James 1:22-25

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

Who is that Person in the Mirror?

When you look into the mirror what do you see?  You see the reflection of your outward man from which you derive your identity and perception of how you look.  Even though you see a real-time reflection of how you appear is that really who you are?   Two people looking at the same thing will see it different ways.   A woman may look in the mirror and be thinking, ” Oh my goodness, look at the bags under my eyes, that blemish on my nose and I can’t do a thing with this hair.  I just look horrid.  Her husband may come into the bathroom and say, “Honey, did I tell you how beautiful you are today and how much I love you?”  Wow, two totally different opinions of what you look like.  Which one is true?  The truth is in the  perception and we tend to act according to the perception we hold.  

The Lord began to show me that what we reflect on often becomes the image of our reality.  The people that we associate with often do a lot to influence and shape that perception and image of who we see ourselves as being.  We may often mirror what others do because we want acceptance by them, but is  that who we really are?  

Most of us have seen the mirrors at the amusement park that are distorted to make us look fat or skinny, but we readily recognize that these are not true representatives of what we really look like.  We would be surprised at how many times life puts these kind of mirrors in front of us, but instead of recognizing their distortion of the truth we begin to believe their lie.  Our behavior and self-perception can be strongly influenced by the feed back and input we get from others.  We are always reading this to get a sense of how others see us and how that relates with who we are.  

Often, with our children we tend to major on their shortcomings and minor on the positives and accomplishments.  If my son comes home from school after trying his best and everyday I greet him, “Hi looser, what did you mess up today?”  What is that going to do for the image of how he sees himself, because I am a mirror to him of his self-worth.  Many of the problems we see in people come out of a distorted perception they have of what they should be like.  It is influenced by culture, media, friends, social groups and relationships, parents, relatives, school, work and the constant feedback we get from the world we live in.  

The only really true perception we can get of who we are, our worth and value, is what we get from God’s perspective. We know that He is truth and can not lie.  If we want to be mentally and emotionally healthy then we need to focus on what God has to say about us and what we need to do to become what He has created us to be.  James says it is not in just listening to the word and then forgetting what it taught us.  We need repetition for remembrance and application for change to take place.  When a woman goes into the bathroom to get ready for work she doesn’t generally just look in the mirror then turn around and forget what she looked like and go to work.  She starts a process of cleansing, conditioning, make-up and grooming.  All that she does is to conform her to the image of what she wants to look like.  When we look into God’s Word it has to be much the same way. If we just go and listen to a sermon on Sunday then leave and forget what was said how does that change anything?  If we continually position ourselves in front of God’s Word through our reading it, reading inspired books, listening to inspired messages and then praying and meditation on all that we are taking in, we are like the woman who is conforming her looks to a certain image.  We are working on conforming our hearts to the image of Christ.  That is why it is important that our focus isn’t on the world or the things of the world.  That is not the image that we want to be conformed too.  

Take into your spirit the promises that God has for you.  Heed the warnings that He gives to you that will end up perverting His image in you.  Act upon who you are in Christ, acknowledging that it is no longer you that lives, but Christ in you.  ‘As He is so are you in this world. (1 John 4:17)’  That is the identification  you want to remember and walk away with.  When you look in the mirror know that you are created in His likeness and you are becoming His expression and you are being conformed into His image.  That is God’s reality of who you are.

Blessings,

#kent

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Christ in You

May 3, 2016

 

Matthew 25: 35-40

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 

35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 

36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 

37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 

38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 

40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 

Christ in You

You are a ray of sunshine.

You are the extension of God’s divine.

You bring healing in the midst of pain.

You are heaven on an earthly plane.

When you walk into a room it brightens up.

When you spend time with me you fill my cup.

You are my companion when I feel alone.

The voice of love is in your tone.

You are the servant that gives your all.

You pick those up who stumble and fall.

You encourage those who have lost their worth.

You share the life that brings new birth.

I see His face when you smile.

I see His walk when you go the second mile.

I see His love in your unselfish ways.

Yes, you are His expression day by day.

Kent Stuck

Blessings!

