Appreciation

October 8, 2015

Appreciation

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

One thing that is common in both God and man is that everybody likes to be appreciated. We will go to great lengths sometimes for others if they have a grateful heart and are appreciative of our efforts. It is important that we always appreciate the Lord. It is this appreciation that keeps us mindful of Him and all of His wonderful attributes and the blessings we so richly enjoy from Him. It is a dangerous thing for us to develop an ungrateful spirit. That spirit shuts us off from people and causes us to only be caught up with ourselves.
We see that thankfulness and appreciation to the Lord are basic steps of etiquette to entering into His presence and fellowship. Psalms 100:4 tells us, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.” We can never appreciate the Lord too much and that heart of thankfulness and praise should be resident in us continually. Appreciation gives value to the one receiving it and it is an act of humility and respectfulness on the part of the one delivering it.
The lack of appreciation has far different results. As many in the world were caught up in sin, it caused their hearts to become hardened toward God, as it can ours. What was the result of their ungratefulness and lack of appreciation to the glorious God and Creator who authored our lives and gave us life? Romans 1:18-32 gives the account of man’s ungratefulness and what results. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
Our ungratefulness and lack of appreciation causes a perverted and arrogant way of thinking and leads us to God’s wrath and judgement. On the other hand, a truly grateful, thankful and appreciative heart can lead us into God’s very presence and the fullness of joy. What does God command us to do? Love Him with all of our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves. That means we truly need to appreciate the Lord and appreciate those that God places in our lives. We might be amazed at the difference we would have in our relationships if we really became sensitive and attentive to appreciating those around us. We all want to feel that the things we do are worthwhile and that we are valued. We all want to be appreciated, even God.

Blessings,
#kent

As the Spirit Moves

April 15, 2015

John 3:5-8
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

As the Spirit Moves

We live in a world of natural and spiritual. The natural things we perceive and understand through our senses. They are based on taste, touch, seeing, hearing and smell. We have experienced a natural birth. The water broke and we came forth from the womb. Just as we have a natural birth we must have a spiritual birth because they are not one in the same. Jesus is making a comparison. Natural begets natural, but Spirit begets spiritual. Our natural birth brings us into this world, but our spiritual birth brings us into the heavenlies and the dimension of the kingdom of God. We have been born from beneath and now we must be born from above if we are to enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus compares it to the wind. It is often hard for us as natural beings to quantify, analyze and rationalize the spirit realm and that part of us. Jesus says it is much like the wind. It doesn’t move under our control, but it blows where it will and wherever it pleases. We can’t see air or wind, but the wind shows itself as it is manifested through natural things. The wind will pick up dirt and leaves and give a visible sense of its presence as these are moved, not through there own initiative, but through the power and the force of the wind. It is much as the Sprit moves in and through us. Sometimes He is very still and we don’t feel his presence at all and yet we know He is there because He is the spiritual air we breathe.
I think of how the Lord came to Elijah when he had fled to Horeb, the mountain of God, discouraged, fearful and ready to give up. There, in 1 Kings 19:11-13, the Lord showed Elijah how to discern between the natural and the spiritual. “The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
You see Elijah, like most of us, had allowed his eyes to view things in the natural and not in the Spirit. God was not in all of those natural calamities and forces of nature, He was in the still small voice that spoke to the inner man. Be careful about judging things from the outward circumstances. It is God who rules and is upon the throne. Here, God showed the wind of His presence was in the still small voice that spoke to him in his spirit. We may see God move as a gentle breeze, blowing across His people with His presence and anointing. Sometimes He is a forceful wind to be reckoned with. However the Lord is blowing upon our lives we want to bend in His direction and be sensitive to His movement. We are the manifestation of His presence. We are the natural elements that are moved by Him as He blows upon our lives. Just as you can never tell about the wind, where it will blow or where it will go, so we never know when we will be moved by the Spirit of God in this direction or that situation. We do want to hear His still small voice within us assuring us that His work is not finished, but that this is the way of the Lord now be faithful to walk in it.
The Lord may be asking us what we are doing before Him in our fears, doubts and unbelief. We must remember whom we have been birthed into, who we are in Christ Jesus and that we are called according to His purpose and design. Now allow His still small voice and His breeze, not the natural elements of circumstance to move you wheresoever He will.

