Christ in You

May 3, 2016

 

Matthew 25: 35-40

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 

35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 

36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 

37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 

38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 

40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 

Christ in You

You are a ray of sunshine.

You are the extension of God’s divine.

You bring healing in the midst of pain.

You are heaven on an earthly plane.

When you walk into a room it brightens up.

When you spend time with me you fill my cup.

You are my companion when I feel alone.

The voice of love is in your tone.

You are the servant that gives your all.

You pick those up who stumble and fall.

You encourage those who have lost their worth.

You share the life that brings new birth.

I see His face when you smile.

I see His walk when you go the second mile.

I see His love in your unselfish ways.

Yes, you are His expression day by day.

Kent Stuck

Blessings!

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Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Three Things that God Requires

We, like the children of Israel before us, often carry a mindset that says we can live and operate on one set of values in the market place or our social lives and then another set of values when we want to approach God in church or worship. How many people that consider themselves Christians think that they can appease God by having a religion, offering their tithes or offerings, performing a few rituals and then it is back to business as usual. How many seek to put on a holy face before God on Sunday only to defraud their neighbor on Monday. How many times have those who wear the name Christian been less than ethical in their dealings with others and especially with other Christians. We try to live out of two different value systems as we compartmentalize our life into business, pleasure and religion.
God is saying that if you are truly a Christian then Christianity is your business. He is not appeased by what we try to do for Him and with our token efforts to please Him. He is interested in where our heart is. He tells us that there are three things that He requires of us. The first is to act justly. A just person is one who is upright in all of their ways. They act out of justice, fairness, without prejudice and favoritism. It is basically the act making right judgements. Every day we have to make decisions of right and wrong, of what benefits just us or what can do to benefit others and what is selfish and what is unselfish. When we act and live out of the mind of Christ, allowing the Spirit of God to direct our ways then we will act justly, because of Him who is the righteous judge within us.
The second thing the Lord requires is that we love mercy. When we live in this mercy we are living out of goodness, kindness and faithfulness not only toward God, but also toward our fellow man. In our society many of us are very big on our rights and our privileges. Many will not hesitate to take you to court or sue you if they think that you have violated their rights in some manner or you are in some way responsible for some misfortune. There may be times when that is necessary, but if we had more mercy, so many times it wouldn’t be. Mercy is the act of love that is longsuffering, slow to be offended, hasty to forgive and patient in tribulation. Often we as Christians are quick to judge the world and those of the world, especially when they don’t fit within the paradigm of what we think is proper and good. The mercy of Jesus was not shown favoring the arrogance and self-righteousness of the religious near as much as it was shown toward the outcast and the sinner. ‘Jesus came not to judge the world, but that world through Him might have life.’ He was a life-giver and life-imparter. The apostle Paul reminds us of God’s mercy toward us in Ephesians 2:3-5, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” God’s mercy working through us is to bring others into His mercy for them.
Finally, God says I require that you ‘walk humbly with your God’. Nothing can make us more humble than just reflecting upon the love and mercy of God toward us. When we walk in the fear of the Lord there will be that humility that expresses our submission and dependency upon Him. Many of us have forgotten that and with our wealth and prosperity we boast in what our hands have done. We tend to think we don’t really need God so much in our lives, at least not till things fall apart or we get into a major crisis. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and walking humbly with your God.
Paul sums these principles up so beautifully in Romans 12:3-21so let us conclude meditating upon this passage. “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Blessings,
#kent

