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

Confession of Faith

July 20, 2015

Philippians 3:3-6
I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Confession of Faith

Sometimes, if I start to see myself after the flesh, I will become discouraged, depressed and defeated. I will focus on all of the things I am not, all of the places I still fail, all the places I’m still selfish and self-centered and on all of that which I don’t yet see. I will allow my circumstances to dictate a life that I left behind when I identified myself with Christ on that cross and died to that old man of sin and death. If I allow myself, I could go back there again, but then that would be to deny Christ and what He has done for me. That would be to say that I wasn’t raised in the newness of His life, to live out of His life and no longer my own. That would be to return again and live under the law of sin and death, rather than out of the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus. That would be to embrace the flesh, whose end is death and corruption, rather than embracing the Spirit, who enables and empowers me to walk in Life in the divine nature of His love.
What I am identifying with is what I am and am becoming, whether it be flesh or Spirit. It isn’t dependent upon what I see outwardly, it is fully dependent upon my believing the promises that my God gave to me or forsaking them to go back from whence I came. Behind me is only what brought me guilt and shame, but before me is my Jesus who has promised to bring to completion the good work that He began in me.
No, I may not see the fullness of Him yet, but I will keep pressing into Him, expecting and believing for His highest for me. I will not allow the discouragement, natural circumstances and even facts to detour me from the truth that I know in my heart. For I refuse to see through natural eyes alone anymore. He is teaching me to see all things after the Spirit; myself, my spiritual family and even the world around me. As I walk in the faith of who He is in me, I see more clearly others through God’s heart of love. I see that I walk in the earth, but I live out of heaven. I live in Christ Jesus who sits at the right hand of the throne of God. From that place I know that whatever touches my life has to come through the Father and the Son. I know that He works all things to my good, even the bad things, because He has loved me and called me according to His purpose. He doesn’t just love me, but in that love He corrects me, teaches me and stretches me. He makes me to come out of the dependency of my flesh, so that I can more full rest and rely upon Him. Only there will I learn of His rest that He has for me and only there can I operate out of the fullness of faith without which it is impossible to please Him.
I don’t know everything, I just know His Word. I don’t understand everything, I just trust the Holy Spirit to help me understand what I need to know. Life has a new meaning and purpose because He is in it. Because of that, it is no longer about me, it is all about Him. He has told me that all of His promises to me are “yes and amen”. As I walk in the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me, I believe I can walk into all that He has prepared for me. I don’t believe I have to die and go to heaven to experience and live out of a more abundant life. I believe heaven wants to live that abundant life through me as I walk in the earth. I believe God wants to manifest that kingdom in my earthen body as it is in heaven, but He can’t do that while I am still caught up in me. So with God’s grace and the power of His Spirit I submit myself and my will, which is the one gift He has allowed me to give to Him.
If you are looking for perfection in me, you won’t see it yet, but know that even in my human frailty and weakness I pursue Him who knows none. His blood continues to wash me and His grace certainly carries me. Out of His strength and abundance I will live and declare the name of the Lord, for He is my salvation, both now and evermore.