Blessings,
#kent

Body Ministry

February 27, 2015

1 Corinthians 12:25 –26
so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Body Ministry

Yesterday, I began to have some gout flare up in the ball of my foot, above my right toe. It causes swelling, inflammation and pain that can become quite severe. It is a little affliction, not any greater than many others endure, but I felt like through it the Lord was ministering to me this morning about the body. I noticed how my own body reacted to the pain in this member. My hands would gently message it and my other leg and foot would take upon itself more of the weight when I walked. My mind was thinking about what I needed to do to get rid of it. My body was cognizant and responsive to the pain in one of my members. Each one did what it could to lessen or relieve that pain or minister to it.
I began to think, are we in tune with the body of Christ like our own bodies are with their members. In this scripture and those that precede it, the apostle Paul goes through quite a discourse explaining how the body is many members and yet one spirit. These many are made one and function as one through the unity of the Holy Spirit.
As I was meditating this morning on this truth I was thinking about how many times we, for instance, attend the funeral of a friend and we offer our condolences and then we often remark with the platitude, “if there is any thing that I can do, call me.” I think that is more for our benefit than theirs. We feel like somehow we have reached out and made ourselves available for their need, when in reality we have excused ourselves from really meeting any needs. Wouldn’t it be far more effective if we looked around and saw a particular need that we could do that would really minister to them in this time and then with their permission do it? That would effectively be ministering to the need in the body and this particular member.
I know that with myself it is far too easy to get caught up in my life, my agenda and all that I need to do and really miss the ministry and responsibility I have in meeting the needs of the body; rather that would be in my family or in others. I can become desensitized and unaware of the hurt in others and what I could do to minister to that need at that time. This is where we all need to stay in tune and sensitive to the Holy Spirit, because we function and minister to one another through His power and anointing. It may not be miraculous, but is often practical and necessary. Often the miracle begins to take place after we have ministered and went our way. We are not there in those circumstances to get the glory, but to minister the love of Christ and bring Him the glory.
The second part of body ministry is that even as we fill up one another’s needs, strengthening, providing and empowering each other, we, in turn are the servants of the world. A healthy body of Christ is God’s ministry and gift to the world. We are there individually and corporately to minister to the needs of others. We are willing to give ourselves, even as Jesus did on a daily basis to minister in whatever circumstances the Father placed Him in. Let us be sensitive and responsive to the needs around us.
The key to body ministry is that we all function out of the Spirit and by the Spirit. That Spirit is love and love always is thinking and moving on the behalf of others. The Holy Spirit mobilizes us as one man, for one purpose, to fulfill the will and expression of the Father. The expression of the Father is love and love meets the needs in one another.

Blessings,
#kent

Empowered for Good

January 15, 2015

Acts 10:38
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.

Empowered for Good

Today, in Christ, God is with you. How will you impact your world? There is an anointing of the Holy Spirit within you to empower you for goodness and for righteousness. We all have the power to impact our world and the people around us in a positive and powerful way. As you yield to the Spirit and are sensitive to Him, He may work through you to perform a miracle, deliverance or a healing. Never discount that this can and will happen, but more importantly be sensitive to how you can minister life, encouragement and blessing to your world. You are the priests of the Lord. You are His expression to carry out His will even as Jesus of Nazareth is living through you today.
Ephesians 6:10 says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
Dress yourself in spiritual garments today and equip yourself not only to stand in the battle against darkness, but also to be clothed with the vesture of light and godliness so that all might see and acknowledge God through your good works.
Go and minister life and light in every dark corner and at every opportunity. God is with you to empower you to do good.

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

Guard Your Heart

September 25, 2014

Guard Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

What is the heart of a person and why is it important to keep it? Most of us know that when the Word speaks of the heart it is in the figurative sense, but just as the heart is the primary organ of natural life, so it is in the spirit. Our heart speaks of our soul, our mind, the inner man, the seat of our understanding, will and emotion. It is really the key component that identifies who we are as an individual person and personality. When we understand that, then we understand why the Word is exhorting us to keep, guard and watch over our heart with all diligence. This diligence conveys a meaning as one would watch or guard in a prison. Perhaps it is so necessary to watch over our hearts in this manner because Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us, “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings.” When the Lord searches our heart what does He find? When he tries the reins of our heart; are we like the sensitive and well trained horse that responds to his every gentle nudge and direction. Or, are we the wild rebellious stead, set upon our own freedom and our own way, unbridled in our affections and passions, bent on our own direction?