Wells of Salvation

September 1, 2015

Wells of Salvation

Isaiah 12
AND IN that day you will say, I will give thanks to You, O Lord; for though You were angry with me, Your anger has turned away, and You comfort me.
2Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation.
3Therefore with joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation.
4And in that day you will say, Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name and by means of His name [in solemn entreaty]; declare and make known His deeds among the peoples of the earth, proclaim that His name is exalted!
5Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done excellent things [gloriously]; let this be made known to all the earth.
6Cry aloud and shout joyfully, you women and inhabitants of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
Isn’t it wonderful to have a well of salvation to draw the water of life from? Every day we must go to this well, for from it we draw the life, the direction, the strength and refreshment we need. As we drink deep of the Spirit of Life we are refreshed, filled with joy and thanksgiving. It is at this well we find the anger of the Lord turned away from us and instead we find forgiveness, redemption, healing and hope. As we drink from this well we realize that all things are possible, because the life we drink from is not our own and it knows no limitations, short of our faith to believe and God’s wisdom in how He responds. Faith becomes our bucket by which we draw out this water of life and we find its increase in our sharing it with others. It is with great joy that we draw this water, because we drink from the fountain of eternal life.
The Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon spent his life in pursuit of the fountain of youth. It was in front of him all of the time and he wouldn’t even have had to leave home to find it. He pursued the vanity of the flesh and no matter what we do with the flesh or how we operate on it, it is a corruptible commodity and will pass away. What we can discover and drink from is a well that is so much richer, deeper and more lasting than any fountain of youth or means we may seek to preserve this natural life. As we drink from the well of God’s eternal Word and abide in the Spirit of His life, we have great reason for rejoicing and praise. Our greatest joy can be in sharing this life with others that they also may know the great joy associated with this well.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:10-15 about this living water and this well of salvation. “10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11″Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”” He is that well of salvation, that eternal source of life, hope and joy. He is our strength, our portion, our deliverer and our very present help in time of need.
Every day that I come to write I take a drink and ask to able to share some aspect of this water with others so that they also might be strengthened, encouraged, refreshed and partakers in this life. The Lord spoke to the woman at the well that in drinking from this you will never thirst for another. As we drink of Him we become His well spring. Out of God’s people is the issues of life as we share with others what we ourselves have found and rejoice in.
Take your bucket of faith and continue to draw and drink deep from this well, but then share the joy of the well of salvation with others that they also may know this great joy and likewise become partakers of so great a salvation. You will be amazed at what God can bring up out of your life as you drink of Him and depend upon Him to be your source and well spring of life.

Blessings,
#kent

Colossians 3:18-19
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

The Road back to Love and Intimacy

Remember when your romance was as sweet as honey and the love of your life could do no wrong. You adored them, idolized them and wanted to spend every moment together. Many of us, looking back at those younger years, ask ourselves, “what happened to that first love?” We still may love each other, but many couples struggle with the “feelings of love” that are missing. The romance has died way down and now you may find that instead of really loving and cherishing that wonderful man or woman you are struggling to get along with them. The man may feel like the wife is always nagging him, he can never do enough or anything right, she doesn’t respect and honor him. The woman may feel like the husband has become an insensitive jerk that never communicates or works through the problems, he doesn’t meet her needs. Over the years and the cycles of good and bad times, we can accumulate a lot of baggage. If I ask you if you love your husband or your wife, you would quite likely reply, “will of course I do,” but neither one of you may be experiencing the love from one another that you feel and know should be there. We may say we hold no unforgiveness toward one another, but in reality both parties bear scars, wounds, unresolved conflicts and issues that linger in the subconscious ready to rear their ugly heads at the right moment, opportunity or provocation. We find that we fail to often treat each other with the love, dignity and respect that both parties are due in a marriage.
Fifty percent of our marriages fail due to these kind of issues, but how many more are struggling and hurting? We need to return to that place of intimacy and closeness that we once shared, but we can’t until we are able let down the walls we’ve built up and are willing to let go of all the offenses, hurts and bitterness that we carry.
When the Word says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord,” that submission might be just creating a safe place where your husband can share with you. It needs to be a place where you aren’t venting your anger, frustration, criticism and unhappiness, no matter how justified you may feel with those feelings. If you want your husband to communicate and be sensitive to your needs, you have to create an atmosphere of submission where you really want to see, feel and understand his heart. That can be a hard place for a man. He may not be in touch with his feelings the way you are, so be gentle and be patient and above all, be kind.
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” Husbands can be very confrontational, critical and harsh, but many repress their feelings and emotions. They retreat into that shell of seeming insensitivity and non-communication. Many times it is a response of self-preservation. Often the harder the wife tries to break through that seeming insensitivity with harsh or critical words the more the husband withdrawals. If you want the turtle to stick his head out of the shell you have to stop beating on the shell and make him feel that when he sticks his head out it won’t get bit off. Husbands can hold a lot of things in their hearts that they may not even be fully aware of. Their means of retaliation may be more passive or subtle, but it may be coming from a bitterness that has built up in their hearts against their wives. They, on the other hand, need to really listen to the heart of their wives and make those needs their goals to fulfill. They need to make them feel secure in your love for them and remember them often in the little gifts, the things you do and say. Marriage is a teaching ground for unconditional love and service. It is where we should both be learning to lay down our lives for the other. Love is not always about feeling, but about commitment, covenant and a decision to love your spouse unconditionally even when they don’t derserve it.
Maybe we need to come together as a couple where we can agree that the love of Christ is going to rule and dictate our behavior and response to one another. We need to hold one another, not sexually, but intimately, while we confess our sins, our hurts and failures to one another. We need to truly commit to a willingness to really forgive and hear the other person’s heart. We need an uninterrupted time of reconciliation where we can write down and commit to one another some realistic goals where we will begin to address some of our deepest issues. Keep it simple and not more than we can realistically deal with at one time. Start with just three things each. Then let’s make a date for our next intimate time we can meet with the same right heart and attitude, in the love of Christ to see how we are doing. Again, we need to keep it safe and non-confrontational. This is a team project and we can’t succeed if we only have our own agenda and interest at heart. We can’t expect to mend and restore a broken down barn in a day or even a week, it will take time to restore, just as it took time to deteriorate. We can change the cycle and the direction of our marriages if we will both commit to it and stay with it. We will begin to see our true intimacy and love begin to come alive in our feelings and the way we treat one another. God wants to see our marriages strong and alive with His love. There is a lot of truth to the addage that ‘the family that prays together, stays together’. It is hard to be right with each other when we are not right with God. If we are committed to Christ, then we must also be committed to one another, for we are one flesh. Together let’s build the road back to true love and intimacy like we had in our first love.