Blessings,
#kent

Roots

January 30, 2015

Matthew 3:7-10
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

Roots

Roots in our lives come from seeds that were planted either in our lives or perhaps the generations before us. Roots go down into the recesses of our soul, but they produce fruit upward. That fruit can be good or bad, selfless or selfish, spiritual or fleshly. Like any good garden it is the gardener’s desire to enhance the fruitfulness of the good plants and to pull out the weeds that want to choke out what if fruitful and good. What happens to a weed if we only pull off what we can see? We know that if we didn’t get the root, the weed will grow back. Such are the areas of our lives that the good Gardner, the Holy Spirit wants search out in us and root out.
William Law wrote, “Self is the root, the tree, and the branches of all the evils of our fallen state. We are without God, because we are in the life of self. Self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking, are the very essence, and life of pride; and the devil the first father of pride, is never absent from them, nor without power in them. To die to these essential properties of self, is to make the devil depart from us. But as soon as we would have self-abilities have a share in our good works, the satanic spirit of pride is in union with us, and we are working for the maintenance of self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking.” He perceived that the major root of sin and separation from God is self. When Christ came into our lives it should be as John the Baptist said, “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” All that was built upon the foundation and has the root of self in it must be cut away. That root must be cut out, along with all of the other off-shoot roots that it produces.
Many of us struggle in different areas of our lives. We may pull them off for a time, but then they seem to continue to come back, sometimes even stronger than before. The question is, “Have we found the root?” Unless we trace these strongholds back to their root they may be hard to get free of. Somewhere we or an ancestor as opened a door for a spiritual attachment to come in and find root. It doesn’t mean that we are possessed or anything, but it does mean that there can be a strong soul tie to something that needs God’s axe to sever and separate us from it. It is something that we recognize the fruit of in our outward life, but we haven’t fully identified the root of it and then renounced and cut off that soul tie to it. Sometimes these roots like those of our wisdom teeth can become candy-caned and intertwined in the areas of our life where it is a process of identifying, renouncing and cutting off these roots by the power and authority we have in Christ Jesus. Nothing ever leaves our lives until we have fully repented of them, renounced them and no longer give them permission in our lives. We can go through the motions, but until our will is one with the Father, these roots will not be fully extracted.
Hebrews 12:15 refers to one such root. “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Bitterness, offense, unforgiveness are roots that are prone to try to get a hold of members of the body of Christ. If we don’t recognize and deal with them they can cause division, dissention, backbiting, gossip, slander and all manner of poisonous manifestations that would defile the many. Prejudice is often a root that is passed to us from previous generations.
The Holy Spirit has indwelled us to bring us into the nature, mind and character of Christ. We need to have intimacy with the Father and the time in the Word so that we can say like David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24)”
It is only as we partner with the Holy Spirit that these roots can be identified and cut out. If we want a weed free garden, then it starts with our renouncement of self in every area of our lives and the full surrender to Christ as our Lord and King. As we give the Holy Spirit permission He will search our hearts and reveal things to us that we then must renounce, repent and surrender to Christ. This is an ongoing process in all of our lives, but the more we work in conjunction with the Holy Spirit to give Him place the more freedom and liberty in the Spirit we can come into.
A lot of us want to continue to sweep our issues under the rug and just ignore them, but we are only robbing ourselves of that place of greater fullness through a wholly surrendered life to Christ. Find your roots.

Blessings,
#kent

The Blessing of Giving

November 26, 2014

Matthew 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Blessing of Giving

The greatest blessing we can give and gift that we can receive is in giving something of substance and ourselves that is life changing and life giving to someone else. There are few things more rewarding than the joy we feel when we have made a difference for someone else. Some of us struggle with that. We have become so focused on how to sell ourselves, our goods and services trying to provide for our own that we have missed the joy of caring and blessing another. There is always a constant barrage of mail, phone calls, pleas over the television and radio all asking for our contributions. We often begin to build walls that automatically shut out any plea for help. Realistically we can’t give to everything. Few of us have the financial resources to do that, but at the same time we don’t want to harden our hearts to become insensitive to every need that passes before us. This is where we need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and where He would have us to extend ourselves in our time and our finances. We each have different gifts and abilities, but all of us have something we can give. It is wonderful that we give our tithes, but what can we offer of ourselves as a tithe. It isn’t really our money that God wants from us, He wants our hearts. Our tithe is an expression of obedience, worship, thanks and giving back in a small portion what He has provided abundantly toward us.
Our lives will be so much richer when they are filled with random acts of kindness and giving. We are the hands, the feet, the mouthpiece and the body of Christ to carry out His works. Acts 10:38 speaks of the works of Jesus, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” God has anointed us with the same Spirit that indwells Jesus. He has given us power and authority to act in His Name. Let us be sensitive in our every day lives to not pass by the opportunities to express the love of God in the lives of others. May we let our words and our deeds carry with them this anointing that was in Jesus, so that we are life givers and a blessing in the earth.

