Skating on Thin Ice

May 1, 2014

Skating on Thin Ice

Matthew 25:10-13
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
29-30
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
41-46
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Our texts from Matthew 25 present us with three parables given by Jesus that illustrate wise and faithful servants with subsequent rewards and foolish and slothful servants who reap the closed door to God’s presence and His judgement of displeasure. There are many that loosely wear the name of Christian. There are many who attend church and acknowledge the name of Christ, but if we all stood before Him in judgement today how many of us would truly be considered His? The passage in Matthew 7:13-23 instructs us, “13″Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “ The scriptures speaks something very specific to us that many tend to ignore. Many of us have a philosophy that we can have religion, that we can have works and that we can generally believe upon the name of Jesus and that insures us of heaven. I fail to see that premise supported in these scriptures. There is a connection necessary for us to be “in Christ”. The connection we have in Christ is not just one made in a moment of repentance when we came to the altar; that should have been the beginning of a continuing, ongoing and deepening relationship that leads us into the heart of God and establishes us as part of the vine, yielding the fruit of the Spirit. Our salvation is not contingent upon how religious we are, what church we go too, what denomination we do or don’t belong too or how good our works are. Salvation is union with the One who hung upon that cross for you and I and gave His life so that we might have eternal life. For many, the definition of salvation has become very loose and general, but in these scriptures and many like them we find an exacting Lord, who expects faithfulness, obedience, commitment and fruitfulness. That fruit has no value or worth if it is produced outside of the vine; it is the fruit of the vine that produces life and lasting value.
Jesus says specifically in Matthew 7:13, “”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Religion is a wide road that may lead us in pursuit of God, but does not lead us into life and relationship with Him. That small gate and narrow road is not the one traveled by the masses or even the church in general; it is traveled by those in pursuit of Him. Where are we at on life’s road? Do we just possess religion, a belief system or even spiritual gifts? None of those in themselves make us His. He is looking for the ones who bear the fruit of His life within them, who are faithful with what He entrust them with, who are watching and preparing for Him and those who are ministering the life to others that they themselves possess. Do we really know Him and are we in relationship with Him or are we skating on the thin ice of a mindset that just says, “sure I believe in Christ” but aren’t really living what we think we believe. Our beliefs have to become your realities.

Blessings,
#kent

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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

Dusty Walk, Clean Feet

March 13, 2014

 

Dusty Walk, Clean Feet


John 13:4-10

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe [them] with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also [my] hands and [my] head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash [his] feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 


In the days of Jesus the roads were dusty and dirty.  Imagine walking for miles down a dry and dusty road in your sandals.  Imagine how darkened with dirt your feet would be from your journey.  In the days of Jesus it was customary when coming into a home that not only would you kick off your sandals, but that a servant would meet you with a basin of water and a towel to wash your feet.  This was the task of a slave or servant, but on this day, it was Jesus, the Master, that put off his garment, girded himself with a towel and began to wash the disciple’s feet.  We can only imagine how uncomfortable and embarrassing this must have been to the disciples for Jesus, their Master, to be washing their feet.  Peter, the outspoken one of the disciples, probably expressed what was in all of their hearts.  At first he ardently objects to Jesus washing his feet.  When Jesus tells him if He does not wash his feet, he has not part with Him; Peter goes to the other extreme.  “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands, and my head.”  Jesus told him he was already washed; all he needed to clean was his feet.

The Lord reminds of this today and of what He went on to say,”If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” Obviously we don’t visit too many Christian homes today where it is customary for the people of the household to wash our feet.  There is a lesson and message that goes beyond the ceremonial and outward washing of feet.  Our feet represent our walk.  When we come into Christ and He washes us in His blood.  Jesus, with His blood, does for us what He relates to Peter, He cleans us within.  There is still the principle that we all continually walk the dusty roads of our earthly existence.  We are darkened and our feet dirtied by the sin and death that fills the earth in which we live.  As daily we walk through life, it is difficult for us not become dirtied by all that touches our lives.  It doesn’t mean that the blood of Jesus hasn’t cleansed us from our sins or that we need to be re-saved; it does mean that we still frequently need our feet washed.  We need our walk washed by the water of the Word.  We need our hearts and minds renewed and need to be reminded of whom we are, what we are and where we are going.  If our feet are not constantly washed our walk, can become polluted, unclean and defiled.  

