Taking Up an Offense

October 15, 2015

Proverbs 18:19
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.

Taking Up an Offense

How many of us today are carrying offenses in our heart towards another. They said something to us, they did something to us, they wronged us in some way and now they are on the black list of our heart to stay. We have all been offended, hurt, disappointed, emotionally wounded and wronged in some way. I guess that is pretty normal behavior in the world, but what about in the identity that God has given us in Christ. In our identity with Him, are we still justified in holding on to these offenses, no matter how justified we reason within ourselves to do so?
Colossians 3: 13 says, ” Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” That is not a request, but a command. Have we never offended or hurt anyone? Are we so unwilling to forgive what we ourselves have been guilty of?
One revelation we all need to get is that we are not of this world and yet we keep thinking like it and acting like it. That is not a renewed mind in Christ, it is being conformed to the world which is an offense to God. When we are unwilling to forgive then we spit in the face of Him who forgave us. That is strong and it should be, because that is how the Lord takes it. He forgave us so much, shouldn’t we be willing to forgive little. Jesus spoke parables about forgiveness and He taught a word concerning it that very few of us are walking in.
Now someone might be thinking, “Will you don’t know what they did to me, I can’t ever forgive them for that.”
Jesus said, ” “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:43-46)
Somehow we can all become self-righteous about things. We can see all of the faults in others. We may be carrying an offense against someone that isn’t even our own. We have taken it up for someone else because they were wronged. We tend to somehow feel that we have been given the right to judge others for their wrongs and are justified in condemning them and holding it against them.
Jesus said, ” “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Romans 2:1-4 also addressed this issue, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” It goes on to say that because of this stubbornness we store up wrath for ourselves, because we are going to be judged by the same standards that we judged others and if we showed no mercy, then we can’t expect to receive mercy.
How can we fully walk in who we are in Christ when we hold offense against a brother or another. God is love. His love and forgiveness has been shed abroad in our hearts as believers. Are we now going to annul what He died for? Listen to what 1 John 2:9-11 has to say about this. “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”
Are people, and even brothers and sisters, going to hurt, disappoint and offend us? You can count on it, but what you do with that offense speaks volumes to how real your identity is in Christ. If you really know Him, you will keep His commands. If you really love Him, you will allow His love to dominate and guide your heart. Your mercy will triumph over judgement and you will be the hot coals of love poured over the offenders head.
I would just like to end this with the exhortation given from Roman12:9-21 about how we are to walk in love toward one another. May the Holy Spirit help us acknowledge, to release and forgive any and all offenses that we have been carrying.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do 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. On 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.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Blessings,
#kent

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1 John 3:18
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Love is a Language of Action

“I love you.” How many times have we said this or heard this? What does it mean? While the words can be meaningful and precious, it is what they convey, imply and promise that is of even greater weight. How many times have these been shallow words, void of promise and only speaking to someone what they so desire to see in reality? What gives flesh to these words are the actions that follow them. If we say that we love God, but we are cold and indifferent to our fellow man is the love of God truly in us or are we just clouds without rain, empty and void of the substance of God’s love.
For love to be meaningful, it has to be a language of action. Its expression is seen in our attitudes, our deed and in the true intent of our heart. I would say most of us often fall short of the kind of love we really want to have. Sometimes, even our best efforts seem in vain, but I believe God sees the motive and the intent of our heart. He is really the means by which we can truly love. The more expression we have of Christ in us, the greater our love, or rather the love of God in us, is expressed and made manifest. It will be seen, not only in the things that we give, but in our tolerance, our forgiveness, our patience, self control, our joy, our peace and in the way that we respond and act toward others. Christ in us is not measured in how much we know about the bible, or how much spiritual revelation that we have. It is not about how much we go to church or how religious that we appear. Christ in us is the measure of God’s love flowing through us. The less that we are in the way, the less restriction there is to the flow of His love through us. This is why we die to self, because self only hinders the flow of God’s unselfish love.
If we think that we truly love God and have His love in us then may our actions speak it and not our tongue. Let us manifest the works that He did. The manifestation of His love through us is God loving His world; this is what signifies to the lost that God is love when they see us give what they do not deserve. Are we a people of words or action?

