1 John 3:16

Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. 

Put Your Love where Your Mouth is!

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Isn’t it ironic how John 3:16, the love of God through Christ and 1 John 3:16, the love of Christ through us, coincide so closely together?  Both of these scriptures involve the giving of a sacrifice in love.  Both of these scriptures involve the laying down of a life as the ultimate expression of love. 

My conviction today is how shallow and conditional my love is.  It is not nearly so focused on others as it is on its own agenda.  That self-love wants to preserve and cater to this life rather than sacrifice and give it.  Rather we think it out loud or not, how much of our life is motivated by, “what’s in it for me?”  What is even more convicting is how we so often treat the ones that are the closest to us and that we say that we love the greatest with the most contempt, disrespect and selfishness.  Where does all of that line up with the love of God in us?  We talk about the love of Christ, we preach it to others and we go through the motions, but is that love, that agape love, alive in action in our personal day to day relationships.  

Husbands, why are we not bringing the love into the home?  Why do we not love our wives, like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it?  Why do we not love our brethren, rather than using and taking advantage of them?  Should it surprise us that the world has so much contempt for us as Christians?  A good deal of the contempt and mockery of Christianity has little to do with how much we are like Christ.  Our hypocrisy betrays us.  When Christians and churches don’t pay their bills, borrow and don’t return, and only take, but never give, what does that speak about the love of Christ in our lives?   Many of us need a reality check about what the love of Christ is, because it isn’t being seen in us.   Where has the depth of God’s agape love gone?  When that love is operating people will be drawn to Christ and they will know us by our love.  How do others perceive and know us now?  Is that self-giving, sacrificial love what we are known for?  

Our prayer should be, “God make me a giver like You are a giver.  Make me a lover like you have loved me.  Make my life a living sacrifice daily poured out to You as I serve and love others as You have served and loved me.  Help me to experience in daily deed and reality what it is to love my neighbor as myself.  Help me to put Your love where my empty hollow words have been.  Amen.”

 
 
Blessings,
#kent

Why We Hate to Wait

August 3, 2015

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

Why We Hate to Wait

Life is moving at incredible speeds most of the time. We live in a world where we have schedules to keep, deadlines to meet and goals to attain. We don’t have time to waste and so we get very impatient when we have to wait. In spite of that, much of our time is relegated to waiting. We wait in traffic, or for the bus, for the family to get ready to go, to speak to an appointment or in a grocery line. We wait at the doctor’s office, when we have to see a person to get a matter of business taken care of, for our car to get repaired, and for something to start or something to finish. We are always wanting to go a hundred miles and hour, but we are always impeded by that frustrating person in front of us. Don’t you just hate to wait? For all of the waiting that we do, patience and longsuffering isn’t often one of our strongest virtues. Instead it tends to gender more stress and emotional issues.
Now we turn to the spiritual side of our life and here is God telling us we need to wait upon Him, but we don’t have time to wait because we have a life to live and an incredible amount of demands and tasks to get accomplished. We feel like we need to be running, not waiting. Why do we have to wait God?
Since I have been writing this paper, it has taught me more about waiting upon the Lord. Everyday that I write, I have to come to Him and ask Him about what to write and then wait upon Him for the direction. Many times He may give me something right away, sometimes I have to wait a good period of time and occasionally nothing comes at all. Now I can charge ahead and just decide for myself what I will write and I have probably have done that on occasion whether I was aware of it or not, but I know that life comes from the daily bread that the Father gives. Each day I want to approach Him with, “Give me this day, my daily bread.” Spiritually I need for the Father to provide that spiritual food rather it comes through His written Word, a personal word or a word given through an outside source, I need to hear from Him. That means I have to shut up and start listening rather than just talking. We all know that we need to pray and talk to God, but do we all know that we also need to be still and listen. We expect that God should always listen to us, but do we take the time to listen to Him? Now I will be honest with you. There are times I have prayed about matters over a period of time and listened, but I didn’t hear much directly from the Lord. Those are times when as I proceed I place those matters in His hands and ask Him to direct the outcome and His will to be done. There are times when we should have enough of the Word and spiritual principles within us that God expects us to step forward and operate out of His life within us in different situations, but that doesn’t negate the need for us to wait upon the Lord.
If you and I were servants in a house and our lives were to wait upon the master of the house what would we need to do? Our sole responsibility is to wait upon him. Now that doesn’t mean that we just pull up a chair and sit down, it means that we operate in a manner that ministers and meets our master’s needs and not our own. His priorities are our priorities and when He does speak to us, we respond with prompt obedience. Now wouldn’t it be out of place for us to take our agenda to the master and say here is what I’ve got going today, can you help me out? You see many of us get our roles reversed, we are trying to run God rather than serve Him. Waiting is an exercise in putting God’s agenda first in our lives.
We are like batteries. If we are constantly putting out, but never taking in, we will exhaust ourselves and burn out. Waiting upon the Lord is like spiritually recharging one’s self. It causes us to slow down and focus on the things that pertain to life and godliness. It is a time when God renews our strength and empowers us with His life to do His will. If we are living life out of our strength and effort we are like a firecracker that goes pop and we’re done. Nothing lasting was accomplished but a brief noise, but in Christ we are like a slow burning candle giving off the scent of His life and character. It may not seem like we are anything or anyone of great significance, but when we operate out of the Spirit by waiting upon the Lord our life will have meaning and impact. It will make a difference in our world and isn’t that what we really want our lives to be about. Don’t hate to wait upon the Lord, look forward to it. It is your time to be renewed in His life and strength

