Despair

February 13, 2015

Despair

2 Corinthians 4:8
[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;

There may be one today that is in a place of despair. You are so low and you feel so worthless that you despair of life itself. Desperation is overtaking you and maybe you are even contemplating that the world would be better off without you. Beloved, despair is the work of the enemy. Never is it God’s intent to bring you here. God is not the author of discouragement. He values you even more than you can value yourself.
“You may say, “even God can’t love me the way I am.” God has never stopped loving you in spite of what you are. Though the world would despise you, God has not forsaken you. Even in the bondage of deepest and ugliest sin God’s heart beats for us. Even when men can’t forgive you, God can. He loves even the lowest and vilest of sinners, the greatest failures, the nobodies, the forgotten and the rejected. God didn’t come in Christ Jesus just to call out and save the golden boys and girls. He came for all and especially those rejected of the world. 1 Corinthian 1:27-31 says, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
God is calling out to you in your despair today. Despair is the tool of devil for self-condemnation in order to destroy the precious gift of life and hope that God has given you. God is there for us when we turn to Him. It isn’t by the evidence of our feeling that we determine His presence it is according to the promise and faithfulness of His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us if we call out and believe on Him. The Lord wants to instill hope in your life today. He wants to instill in you confidence that in His eyes you are of great value and worth. No matter what your life has been or where it has taken you God can take it and use it for good if you surrender your all to Him. He is reaching out to you the hand of hope and life today. He is your lifeline that will keep you from drowning in the miry sea. Reach out and lay hold of Him. Lay hold of Christ and the precious promises for life and blessing in His Word. Jesus died for you as much as anyone else, reach out by faith and receive life from Him today.

Blessings,
#kent

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When Jesus is LiftedUp

January 22, 2015

John 8:3-11
3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

When Jesus is Lifted Up

A characteristic the Holy Spirit brought to my attention about Jesus is that every time that Jesus is lifted up the Father is manifested and glorified. In our passage today we see Jesus taking a lower position than the self-righteous accusers of the woman caught in adultery. When He does lift Himself up it is not to exalt Him, but to exalt the truth. When Jesus is lifted up things can change in the hearts of men. When His truth is exalted and the Father is glorified it brings light and conviction upon the ungodly and the sinner. When He is lifted up His light shines within our hearts to show their true motives.
Further in the chapter in John 8:28 Jesus tells the religious leaders, “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” When Jesus is lifted up the Father is glorified and the truth prevails.
In John 12:22 Jesus declares, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.” Taken out of context this sounds like a prideful statement, but taken in the context of the life and ministry of Jesus we know that His being lifted up on the cross was the greatest act of humility God ever performed towards man. He gave His only Son to die so that His being lifted up in death might result in mankind being lifted up in life. Again, His being lifted up on the cross glorified the Father and exalted the Truth.
Whenever Jesus lifted His eyes, His hands, others or Himself, the result was always blessing and life. His boast was never in Himself, even though He knew who He was. It was always in the Father that He boasted and gave glory. What an example this is for us who know who we are in Christ. It is never about us, but it is always about Him. In Him we live and move and have our being. In Him we are able to do all things through Christ that strengthens us. It should never be about lifting up who we are. That is a sign of one who is a novice and still indulged in self. We know that if Jesus is lifted up He will draw all men to Himself. We know that if Jesus be lifted up the Father will be glorified and the truth will be exalted, bodies will be healed and lives will be changed. When Jesus is lifted up the King is exalted and His kingdom becomes manifest. It is to the Lord Jesus that we give all the honor, the praise and the glory. It is His name that we lift up, because it is higher than any other and through the lifting up of His name the works of God are brought forth in the earth and He is exalted through our lives.

Blessings,
#kent

Why Should I Drop My Rock?

December 9, 2014

John 8:1-11
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Why Should I Drop My Rock?