Blessings,
#kent

The Blessing of a Spouse

November 20, 2014

Proverbs 18:22
[Whoso] findeth a wife findeth a good [thing], and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

The Blessing of a Spouse

Many of us are blessed with a wonderful spouse that is a blessing to our life in many ways. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have our trials, our disagreements and differences, but a good spouse is a compliment to our life. Sharon and I are so different in so many ways and yet she brings a compliment and qualities to my life that I need to complete who I am. A good spouse is someone you can confide your heart with. Someone who sees and knows all of your weaknesses and shortcoming and yet loves you anyway. We are not there to judge and criticize one another’s weaknesses, but to be their strength in that weakness. Sometimes there is nothing that we can do to help, but we always have prayer and the power of God.
When scanning through the TV channels the other day I briefly came across a panel of wives whose husbands were millionaires and the host was asking them what was the one thing that they felt that they personally contributed most to their husband’s success. The the theme I kept hearing is that they supported them, they really listened to what their needs were and that they were a team. It is hard for any of us to be successful when the other partner is always negative, finding fault or complaining about all that is wrong. Your spouse is not your enemy, you are the key to one another’s success, salvation and prosperity. Nothing destroys our blessing like division and strife. Marriage should never be a one way street with one person always getting their way. It should be a compromise and blending where each partner is looking for what is best for the other. It can’t be built on selfishness, but rather selflessness. I can’t tell you how many times my wife has gone out bought me things that I wouldn’t even buy for myself to support me, help me and just to bless me. We all have different needs, but it is important that we get in tune with our spouse’s needs and be there to help them and support them
In conclusion allow me to leave you with the words of 1 Peter 3:1-7 which speaks to both wives and husbands. We are in this together. We are heirs of life and salvation together. Together let’s be a blessing and a strong support for our spouse. Always respect and value the one God has given you.
“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
Now if you will excuse me, I need to go spend some quality time with my wife. 🙂

Blessings,
#kent

We the Many are One Body

October 17, 2014

We the Many are One Body
Romans 12:4-8
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

It is important that we all realize our importance to the body of Christ. Many of us Christians, whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, really don’t see ourselves in ministry and service to the body of Christ. We quickly look to all of our faults and failures and think how could God ever use someone like me. If we all thought that, the body of Christ would quickly disintegrate and you definitely wouldn’t be reading this writing right now. We don’t serve the Lord because we are so good or better than anybody else. We serve because He is so good and it is His sufficiency. It is the gifts and abilities He has placed in each one of us that enables us to minister and bless the body of Christ in whatever area the Lord has graced us. The Lord wants us all to realize how important and vital we all are to one another. He didn’t give anyone of us all the goods. He gifted each one of us with different gifts and abilities so that we could not be high-minded and think of ourselves more highly than we ought. He made us interdependent on one another for a reason, so that we could function as a body. Each one providing what the other one needs. Only our head, Jesus Christ has all the goods and even He has incorporated in His plan the need for a body and a bride made up of born again, blood washed believers. It is all of us under the headship of Christ and the direction and enabling of the Holy Spirit that flow together in love together for the health and vitality of the body as a whole and not just individually. We are in a symbiotic relationship wherein there is a giving out and a taking in, a mutual benefiting of one from another. All the members of our body function in their own office and the abilities for which they are designed to bring full health and functionality to the body. If I have a lazy eye that doesn’t want to focus and work with my other eye. It becomes a detriment and a hindrance to my body. It is a burden to overcome its deficiency. If I have cells that are out of control and not submitted to the order of the rest my body I may have cancer and we know how detrimental that can be to the body. There is such an order with God and everything functions through love, because love seeks not its own but the good of others.
The Lord is not asking of us for what we have not, but to be faithful with what we have. If we are always taking and never giving back then we are only draining strength and resources from the body that could be used in more positive and constructive ways. When we are babes in Christ it is to be expected that we will be taking and not giving, but as we grow and mature it is time to grow from selfishness to selflessness. The Lord has invested talents in each on of us and we have a spiritual responsibility to use those talents for the increase of the kingdom of God. We are accountable for there use, misuse, or lack of use. Let’s take the time to pray and seek the Lord to comprehend and act on what we can give back to the body of Christ. You are important to the Lord and to His body. We all need what you have to give. Start out even in the little things and let the Lord give you the increase. He will help you and direct if you submit yourself and your talents to Him.
Let us put aside our differences that serve only as a human and religious detriment and hindrance to the body as a whole. Let us see the larger picture of all the saints in the body of Christ and not just our particular religion or denomination. Christ is not divided; He is one Spirit even as we should be of one Spirit. Roman 12:16 says, “[Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” It is a time for us to humble ourselves and become servants of one another that the body may built up in love. Let’s seek the practical ways this can happen through what each one of us has to give. You were created to be a blessing. Let the Life of Christ flow through you, beginning today, to be that blessing.

