Lord of their lives he has washed our sins away, casting them as far as the east is from the west.
What if God continued to hold a grudge, an offense or unforgiveness in His heart towards us? How would that affect our relationship with Him? It would obviously bring a separation and estrangement again from His fellowship and love. That is exactly what we do when we hold on to an offense, resentment and unforgiveness for others. Our offense toward others becomes God’s offense toward us. Some of us would say, ‘but that isn’t fair, you don’t know what that person has done to me or to someone I love’. Is there anything that God has refused to forgive you for?
Yes, there are some horrible, detestable and seemingly unforgivable acts that one person can perpetrate upon another. They are not right and they will be judged, but we are not the lawgiver and judge. That is God’s department. We can’t control the behavior of others, but we are responsible for our own. We can’t always control how we feel, but we don’t have to choose to live and act according to our feelings. It is Christ that now sits upon the throne of our hearts. He is to be the ruler over our mind, will and emotions. We have been called to walk after the Spirit and not after the soul. Often that is a very hard position to align ourselves with when we are carrying deep seated emotions of anger, hate, resentment and unforgiveness. It is not a switch that we can just turn off and on, but it is something that the Lord can help us to come to terms with if we will allow Him too by opening our hearts and being honest about where we are at.
We must understand the principle that resentment, resistance and retaliation, repels love.
What is God’s nature? Love. When we hold these things in our hearts we are switching off His love, which is the light to bring us to healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. We may never be reconciled where we have the same relationship with a person that we once had, but the important thing is that we have reconciled the offense caused by someone else’s behavior or bad decisions with the love of Christ that abides in us. This often stands contrary to how the world acts and behaves, but we are not of this world, we are a kingdom people with the kingdom of God residing within our spirits and lives. That means we live and operate our lives out of the context of kingdom principles.
At some point and often at many points in our lives we struggle with these issues. What we must realize and remember is that resentments and unforgiveness will always do more to hurt us than the people that we are offended with. It is not our love, but the love of Christ in us that is the ointment and balm of our healing. It is His love in us that is that power to release the unconditional love and forgiveness that He has released toward us. If this is an area in your life that you are struggling with then, for your sake, open that door of forgiveness that God’s love and forgiveness might flow back into your life. He wants to set you free. How else can we give forth the love of God if it has never been tested in our lives?

Blessings,
#kent

Kindness and Severity of God

September 10, 2014

Jeremiah 4:8
So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned away from us.
Isaiah 60:5
Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.
Kindness and Severity of God

Today’s passages come from two totally different aspects that represent both the kindness and the severity of God. Even in the severity of God, He is working to bring all things to His purposed end. He is able to deal with His people in whatever means are necessary to accomplish that purpose. Our faith and obedience to Him or the lack of it often determine our choice in this process.
In Romans 11:13-24 the apostle Paul teaches this, “13I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
We see then that the severity of God has worked to our salvation and our being grafted into the tree of God’s family and people, but it will also work to the ultimate reconciliation and restoration of natural Israel. Then we two branches will become one spiritual Israel unto His glory. Even within our lives now we see both the kindness and the severity of God. We love His blessing, but He also gives of His correction because Hebrews 12:4-12 reminds us, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Within the severity is contained the same love as in His kindness. We often reap what we sow and bring upon ourselves the need for His severity, but even in that severity it is to lead us to repentance and turn us back to Him. God’s severity is not His first course of action and with great longsuffering He often forbears our sin and rebellions. Romans 2:4 speaks of how God desires to deal with us, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? We are most often the ones that forsake our own mercy and provoke the severity of God.
This doesn’t mean that our sin or failure brings on all of the trials that we go through. Often it is these trials and tribulations that are most likely to cause us to keep our eyes and attention fixed upon Him. God’s sternness is to those who fall away, but His kindness is to you provided that you continue in His kindness.

