Are We Easily Offended?

December 18, 2013

Proverbs 17:9

He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.


Are We Easily Offended?


What is our first reaction when somebody, ruffles our feathers, steps on our turf, wounds our pride, pushes our buttons or does something hurtful to us?  Don’t we see ourselves as the victim?  The one who has been wronged and hurt?  So our first inclination is to share it with someone who will sympathize with us and reinforce that this person has wronged us.  When an offense is shared and spreads to others it, in turn, brings division and separates us into camps.  As a result there is discord and separation of fellowship and relationship.  Our offense then becomes a stumbling block to others.  

Now as Christians we should know this and not so readily fall into this trap and yet it seems like we are some of the worse when it comes to being offended.  If we truly have our identity in Christ then, are our feelings really the issue or is it about hosting Christ’s presence, love and forgiveness, even in the face of legitimate offenses.  What Proverbs is telling us here is that if we are the promoters of God’s love, then love covers a multitude of sins, even as the love of Jesus has covered and forgiven a multitude of ours.  Every time we choose to sin, is that not an offense to God?  If God brought us into condemnation every time we offended Him with our sins, we would continually live in condemnation and separation of fellowship.  That same love that is in the heart of God to tolerate us and forgive us has to be the same love that we carry in our hearts to forgive others.  

We should make every effort not to offend others whether they are Christians or not.  1 Corinthians 10:31-33 instructs us, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. 33I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.”  

There are so many saints that pass from church to church, fellowship to fellowship because of offenses.  We have to know who we are in Christ, where we have been planted and what our purpose is in where we are at.  People are always going to hurt our feelings and disappoint us and it may be the pastor, elder or someone we look up too.  If your eyes are on them then we are following the wrong one.  Keep your eyes upon Jesus, stop majoring on what others do or don’t do and focus on who you are in Christ and what that is suppose to look before others.  Let’s let our feelings not be so sensitive to others, but sensitive to the Holy Spirit and getting God’s heart and mind in a matter.  Sometimes we may be a hundred percent in the right, but still need to go and apologize to someone for the perceived wrong that we have done in their eyes; not because we are wrong, but because it is the love of Christ to reconcile a matter to restore peace and right relationship.  There are some who use being offended as a means of control to get their way, because people don’t want them to be upset.  That is witchcraft, from such turn away if they are unwilling to repent. 

The enemy does his greatest works in the dark and the misunderstandings of our minds.  The more we can bring things to the light and approach them with God’s nature, the more quickly they are resolved and dissolved.   When we speculate about what others are thinking, or what their non-verbal communication is saying, we open our minds and emotions to the deceptiveness of the enemy.  1 John 4:16-20 reminds us of this nature of God’s love.  “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.  God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19We love each other because he loved us first.

20If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.” 

Colossians 3:13 instructs us, ” Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”  Let’s practice drowning those offenses in love and forgiveness. 

 

Blessings,

kent

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Life in Liberty

May 23, 2013

Life in Liberty

Psalms 119:42-45
Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. 44 I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. 45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

Our life in the Spirit and in obedience to Christ is one of liberty and freedom and not restrictions. Freedom is not in the exercising of our will to sin because sin is bongage and a very terrible taskmaster. It gives the allurement of freedom, but it is only the bait of ensnarement that brings us into its trap. Once it has fed off of our life and worked its destruction it cruelly abandons us to our hurt, pain and destruction. This is why the Word and the precepts of the Almighty are life to the spirit and health to our bones. They cause us to walk in true freedom and liberty. The purpose of the Lord Jesus coming to earth was to bring liberty and freedom to man. In Isaiah 61 it speaks of the liberty that He brings and even Jesus declared that He was the fulfillment of this passage. “The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Jesus is our liberator from the tyranny of sin that has so ruled and ruined our lives. The very sacrifice of His life was for our freedom. He has not only set us free from sin, but from the curse and the condemnation of the law. He has caused us to pass from death to life and from bondage to freedom. In light of this we can see how foolish we are when we allow ourselves to come again under the bondage of sin. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and the respect and obedience to His Word.
Galatians 5:1 exhorts us, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Again we are exhorted in Galatians 5:13, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Liberty is an exercise of faith and whatsoever is not of faith is sin. When we walk in liberty we must be walking in faith and good conscience toward God and man. Thereby we have our peace and confidence toward God. There are some weaker who may not have our faith in areas and would stumble in the areas where we feel freedom. It is the love of Christ in us that constrains us, not the law or the ordinances of men. For the sake of others we will restrain ourselves in the areas where we have freedom if it is a stumbling block to another. If they attempt to follow our freedom, but do not have the faith in that area it will be sin unto them. James 2:12 says, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” The law of liberty is freedom, but it is freedom that seeks not its own, but the good and well being of others. Its foundational principles are love.
1 Peter 2:15-17 describes our liberty this way, “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using [your] liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all [men]. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” Liberty is in not letting anything possess you or rule over you, but the love of Christ. He has set us free to be the servants of righteousness and bring the liberty of heaven to the earth. Be faithful in the liberty that He has afforded you and let not anything bring you again under the bondage of sin.

Blessings,
kent

The Folly of Pride

November 13, 2012

Deuteronomy 8:10-20
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
*19If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.