Jesus teaches us in this example that it is the responsibility of each of us to wash one another’s feet.  As you read this word this morning, perhaps the Lord is using it to wash your feet as you are exhorted and encouraged in Him and your relationship with Him.  God has given us all unique gifts and abilities by which we can wash one another’s feet as we serve in the capacities that He has given each of us.  When we wash one another’s feet, we have accountability to one another to help each other to continue on from each other’s presence in a pure and holy walk.  This requires that we are not ignoring or neglecting the gift that the Lord has given and placed within us.  It requires that we are sensitive even to the least, perhaps even the most undesirable.  Jesus was not a respecter of persons; He was as willing to wash the feet of Judas as He was of Peter.  

Are we following the Lord’s example and commandment today, to wash one another’s feet?  Do we greet one another and speak to one another words of encouragement, hope, life and love? Perhaps the Lord will bring some dirty feet across your path today.  Take the time to wash them in the love and mercies of Jesus.  As we wash one another’s feet it helps each of us to be encouraged and continue walking in the things of God with clean feet and a righteous walk.

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

#TricklesofTruth.wordpress.com

Alert and Watching

February 27, 2014

 

Alert and Watching


Judges 7:5-7

So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. 

7 The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.” 8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. 


As I watched a sparrow feeding out of the bird-feeder this morning I was impressed at how it did not just casually eat with no other thought or worry in the world.  It was continually eating and watching, turning its head from side to side and aware of what was going on around it.  It didn’t take its safety and well being for granted, but was ready to fly at a moment’s notice.  I was reminded of the story of Gideon and how that out of thirty-two thousand whom volunteered to fight for Israel, God brought it down to three hundred.  The first thing God did to disqualify the excess numbers was to let all that were fearful or afraid go home.   God is raising up a people for His glory and one of the first things they must have is faith and confidence to believe and trust in their God.  A lack of faith and trust is the first thing to disqualify us.  Out of the thirty-two thousand that started twenty-two thousand went home.  Ten thousand were still too many people.  A battle won with that many men could be construed as man’s ability, rather than God’s.  God must receive the glory for the deliverance and if we think we have any strength or ability then we tend to dismiss God and take the glory for ourselves.  The second thing God did was to narrow the field  by having them drink water.  If they were down on their knees drinking with their head down and unaware of their surroundings they were disqualified.  Only three hundred lapped the water from their hands like dogs, because that way they were alert and ready, their physical needs were not turning their attention from their first duty as soldiers in readiness.  

Where are most of us as the body of Christ?  Where would we fit in among these thirty-two thousand that came to fight in the Lord’s army?  Have we become fearful and afraid? Has our faith and confidence in the Lord become weak?  Has our attention has been diverted by our blessings, by our affections for life and by all the other distractions that take our eyes off of the Lord. Have we ceased to really watch and be concerned about the things of God and the timing of God?  I don’t believe the Lord is looking for us to be fearful or paranoid, but He is looking for those like the three hundred that fought with Gideon, who are alert and watching in their spirit.  They are attuned to when the enemy is around, where he is at and what he is doing.  They are not allowing themselves to become vulnerable by becoming lethargic and complacent.  They are sensitive to the hour and the timing of the Lord, watching to move at His command and His coming.

This aspect of watchfulness is addressed a number of times and especially in the New Testament, but in Psalm 130:6 David says, “My soul [waiteth] for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: [I say, more than] they that watch for the morning.”  

Jesus teaches us this throughout the gospels such as in Matthew 24, 4“Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many…13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come…” 42″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 

45″Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In Matthew 25 Jesus gives us the parable of the ten virgins, the five wise and the five foolish.  When the Lord did come the foolish missed out, because they were unprepared and not watching.  When they came back it was too late and the door was shut to them.  Verse 13 says, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”  Mark 13:37 says, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”  1 Corinthians 16:13 exhorts us, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”  1 Thessalonians 5:6 tells us, “Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober.”  Paul exhorts Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:5, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

The Lord is speaking to all of us today to rise up off of our haunches of complacency and spiritual dullness.  Now is the day to really get our ears in tune with the Spirit of God and our hearts ready to meet Him.  He is exhorting us not to neglect the day of His visitation, but as good soldiers, to prepare ourselves and be watching for Him.  When the Lord comes will He find most of us at the water hole, drinking our fill and oblivious to the spiritual time, hour and condition of our hearts?  

