Be Careful How You Lead

April 28, 2015

Hosea 4:14
“I will not punish your daughters when they turn to prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery,
because the men themselves consort with harlots and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes—
a people without understanding will come to ruin!”

Be Careful How You Lead

Often we as parents are quick to judge our children for wrong things they do or choices they make. Often we as Christians are quick to judge our fellow believers who get caught up in sin or those who don’t agree with or accept our Christ. Are we above reproach? Have our own sins and shortcomings been the license for those who choose unrighteousness? Will not God hold us first accountable who are the leaders and the examples for others to follow?
Romans 2:1-10 declares, “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. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.”
The Jews and the Gentile are like the leader and the follower, the parent and the child, the teacher and the disciple. If we don’t walk in the understanding that God has given us then we will come to ruin and we have the responsibility for the ruin of those who follow our example.
Before we point the finger at others let’s first examine the person behind the three fingers pointing back. Are you living in righteousness or self-righteousness? Is it more important that we are right or righteous? For the world to honor and desire Christ they must first see Christ in us. They must see in action what we profess in words. How can we judge them if we don’t even live the example before them?
Father is saying, ‘Take stock in the example of life that you are leading. If we are not walking in righteousness and in the light of understanding that God has given you, then you must ask who is the responsible one here?’ Often what we see in the lives of those who follow us is the reflection of ourselves.

Blessings,
#kent

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Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

God’s Love Letter to You

My child, I love you more than can be ever written or expressed. I loved you so much that I was willing to give My only begotten Son to die for you, so that I could redeem you back to My heart.
With My own blood I purchased you again from your sin. I blotted out your transgression and imparted to you the right and privilege to partake of My righteousness. I have called you out as a people to carry My very own name in all of its majesty and glory. As My children, all that I have is yours, because you are in My Son and He is in you.
You see and know so little and you aren’t even able to comprehend with your finite minds the length, the breadth and depth of My love for you. My love isn’t the revelation of material things that soon perish with the using. My love is you being transformed into My likeness and glory. It is bringing you into the full expression of who I AM.
Rejoice, even in your trials, for all things are working together for the good of those who love Me and who I have called according to My purpose.

Romans 8:28-39, ” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Blessings,
#kent

In Our Darkest Hour

January 16, 2015

Acts 16:16-29
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
19When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

In Our Darkest Hour

As we endeavor to walk the walk of faith we come to experience and realize that God doesn’t just rescue us out of every bad circumstance and trial. The experience Paul and Silas have here is a case and point. God had something more far reaching than an immediate rescue or even the avoidance of a very unpleasant experience for His servants. Like them, there are times when our reasoning might be “God, I am doing your will and I am in your service, why are you allowing these things to happen to me? Why didn’t you come through when I called upon You?”
Remember the words of Jesus in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” If Jesus, the Son of God, had to endure the cross, despising the shame, then know that there can and will be dark and difficult times when we follow in His footsteps. The question then isn’t really are we going to experience trials and tribulations, those are almost a given. The question is how do we respond when we are in the midst of these dark times? Will we blame God for failing us? Will we give up and forsake the faith or will we do what Paul and Silas did in there greatest and darkest hour of despair. They were praying, praising and singing hymns unto the Lord. If you want to talk about a time when they might have had zero incentive to praise God this could have been it. They have been wrongfully accused, convicted, beaten within an inch of their lives, thrown into the inner, darkest dungeon and put into chains. Everything in the natural declared that they were defeated and God hadn’t saved them. Just stick a fork in them cause they are done.
These are men that no longer walk by their feelings and emotions. These are men that have entrusted themselves into the hands of God whether for life or for death. Their faith and commitment have superseded their circumstances. This is where we have to be in our walk and in our faith in this hour. In our darkest hour we cannot be murmuring and complaining about how God failed us. God is God and does all things according to His time and purpose which may be in direct contradiction to ours. So what do we do in these times? We worship Him. It doesn’t matter what happens upon the earth or how bad it gets, God is still on the throne. He is still sovereign over the affairs of men. Evil men may prevail for a time, but in the end they must answer to the Almighty.
Job 13: 15 says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” This must become the motto and battle cry of God’s people. We are His in life and in death. We are His in health and in sickness. We are His in prosperity and poverty. We are His in freedom and in prison. We are His in justice and injustice. In all our ways and with all of our hearts we must be His.
We see God showing up in the darkest hour in the midst of praise and worship. He shows Himself strong and sovereign even in a naturally impossible situation. Through this travail and sorrow, salvation and life are brought forth to the glory of God. We are pregnant with His life and often the bringing forth of that life comes with much travail and sorrow, but joy comes in the morning. Light triumphs over the darkness and life over death. There is no greater honor we can have than to lay down our lives for Christ’s sake. Many saints have not been rescued as Paul and Silas were this night and eventually they, also, came to a time when they gave their lives for the gospel. The martyrs are the color guard of heaven. They carry the standard of His righteousness and the banner of His love. They are His elite elect and faithful ones, because they loved not their lives even unto death.
Many of us are in dark times or will be in the near future. They may or may not be life threatening, but they won’t be easy. In these times we must enter into His rest. We must resign to the truth that our greatest victory is found not in self-effort, but through prayer, praise and worship. In Daniel 3 when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s idol they faced sure death for not complying, but this was their response, “16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” This is the abandonment of faith into the hands of God. This is something that everything in the natural cries out against, but for the ones who know their God this is the place of our peace.