Blessings,
#kent

Welcome to Enter In

June 4, 2014

Welcome to Enter In
John 10:9
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Have you ever had an experience in life where there was something you were going to get around to doing or a place you were going to go sometime and then suddenly the opportunity was gone or unavailable? Most all of us have missed opportunities in our lives where we took for granted what we had good intentions of taking advantage of and then it was suddenly gone or unavailable. Often it wasn’t till it was gone that it was impressed upon us what we had missed and sometimes it was with great sadness and regret that we missed out. We take so much for granted in our lives. We just assume that life will go on tomorrow the same as it did today. We assume that our loved ones or friends or neighbors will be alive and well. We often assume that we will have further opportunities to make relationships right or share Christ with a friend or neighbor, or visit that person who is sick, lonely or in prison. The reality is none of us have assurance of what tomorrow will bring or who will be here to share it with us, or if we will even be here.
The most important reality we can come to is that Christ came, sacrificed His life for our sin and extended His arms to welcome us into the kingdom of God through placing our faith and trust in Him. While many of us have accepted His invitation there are those who may be riding the coattails of religion or other Christians, but have never made a personal commitment of their lives to Christ. It may be that they have a mental agreement of who Christ was and what He has done, but they have never made the commitment of their lives to Him in faith, asking Him into their hearts to be the Lord of their lives. They take for granted that there will always be time for that or perhaps they just haven’t really taken the time to consider that their life really isn’t where it needs to be in relationship with God.
In Luke 13:13-28 Jesus gives a rather sobering account that might really touch at the heart of many of us who take our relationship with Christ for granted. “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all [ye] workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you [yourselves] thrust out.” Here Jesus is describing the type of scenario that we have been talking about. We may have attended church or have been around Christians or even thought of ourselves as being one because we ascribe philosophically and mentally with a Christian point of view as well as being a relatively good person. Just because I can bark like a dog doesn’t make me one. Jesus says a man must be born again. That event takes place when a person takes an action of faith and asks Jesus Christ to enter into their heart, forgive their sins and be the Lord and Savior of their lives. Jesus is standing before us today with open arms, saying, “Welcome, enter into the joy of my salvation.” That door will not always be open. Jesus says one day it will be shut. What you took for granted or procrastinated on will no longer be available and with deepest regret and despair you may find yourself on the outside knocking to come in, but it is too late.
The Lord is exhorting each of us today to take stock of our lives. What relationships are we neglecting and taking for granted? Foremost, what is our relationship with Jesus Christ today? Do we have the peace and confidence of our salvation or do we need to get things right with Him? What relationships are wounded and broken that we need to take the initiative to heal? What relationships are we neglecting and taking for granted? If those relationships were suddenly gone out of our lives would we have the peace that we enjoyed and made the most of them while they were there? Throughout our lives doors open and shut. We need to do all that we can that if and when they go shut we are not living with regret or that no man’s blood is upon our hands because we didn’t extend the love and gift of salvation. Enter in while the opportunity prevails.

Blessings
#kent

John 14:6-7 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Knowing the Father is the Expression of Jesus

This is a passage of scripture that is familiar to many of us. As the Father droped it into my spirit this morning I sensed that He was showing me that God the Father is Spirit. We so often don’t fully understand Him or comprehend His ways, but He has never revealed Himself more clearly than He did through the life of Jesus. Jesus is not only the way, the truth and the life; He is the open door to look into Father’s heart. When we observe and study the life of Jesus we see and understand that He was the open conduit of the Father’s heart and love for us. Jesus was the Father’s human expression to touch and communicate with us on the level of our understanding and comprehension. I’ll never forget an illustration I heard many years ago that related it like this. There was once a man looking through his window and observing the birds on a bitter cold, wintry, snowy day. The birds were gathered on his patio foraging through the snow for some morsel to eat. The man’s heart was moved with compassion and he thought if only I could invite them into my warm home and then feed them and warm them till the storm is past. He knew that if he tried to present himself as he was and opened the door he would only frighten the birds and they would fly away because they wouldn’t understand his heart. He thought, if only there were a way that I could become a bird and communicate to them my love and concern for them, then perhaps they wouldn’t fear me and would be able receive all that I want to provide for them. This is what the Father did through Jesus Christ, this God-man, who revealed the Father’s heart, love and intent for us. He made us to know that the Father’s heart is not condemnation and judgement, even though that is what we now live under outside of Christ because of our sin and separation from Father. We know that it is just and what we deserve in the light of His holiness, but Father’s heart is love and reconciliation back into a relationship with Him that He first had with Adam before the fall. What we have recognized in Jesus is the heart of the Father for each one of us and for His creation. What Jesus further reveals to us in John 17:20- 23 is His plan and desire was, not just for His disciples to be one with Him, but for us to be one with Father who would hear and believe their message, even as He is one with the Father. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” What Father is wanting to express through us is what He expressed through Jesus, His heart of love and reconciliation. How can we truly know and understand the Father? By How we know and express Jesus. As He was the expression of God the Father in the earth, so He has called His believers to be also. Jesus completes His prayer in John 17:25-26 by saying, “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” What Jesus exemplified as one man that Father sent into the earth to reveal Himself through His Son, He now desires to do in a many membered body that functions as one man in Christ Jesus. Jesus, who is no longer the body, but the head of the body bringing us together in the unity of the Holy Spirit that has been given us that we might be corporately and individually the expressions of His love and truth. Jesus completed His course upon the earth. He gave Himself for us and for all of mankind to be the pure and holy lamb that sacrificed His life for our sins. Now He sits at the right Hand of the throne of God, ever making intercession for us that we, by His Spirit and life in us, might continue to be the expression of the way, the truth and the life. We know the Father, because we have first come to know Jesus. The more we know Him, the more we know the Father and the more we know the Father the more we can become the expression of the Father through His Spirit and life that dwells in us. To know Jesus is to know the Father, for they are one, even as we are being made one in them.

Blessings,

#kent

Pride and Humility

March 31, 2014

Pride and Humility

Zephaniah 3:11-13
In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid.