Blessings,
#kent

Kindness and Severity of God

September 10, 2014

Jeremiah 4:8
So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned away from us.
Isaiah 60:5
Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.
Kindness and Severity of God

Today’s passages come from two totally different aspects that represent both the kindness and the severity of God. Even in the severity of God, He is working to bring all things to His purposed end. He is able to deal with His people in whatever means are necessary to accomplish that purpose. Our faith and obedience to Him or the lack of it often determine our choice in this process.
In Romans 11:13-24 the apostle Paul teaches this, “13I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
We see then that the severity of God has worked to our salvation and our being grafted into the tree of God’s family and people, but it will also work to the ultimate reconciliation and restoration of natural Israel. Then we two branches will become one spiritual Israel unto His glory. Even within our lives now we see both the kindness and the severity of God. We love His blessing, but He also gives of His correction because Hebrews 12:4-12 reminds us, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Within the severity is contained the same love as in His kindness. We often reap what we sow and bring upon ourselves the need for His severity, but even in that severity it is to lead us to repentance and turn us back to Him. God’s severity is not His first course of action and with great longsuffering He often forbears our sin and rebellions. Romans 2:4 speaks of how God desires to deal with us, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? We are most often the ones that forsake our own mercy and provoke the severity of God.
This doesn’t mean that our sin or failure brings on all of the trials that we go through. Often it is these trials and tribulations that are most likely to cause us to keep our eyes and attention fixed upon Him. God’s sternness is to those who fall away, but His kindness is to you provided that you continue in His kindness.

Blessings,
#kent

Attributes of a Holy People

January 11, 2013

Colossians 3:5-14
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Attributes of a Holy People

Just as oil and water don’t mix, righteousness and iniquity don’t mix and yet so many of us as believers are still trying to carry our two natures in one vessel. We can be all sweet and Christian until it doesn’t suit our need or our disposition. Just as quickly we can pick up that old nature that we supposedly reckoned dead upon the cross and live it out again. We’ve all been guilty of this.
Christ has given us a new identity with His nature, character and being, but each day is a decision on our part to pick up our cross and follow Him or to look back into the world and the death that He died to bring us out of. Lot’s wife looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah and it didn’t serve her well.
God doesn’t want us as Christians to just have a pretense of godliness; He wants us to have the in-working of a holy nature that manifests the attributes of who He is. Thus, Colossians exhorts all of us here to put death, whenever it pops up, crops up or arises in our hearts any of these former things we once practiced and were a part of our lives. God wants the fullness of what we are to be pressing into the fullness of what He is. He is now our nature and our identity. When I see these old nature attributes wanting to come up again I must repent and renounce them, because they are no longer who I am. As a holy people God wants us to see ourselves for who He has redeemed us to be, not a mixture of flesh and Spirit. Every day. just as we dress the outward man, He wants us to dress our inward man with the robes of the righteousness of Christ Jesus. He wants us to clothe ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” He wants us to bear with each other. That means we put with the weaknesses, the faults, the irritations, the offenses, the clashes of our personalities and all of the other things that make us wants to react in ungodly ways toward others. People are going to push our buttons, but they may be in our lives so that God can do a deeper work in us. His will is for us to suffer and endure them in love. Life isn’t going to always be about what we like or what pleases us. It is about what pleases the Father. Father isn’t a respecter of persons and He doesn’t want us to be either. Just because we can’t relate with another member of the body doesn’t mean they aren’t needful and just as essential as you or I. So it is important that we grow in our tolerance, forbearance and acceptance of others. It is important that we forgive and not hold on to grievances, offenses or disappointments we have with others.
The binding fiber of all of these Christ-like attributes is love. God wants us to love higher, deeper and wider than our natural love can go. That is why we are stretched by those that we don’t necessarily like or can relate with. God wants to take us into a love that exceeds our natural boundaries and dimensions. It is His love and because our identification is with Him, it has to become our love.
God is calling forth a mature people. A people that know who they are, where they live and are positioned and what their purpose is. When we really know that, then we know it is all about Him and not about us. It is not about our pleasure, but what pleases Father. When we truly start living that way then we will experience His good pleasure through us. People will truly see Christ in us, because we don’t carry prejudice, bigotry, sectarianism, judgement, favoritism and all of the things that cause schisms and separations among us.
As we saturate our life in God’s Spirit then those natures will separate and as that old nature comes to the surface. we will recognize it, repent of it and get it out of our life. We are a chosen, holy priesthood of God. We carry His name and we represent Him in the earth. We want what others see in us to be a true representation of who our Father is. Because He has been so misrepresented, many have turned away because they saw a form of godliness, but no real substance was being revealed. All they saw was a pretense. We want to be the real deal.

Blessings,
kent

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