Blessings,
#kent

Faithfulness in Marriage

August 21, 2013

Faithfulness in Marriage

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

Blessings,
kent

2 Corinthians 6:9-11
6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

You Don’t have to Give

Giving should never be a mandate, a law, a legalism or a guilt trip. Those should never be the reasons for our giving. For so many giving has ceased to be a joy and has become an obligation and burden.
The truth is so many of us are continually being pressured to give. I am a business man and I wish I received half as many calls from people that wanted to do business with me as I do with people wanting me to do business with them. Then I go to the mail box and the majority of the mail is again full of requests for what I can give to them. Then I may go the kids school or have the kids coming to me raising funds for school projects. By the time I go to church or I have the opportunity to give unto the Lord, I may well feel tapped out and resentful at one more person or organization wanting “my money.” By the time the pressure of the holidays come people often feel overwhelmed and unable to live up to all of the expectations put upon them without going into debt to do it. Is this the way giving should be?
First we must get rid all of the guilt and manipulation when it comes to giving. Can I tell you that God doesn’t want you to give if it is not in your heart to do so. God meant for our giving to be a joy and not a burden. One of the things that really affect how we give and the attitude with which we give is our mindset about what is mine and what is God’s. If I see everything that I get as mine then it comes under the limitations of my mindset. If I see all that I posses as God’s, with Him entrusting it to my stewardship, then that shifts the ownership from me to Him. While God wants me to enjoy what He has put into my care, I know it is not His nature to be selfish with it. If I believe that God is responsible for all that I have rather than just the works of my own hands, then I have to understand a kingdom principle. It is stated in 2 Corinthians 9:6, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” The way to harvest more seed is to sow a portion of the seed I have already harvested. No seed planted results in little to no harvest reaped.
Giving is not as much about the amount or the percentage as it is about the attitude of our hearts. Why has God so generously and bountifully given to His children? He doesn’t do it out of obligation. He does it because it is His nature and joy to give. He wants us to experience this same heart in our giving.
Can I just be honest from my own heart. God was speaking to me today that I have a fear of giving, because deep down I always think there won’t be enough. “I’ve got to horde this back or I’ll run out.” But He showed me fear is not faith. It is quite the opposite and fear will always rob you of what faith can produce. If I give out of fear then my giving is begrudgingly, reluctantly and without joy. That is not the Spirit of my Father, that is an orphan spirit. A spirit of lack, rather than a spirit of abundance. I need my Father’s heart to have that giving spirit. God knows that I can’t give what I don’t have, but first I must be faithful in what I do have. Doesn’t He say that if you faithful in the little, He will make you faithful over much?
Do we really dare to believe God or are we content with the little while we rob God through our lack of faith and obedience? Let’s dare to prove God with a joyous heart of outrageous giving. It doesn’t have to be just monetarily, it should flood over into every aspect of our lives. When aligning our minds and paradigms with God’s mind and kingdom thinking there will be no lack for we will see and meet the needs in one another and provide for God’s house. We will see God’s abundance begin to flow through us as we are willing to open up resources for His use rather than just ours. He tells us in Proverbs 28:7, “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.” What Father is trying to show us is that we are robbing ourselves when withhold from those in need. It doesn’t mean that we have to give to every thing that comes along, but that we should have the Father’s heart in our attitude of giving. While I am still of the mind to consider my finances, “my money”, it will always come up short and always experience lack. When I see it as His money for blessing others then I am brought into a whole new freedom and joy of dispensing His wealth and not my own.
You don’t have to give, but that would be to rob yourself of the greatest joy. It was God’s joy in giving us the greatest gift of all, His son Jesus to die for our sins, that we might see the Father’s heart for unconditional giving. Why wouldn’t we want the joy that is in His Spirit of giving? Why would we want to rob our own selves through our spirit of want, fear and lack? Luke 6:38 promises, ” Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” We can’t out-give God!