Blessings,
#kent

A Day with the Lord

October 10, 2014

1 Corinthians 1:9
God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Day with the Lord

The sun strikes the peaks with pinkish hue,
As I rise to start my day with You.
Soft, back lit clouds streak across the eastern sky,
As the day dawns and You are nigh.

With sleepy eyes I step out into the newborn day,
With praise and worship, I begin to pray.
Lord you are faithful, good and so kind,
You are the treasure I seek and the wisdom I find.

In the fresh clean morning air,
I step out and sense You are there.
A dove coos nearby as Holy Spirit says I’m here.
A fragrant breeze passes saying God is near.

Outward signs remind me of our inward chat,
A dialogue where we can talk about this and that,
Where God listens intently as I pray,
And I so want to hear what He has to say.

Often it is quiet when I listen for Him
With patience in prayer, I seek Him again.
He doesn’t always respond like I think He should
But often He speaks differently than people would.

Sometimes during the day that He is speaking to me,
Even through my wife, a friend or someone I meet.
I must learn to listen and see with spiritual ears and eyes,
Or I’ll miss what He is saying as my life goes whizzing by.

God often speaks when we’ve ceased to pray,
He talks to us often in such little ways.
He gives us opportunities to respond in His love,
Allowing those little tests for us to rise above.

No, He doesn’t speak audibly to me,
But He is speaking in ways that are setting me free.
He is not constantly condemning my sin,
But He is teaching me the liberty of the righteousness in Him.

Let us always start our day with prayer and praise,
Let us bask in His love, rising above the earthly haze.
Let us learn to carefully listen and look for Him.
Walking in the Spirit, is knowing our dearest Friend.

Blessings,
#kent

Be still and know that I am God
Psalms 46:10
Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

One of the most difficult things for us to do in our busy lives with all of its demand is to really be still before the Lord. Even in our prayer life, don’t we tend to want to say our peace to God and then move on? Most times we don’t want to take the time just to be still in His presence, to listen for His voice and meditate on His wonder and greatness. Psalms 4:4 says, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah”
We tend do with God what many of us are guilty of doing with our loved ones, “I would really like to talk with you about it, but I’ve got to run. Maybe we can talk later.” Is that similar to the words that come out of our mouth sometimes? It is often really hard for us to be still, but until we do, we often don’t really hear the things we need to hear. Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “The words of wise [men are] heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.” Even in our human and family relationships, we don’t really hear their hearts until we are willing to take the time to really interact with them and listen to them. The greatest mysteries, the greatest truths, the revelations we receive are most often heard in the quite and still places. Those are the places and times when our minds are at rest and peace and we take time just to listen and focus. We all really need that time every day with our God and with each other to stay in tune and in touch with the ones and the One we really love. Perhaps one of the reasons we don’t want to sit and be still is because, even subconsciously, we are running away from facing issues or confrontations or unpleasant dealings we really don’t want to deal with. Maybe the reason those things even exist in the first place is because we don’t take the time on a regular basis to talk, heart to heart, on a human and a God level. We want the quick fixes of our present society and culture to handle our relational problems, but they don’t. They still take the investment of our time and our true heart to really deal with them effectively.
Our lives are incredibly busy and full, but we need to set aside those times every day when we can just be still and know that God is God and be able hear, should He wish to speak to us. More than likely He is speaking to us, or at least trying to throughout our day, but we aren’t tuned in to see and hear Him working in our lives and circumstances. The way we get ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart that is tender before the Lord, is to be still and really know that He is God in our lives. Don’t neglect the valuable time it takes to get quiet and be still before the Lord.

Blessings,
#kent

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