Forgiveness

May 2, 2016

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Forgiveness

I would dare say that all of us have had experiences in life where others have wronged or hurt us and in some cases quite severely and repeatedly. It is often these experiences, wounds and hurts that we can not seem to release. They are a trauma upon our lives. It is in these adverse life experiences that we are confronted with a choice to forgive and release an offense or to hold on to it and maintain the unforgiveness. When we are hurt it is our natural inclination to want to hurt back.
In the natural we often are wounded through life and most are superficial. In most cases they require a little attention and then they heal and we go on. There are those times when we are wounded more deeply and without cleansing the wound and putting something on to disinfect, we can get it infected. When infection sets in the wound festers and will not heal. In fact, untreated, it will become worse and more compromising to our health. It can actually be the infection that comes into us through the wound that could end up killing us rather than the wound itself. That is what unforgiveness is like. With emotional hurts and wounds there is a natural healing process and with the right heart and attitude those wounds will heal. They may leave some scars, but life goes on. Unfortunately, for some of us, there are places and ways that we have been hurt where we let the infection of unforgiveness come in. It is a form of hate and it can even be toward ourselves as well as others. It is the love of God that is the antibiotic that heals the infection of unforgiveness. It is when we see Jesus, unjustly accused, mocked, ridiculed, beaten to the point of being unrecognizable and then nailed to cross who can, before he breathes his last breath, say,” Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” that we see what forgiveness really looks like. It is only as we are willing to apply that same forgiveness of love toward our offenders that we can receive the forgiveness of our offenses. Before God, we stand no less guilty of sin and offense than those who have wounded us. What we ask of God, we must be willing to extend to others.
It is the love released through making the decision to forgive, not just the feelings, that is the antibiotic that will bring healing and restoration. First it restores our relationship back to Father and then it works to restore our human relationships.
You may be saying, “yeah, but you don’t how many times this person has hurt me.” Peter addresses this question unto the Lord in Matthew 18:21-22, ” Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” You see sin kills, but God’s love is the multiplication of forgiveness that triumphs even over the depth and death of sin. It is the grace of God’s forgiveness that brought each one of us into a place where can know the restored fellowship and relationship with the Father. We receive that only through His forgiveness for us, because we all deserve condemnation and death. Luke 6:37 exhorts us, ” Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”
For some of us it is time that we examine our hearts and lay down this cross of unforgiveness that we have been carrying. We must realize that the unforgiveness is doing far greater damage to us than even the offense. It is keeping us from our own forgiveness and right relationship with the Father. Ask the Father for His love in you to release the unforgiveness you have been carrying, no matter how awful the offense. As He forgave us, we ought also to forgive others. How can we have Christ come forth in us if the very prominent part of His nature is forgiveness?
First come and release it to the Father and then release the individual or individuals. When you release you will be released from the judgement that unforgiveness can hold over us. ” If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)” Isn’t time to come into the freedom and the release of His Love?

Blessings,
#kent

Light of the World

April 19, 2016

 

Jhn 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Light of the World

John 1:4 says, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”  

      Have you ever felt your way in the darkness?  You’re feeling around holding your arms out while you move them back and forth feeling for objects in your path, gingerly putting one foot in front of the other while you seek to find your way.  Especially in unfamiliar surrounding we develop a distorted view of what our surrounding are really like in the darkness.  If we lived in this condition continually then our reality would come to be based on the distorted perceptions that we would develop.  Then one day someone pulls back the curtains lets the light shine brightly into that environment we had been dwelling in so long without light.  Perhaps our initial reaction is one of confusion and bewilderment as we struggle to adjust to this illumination of the area we thought we had all figured out while it was in darkness.  We begin to realize that if we saw anything at all it was just the highlights of our surroundings, but so many details we had missed.  Suddenly the light has brought a whole new meaning and dimension to life that we had never been aware of before.  In that light so much is revealed and lot of it isn’t good.  We see all the messes, the dirt and the filth we had been able to overlook in the darkness.  The light introduced a whole new dimension in our lives that wasn’t there before.  Now we are faced with a decision, do we walk and live in the light and begin to operate our lives based on this new insight or do we see all of the things we are much happier to leave hidden in the shadows and darkness of our lives and choose to pull the curtains back shut, continuing to live in the darkness?  