Blessings,
#kent

Four Wells (Part 2)

May 8, 2015

Four Wells
(Part 2)

When Isaac dug the third well they didn’t contend with Isaac for it. This was called Rehoboth or ‘the wide places or streets’. Isaac said, “Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land.” There are times of peace and stability within our Christian walk, but the Holy Spirit is a dynamic force and if we are walking in the Spirit then we won’t remain idle for long. We will continue to move and grow in one dimension or another. The well as Rehoboth is like the well of salvation that has been placed in the wide place of humanity. It is open to all who believe and wish to partake of it. It is a well of peace for it excludes no one who wishes to drink of its waters.
Finally we see Isaac moving up to Beersheeba. At Beersheba God speaks to Isaac and he builds altar there to God. This is a place where we dig a well beyond our salvation experience. This is a place of personal revelation and purpose in God. It is a well dug in a place of worship and encounter with the Lord. It is a place where people will recognize and acknowledge the blessing and the anointing of Christ in your life and they will come to you. You are the representative of God to them and they will desire to make peace and covenant with God. You are in Christ and He is in you to the point that others will acknowledge His presence. Where they were hostile before now they come in peace to make peace with God.
We see Abimelech coming to Isaac and we see represented with him the whole man. There is Abimelech the spirit, Ahuzzath the adviser as the soul and Phicol the commander of the forces like the body. Isaac stands now in the place of priesthood to bring those without the covenant, into covenant and peace with God. This covenant is for the whole man, spirit, soul and body. It is interesting that immediately after the covenant was made they found water that same day. The Spirit will produce the life if we will dig the well and the well will become a source of life to sustain and keep us.
Beersheba means, ‘well of the sevenfold oath’. There is no doubt a great deal more truth that this well holds than what we are sharing here. Perhaps what we are seeing as Isaac moves from well to well is a progression and growth in spirit. Gerar, the land in which Isaac had been dwelling, means just that, ‘dwelling place’. God had sent Isaac there during a time of famine rather than allowing him to go back to Egypt. In times of need God doesn’t want us to go back to the world, but He places us in a dwelling place where we can grow in our faith and in our relationship with Him. What we see in Isaac is that He was producing life wherever he was. He was always redigging the wells of His Father. That is what God wants in us, to be well diggers, searching out His truth and becoming that source of truth for others. There will be those who strive and contend with us over it. That’s okay, just move on to dig the next well. Keep uncovering the truths of God’s word. They have been there all of the time, but they have been covered over. God has wells He wants you to dig in your life.