Blessinsg,
#kent

Fear of Man

October 14, 2014

Fear of Man

Psalms 56:1-6,9-13
Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. 2 My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. 3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? 5 All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. 6 They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life…
Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise- 11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Fear is a powerful force. Most all of us have been influenced and moved by it. But ironically it is the fear of God that will move us to faith, while the negative fears that we harbor and allow, touching and influencing our lives will move us away from faith. If we think about it most anything we fail to trust God for is either an act of disobedience through rebellion or it is disobedience out of fear. Faith is a confidence in God and His Word, fear is the doubt and apprehension that God will fail us. Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” One of our greatest fears is what others think about us, how they will accept us and what they can do to hurt us. Fear is one of the strongest instruments at the enemy’s disposal. It undermines our faith and gets our eyes and our confidence off of Christ and back on to us. It causes us to see after the natural rather than the supernatural.
There are different levels at which fear can touch us from the most surface levels of fear to the deepest levels of psychological trauma. On the surface levels we all deal with fear of social acceptance, failure and insecurity. Think about a baby in the mother’s womb. It knows no fear there. It is safe, it is warm, provided for, accepted and secure. It has all of the things that we loose the guarantee of as we come into this world and are forced into self- responsibility. When these basic needs or wants are threatened it causes us to fear. We fear when we are not in a safe environment. We fear for our health, our daily provisions and needs as well as the needs of those we are responsible for. We fear when we feel insecure and threatened, physically, emotionally or even spiritually. Thus fear becomes a very powerful motivator and influence in our lives. Jesus addresses this fear that stems out of worry in Matthew 6:25-34, “”Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Is all fear bad? No, we can’t say that all fear is bad, because it is often fear that can motivate us to right actions or even protect us from things that could harm us. The fear of God is a good fear because it moves us into Him and the more that we move into God the more we learn to trust Him. He can bring us again to that place of peace we had as infant only it won’t be without conflict. It won’t be without many things, people and circumstances coming against us, as they attempt to rob our peace and confidence in the God that we’ve come to know, love and serve.
Many of the challenges to our faith come through the fear of man. We fear that others will not accept us so we focus on what will be pleasing to the world. Many of us get our self worth and esteem from what others think. We often fear man so much that we let society and our circle of influence shape our values, our opinions and form the standard for how to act, what to wear, what we can and can not talk about. In Jesus’ day people were fearful to talk about Jesus. John 7:13 says, “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.” Many of us fear to speak openly of Jesus today for fear that others will be offended or not accept us. We want to have the heart that David had when he said in Psalm 56:4, “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Our flesh avoids pain and seeks pleasure. We fear not living up the standards others have for us for fear of rejection. Many of us live in a constant state of worry and anxiety, which is fear. Yet the word teaches us in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Fear will always focus us on the natural and take our eyes off of our faith in God. Deuteronomy 31:6 exhorts God’s people, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” God speaks His Word into us to disperse our fears. Isaiah 41:10-14 says, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
It is our faith in God that gives us boldness in place of timidity, that gives us eyes and a heart to see beyond our fears as we embrace the realities of God’s promises and His Word. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” And again in 2 Corinthians 4:18 he says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. “ The fear of the Lord will bring us into faith for it will cause us to exalt God’s ways above man’s ways and it will embrace His Word as truth even in the face of opposing natural evidence. Our hope, our confidence and our faith are in the Lord. When we embrace who we are in Him, then the fear of this world looses its power over us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. (1 John 5:4)”