      God was the one who pulled back the curtain of spiritual ignorance and allowed the light and knowledge of Christ to shine fully upon the spiritual darkness of this earth.  Jesus brought the spiritual light to men and shone into our darkened hearts with the truth of His Word.  

What will we do with the light of His truth?  Will we receive the light of Christ and in union with the Holy Spirit begin to clean out the garbage that has polluted our lives or will we do as John 3: 19-20 says, “ And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”

      Will we allow the light to fill our lives and bring us into the light and life of God or will we pull the curtains and reject the light, choosing darkness and spiritual death?  God has left the choice to you.

Blessings,

#kent

Joy Unspeakable

November 11, 2015

1 Peter 1:3-9
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Joy Unspeakable

Isn’t it amazingly awesome that this Truth, Jesus, that we possess, through faith, can bring such continual and inexpressible joy in your hearts, in spite of your circumstances? You know what protects and shelters that inexpressible joy? Our faith.
What God has promised and has given us is shielded through faith until it is fully revealed and made manifest. That is not dependent upon our lifetime or life lived upon the earth. We are eternally secure through faith and all that we are promised is secure as well.
This is why we can rejoice, even in the midst of all of our trials and tribulations upon the earth. These only come to enhance and intensify the flavor and aroma of our faith. While the enemy would use them to destroy us, as we trust in Jesus, we wax stronger. Our faith is strengthened as in our weakness we find His strength. In our losses, He is our greater provision. In our suffering He remains our hope and comfort.
Jesus is our joy unspeakable. Though we haven’t seen Him, yet, we so intensely and fervently love Him, because we know Him after the Spirit and not after the flesh. That faith fans the flames of our relationship and bond with Him. Our faith brings us through the fires of our trials and tribulations. It is proved genuine and refined by the fires it has passed through. Instead of discouragement and defeat we continue to stand, abounding in the joy of the Lord. Because we believe and because we can experience the power of the inner relationship we have, we are comforted and find our assurance.
Circumstances do not dictate our relationship with God. God is still the Lord of our circumstances, no matter how grim they may be. We don’t look at the doom and gloom of the world around us and get caught up in its terror, because we know the One who has written history and the future. He is the same One that is the author and the finisher of our faith. So today we will be encouraged! We will be exceedingly joyful, because our God reigns in the heavens, in the earth and most importantly to us, in our hearts!
If we are enduring trials and tribulations today, may those pains and pressures only drive us to worship and praise God more intensely. May they drive us deeper and more intimately into Him, who is that hiding place of our safety and our victory. The trials and tribulation of this life should only embed us deeper into our Papa. There, that shield of faith and confidence in Him shields us from the enemies’ darts and arrows. Papa covers us with the shadow of His wing, for He is our refuge and our fortress.
Let not doubt and fear overtake you. Remember your God, all of His mighty works and all of His unspeakable benefits. We are His children. What can man do to us, but drive us deeper into His presence? Let us remember and praise Him with unspeakable and resounding joy. Our God is the salvation of our souls and the Redeemer of all who call upon His name. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!!
Blessings,
#kent

I am what it says I am, I can do what it says I can do!
Joshua 1:6-9
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The word and promise that the Lord gave Joshua so many years ago is as applicable today for us as it was for Him. The greatest limitations we have are our failure to see and believe God. “All things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23).” If we can see it, it is possible.
James 4:1-3 says, “1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” What we need is a heart, mind and soul that are in alignment and purpose with Him to whom we belong. In order for us to have good success we have to come out from under the darkness and lies that rob us of the truth and into all of the richness heaven holds for us. We are still conformed to the world in many ways of our thinking and reasoning. Our perspective is not often one of praying from the mind of the Spirit and the Word of God. Aren’t most of us caught up in our agendas rather than the Father’s? We are living this life, so we still need things to work our way; that is often the perspective from which we pray.
God is going to take us through battles, trials and testings to possess our land. We can not do it if our reliance is upon the natural man. That is why we meditate upon the Word day and night, so that we may have the mind of Christ. That is why the Word of God must not depart from our mouth, because it is our authority of truth that dispels the lies and darkness of the enemy. The spoken Word of God in our mouths drives the stakes and establishes the boundaries of our faith. Satan can not dwell in light, so light must flood our souls to dispel the deceitfulness of sin. We have the spiritual armory of God’s Word and its application to defeat our foes. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
God has told us, as He told Joshua, that there are great and mighty things that we are to do. There are enemies to conquer and victories to be won. There is a land to possess and promises that need fulfillment. 2 Peter 1: 2-4 makes this bold proclamation, “3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Our God is calling us to be a people of divine nature. We are after the image of our Father; we are called to be the sons of God, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Yet, we ignorantly and constantly cling to the attributes and thinking of this lower nature. It isn’t because God hasn’t provided the means for us or that Christ didn’t die to make it a reality. It is we ourselves, that fail to grasp the vision, the faith and make the commitment to possess the impossible through the power of God that makes all things possible to him that believes. Everything in my life has to come into alignment with God’s Word so that the higher principles and laws of the Kingdom of God may take affect in this natural realm. Your are what the Word of God says you are and you can do what the Word of God says you can do. Do we really believe that and will we fully act upon it?