The Folly of Pride

Moses is giving us a key principle that we don’t want to forget in the light our victories, blessings, prosperity and success. All through the Old Testament we saw the people of God continually failing to keep this principle which ultimately led them to the consequences God promised them if they did in verses 19 and 20.
We are not so unlike the Israelites. Most of us have grown up with prosperity and blessing. We may not acknowledge ourselves as being rich, but in comparison to about 80 to 90 percent of the rest of the world we are considered rich and very prosperous.
Whether it is what we have inherited or the successes that we have gained through life, pride is an ever subtle enemy that we need to be mindful of. It is same subtle sin that attracted Eve in the garden, because it takes our eyes off of God and puts it upon ourselves. The things we used pray and ask God for, we now take credit for having accomplished. Suddenly and surely God is swept to the side as we step into our limousine of self glory, admiring all that “we have done and accomplished.” Now that we have arrived, we are in control and what may have started in humility is now lost in arrogance. God is lost in the background of our self-glorifying shadow.
Often our greatest danger is not in the midst of our battles, it is when we have arrived at success, having obtained our goal. Suddenly our defenses lower, our prayer and faith drop off, we’re on top of the mountain and we think we are invincible. When in truth, we are now most vulnerable, because God will no longer support and sustain us in that prideful attitude of arrogance. How quickly we can forget that without God we are nothing but weakness, frailty, poverty and failure.
Some of us have fought other kind of battles, like addictions, character flaws, poor choices and so on. We might ask the alcoholic, “Why do you still go to AA meetings since you have quit drinking and have been sober?” It because they recognize the inclination to drink and know that if they don’t remain vigilant, in a moment of weakness they can so quickly return to that cesspool of misery. That is why we must ever maintain our vigilant relationship, praise and reliance upon Father, no matter how greatly He blesses or how successful we are. If you don’t believe me ask some of the tele-evangelist of the 80’s or many a great man of God who fell into sin.
Our protection and our covering is in our abiding relationship with Jesus that doesn’t compartmentalize our life into different areas, but it all belongs to Him. We ever walk in humility and utter reliance and faith in Christ. When we step out of the identity of who we are in Christ Jesus then we become vulnerable to identity theft and the enemy is always looking for opportunity to rob it from us. His mission is to bring us down and to do so, all he has to do bring separation between us and our Lord.
Most of are quite familiar with the testing, trials and tribulations of life, but know that satan still works on the other end; in our success, triumphs and victories. That is where we are most vulnerable to folly of pride.

Blessings,
kent

Proverbs 8:13
The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

The Stumbling Block of Pride

Pride has been the foundation stone and building block of every rebellion against the Almighty. From the rebellion of satan forward it has been the seed that has exalted itself against God and boasted in its own self. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil and much of evil derives its strength, power and presence from the pride and arrogance of self. One of the dangers of being gifted and blessed with special attributes and abilities is how easy it is to get caught in this ugly snare of pride.
I wonder how many men have approached God, but have heard nothing and received nothing because of the unrepented pride that was in their hearts. If we think that we can approach God on our terms and expect Him to respond to us then we are not only prideful, but foolish as well. How many of us have had children or seen children who approached their parents in this manner? Instead of humbling themselves in obedience and respect to their parents they came with the attitude of usurping their authority and leadership in the home. A wise parent wouldn’t give place to this kind of arrogance and manipulation on the part of child and certainly God won’t meet with us on those terms. We are to come to God on His terms, not our own. His terms are humility, a broken, contrite and repentant heart. This is the attitude of heart that God will respond too. When we are willing to take off this garment of selfishness and lay it down at the altar, then we are in a place where He can meet with us and clothe us with Himself and His vesture of righteousness. Pride is a major stumbling block to those who would desire to know God. Pride focuses our attention away from the Lord and onto us. Thus it robs us of His resources while making us dependent upon the weakness of our own strength and ablility. Many feel they are sufficient within themselves and indeed, in this world, may do well for themselves, but their faith and hope are built upon sand. Sand is a shifting and unstable foundation that will eventually give way to failure. We see Jesus as the rock of our foundation, steadfast and unmovable. He is what anchors us to the Almighty and brings us through every adversity and trial.
Sometimes we are tempted to envy the wicked, because it may seem they are enjoying the entire blessing of this life while we have inherited all of the struggles. Psalms 73 addresses these very feelings and perceptions. “1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure.2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone .3 For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. 5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. 6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklaceand clothe themselves with cruelty. 7 These fat cats have everythingtheir hearts could ever wish for! 8 They scoff and speak only evil;in their pride they seek to crush others. 9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. 10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. 11 “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” 12 Look at these wicked people—enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. 13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? 14 I get nothing but trouble all day long;every morning brings me pain. 15 If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! 17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. 18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. 19 In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. 20 When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning. 21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.22 I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. 27 Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.”
Even when God blesses us and gives good success, we must be very mindful of this crafty evil called pride. It can as easily wear a spiritual face, as it can a natural one. Pride builds us up in a false sense of security. It makes us believe we are something rather than giving the glory and the honor to the Lord who has blessed us. God is the author of every good and perfect gift, be sure that the honor and praise always returns to Him. Pride is the balloon that lifts you to ruin. Humility is branch that hangs low, laden with the fruit of God’s Spirit and life. The mountains will be brought low, but the valleys will be lifted up and the meek shall inherit the earth. If you want to find Him, lose yourself and lay down your pride.

Blessings,
kent

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