Blessings,
#kent

Activate

May 4, 2015

Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Activate

As we commit and devote our hearts to the Lord we are going to see activation. The Holy Spirit is wanting to activate his body even as the early church was activated after Pentecost and even greater. This is the day to take our Sunday Christianity and make it an active part of our every day life and encounters with the world around us. We need so much of Jesus spilling out of us that there is no way we can contain or hide the life that is living inside of us. This is the day to let Christ shine through our lives in word and deed.
For years we have set under the Word of God. Today is the day to become the Word of God in the flesh as we live by the Spirit in the love of God toward all men. We are carriers of His divine life and we want to infect every part of our world with His love and great salvation. It is not just about getting someone to pray a prayer and make a confession of faith, it is about being so much the reality of what we profess that others want what we have and they will seek us out to receive it.
The world’s general perception of Christianity looks very little like Christ. As the world has looked upon the Church as a whole, they have seen hypocrisy, materialism, ungodliness, judgementalism and self-righteousness. No wonder so many disdain Christianity. This is the time when they need to begin to see the reality of the true Church, the bride of Christ and His power and love manifested through her. For this love and power to flow through us, He must possess us body, soul and spirit. Our lives must be so focused and set upon the Father’s business. It can no longer be about life as usual; eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. This is the year to see and step into a radical transformation in the body of Christ, at least the first fruits of it. I believe God has prepared a people to champion His cause and bring a transformation in the paradigm of what the church of God is and what it should look like.
It is a day for us to graduate out of the school of learning and knowing and step into the world of being and doing. What is our faith if it is not activated to bring us forth in who we have been called to be as sons and daughter’s of the MOST HIGH GOD!
“Holy Spirit, arise in the hearts of your people and activate us to extreme godliness, holy living and love impacting lives. Emancipate us from all sin and every love and affection we have had for it. Help your people to rock the former image of your church and be the example of what the people of God are to truly look like. Help us to loose ourselves as we take up our cross and follow you whithersoever you would lead and direct us. Give us ears to hear your precious voice and hearts tender to quickly obey whatever you instruct us to do. Help us to walk the walk of faith and step boldly into who you have created us and called us to be. You are our God and in You we will be strong and do exploits. The world will come to know us by our love and unity and no longer by our division and condemnation. We will exemplify the love and nature of Christ in the earth, because we dare to allow that Christ to come forth in us. We dare to step into our Sonship and the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus. Our eyes, our hearts, our minds and desires are set upon You Holy Father. Activate Your people in righteousness, power and divine authority to have dominion over every darkness and every perverted thing that we may bring the hearts of a lost world into alignment with the restoration of the identity you want to give back to them. Help us to come into the image of what the true Church and body of Christ is suppose to look like in this hour that you might be glorified and magnified among men. Amen!”
Today is our day to be transformed from the introverts of self-centered lives to become the extroverts of Christ expressed lives. Let us be that standard of Christ activated for all to see and aspire too. Let our lives be the light that transcends the darkness and the love that brings healing, hope and salvation to every lost and wounded soul.