Blessings,
#kent

Call to Fitness

November 5, 2015

1 Timothy 4:8
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
Call to Fitness

Sometimes our spiritual muscles and countenance begin to droop and sag over time like much of the rest of our body. The spiritual man need not grow old. He is the eternal youth and life that lives in us. But if left to neglect the spiritual man can’t serve us. Certainly we need to care for the temple of this natural body, for it is what houses and facilitates the spiritual man within us. Our greater obligation and responsibility is to the spiritual man. This is the eternal part of us that is both now and forever.
The spiritual man is fed as we read and study God’s word. The spirit man feeds on truth. He is exercised as he acts upon this truth in faith. He is strengthened and activated in our life of prayer and fellowship with the Lord. Spirit feeds spirit. Do we spend as much time a day feeding our spiritual man as we do our natural man? Are we as attentive to our spiritual needs as we are our physical needs? Would your natural man be in better or worse shape if it was given the same amount of attention and food a day as you give your spirit man? When we put it in this perspective we might see why we might be spiritually weak and ineffective, not only in our lives but in the lives of others.
This is our day to awaken to our spiritual self and who we are in Christ. This is not just a head knowledge, it is a call to spiritual alertness and fitness. I can set on the couch and watch fitness and exercise programs all day long, but unless I engage my body in those routines no amount of mental agreement or ascent will change my physical state. Many of us listen to the word of God and we have a lot of spiritual head knowledge, but like James says, “faith without works is dead”. In order for us to have spiritual strength we have to exercise our spiritual man. James 1:22 exhorts us, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” We are a kingdom people called for a kingdom purpose. We must become sensitized to who we are as a spiritual people and not just a natural people. We must see our world through God’s perspective and then act out of our spiritual man in life’s circumstances. Maybe it is just offering to pray for someone or building them up through an encouraging word. Maybe it is random acts of kindness and selfless giving. Whatever it is, it needs to be Christ finding expression through our lives and everyday circumstances. This is exercising our spiritual man.
Jesus commissions our spiritual man in Luke 17:15-18, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” How many of us are walking daily in this commission? We have to have a strong and energized spiritual man to carry our what we are called to do. The Lord is calling us to spiritual fitness so that we can make a difference in our world. Let us exercise ourselves in all faith and godliness that He may be lifted up and glorified through us.