The law of sin and death apprehends us in our sin. The accuser comes before the Lord proclaiming our sin and demanding just retribution. “The Law says” and condemnation follows.
There we are, lying in the dust, naked and ashamed, fearing what may soon follow. We can’t justify ourselves. Our sin has found us out and Jesus has every right to say, “do what the law says and stone the sinner,” but He doesn’t. He stoops there, almost oblivious to the crowd, the railing accusation, the demands for justice and in that place of rest and peace He just writes with His finger in the dirt. Perhaps He is listing all the sins of the accusers.
Finally, Jesus speaks one sentence so amazing, profound and convicting that it shuts the mouth of every accuser and a disperses the angry and blood thirsty mob.
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The law of sin and death has to bow to the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus. If that were us lying there naked, ashamed and in sin, awaiting the rocks and stones to fly and pelt the life out of us, what would it mean to us to be justified by Jesus. He didn’t justify the sin, but He justified the sinner, making it as though she had never done it. Jesus was without sin. He had every right to condemn and judge her. He could have thrown that first stone and yet He chose to throw mercy and forgiveness upon her instead of judgement.
How many times could Jesus have cast me out and cast me off, because of my sin? Instead He has always chosen to forgive me and exhorts me to not live in that place of sin any longer. Are we any different than this woman? Are our sins so much more righteous than hers? Does God really measure sins or are they all a falling short of Him and His highest for us?
I believe that this was a life changing moment for this woman when the kindness of God led her to repentance and change. I believe she saw in Jesus, someone who could do for her what she could not do for herself. She found forgiveness in Him, who looked not upon her shame and failure, but rather saw her value even in her sinful state.
When we read this, we should realize that is exactly what God did for me. He took my sin away, He exonerated me, forgave me and justified me; just as if I had never done it. In the light of that grace, what justification would I have to judge and condemn another? Knowing the debt that Christ paid for me, who am I to hold another accountable for the little debt they may owe me, or the sin they may have perpetrated against me? If God could forgive me so much, why, as His child, am I willing to forgive so little?
Again, Jesus would say to you and me, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
How many of us have failed to drop our rocks and stones of offense and unforgiveness against others? “Father forgive me my trespasses and sins, as I forgive others.”

Blessings,
#kent

Hypocrisy

April 16, 2014

Hypocrisy

James 3:17
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

The definition of a hypocrite is, one who answers, an interpreter, an actor, stage player, pretender, one who is feigned, disguised or is insincere. It is one who wears a mask or false identity. It is a fact of human nature that what you see is not always what you get. From the time we are children we grow up learning to play the game of human interaction. We learn to put forward what others or society expects of us which often is not who we really are. We want to be people pleasers and accepted of others. Sometimes we have so many identities we don’t even know who we are.
Then, when we become Christians we are introduced to the religious system and we learn how to wear that mask. We learn the right phrases, how to act and put forward what is “acceptable Christian behavior.” Never mind the arguing, fighting and ugliness we showed toward our spouse and children as we were getting ready for church and on the way. As we step out of the car and walk into the church suddenly this transformation takes place. Suddenly we put on this godly smile and countenance and to those we encounter all is right with the world. If we are honest all of us have experienced this kind of behavior in our lives and probably still do. There is this duality in our lives that keeps us from being who we really are for fear that that is unacceptable. Many of us spend our lives living a lie and fashion ourselves around the dictates of others. We are so afraid of being seen in the nakedness of who we really are. It is true that many of us have some pretty hideous deformities and abnormalities in our lives, but are they ever dealt with and healed by masking them over. Our lives become one big game of pretending to be something or someone we really aren’t. What is worse, we then judge others out of our pretentious hypocrisy, because they don’t live up to the standard. The truth is they just don’t play the game as good as we do.
Is this what God wants us to be? If ever Jesus railed on anyone, it wasn’t the outright sinner it was the hypocrite. The one who liked to condemn and point the finger when inside he was no different than the ones he condemned. ” For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye (Matthew 7:2-5).”
We have been talking a lot about light and darkness. It is time we all come out into the light and be real with who we are. The truth is that most all of our lives are a mess in one area or another. We know that God sees us for who we really are. We know that it is only His power and grace that can transform us. How can this take place if we can’t even face up to who and what we are? It starts with us being honest with ourselves and with God. His love and mercy has already been extended to us in that, “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” He loves us no matter how ugly the sin our lives has been, but He loves us too much to leave us that way. His desire is bring us out of darkness into the light so that there it is exposed and we can repent, receive forgiveness through the blood of Christ and begin a path in the opposite direction of our sin, dependent upon the Lord to help us walk that way. We are all in this walk together and we are going from glory to glory, but we are at different stages in our maturity and walk with God. Our purpose as a body is to help each other along the way. We have to deal with these sin issues with honesty if we are going to be set free of them. If we want to continue to hold on to them then the dealings must become more severe, because these are stumbling blocks and hindrances to who we really are in Christ and what He has called us to be. Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” It is time that we quit playing games with God and with others and be real. Let’s deal with who we really are, because only then can we come into what God wants us to be. It is time we stop living the lie of hypocrisy and become the forgiven vessels of His mercy and grace no matter how humble that may be. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently: (1 Peter 1:22).”

blessings,
#kent

Spiritual Water

December 26, 2013

John 4:13-14

Jesus 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.” 