When the Spirit addresses the churches in Revelation 3, the first concern that He addresses is one of watchfulness.  Revelations 3:3-6 says, “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 4Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. 6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Isn’t this what He is speaking to our hearts today?

 
Blessings,
kent

Longsuffering

January 31, 2014

 

Longsuffering


Ephesians 4:1-3

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 

 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

 

Longsuffering, patience, forbearance are all attributes of our heavenly Father and those that are to be a part of our nature and behavior as we walk in the Spirit.  Many of us might have to admit that longsuffering and patience is not one of our stronger areas.  We have goals, agendas, deadlines and most of us are in the rat race of moving a hundred miles an hour through life trying to get as effectively and quickly from one point to the next in the shortest amount of time.  Time is a commodity that is precious to us.  There never seems to be enough of it.  We are usually rushing from the time our feet hit the floor until, exhausted, we fall into bed.  Invariably in our race through life there are the slow pokes, the obstacles, the things that don’t go right, the obstructions to what we have our eyes fixed on as our next destination.  Those are the things that raise our blood pressure, push our buttons and often cause us to get very irritable and impatient. Without realizing it we want everyone to be patient with us when we take our slow sweet time, or impede the procession of life in some way, but we have a hard time dealing with being on the other end.  All of these objectives we have and time crunches we are in make it very hard for us to be patient and longsuffering.  The human element and personalities of others often just drive us up the wall, because they aren’t meeting our expectations.   

We can even see the frustration of God’s heart when He deals with us time after time, after time with areas of our lives and we don’t seem to want to change or lay hold of it.  We read the rebukes of Jesus sometimes, even with the disciples, because what should be plain, they don’t get.  Yet Jesus doesn’t scream and shout, throw up His hands and walk away, He forbears with them.  All of us are aware in dealing with the dynamics of human relationships we can all become frustrated, which can lead to impatience and anger.  Then we end up acting and saying things that latter we feel like a horse’s rear end for having done.  

Think about Sunday morning, you’re trying to get ready and get to church on time, but somebody is in slow mode.  You hate walking in after things have already started, but its looking like you are going to be late again.  Frustration is building, you continue to ask if they are about ready, the other person begins to get irritated with your irritation and impatience, words start to be exchanged and before you know it war has broken out.  The trip to church is an exchange of angry words, frustrations and by the time you arrive, you at your spiritual best.  

The enemy is at work to always rob our peace and rest in Christ.  Sometimes our longsuffering is brought about through a lot of prayer and tongue biting.  The flesh, emotions and feelings are often hard to contain and maintain.  Isn’t it wonderful that we get so many opportunities to practice?  Most all of us struggle in these areas, but we must always be reminded that our position is that of the servant and putting others before ourselves.  It is often these surface issues of impatience that cause us to miss the deeper needs of people and how God would have us to minister to them.  We always have to remind ourselves that God’s business is our priority and not our own.  Sometimes I think God puts obstacles in our way to force us to slow down.  I’m convicted that I don’t want to become and be like God’s people of old, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them (Matthew 13:15).”  Where would you and I be today without the longsuffering of our Father?  We wouldn’t even exist.    

Sometimes the one I get most impatient with is myself, for all the stupid mistakes I make and all of the things I forget, but then, if it does nothing else, it should serve to give me patience and longsuffering with others; being as forbearing with them as I must be with myself.  As the Australian’s say, “ No worries mate.”  Let’s slow done and be aware of how God wants to move in us and though us, even in those often frustrating times and events that touch our lives.  We are learning to be His expression and that can only come through longsuffering and patience.

 
Blessings,
kent

The Authority of Faith

December 24, 2013

Matthew 8:5-13

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6″Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” 

7Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” 8The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 

10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.


The Authority of Faith


This story of Jesus and the centurion teaches that faith acts upon and through an authority.  This centurion understood what so many of the Jews did not.  He understood that if you need something you have to go to the one in charge of releasing what your need is.  For instance, let’s say that Jesus needed natural protection from those who sought to take His life.  He could have gone to the centurion and presented his need and because the centurion had authority over protection he could have assigned bodyguards to protect Jesus, because that was his authority and position. The centurion had such faith in the authority of Jesus over sickness that he didn’t even have to see a physical act.  All he needed was for Jesus to speak the word and he knew that it would be done. 

The Lord commands a multitude of host of angelic beings.  Hebrews 1:14 says, “14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”  When we are in Christ there is a delegation of authority to act and speak in His name.  Obviously this is not like people being loose canons, with a magic wand speaking and doing whatever they want.  Even Jesus did not act in this way when He had the authority of the Father.  He said in John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”  Jesus also speaks some very powerful and keywords in John 14:10-14 when he says, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  Our faith in Christ brings us into that place that the Son possessed with the Father. The Father brought forth His will through the Son, because the Son’s meat was to do the will of the Father.  Our meat is to do the will of the Son, and in that place He has granted to us His name, nature and authority to carry out His will.  As we live in Christ and act out of Christ we have authority and the angels themselves carry out the will of that authority and word.  

Faith acts in obedience to the authority that is over it.  In that place of submission and divine authority the will of the Lord is performed through us, His people, because He has given unto us the authority of His name.  

 
Blessings,
Kent 

1 John 4:7-12
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

The Most Powerful Force in the World

The most powerful force that we can possess and know is the power of God’s love. We, as Christians, certainly know and believe that God is the most powerful source because He is the creator and originator of all things. Here in 1 John 4 we have a definition of who God is. “God is love.” It only follows, as the scriptures tell us, that the true sense and definition of love is only born out of God; therefore everyone that truly loves is born of God and knows God.
We often hear the argument of non-believers that if God is love how can He allow all of the suffering and violence that goes on in the world. That suffering and violence isn’t the act of God’s will, it is the act of man’s will that has rejected the love of God. The darkness that pervades our world is really that absence of God’s light and love in their souls. God’s love isn’t selfish and controlling. God in His love gave us free will and choice to accept or reject His love. Even though mankind had chosen to reject the love of God, it doesn’t mean that it lessened the love of God for us. God still demonstrated His exceedingly great love for us in that while we were yet sinners, He ‘sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins’. This demonstration of love is what should resonate in us as we have seen, acknowledged and accepted this love of God in our hearts. When we became new creatures in Christ Jesus, His DNA was infused into us. The make-up of who He is, is Love. The power and presence of Christ in a person is not in how well they can orate the gospel, or the works they can accomplish or even the miracles they can do. The true evidence of God in your life is the power and the demonstration of His love in you and through you. It is the love of God that energizes us and empowers us to live a life that is outside the selfish love of self. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love ourselves, because even God loves us. It means that all that energy we used to put into pleasing ourselves we now put into serving others. What is it to love others as you love yourself if it is not gaining for others what you would have gained for yourself. It should be evident that the love of God then shifts the focus of our love from self to first loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and then serving others with the same love we would serve ourselves.
As we face each new day what is the motivation and the goal of our life and heart? Is it simply to further our own agenda or is it in the challenge of changing the world around us through the power of God’s love that resides in us? You don’t really have the power to change anyone’s life but your own, but when your life comes into alignment with God’s love and purpose you can be sure the world will change around you. It is God’s ultimate purpose that His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It is His will and purpose to ultimately restore all of creation through His power and love, but right now that begins with you and me. It begins with God’s kingdom coming within us and His will being done in us, in this earthen body and as it is in heaven. The revelation of that Kingdom is God’s love revealed in you.

blessings,
kent

September 12, 2013

The Blessing of Our Women

Proverbs 31:8
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her.

Most all of us have a woman or women that are very special in our lives. They are often so dependable, constant and such a continual source of blessing that we often become complacent and even unappreciative in our attitudes toward them. Much like our attitude can become toward the Lord, we can become very insensitive to their presence, their continual serving and blessing and all that they contribute to our lives. We often are far more acutely aware of their faults, their nagging, and their expectations. Yet it is often some of these little irritating qualities that keep us on track, that help us live up to our abilities and responsibilities, and they are often the cornerstones of our households. These little ladies look after us, pamper us, serve us, bless us, love us, even when we are unlovely and are constantly laying down their lives to unselfishly serve and bless their families.
Often we relegate one day a year to commemorate and recognize these special ones, which is much like just going to church on Christmas or Easter. We should be so cognizant to love and appreciate them every day, in every way and through all of the little actions as well as the larger ones. Sure they have their human side. They can get cranky and irritable and some times hard to live with, but that may be a good indication that we as men and children aren’t doing our part to support, love and care for them.
I know my wife is so giving and far more generous than I am. While I’m always carefully watching the bottom line, if there is something I really need or want, she doesn’t hesitate to try and bless me with it if it is in her power to do so. Time would fail me to tell all of the examples of her giving and blessings in my life. She is such an example of love and Christ to me in these areas. Often, I get irritated with her for always asking me if I remembered this or that, but if she didn’t she knows that there is a good chance I would go off and forget it. What I am saying is that these special women are such a constant source of blessing and help to us, and we usually cop an attitude with them in their efforts to help us keep on track.
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” We men and children that have godly women in our lives are very blessed and should never fail to praise and appreciate them. They wear innumerable hats, continually work at daunting tasks and yet manage to love and serve their household in that process. Many of us truly have heroines living among us whom we don’t love and appreciate nearly enough. They deserve our best, because they give no less of themselves.
It is interesting that some of Jesus’ last thoughts and concerns, while hanging on a cross, were for His mother. He delegated her care to the disciple John. If we see Jesus throughout His ministry so tender, loving, forgiving and caring of women should we, as men, be any less so? He valued women as few men did of that time. The Word exhorts us husbands in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
We must ask ourselves, as men, husbands and children, are we really everyday appreciating and showing the women in our lives how special they are? Our encouragement and praise means so much to them and helps them to continue on in their endeavor to serve and bless us. I speak this as strongly to myself as I do anyone else; that the women in your life are an extension of you in one way or another. If we love ourselves then we must not fail to love and bless them as a part of ourselves. Many of our marriages and relationships fail, because we cease to really love and appreciate one another. We become focused on all of the faults and shortcomings and actually cause them to become accentuated through the negative confessions of our lips. What if we were to speak, sometimes by faith, what we see or would like to see more of them, in a positive way? What if we were to be sure and praise and appreciate often the positive aspects of one another while humbly and willingly receiving loving correction and exhortation from one another. None of us are the perfect husband or wife, mother or child, but we can move and encourage one another toward that through the positive reinforcement we can bring to one another’s lives. Let today and each coming day be a day of true appreciation of those special women in our lives. Let us continually let them know how special they are and how much they bless our lives.

Blessings,
kent

Rags to Riches

September 2, 2013

Rags to Riches

Colossians 1:27
To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

As kids we often would muse, “if you had three wishes, what would you wish for?” As adults today, if we had one wish, what would we wish for? Would it be fame or fortune, health or peace, beauty or strength? I would say the majority of us, while having our needs met, wouldn’t consider ourselves rich or beautiful or famous or wise. If we stopped to really evaluate the ways in which we are rich or we are poor, what would we conclude? Many of us would smile and say; I’m rich with family, or in relationships I have with others. We might be rich in the joy and satisfaction we receive from serving and blessing others and making a difference in their lives. We have often gotten into the mindset that riches means having millions of dollars, but is a millionaire always rich?
Proverbs 13:7 says, “One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” In order to be rich, must one always have the tangible substance of material things in their possession?
When we discovered Christ, the Son of God that has freely provided so great a salvation, we discovered a vein of the most precious substance known to man. It runs so deep and so wide and it runs from the earth beneath to the heavens above. So many of us still haven’t really grasped how rich we have become in having Christ. Our concept of riches it still focused on outward possessions. It is fine if you have outward possessions and wealth, but if that is all your heart is content with then you are indeed most poor. There is no greater poverty than the leanness and depravity of one’s soul. In Matthew 16:26 Jesus poses the question, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” When we found that relationship with Jesus Christ, we went from rags to riches, rather anything changed outwardly or not. What is the price for eternal life in the riches of heaven with our almighty loving heavenly Father? What is the price for having all of my sins and faults and failures forgiven and my debts cancelled? What would it cost to have the Christ, the Spirit of the living God, dwelling in me? Does anyone possess that kind of earthly wealth that they could purchase these priceless gifts? Yet Christ died to pay the price that He might freely give them to all that would believe. You and I are so rich beyond measure and yet we are so often focused on what we don’t have. If we truly tapped into what we do have we would realize that there are no limitation on what it is possible for us to have or to do? While we are very, very rich through Christ, we have limited understanding and wisdom in how to use the wealth we possess in the fullness of how God has intended, so we are in school. The school of life is teaching us to practice the principles of the Kingdom that is ours. In order for us to come into the fullness of our inheritance we must learn the ways of kingship and godly rule. In order for us to rule like the King, we must come into the nature of the King. How did our King demonstrate His kingdom to us? Philippians 2:5-8 tells us, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
We have gone from rags to riches when we fully comprehend that this Christ is in us. He became poor, of no reputation and endured the death of the cross so that you and I might possess so great a riches. Will we miss the greater by always focusing on the lesser? We spend the majority of our lives and resources pursuing that which is perishing while we neglect that which is eternal and priceless. We are the sons and daughters of Most High God; let us begin to dress ourselves in the rich garments of His righteousness. The world may despise us, but they don’t possess what we possess. We, like our example before us, must become void of self, so that we can bring others up. We want all of those around us to experience this “rags to riches” story. We want them to come out of the poverty and emptiness of their soul into the riches of God’s love and grace. There are not any greater riches in all of earth or heaven than “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Blessings,
kent