Blessings,
#kent

In Pursuit of Peace

December 2, 2013

In Pursuit of Peace

Romans 8:6
For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.

What is the commodity, the attribute and the treasure that one most desires in the world? Some might say wealth, or fame, or power, or beauty, but what is anything if you don’t have peace and the joy it brings to even enjoy anything else. We only need to look as far as Hollywood and the sports world to see examples of people who, outwardly seem to have everything. They have the wealth, the influence and affluence, the beauty and the looks and yet, we set and watch their tragic lives unfold. How can you have so much and be so miserable? It is because you are missing the most important ingredient, PEACE. What is peace? Isn’t it the state of tranquility, exemption from havoc, war, trouble and the threat to our security? Isn’t it harmony, serenity, security, concord, safety, lack of fear, contentment, felicity and prosperity? If we possess real peace, then we are the most fulfilled people in the world.
What brings us this peace and how do we possess it? Well, we know it is not in the world; even Jesus says, “in the world you will have tribulation.” How can we know and possess peace in the midst of tribulation? Let’s look a few examples and insights the Word gives us in this regard. John 14:27 tells us, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Again, in John 16:33 Jesus tells us, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Jesus gives us the keys; peace is not found in the world, but only in Him. He is the King of Salem, the Prince of Peace and our peace is found in His kingdom that resides within us who have embraced it by faith. Like the world at large our personal worlds are rocked by calamities, conflicts, turmoil and unrest, so how can we possess peace in the midst of all these contradictory elements that are touching our lives. It is called rest. We are rested in the loving arms of the Savior, the Holy Spirit is the atmosphere of peace that covers us and we know that He has our life in His hands. We acknowledge Him in all our ways and we seek His direction for our paths, but beyond what we can physically do in the harmony and peace of His Spirit is, we must learn to rest. That rest is not dependent upon our understanding or approval, it is dependent upon our faith to believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Romans 5:1-2 tells us, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This why the good news of Jesus Christ is called the gospel of Peace, because Jesus Christ and relationship with Him is the Peace that inwardly we are all desiring and seeking. It is a quality of the Kingdom of God, for Romans 14:17 tells us, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
Why don’t more Christians have peace? Isn’t it because we get our eyes and our hearts focused on the outward things? We begin to view our peace as the world does, in the things that we possess and the circumstances that surround us, but real peace doesn’t have anything to do with the outward things; it is fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. It is not even about the natural preservation of our life, it is only about being in the center of His will and purpose, because in that place we know there is a peace that the world cannot understand or grasp. Everything else is secondary and flows out of the peace that we bear as we abide in the Vine.
Do you have peace with yourself today, peace with God and toward others? If not, then we need to find entrance into the peace that is ours in Christ Jesus. What is standing in your way? What is robbing your peace? It is not in running away or getting rid of all your problems; it is finding the peace of Christ in the midst of tribulation and trials. Remember God is always in control even when we aren’t. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:33)”

Blessings,
kent

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