Pride is the arrogance of man usurping the place of God. Psalms 10:4 says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek [after God]: God [is] not in all his thoughts.” What is the place of God in our lives? Isn’t it to be in every pattern of thinking, demonstrated in our motives and revealed in our actions? Every place in our lives that we rob and exclude from God becomes a place of pride. Pride is our self -exaltation over the will and mind of God. Sometimes we have taken pride to the other extreme of being self-abasing. Declaring how worthless and evil we are and how we don’t deserve God for He could never love someone like me. We have declared God a liar because we have taken upon ourselves such condemnation that we refuse the goodness, forgiveness and reconciliation through Christ.
Humility and meekness, the counter parts of pride, simply places our heavenly Father in the place of Lordship in all areas of our lives. If we are gifted or blessed above others in areas it is a place where God is to be exalted, not us. I think of Jesus and the potential power He had resident within Him. How destructive He could have been if He had ever let pride have place in His life. In His meekness, He was strength under control and in submission to His Father. He never had to exalt Himself for the Father affirmed and exalted Him. In His greatness He became lowly and showed himself to be the servant of men. He was not lofty and condescending even to sinners, but gently got underneath them and lifted them up in His love and truth.
The “afflicted and poor people” referred to in this scripture from Zephaniah carries the connotation that these were people who constantly saw their need and weakness outside of the Lord. They were people not so much outwardly poor and afflicted, but it spoke more of the condition of their hearts, much like Jesus addressed in the beatitudes of Matthew 5. It is an attitude that the Lord you are everything: every provision, every strength, every direction and purpose, every ability I have or can have is found in You. Without you Lord I am poor and afflicted in my own state of being.
Pride will always turn away the face of God, but humility and meekness are an open invitation to His presence. It is the condition of our heart that allows Him to be God in us and to be all that we need to be in Him. It allows Him to have His expression of love and grace through us, because we are not in the way to mire it up. This is the state of the God’s true flock and the sheep of His pasture. They know the Shepherd and are totally reliant upon Him. Thus He cares for them and makes them to lie down in His green pastures of rest. Their confidence is in their God and in Him alone.

Blessings,
#kent

Be Kind to One Another

February 3, 2014

 

Be Kind to One Another


Ephesians 4:32

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 


It occurs to me that simple acts of kindness are perhaps one of the greatest expressions and testimonies of the love of God working through us.  Think about the example of marriage for a moment.  Two people start out deeply attracted and hopelessly in love with one another.  There isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other.  What changes?  Through time we tend to become more involved with life outside of each other, little irritations and annoyances begin to eat at us, our familiarity with each other begins to give place to disregard and sometimes even contempt for each other.  What was so special becomes more and more common and less and less special and appreciated.  Soon we begin to give expression to annoyances, irritations and dissatisfactions.  In defense and hurt the spouse releases their own barrage of complaints.  Little by little, what was so perfect and beautiful can become a battleground of insults, hurts and offenses.  The relationship becomes divided; each party withdraws from the other more and more till often the end result is separation and divorce.  

One of the givens in life is that even the people you love the most will sometimes offend and fail to meet your expectations and likewise you will do the same to them.  The greatest antidote to these shortcomings is love, forgiveness and kindness.  Let’s back up for a moment and see what precedes our scripture on kindness.  Ephesians 4:24-31 says, “But ye have not so learned Christ.  If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 

 Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Right here some of us may see our relationships and where they have come too.  If we find ourselves here, we are not only grieving that person we are in relationship with but we are also grieving the Holy Spirit.  You may say, “but you don’t know how much this person irritates me, failed me and disappointed me.”  You may not realize how much you have irritated, failed and disappointed the Holy Spirit.  If God dealt with us, as we deserved we would all be toast.  The Lord sees beyond our faults, shortcomings and the attributes of irritation and sees our heart.  He has determined to love us in spite of ourselves and He operates in our lives for our highest good, not His.  If the Lord were only looking out for His interests He would have never laid down His life for the undeserving creatures that we are.  In Christ, we must adopt this same mindset, where we are no longer responding and acting from our feelings, but out of the mind and heart of God.  This is an attitude in life where we are not easily offended through the hurtful comments and actions of others, where we return good for evil, where we bless those who curse us, give beyond that which others may take from us, go the extra mile and act out of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness.  These are the love and actions that the world can’t understand, because it so supersedes any kind of love we find in the world.  

Our place to develop and practice this love and kindness of Christ is first in our own homes and relationships.  Most of the time the hardest people to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving too are those of our own household.  This is most often where we will see the reflection of the true nature that is working in us.  Do you like what you see?  Is it what you want and hope to be?  

As we learn to bring every thought and action under submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit we may find ourselves speaking and acting, not out of what we feel in the natural, but out of what we know to be the mind and love of God.  As we plant these seeds of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness, we may find our harvest much richer than we ever imagined.  We can’t change the heart and actions of others.  They alone are responsible for those.  The way we can change them is by first changing us.  Perhaps they aren’t really the problem; they are only a symptom of a problem that may have its root in us.  Let God have His perfect work of grace in you today.  Speak the words of kindness that bring grace to the hearer.  Let random acts of kindness fill your day as you bless even those who may not deserve it, even as the Lord has blessed you.  Take this to heart concerning your former nature, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 

 
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

%d bloggers like this: