Call to Fitness

November 5, 2015

1 Timothy 4:8
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
Call to Fitness

Sometimes our spiritual muscles and countenance begin to droop and sag over time like much of the rest of our body. The spiritual man need not grow old. He is the eternal youth and life that lives in us. But if left to neglect the spiritual man can’t serve us. Certainly we need to care for the temple of this natural body, for it is what houses and facilitates the spiritual man within us. Our greater obligation and responsibility is to the spiritual man. This is the eternal part of us that is both now and forever.
The spiritual man is fed as we read and study God’s word. The spirit man feeds on truth. He is exercised as he acts upon this truth in faith. He is strengthened and activated in our life of prayer and fellowship with the Lord. Spirit feeds spirit. Do we spend as much time a day feeding our spiritual man as we do our natural man? Are we as attentive to our spiritual needs as we are our physical needs? Would your natural man be in better or worse shape if it was given the same amount of attention and food a day as you give your spirit man? When we put it in this perspective we might see why we might be spiritually weak and ineffective, not only in our lives but in the lives of others.
This is our day to awaken to our spiritual self and who we are in Christ. This is not just a head knowledge, it is a call to spiritual alertness and fitness. I can set on the couch and watch fitness and exercise programs all day long, but unless I engage my body in those routines no amount of mental agreement or ascent will change my physical state. Many of us listen to the word of God and we have a lot of spiritual head knowledge, but like James says, “faith without works is dead”. In order for us to have spiritual strength we have to exercise our spiritual man. James 1:22 exhorts us, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” We are a kingdom people called for a kingdom purpose. We must become sensitized to who we are as a spiritual people and not just a natural people. We must see our world through God’s perspective and then act out of our spiritual man in life’s circumstances. Maybe it is just offering to pray for someone or building them up through an encouraging word. Maybe it is random acts of kindness and selfless giving. Whatever it is, it needs to be Christ finding expression through our lives and everyday circumstances. This is exercising our spiritual man.
Jesus commissions our spiritual man in Luke 17:15-18, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” How many of us are walking daily in this commission? We have to have a strong and energized spiritual man to carry our what we are called to do. The Lord is calling us to spiritual fitness so that we can make a difference in our world. Let us exercise ourselves in all faith and godliness that He may be lifted up and glorified through us.

Blessings,
#kent

A Series of Right Decisions

Proverbs 3:1-12
1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

The essence and sum of our lives can be measured and is made up of a series of decisions. There will be things in our lives that we have no control over other than how we respond to them and what we do with them. When we look back over our lives and to the point that we presently live, we can see that our lives are the result of a good number of smaller decisions and choices. Some of those have had more impact on our lives than others but even the little decisions have contributed to the larger whole. When we understand that each day is made up of a series of decision that can impact and guide the direction of our lives, we then understand the importance of making right decisions.
Proverbs 3 speaks to us out of the wisdom of a Father to his son. As we read this we insert ourselves into the object of this conversation. The Father is reminding the son that to live a prosperous and healthy life there are certain things you need to maintain, remember and exercise in your decision making. The foremost is that you keep the teachings and the commands of God’s Word in your heart. The continual meditation upon the Word of God will serve to keep your life focused and continually aware of what your life is about.
The way that we exercise the Word that we store up in our hearts is through love and faithfulness. These are the keys that allow us to partake of the treasures of God’s wisdom and grace and to put them into the vocabulary of our daily lives and actions. Love, trust and obedience, these are the essentials that need to be with us in every decision making process. When we have them and exercise them, and then they will assure a right motive to the decisions that we do make.
Even with these essentials we realize that we lack the insight, understanding and wisdom to really know what is best for our lives and if the decision we are making may be the best choice we could have made.
Again, the Lord reminds us to trust Him with all our whole heart and to lean not upon our own understanding. God knows so much more about our lives and the impact of our decisions than we do. It only makes sense to really trust Him to guide us and lead us. He says He will make our paths straight. Romans 8: 28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” These are those ones that are practicing Proverbs 3. If we acknowledge Him, trust Him and love Him with all of our heart, then He is able to take even the bad things in our life and work them for our good. There are going to be times in our life we won’t be able to grasp the whys and wherefores of how God operates and the reason He has allowed things to happen as they have. He never told us we had to understand Him, just acknowledge, love and trust Him.
We can never boast in ourselves, in our ability, our prosperity or our wisdom. We do acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from above. Sometimes we are tempted in our spiritual or natural successes to be lifted up to think we are something or somebody more than somebody else is. We have to always keep our feet on the ground while we keep our heart in heaven. Spiritual pride is a foolish man’s prize. We are all the products of God’s rich grace and mercy. None of us can boast in ourselves for it is God alone that gives us value and worth. If we fear God and turn away from evil then it will be health to our body and nourishment to our bones.
I heard a minister the other day who was sharing that the temple had five gates. There was a priest stationed over each one of those gates as a watchman to assure that no danger or that nothing unclean entered the gates. He went on to share that these five gate are like our five natural senses and God has set us as a priest to watch over them and insure that nothing harmful or unclean passes through them into the temple which we are. This is much like the principles of Proverbs 3. If we will do our part to love, acknowledge, trust and obey the Lord, He will do His part to direct and order our steps.
As He honors us, we must in turn honor Him with the firstfruits of our increase. We can’t bring the leftovers or the second best. We must honor Him with the firstfruits of our best. He assures us that we won’t lack because of it.
We are His children. He loves us and whom the Lord loves He chastens, disciplines and corrects. We can’t become discouraged when our lot in life is tough. It is not God’s anger and displeasure at work; it is His love. The trials and tribulations in our lives are what shape and mold our character and integrity. They are a part of the process of bringing us into conformity with Father’s nature and character. All that God is working in us is in preparation for a much more glorious life.
Just remember that it is the series of everyday decision that add up to the sum of your life. Allow God to be a part of every one of them.

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

Everything We Need

January 20, 2015

2 Peter 1:3-4
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Everything We Need

Everything we need has been given to us by the Divine Power that resides in us. Most of us are more focused on what we think we are lacking than on what we already have. Meditate a moment on what the scripture is telling us here. Everything we need for life and godliness has been given to us, but through what avenue? Through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.
What does that knowledge mean? In the Greek their are several words for knowledge.
“Gnōsis” speaks of a general knowledge of something like the Christian religion, general knowledge or intellect. An example in scripture would be 1 Corinthians 8:1-3, “Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But the man who loves God is known by God.” In verse 3, “known by God” is the Greek word “ginōskō”, it speaks of becoming known even in the most intimate way. The word for knowledge used in 2 Peter 1 is the word “epignōsis” which speaks to a precise knowledge of the those things that are ethical and divine.
The point of this is that it is not just a general knowledge about God and Christian religion that brings us into a partaking of the divine nature. It is specific knowledge and revelation of the promises in God’s word that pertain to life and godliness. It is one thing to know a person by name, it is quite another to know them by their nature and character. The later is gained through a relationship of knowing, not just a general biography. This is how we come to know Christ and become partakers of the divine nature because we come to know Him, whom we have received into our hearts, not just generally, but intimately and specifically. Ephesians 3:19 says, ” And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” This knowing is “gnosis” or general knowledge. In other words that we might have an understanding to know the love of Christ which surpasses general knowledge so that we, “may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” That is a pretty powerful statement when you stop to really absorb it.
These exceedingly great promises God has given us through His Word are the keys to bring us into the fullness of the divine nature. In order for us to really know them we must intimately know Him. You see our zeal for God is according to knowledge, the most specific kind of knowledge, where we know Him not just after the letter of the law, but after the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that will lead us on this journey to the innermost recesses of wisdom and knowledge that is contained in the Christ we love and serve. In Colossians 3:2-3 Paul speaks to his purpose, “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” If we want to know that divine nature, it is through that growing, abiding faith that lays hold of God’s exceeding rich and gracious promise. We come to know these promises experientially in the most intimate place of His love.

Blessings,
#kent

Savor the Laver

December 29, 2014

Savor the Laver

Exodus 38:8
And he made the laver [of] brass, and the foot of it [of] brass, of the lookingglasses of [the women] assembling, which assembled [at] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

The brass laver was a piece in the tabernacle of Moses between the holy place and the brazen altar that the priests would come to wash themselves before their service. Exodus 40:30-32 tells us, “And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash [withal And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the LORD commanded Moses.” The laver provided the facility for washing both when ministering to the people and when ministering to the Lord. The fact that it was made of the highly polished looking glasses of women spoke of its ability to reflect back to the one washing, their image and likeness. God’s Word is like a laver in that it gives us a standard of God’s character and righteousness and helps us to examine ourselves for who we are in the light of that standard. God’s Word can provide the introspection we so desperately need to see and wash the areas of sin and blemishes from our lives. This practice of washing was obviously a routine event that took place quite frequently as the priest would minister and serve. It is one we should practice in ministering within our own household.
Ephesians 5:25-27 gives us some insight into the spiritual application of this piece of the tabernacle furniture. It says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” The Lord gives us the Word to wash us and the Holy Spirit to be the polished brass that reflects our image so that we might see ourselves as He sees us. The Word of God has that power to transform our lives and wash away our uncleanness as we apply it to our minds, our thinking, our actions and our words. It is what translates to us the mind and purpose of God for us, as well as helping us to see where we are in light of that.
Please understand that God doesn’t give us the Word to condemn us, but to convict us. We were already under condemnation before we came to Christ, so the Word acts as introspection that reveals our sin so that we may repent, be washed and delivered out of our sin through the blood of Jesus. The Word speaks in several places about the need for us to judge ourselves, so that God doesn’t need to judge us. Whenever the Lord’s Supper or Communion was administered the partakers were exhorted to examine their own hearts and motives so that they didn’t partake of the Communion with sin still active and present in their lives. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 says, “27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.” It is important for all of us to perform this self-examination in the light of God’s Word continually and respond to the evidence of sin in our lives by ridding ourselves of it. If we judge ourselves in this manner then we avoid the need for the Lord’s discipline to come upon us and deal with us in a more severe manner. This is true for all of us, but the ministers and the leadership of God’s house has even a greater responsibility in this cleansing, because they are the ones who help to wash the rest of the saints by giving forth the Word of God. This is a time when we are seeing God beginning to reveal and judge the sin in His house. It will start with the ministry of greater accountability and will follow down from there. 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
James 1:21-25 sums up the spiritual aspect of the laver quite well, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” We need to savor the laver, judging our own selves in the light of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s conviction. The laver was not just to look into, but to wash in, through this washing we can be the instruments and ministers who can effectively serve both the Lord and man. It is essential that we are clean and right before the Lord.
“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn [yourselves] from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. (Ezekiel 18:30)”

Blessings,
#kent

Born to Serve

December 12, 2014

Exodus 23:25
And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

Born to Serve

From the time that we come into this earth we were born to serve. We will serve something or someone all of our days. The question is what and whom do we serve?
The children of Israel during their stay in Egypt served the Egyptians some four hundred years. Just think, that is longer than our United States is old. Being servants to Egyptians had become a mindset and just a way of life. It was who you were and what you did. It took a Moses, operating under the Spirit of God, to begin to overturn that mindset and slavery thinking. It is no different with us. We grow up serving the world and thinking like the world. That is what everybody does, so that is what we do. Then along comes Jesus and upsets our way of thinking and serving.
Some are naïve enough to say, “I don’t serve anybody. I’m my own person.” When a person says something like that they are saying, that indeed, they are a servant to their flesh. It is there old nature that rules over them, but if they have never known anything different they don’t recognize it as slavery.
God allowed Israel to become the servants and slaves of Egypt. God told Abram in Genesis 15:13, “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.” Now why did God do that? Why did He allow Adam to fall into the slavery of sin and darkness and in the process take all of humanity with Him? We can’t know freedom and really appreciate it until we have experienced slavery and bondage. We can never really appreciate the light of day until we have walked through the darkness of night. We can’t really appreciate the warmth and beauty of spring until we have walked through the coldness and the deadness of winter. God allows us to experience certain things so that we can have an appreciation and a revelation of something so much better and so much higher.
God has delivered us out of the realm of bondage into the liberty of the Sons of God, but some of us still have our old mindsets and earthly way of thinking. Many of us still see our promise land as a place possessed by giants and impossibilities rather than seeing it as a land flowing with milk and honey which is our inheritance. As a result we slip back into the bondage of our unredeemed thinking and belief system. We don’t believe we can therefore we can not.
God wants to blow the lid off of this kind stinking thinking. It is an offense to Him and denial of who He is. We are not going to possess this land in and of our selves because we are no longer of ourselves. We are of Christ. It is the Christ who is the might and the power and the authority in us to prevail and possess our land, as we dispossess the giants and its former inhabitants. How long are we going to allow satan to rob us of that which is rightfully ours? It is only the intimidation of his fear and doubt that prevents us. Where is our spirit of Joshua and Caleb that sees how great their God is rather than how weak we are in our flesh? If you can see it by the Spirit you can possess it by faith. If you are walking in the will and authority of God then there is none that can stand before you.
God has raised us up to be the conquering servants of the MOST HIGH GOD! He has brought us out of the bondage of sin and darkness. He has brought us out and is training us up to be the servants that bring humanity unto Him. You are His priesthood, His army and His sons to bring liberty to the afflicted and set the captive free. Romans 8: 18-25 declares, “I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us. 19In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. 20Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope 21that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. 22We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth. 23The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children. This means that our bodies will also be set free. 24And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. 25However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it.” We are God’s Moses to His creation. He has commissioned us in His Son to be the liberators of His creation that have been subjected to the bondage of sin and death. We have been blessed that God has given us the privilege of knowing Him and being prepared for this calling. Unfortunately many of us don’t yet see it by faith. Some of us see it, but we are still too entangled in the affairs of this life. Until our thinking is liberated we can never be the servants that we were born to be. We are called to be servant kings that rule and reign to bless and liberate. That is our purpose and that is our calling. With the most reverent respect to God, I say, “ the devil be damned, let’s possess the land!”

Blessings,
#kent

With Eyes Set Only upon Jesus

November 25, 2014

Ephesians 4:1-6
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

With Eyes Set Only upon Jesus

Set your eyes on none other than Jesus Christ, the high priest of your confession, for He alone is the author and the finisher of your faith. Many eyes are upon men, but no man can save you or transform you. There is one new man of which all the saints are a part. It operates out of the Spirit and anointing of Christ. It moves in accordance as the head directs it and energizes it with His power and life.
“It is not man that you are to be mindful of says the Lord, it is Me. Set your eyes upon Me for I will not disappoint you.”
Man will always disappoint. Follow after the example of Christ you see in others, but know that they are subject to the same weaknesses and frailties as you.
Jesus says there is only One good, God the Father. Our goodness is only in the measure that the Father expresses His righteousness through us by faith. Christ in you, that is your righteousness. The spirit of a man may be willing, but his flesh is sometimes weak. In all your ways, set your eyes upon Jesus. He is your Savior and Messiah.
Many are hurt and wounded in the body of Christ, because they have lifted up the man of God, rather than the Christ in him. When the man falls down, often the faith of the those looking to him falls with him. We do want to respect and hold in honor those who are spiritual leaders. While they may guide us and teach us, they can not save us. Never transfer upon them what only Christ can do for you. Our faith should never be moved by what happens to man. They walk by the same grace that holds you and I. Pray for them that they would not fall, for they are often under great attack and pressure. It is not our criticisms that will stay them, it is our prayers and intercessions for them. They bear the same infirmities and weaknesses as we do, but the burden of responsibility is so much greater upon them.
We are a body that under-girds one another, upholds one another, ministers and serves one another. What we give to leadership in prayer and support is every bit as important as what they can impart back spiritually. A true leader is not a lord, they are a servant. Their burden and responsibility are the ones they serve. Likewise the ones they serve have the responsibility to encourage, support and pray for them that serve in this office. None of us are above another, but some do carry greater responsibility. We all have the responsibility to help them to stand, not alone, but with the strength of our gifts (spiritually and monetarily) and our prayers.
Call no man Father, for you have but one Father, but know that there are those that father you in the faith and help you to grow in the likeness of Him. Respect and honor them, but do not set your faith and trust in them, but in the Christ they have led you to know and believe in.
This is no longer a day of big names and men of renown. It is a day when the kingdom is at work in the body of Christ teaching each of us to function in our gifts and callings. Each of us needs one another, for together, with Christ who is our head, we make up the whole new man in Christ Jesus.
Beloved, love one another, care for one another and pray for one another. Honor and pray for those that labor over you. Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us, ” It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” It is time for the body to grow up into the fullness of what God has called us to be in Christ. Ephesians 4:4 reminds us, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Let us all flow in the unity of that one Lord who has loved us and gave Himself for us. Ephesians 4:25-32 goes on to exhort us in our behavior toward one another. ” Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
We are one another’s keepers. Lift each one up in the faith, in love and prayer He has called us too. In Him we are one man and one body.