 

Spiritual Water

 

The setting here is Jesus sitting at Jacob’s well and speaking to this natural woman of Samaria.  Jesus speaks a parable or metaphor that takes her natural needs and transcends them to a spiritual plane.  Here He is taking the essential need that we all have for water, which is a basic compound of life and showing us through this woman that He has something to give us where we will never thirst again.  This woman, like most of us, being naturally minded is still trying to comprehend this truth with the natural mind.  It becomes obvious that Jesus isn’t speaking about giving her some magical natural fluid where she will never experience natural thirst again, but He wants to give her the spiritual water of His life where she will experience having all that she ever needs and will see that all of her needs are met in Him.  Jesus makes this obvious when He tells her to go and bring her husband.  She responds in John 4:17, “I have no husband,” she replied.”  Jesus then says, “”You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” Like this woman, many of us go through life searching for the thing, that person, that experience or whatever it is that will fulfill us.  We are looking for what will give us our sense of purpose and being.  We can keep drinking from the natural wells of this world, but we will always thirst again.  Jesus is trying to communicate to this woman that I am the water that you need. When you drink of Me you are drinking of the eternal water that flows out of the throne of God.  In Me you can be satisfied and fulfilled. What begins as a drink will become in you a spring of water welling up to eternal life.  

Many of us have found this truth and have drank of this living water.  Some of us neglect and take for granted the dynamic power and life that is in what we have drank.  We become complacent and again turn our attentions to natural things.  This is a time that we want to be drinking deeply of Him.  We are His springs of living water that are coming forth throughout the earth.   We are His wells of life giving water that can refresh others with this living water.  Every day opportunities present themselves to share life.  Are we seizing those moments and offering the living water to those that are thirsting and searching? We are His springs, but we mustn’t allow ourselves to be a spring shut up and a fountain sealed.  With love and compassion let us give those a drink who are thirsting.  Let us share with them the living water, so that they may never thirst again.  

 
Blessings,
kent

Do You Love what God Loves?

December 3, 2013

Luke 15:1-7
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4″Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Do You Love what God Loves?

I have the joy of photographing many people. We jokingly tell our clients that we have one rule when they view their photographs. They can criticize anyone else but themselves. Why do we say that? Invariably, the ones we are the most critical and judgmental of is ourselves. We can see faults and weaknesses in us that no else would even notice or pay attention too. Self is sometimes the hardest person we have to live with and accept. Sometimes it is hard to love your neighbor as your self, because you don’t really love yourself.
God sent Jesus Christ to tell you that you have extreme value and worth in His eyes. We often judge ourselves according to worldly standards of acceptance. We may hate ourselves because we don’t fit into the right weight class, physical appearance, intellectual ability, race or social –economic status. There are numerous reasons we may feel condemned and rejected. We may be struggling with hidden sins or urges we know are perverse or unclean. We may have done things that we are ashamed of or feel dirty and condemned for. Do you know why these sinners and publicans liked to hang around Jesus? It wasn’t because He told them what scumbags and worthless people they were and that they were all going to hell. They were attracted by the Love. It was a love that they had never seen or known for themselves. It was a love that was unconditional and that could look past their sin and shame and see their heart. It was a love that spoke to them that they were not just refuse and rejects, but that they had value and were precious in the eyes of the Father. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God didn’t come after us with a big stick. He came after us with the greatest act of Love ever demonstrated to man. God isn’t trying to reject you; He is trying to accept you. We already stand rejected and condemned because of our sin, but God’s love says come to me, trust in My Son and His blood will cover your sin and shame. His blood, shed for your sin, can wash you as white as snow if you will embrace Him in faith. God’s heart is to save and redeem a lost and dying world. It is not His desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and eternal life. We have a will that He has given us and He will not violate our will. He doesn’t force us to receive salvation, He simply invites us to receive the provision He has provided for us to be delivered out of the judgement that is already in place for sin and come into His life, receiving His forgiveness.
Many that have walked in darkness for a time are really sick and tired of it. They realize the emptiness it leaves inside of them. It is fun for the moment, but then it leaves us feeling unclean, used and worthless. So we come back to that attitude so many of us have about ourselves, for various reasons. The truth is that God wants you to love and respect what He loves, and that is you. His heart beats for you, His arms are open to you and He wants to receive you and transform your life. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, the important thing for you to know is that He loves you and He can forgive you if you ask Him too. Simply give your heart to Him. Ask Him to forgive those past sins, come to live in your heart and to give you His life. He has a destiny and purpose for your life that you will never know or find in the places of darkness and self –loathing. It is in His love and His light that He will teach you the path of righteousness and show you the great value that you can have in His kingdom.
Do you love what God loves? Isn’t it time that you did? You are the object of His love.

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

Three Men in a Desert

March 25, 2013

Proverbs 13:22
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

Three Men in a Desert

Three men started across the desert. One man was loaded down with canteens of water and lots of food. The other man had a tent, umbrella, blanket and some water. The third man had a hat, a canteen, a Bible and faith in the Lord.
After a couple of days of walking the man with all of the canteens and food died of exhaustion from the weight of all of his water and provisions. The other two men buried him, split up the remaining water and food, and continued on. On the fourth day a gust of wind caught the one man’s umbrella as he was climbing over a rocky hill, threw him off balance and he fell to his death upon the rocks. The third man buried him and used the remaining resources to finish his journey.
The moral of the story is that often the Lord uses the resources others strive to gain and hold on too, to bless those who walk in faith and trust in Him.

Blessings,
kent

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