Feelings of Unworthiness

July 12, 2013

Feelings of Unworthiness

Luke 15:21-24
And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put [it] on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on [his] feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill [it]; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

I think there are times when we all struggle with thoughts of unworthiness and condemnation as we approach and acknowledge the Lord. Certainly there is no worth in our efforts or abilities to please God or appease Him for our sins. Outside of the blood of Christ we could have no right standing and reconciliation with the Father. Yet the heart of the Father stands at the window day after day watching for His prodigal son to come home. When the son came home the reconciliation that took place between the two of them was possible, because of the attitude of both of their hearts. On the part of the Father there was the attitude of love, mercy, forgiveness and the strong desire for restored relationship. On the part of the son, his attitude had changed from the arrogant, self-reliant, self-serving and selfish son that had left the Father to one who was broken through a revelation of his utter worthlessness and unworthiness that he possessed outside of the Father. When we get a true revelation of what we are outside of the Father and the utter hopelessness and unworthiness apart from Him, we then have come to a condition and attitude that is right to approach Him. This time we return in total humility, fearing and respecting our Father. This time our heart is fully aware of its unworthiness of ever again being called a son. This time we come with a heart that is broken by the awareness of our sin and repentant with the willingness to fully turn from it. Both heart conditions were present for the full reunion and reconciliation of the Father and son to take place.
Even as believers we come to the times in our lives when we have rebelled, been self-willed or let sin enter in. One day we wake-up spiritually and realize how bankrupt we have become because we have forsaken the relationship we had with the Father. We have turned our back on our sonship for selfish pursuits. Eventually we return to the realization that without the life and the blessing of the Father, we are spiritually blind, poor, wretched and naked. We have become spiritually bankrupt and void of self-worth. For a time we are willing to work in the pig pens and the filth of the world we have again partaken of. Eventually, through the leanness and the spiritual hungering of our soul, we decide that we would like to return to the Father. We find ourselves living under the cruel taskmaster of guilt, shame, condemnation and unworthiness that is telling us you are totally unworthy and disqualified from ever having a relationship with the Father again. Maybe you even felt like you had committed the unpardonable sin. “How could Father ever again love and receive back a wretch and failure like me?”
Our Father is a God of love, forgiveness and reconciliation. 1 Timothy 1:15 says, “This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” While we may still have to face the consequences of our sin and rebellion the Lord has not shut us out into the cold. He says, “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psalms 34:19)” If we are willing to return to the Lord with the attitude of brokeness and repentance; then the Lord is willing to receive us and deliver from that taskmaster of condemnation and guilt. John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What He has done for you, be willing to do for others.
Don’t allow the feelings of unworthiness and condemnation rob you from a restored relationship. All who are in Christ Jesus have come to know that none of us have any standing or worth in God of ourselves. Jesus paid the price for our sin. He alone was righteous and worthy. When we become identified with Him and the cross He makes us worthy through His righteous blood. We must simply appropriate what He has already done by faith in the name of Jesus and the blood of the Lamb. “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)”
If you are struggling with feelings of unworthiness or if you have strayed or perhaps have yet to find you way to the Father’s house. Jesus is still the way. He is the Restorer and the Redeemer of your soul. With a right attitude of heart return to Him and He will receive you again to Himself.

Blessings,
kent

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