blessings,
#kent

His Provision

January 12, 2015

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

His Provision

As I spent time with the Lord this morning I talked with Him about provision and blessings, not just for our needs, but for the needs of the body of Christ. So many are struggling in these times. You can imagine my delight as I came this morning to write and the Lord spoke into my spirit Philippians 4:19. I had no idea that this was the content of the scripture when He spoke it to me.
For over a year now I have been hearing he Lord speak about divine provision through the things that I’ve heard Him speaking, but honestly I haven’t seen those expectations manifest yet, but just as honestly I continue to have the faith and confidence that the Lord is our provision. There are areas that He is dealing with in our lives and with the body in general.
One of those areas is in the unity and the function of the body. We are like a husband and wife with separate checking accounts and finances. We are possessive of our own things. We haven’t yet begun to move in the area of unity that Christ has called us too. We are fearful of being taken advantage of or we are jealous that someone else appears to be blessed more than we are. There are dynamics within the body of Christ that we need to move past, because truly most of us aren’t operating out of kingdom principles. If we don’t have the kingdom principles down then we are never going to see the kingdom power manifest. Just as there are rules of aerodynamics there are rules of kingdom dynamics. If we ever want to see our lift out of this earthly and into the heavenly then we all need to begin to apply these kingdom principles. The body doesn’t work where one member supplies every other member’s need; it works as we jointly supply one another’s needs.
One of the areas so many of us need to release to God is in the areas of our finances. We have become so fearful that we tend to horde what we have and dole it our quite sparingly. We not only rob the body, we rob God and even more, we rob ourselves. A seed planted will always produce more than a seed eaten. There is a need for the body of Christ to begin moving back to the book of Acts principles of having all things in common. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have things that are personal, but that we are all more willing to share of the resources and the talents that we all possess. We are family. If we are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone then the same holds true for those who are our brothers and our sisters in Christ. We are each other’s responsibility. Maybe you don’t have finances, but you are skillful in building, or sowing or accounting. I am reminded again of Haggai 1:3-6, “Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.”
God is telling us why there is such lack in our lives and in the body of Christ in general. We are still dwelling in the houses of our making, our agenda, our own prosperity, while God’s house lies in ruin. God’s promise to us is that if we build His house first we will see blessing in our own lives. This is that promise that He gave me a year ago. He concludes it in Haggai 2:15-19 by saying, “” ‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on —consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.
” ‘From this day on I will bless you.’ ”
It isn’t God that is withholding our blessing, it is us. His desire is to bless us, but we have to get things in order in our personal lives as well as our spiritual lives for the Lord to be able to release to us our divine provision. We are moving into times where it is more and more important that we learn the value of corporate unity and oneness in the sharing of our resources. It is no longer about us as individuals living the American dream, filling our pockets and others be damned. We are about putting each other’s needs before our own, reaching out in the love of Christ and often personal sacrifice to meet the needs in one another. This is building the house of the Lord. This is the restoration of the unity that Christ longs to see in His body.
We are the stewards of the Lord. In order for a Stewart to be entrusted with much, he must prove himself first faithful in little. Do not despise the days of small beginnings for they are the foundation stones to the days of greatness and blessing. Let us be faithful where we are at and with what we have. Be willing to give of yourself to the body in all of the areas that you are blessed and gifted. Isn’t this what God is looking for in His people? God is able to meet all of our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus, but there are hindrances that we must deal with first. We are all looking to God for our needs to be met and He is looking to us to start meeting the needs in one another and to faithfully give to Him what is His. If we will follow kingdom principles we will see kingdom results.

Blessings,
#kent

The Blessing of Giving

November 26, 2014

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

The Blessing of Giving

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

Blessings,
#kent

Prosperity

November 6, 2014

Philippians 4:10-20
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Prosperity

We, in this country, we have become a prosperity oriented people. In some cases we almost equate our outward wealth with our spirituality. Is that what we glean from this passage that Paul is sharing here?
We love to quote the word that he gives to the Philippians, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus,” but what prompted that statement. It was because the Philippians were all about giving. They appear to be one of Paul’s primary supporters and as such he speaks this blessing over them. It was the giving that brought the blessing.
Now Paul is not a prosperity preacher in the since of worldly goods. The prosperity that he preaches is the riches of God’s grace and glory in Christ Jesus. He speaks to the rich things God has for us and that isn’t always gained through the riches of this world. The truth is when the soul is pampered in comfort, it often doesn’t grow much in substance. We read about Paul’s training in this principle in the first of this passage. The training we see God taking Paul through and what He wants to bring us through is that of “being content whatever the circumstances”. God’s life and purpose are not really found in the pampering of our flesh, but more in the crucifixion of it. We are actually dying to the outward man and what we perceive its needs and desires to be. Our Christianity isn’t about living out of the benefits and provisions of the outward man, it is about living out of Christ who gives us strength to endure all trials and find contentment whatever our circumstances.
I know this kind of flies in the face of the prosperity teaching many of us have sat under. Indeed God is a God of blessings and most of us can attest to the enormous blessing over our physical lives as well as our spiritual ones. The thing that we need to understand in this hour is that there are going to be tougher days ahead and it is important for us to know and realize that our life and spirituality does not rest on these outward things. There is now a depth and treasure of riches we need to search out in knowing Christ. He alone is the riches that never fail. He is still that God that will meet our need, but it may not conform to the Christian-American mindset that many of us have developed. What’s more, is that we are to learn a key principle, the key to having our needs met, is in our willingness to see and meet the needs in others. This blessing that Paul spoke over the Philippians was birthed out this key principle. Our natural inclination when things get tough is to fear and react by hoarding to ourselves. The spiritual principle is that we see and meet the needs in the body of Christ, as well as blessing those who are in the world.
If we want to really prosper in this hour, it is to be found in the depth and intimacy of your relationship with Christ. It is out of Him that you can do all things. As Paul says here in verse 13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” It is only as we lose our supply that we begin to truly experience His supply. Let’s get a revelation of what true prosperity is. It is not in the things that you possess, but in the person that you possess.

Blessings,
#kent

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

You Don’t have to Give

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

Blessings,
kent

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