We need to be watching, even with a heart that is given to the Lord and in love with Him. Things of the world and our imaginations and desires can begin to creep in subtly, almost without detection. We know that we have an adversary, the devil, who stalks like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. What makes us vulnerable to him? It is our heart. It says, “for out of it are the issues of life.” What happens to your circulatory system when it develops a blockage or even worse your heart? Your physical life can be in serious trouble and the same can happen spiritually.
How do we guard our hearts? We continually hold ourselves up to the mirror of God’s Word. We know that if we are aligning ourselves with it in every respect then our heart is abiding in truth. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
We also covet and pray for the Holy Spirit’s help in keeping our hearts, because He can show us the things we can’t see in ourselves. He is our hope and companion in the process of spiritual renewal and transformation that we desire to take place in us. 2 Timothy 1:14 says, “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” It is Spirit of Christ in you, in union with your spirit, which must be the heart and mind, which you now live out of. As you do, those are the issues of life. What goes forth out of you is his Spirit-life. Our tongue and our actions are the best indicators of what is really in our heart. Jesus tells us in Luke 4:65, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
Remember to not let your guard down, become complacent or be filled with apathy. You are a life-giver and in order for the issues of life to flow forth from you, you must be abiding in and carefully guarding the life of the spirit within you. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.”

Blessings,
#kent

Weapons of Our Warfare

January 3, 2014

 

Weapons of Our Warfare


1 Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.



How many of us are still trying to combat and fight flesh with flesh.  Is just a positive mental attitude, or using a right formula or trying to be good enough or religious enough going to win our battles over our flesh?  What we are experiencing in our lives is frustration, defeat and condemnation.  We want to do right, but we are still experiencing that law of sin working on our flesh. Our flesh and even soul are not very good at overcoming the weaknesses in themselves.  The Word says that the weapons that God has provided for us are mighty to the tearing down of strongholds.  There are many of us that haven’t experienced a lot of victory in tearing down these strongholds.  We continue to allow these stronghold to be a part of our thinking, behavior and being.  We are still identifying with them and in so doing we continue to give them life and power over us.  Our greatest weapons are not our earthly thinking.  That is the source of our greatest defeat.  We think as the world thinks and not as the Spirit of God thinks.  When the Word exhorts us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, it is telling us to put on the mind of Christ and renew our thinking according to the Word and not according to our natural reasoning.   It is telling us to put our identification on who we are in Christ and not on whom we have been in the flesh.

The first place we must come too is a place of total surrender to the Lord and the Holy Spirit that indwells us.  We are like a country taken over by the Lord, but the flesh still maintains its pockets of resistance, it’s guerilla fighters that provide avenues for the flesh to have access and regain position and power.  Most of us don’t want to admit to these, but they’re there.  We know they are there because we are struggling with these fleshly strongholds in areas of our lives.  Romans 12 starts out by telling us the first position we need to take, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. “ The first thing we need to do is offer our lives a living sacrifice which means that we are willing to lay the flesh upon the altar and allow it to be consumed.  It means that we are turning our mind and thinking from a worldview to a kingdom view.  Our thinking, goals and attitudes are no longer geared towards this earth; they are geared towards heaven and the spiritual calling we have in Christ Jesus.  Here, in this earth, we have no abiding place, but our eyes must be set upon the city whose builder and maker is God.  It is in this mindset that we begin to fashion our lives and our thinking after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh.  As we begin to walk in the Spirit then all that flows through our senses begins to flow through Him.  He is the Discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  If we are sensitizing ourselves to Him then He begins to put His finger on the wrong motives, thoughts and attitudes that are working in our lives.  If we indeed want the weapons of the Spirit to operate in our lives, we must first be in agreement and submission to the Holy Spirit.  While the Holy Spirit indwells us to help us in living a godly life, He by no means usurps our will to decide and choose to whom we obey and to whom we give our mind and our flesh over too.  If we want to choose the fleshly things, then the Holy Spirit will back off.  We may still have a conviction that what we are doing isn’t right, but if we desensitize ourselves to the Holy Spirit through following after our self-will then we will be less and less sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  When God says draw near to Me and I will draw near to you, He is saying as you become more sensitive and obedient to Me then you will begin to sense more of My presence and dealings in your life.  The thing we learn about walking in the Spirit is that it is a continual conscious act to live in that place.  When we walk after the Spirit long enough it may become more natural to us, but our spirit man must always be a guarded city.  As soon as our defenses go down the enemy is ready to come in.  

Indeed the weapons of our warfare are mighty, but they do demand diligence and full surrender of our hearts and minds to Christ.  Our over coming is by allowing the Holy Spirit to over come every thought and temptation that is contrary to the will of God.  We will no doubt loose some battles along the way, but that must not discourage or detour us from our mission of being conformed to the image and likeness of Christ.  In this life, the warfare is continual and ongoing, but we do have the weapons to defeat our foe.  We must indeed to do as Ephesians 6 exhorts us too and put on the whole armor of God that we might stand against the whiles and schemes of the devil.  It is up to us to appropriate our spiritual weapons and armor through fully and unceasingly yielding ourselves as living sacrifices in obedience and submission to the Holy Spirit.

 

Blessings,

kent

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