Blessings,
#kent

Hope, Joy and Crown

November 24, 2014

Hope, Joy and Crown

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

When we selflessly plant ourselves into other people’s lives what is our gain if they can’t reward us and we see no earthly or monetary benefit? What do we hope to see in our children through the years of raising them, nurturing, teaching and mentoring them? It is not for what they can pay us back in material gain that we do it. It is a labor of love and the harvest we long to see, that we continue to pray for, hope for and believe for are lives that are healthy, productive and that produce a legacy. A parent’s greatest reward is to have children that love and respect them, but also that hold to the values of faith that were instilled in them and that they in turn instill those same values in their children. We long to see a perpetual legacy of generations that follow on to know and obey the Lord.
The churches that the apostle Paul established were his children. He taught them, mentored them and raised them up in the faith and knowledge of Christ. It wasn’t a job for him; it was his life, his purpose and his joy. When he stood before the Lord there was no greater testimony to his faithfulness and his greatness as a servant of God than those that he had raised up in Christ. He was able to stand with the Lord and look through the generations at the harvest he had been instrumental in producing in the earth. This stood as Paul’s greatest, hope, joy and crown. This was his greatest reward.
Our greatest reward in heaven won’t be about our businesses, our finances or our status in the community; it will be about what we planted in others. It will be about what we sowed into their lives through our faithful commitment and walk with Christ. We want to see it in our children and our grandchildren. We want to see it in the ones that we helped disciple and bring to Christ. Nothing breaks our heart more than to see what we have treasured and nurtured stolen and destroyed by sin. It is for this reason that our Lord Jesus ever stands as our high priest making intercession on our behalf. He too, longs after us to be His hope, joy and crown.
Let us not grow weary or complacent concerning the awesome responsibility that we have toward those who under our spiritual authority or influence. We must remember that we are the priests of our home and have the responsibility to pray, intercede, teach and persuade our families in the ways of righteousness and salvation. Be faithful to the gift, the calling and instrument that God has created you to be. How we respond and use what He has created us to be and how that translates into the lives of others will be our hope, our joy and crown. Our legacy is our glory and our joy.

Blessings,
#kent

Be Kind to One Another

February 3, 2014

 

Be Kind to One Another


Ephesians 4:32

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


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

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

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

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

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

 
Blessings,
kent

Washing His Feet with Tears

November 8, 2013

Washing His Feet with Tears

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

There are many that have carried and shared the gospel of good news, but there is none to compare with the author and giver of salvation itself, Jesus. His feet are the most beautiful and wonderful of all. He stepped down out of heaven as the Son of God and Lord of all and walked the dusty roads of earth to fully reveal God to us and to turn our feet into the way of salvation and life. It was His feet that walked the walk of the cross; that carried that bruised and wounded and horribly afflicted body to the ultimate sacrifice. It was His feet that stumbled and struggled under the weight of that cross that He bore for us. Never were there more beautiful feet than the feet that bear the hole from the spike that was driven through them.
There was a woman named Mary who had a revelation of how precious these feet were. They had walked into her life when she was nothing more than a shame and usable commodity of men, despised and looked down upon by most. When she had been cast down at His feet, He did not judge and condemn her, though He had every right to do so. He loved her and forgave her when she was the most unlovely and undesirable. He gave her back a life of dignity, respect and purpose. I don’t think there is another example in the Word of God that demonstrates the love, the submission, the feelings of appreciation and gratitude like the act of Mary. While she couldn’t love Jesus with physical intimacy, she so expressed the intimacy for Him and the love for Him she felt in herself through an act of worship that natural men couldn’t understand and even despised.
John 12:1-7 tells us, “Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5″Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7″Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. ” It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
In this story we see the scene taking place in Bethany where Lazarus lived and where Martha was serving. Mary was their sister. In Luke 7 we see the same event happening only it is described as taking place in the house of Simon the Pharisee. Perhaps Simon was the father of Lazarus, Martha and Mary and that would explain why Mary had access into the house in the first place. I’m sure not any woman of the street was allowed to come in. This account in Luke 7:36-50 reads like this,” 36Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41″Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””
This woman could have been, and I believe is, what exemplifies the love of the bride for the bridegroom. She loves much, because she was forgiven much. Her tears flow from a heart of tremendous gratitude and worship. She uses her hair, which is her glory, to glorify the Savior and to wipe the feet of Jesus. She kisses His feet expressing her deepest affection and her unreserved submission. She breaks and pours out upon the feet of Jesus her most precious material possession as she anoints Him from her body, her soul and her spirit. Truly if there were an act of spiritual worship and expression, she demonstrated it that day. She didn’t care what anyone else thought or how they were going to view her or think of her. She only had eyes and a heart for Jesus. She demonstrated for all of us what it is to sit and bow at the feet of Jesus and not just be ministered too, but how to serve, love and appreciate Him. Most only knew how take from the love and virtue of Jesus, but here is the least of women, the outcast of society that demonstrates how to minister, serve and give back love to the One who first loved her. How much we can all learn about ministering at the feet of Jesus through this woman, Mary. Jesus used this moment to show us the difference between the religious protocol and outward service compared to the unabashed expression of a heart that loved and yearned for Him. A heart that was willing to give the best of all she was or had to glorify and love Jesus. What kind of heart do we have for the Lord? How do we minister and worship at the feet of Jesus?

Blessings,
kent

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