Blessings,
kent

Galatians 5:13
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

For the Benefit of Others

As I was thinking and meditating on what it means to serve, it comes to me that a servant acts for the benefit of another. If I only act for what benefits me, then I am self serving and basically selfish. The kingdom principle that the Lord would have us operate under is that in serving Him and one another, all of our needs are going to be met. This has become rather a foreign concept in our capitalist society where success is often measured by taking advantage of others in order to promote one’s self to the top.
Recently Sharon and I began to work with a group that has very much impressed me because it works by kingdom principles. The only way you succeed is by helping others to succeed and no one can succeed without the other benefiting. Instead of competition, envy and strife, it promotes everyone helping everyone else even when it doesn’t directly benefit them. Why isn’t this principle operating more in the body of Christ, because this is the way the body should work. Each member should work out of the direction of the head to perform its function to the benefit of the rest of the members. A healthy body works this way. It flows with unity of direction and purpose.
When we love our neighbor as ourselves we are fulfilling a basic kingdom law and principle. It is a law of reciprocating love whereby we help and support one another. This is why the early church had all things in common, because they operated out of this servant principle of meeting the needs in one another so that no one lacked.
It gives me pause today as I examine my own life and my willingness live for and serve others. We all tend to become very self-absorbed in our own lives. Maybe it is time for us to get a revelation of a bigger picture where our benefiting and serving others is the key to receiving our own greatest benefit and blessing.

Blessings,
kent

Stepping into Maturity

April 8, 2013

Stepping into Maturity
1 John 3:2-3
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

There is a place we grow to in the kingdom of God when we cease to be a child, adolescent and teenager with all our sins and indiscretions. We are brought to that place of manhood or maturity in the Spirit. Often we love the benefits of being God’s children but we don’t want the responsibility and accountability. Yes, the Lord’s convicting me, how about you? Galatians 4:1-7 says, “Now I say, [That] the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” What is this Sonship?
We are theKing’s kids and our Christian upbringing is to be groomed and prepared for the place of authority, power and rulership where we step into our places as Kings and Priests of the Most High God. While we love the Father and we love His blessings, we must often learn obedience through the things we suffer, even as Christ (Hebrews 5:8). Whether that be through trials and tribulations, consequences of our sins or the actions and dealings of the Holy Spirit through any or all of these. These are bringing us more and more to that place of obedience. We ultimately must come to the place where we lose our identity as an individual in order to fulfill the office, calling and position for which we have and are being prepared. At that place we relinquish the place of self-will for God’s will. If He is to bring us to our coronation of “Royal Kings and Priest” we have to truly be at that place where it genuinely is ” no longer I that liveth, but Christ in me” (Galatians 2:20).
There may be part of us that wants to shrink back from the cost of service, sacrifice and commitment. Then there is another part of us that knows for this purpose we were born. There is a high calling of Sonship and it comes with a high price; the cross for a crown. The authority and power of God must be exercised out of the nature of Christ in us, and a pure heart, anything less will corrupt and pollute. Instead of life it will bring death. Instead of selfless giving there will be selfish misuse and abuse of authority. How much of this do we see at work in the church world today? Authority and power are given for service to the bringing forth of life and for the glory of God. Never is it to be used for selfish ends. The Lord is our instructor. For us to truly bear His name we must lose our old name (nature). We must to come to our death to experience the fullness of our Life and inheritance in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

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