Luke 18:18-29

18A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19″Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'” 21″All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” 27Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” 28Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” 29″I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”

Hidden Issues of the Heart

We never truly see the fiber and the substance of our being until we are stretched beyond the boundaries of our comfort and norm.  There we see the flaws often hidden from sight.  We can oftentimes see ourselves much like this rich young ruler if we are willing to acknowledge it.  We love and have a zeal for God.  We try to keep His word and commandments.  We feel in our hearts that we truly love God.  We want to serve Him and we hunger and want more of Him.  We acknowledge that we have already done the fundamental requirements.  

“We have done all of these Jesus, what more do I need to do?”  

When Jesus puts His finger on our true heart issues.  He goes where we don’t want Him to go.  He goes to those little sanctuaries and strongholds of self that hold our affections.  It is those areas that often we don’t even realize how much they mean to us until we are asked to give them up.   For the rich young ruler it was his riches and wealth.  It had become what defined who he was and his identity was in his position and wealth rather than in God.  When Jesus touched on His heart issue it made the young man very sorrowful.  The Greek word here conveys that it was sorrow as to cause one’s death, a deep grief and grieving.  Jesus asks him to exchange his riches on earth for the riches of the kingdom of heaven.   He couldn’t bring himself to do what Jesus asked of him.  

Most of us want to continue on and be content with where we are spiritually.  When we begin to really hunger for more of God and ask God for more, then we have to be willing to pay the price.  We have to be willing to deal with our heart issues and the little strongholds of self that we still want to hold on too.  It grieves us to give them up, but we can never give up something, but what He will not give us so much more, if not in this life, then in the life to come.  

When the Lord allows circumstances and people to come into our lives that stretch us out of our comfort zones.  It is there that we begin to often see how shallow our love really is, how easily we are often offended and put out with those who step on our toes and our rights.  What God shows me is that there is far more of me there than I want to acknowledge and lay claim too.  When He stretches me and proves me and sounds the depths of my heart that is when I often find how shallow the waters of His love are in me.  If we want more of God then there is always more of a relinquishment of self.  The way of obtaining and walking in resurrection life is through the cross and through the death of this former man.  We can mentally and spiritually aspire to it, but it has to become substance in our lives.  

There is an old saying that “no one can get your goat, unless you have a goat to be got.”  How many goats are we still hanging onto?   We must not fail the challenge that the rich young ruler had.  The things of this earth are perishing and passing away, but His life is eternal and His riches endure forever.  “What is impossible with men, is possible with God.”  Lord help us to not turn from you, but press into You even when it cost us everything.  Help us to do what seems impossible to us, because with You all things are possible.  

Blessings, 

#kent

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Losing my Head

June 24, 2015

Losing my Head

Philippians 4:12-13
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

As I was praying this morning my thoughts went back to my childhood where I spent a great deal of time with my grandparents on their farm in Oklahoma. I remember times when my grandmother would get a chicken that she was going to prepare for a meal. She would put its head under a metal bar, step on it and pull its head off. I’m sorry if that is a little gruesome and graphic for some. The thing that was coming to me is that after the chicken’s head was removed I saw them do things that I never saw them do in everyday life. They might just flop around, but I saw some of them fly distances that I had never seen a chicken fly before. How could they do that without a head? I know, involuntary reflexes and such. The thing that struck me is that if they could do that in death, why did they never do it in life? The only time a chicken would leave the ground normally is if it was being pursued and took flight out of fear.
I believe what the Lord was showing me is that our greatest limitation is between our two ears. We grow up saying, doing and being what everyone else around us does. Think of the disciples. Here were twelve very ordinary men. I imagine not all of them were the sharpest pencils in the drawer, but they all did one thing, they left all to follow this man Jesus. As they followed, communed and lived with this man they observed someone who was not like all of the other chickens in the hen house. They observed someone who thought differently, acted differently and did things they had never imagined anyone could do. It was a process over time where the normal way they used to view their world changed. They begin to see and understand their world from a heavenly and kingdom perspective rather than an earthly one. After the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus they received power from on High when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. Now Jesus was physically gone. They had lost their earthly head and a new mentality had to kick in. The mind of Christ had now come within them for them to carry on the work of the Kingdom with power and authority. They began to speak under the anointing of the Spirit and would see thousands respond and come to Christ. They had miracles happening as they extended their wings in faith. In some cases people were even raised from the dead. These ordinary men were doing exploits that rattled the religious order of the barnyard. The religious leadership thought that they had rid the hen house of this One that upset the natural order of things. He was obviously out of the pecking order. Now there were more of these people doing the same kind of things while proclaiming this Jesus as the Christ and the Messiah, not only in word, but also with signs and wonders.
What we have to realize is that when we accepted Christ as our Savior we became identified with His death on that cross. In effect, out head got pulled off. We are no longer like every other chicken in the barnyard. The great news is that we didn’t just lose our head, we put on the headship of Christ in the process. We lost our mind that we might have His. Like the disciples before us we have began a process of changed thinking. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” It goes on to say ‘don’t think of yourselves more highly than you ought.’ It is never this earthen vessel that is great; it is what fills it.
What fills you my friend is what gives you the power and abilities to do what you have never done before. It gives you the ability to rise to heights that in the natural mind you never thought possible.
There are wings of faith in God’s Word that must be stretched and exercised. We have had them all along; we just have never really used them. God has given us the ability to be extraordinary people and maybe not in the way the world views as extraordinary. We have the power within us now to be different, something more. That more may not be as the world views greatness, but it will be seen in the power of an obedient life yielded to Christ and available for His power to manifest through in the ways that please Him and further His Kingdom. Have you lost your head and put on His?

Greetings,
#kent

Day and Night

August 19, 2013

Day and Night

Psalms 42:8
[Yet] the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song [shall be] with me, [and] my prayer unto the God of my life.

We have talked about the seasons of God in our lives and how there are time when we sense the presence of God so strongly in our lives and the times when the Lord seems so silent and distant.
Day and night are the same analogies, I believe, David is writing about here. In the daytime we experience the blessings of God’s presence, love, direction and provision. These are wonderful times that we partake of the richness of His fellowship and He is so near to our hearts. These are times of growing, enrichment in the truth of God and sitting at the feet of Jesus. It is easy in these times to become complacent and take for granted that things will always be this way. What we fail to realize is that the day is preparation for the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 says, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” While we are the children of the light and the day it doesn’t mean we won’t have to walk through the dark places and the nighttime of our soul. When we cease to experience the light of His presence and the sweet bounty of His fellowship that we had experienced in our daytime. As surely as there is day, there is night. There are times when evil surrounds and darkness overshadows us. In these times we are inclined to say where did you go God, why have you forsaken me? He hasn’t forsaken us, but it is a time to draw out of the storehouse of the spiritual blessing He has placed in our lives. It is a time for His truth to get from our head down into our heart and it is time to hold on to the song He has placed in our heart. He is still the ‘light unto our feet and the lamp unto our path.’ He will still ‘never leave or forsake us’, but there are those times when we must encourage our soul as David did. Remembering the goodness and the benefits of the Lord, His faithfulness and our hope that is ever anchored in Him. Maturity causes us to be stretched in uncomfortable ways, but it is the valleys that will bring us to the next mountain that will be higher than the one before. The night will eventually give place to day. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (2 Peter 1:19).”

Blessings,
kent

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