Blessings,
#kent

Living Out of the Unseen

October 29, 2015

2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Living Out of the Unseen
Natural eyes, physical sounds, human reasoning, life circumstances, what others tell us, five senses, human conditions, perceptions, surroundings and our understanding all feed into what we perceive as real. In the moment and with all that processes through our being, that may be what seems real and factual. As believers, the word teaches us that there is a realm beyond just human natural perception. This realm is not ruled and governed by the same principles that govern our earthly realm. This realm is not dictated by earthly facts or circumstances. This is a realm that God wants us to more and more operate out of, because it is the realm of the kingdom of God and its principles are truth. Its government and dictates are spelled out in the Word of God. It supercedes that which is natural, for what we currently perceive and understand as reality is passing away. It is temporal, but that which now unseen will take its place for it is the eternal.
Currently, we see in part the invisible realm invading the natural realm, but until it has ran its course in fullness of Father’s time, we will not experience the fullness of the currently unseen realm made manifest. 1 Corinthians 15:50 tells us, “I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” In this present corruptible world we can not inherit the fullness of that kingdom which is incorruptible until death is swallowed up with life. This is currently taking place in measure even now as Christ comes forth in us and we live out of His life. His life is swallowing up the death in us.
Before the apostle Paul says this he gives us understanding of the state that we have been in and that which we are moving into. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” Now while we may see Jesus as the last and only Adam to presently demonstrate the fullness and likeness of the man of heaven, the Word of God and the message of Christ reorients the mind of the believer to not just be operating out of this earthly realm. Ephesians 2:6 says, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 3:1-4 declares, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
In light of these scriptures we can see how our spiritual position has changed as we have died to the old Adam and are raised up in the last Adam. In that spiritual identification we see that God has positioned us in heavenly places and in that unseen realm that is eternal. From that position, what does He tell us to do? ” Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” While our physical perspective and position hasn’t changed, our spiritual position has. Now you tell me, which one does God want us to live out of?
Romans 8:5-11 teaches us this, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” You can see where we run into conflict; we find ourselves in two different states, but in Christ we have made a declaration and a statement of faith to disenfranchise and disown our former natural man even while we still abide in this earthen vessel and have put on Christ and identification with His eternal life. That is the position we are to operate our physical lives out of. Even though we don’t see the fullness of that yet manifest we are as Romans 8:22-25 states, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
In that patient hope we aren’t focused on the temporal, corruptible and that which is passing away, but we are embracing the eternal as we declare and decree by faith the Word of God and its promises. It is out of these kingdom principles we now live, move and have our being as we walk by the Spirit and live no longer according to the dictates of the flesh. We are a new creation being made conformable in the likeness of Him who has translated us from darkness into His marvelous light, from death into His incorruptible life.

Blessings,
#kent

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

Romans 14:1-5
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Judgement on Disputable Matters

If we were all to gather around and talk our theology hopefully we would be in agreement concerning the basic tenants of our faith such as Jesus being the Son of God, His blood being the atonement for our sins, that we are saved through faith and not of works, the virgin birth and other foundational truths that define Christianity. Hopefully, what we do not do is what Paul and others warned us about and that is adding or taking away from the gospel. Many times men, doctrines and denominations want to put their addendum that it is not just by faith that we are saved. The Galatians had been deceived into thinking that it was Christ and the works of the Law that saved them, but Paul clarifies this all through the book of Galatians. In Galatians 2:16 it says, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” The Law is all about our doing and doing is never enough, therefore we find ourselves standing in condemnation because we can’t live up to the Law or we become judgmental and condescending because we think we are keeping it so much better than others around us. Christ came and died to deliver us out of the mentality and the separation from God that it brought. In Galatians 2:20 Paul puts our faith into perspective as to where our lives should be if we are a Spirit-led people. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” It is no longer about what I am or what I believe; it is about being the expression of the Christ that indwells me. “I” should no longer live, only Christ in me. The summary of our past, present and future in Christ is summed up in Ephesians 2: 1-10. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Now if we agree on these basic tenants of our faith, then what is all of Romans 14 about? It is about all of little disputes about what we see, understand, are persuaded and comprehend the Word of God to say. I have found in myself, that over my lifetime many of my opinions and perceptions have changed and are still changing. We all walk in the light of what we know, see and understand, but 1 Corinthians 13: 12 says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” The truth is, no matter how much we know, we all still just know in part, because we are limited through our natural mind and understanding. I read an illustration recently that helped me see this more clearly. If I held up a nickel between us and we were asked what was on the nickel, I would say an impression of Thomas Jefferson and you would disagree and say no, it is an impression of Monticello. The truth is that we would both be right depending on our perspective, paradigm and way of seeing it. Religious men, including us, have often been guilty of taking a particular truth and making a dogma out of it. The truths of God are like spokes in a wheel; they can only keep the wheel in round if they are balanced by all other truth. If I take any truth to an extreme it becomes out of balance. The truth is I need both Thomas Jefferson and Monticello to make that nickel work.
Let’s not get distracted by the minor points of truth that we loose sight of the bigger picture here. We are not in fellowship with one another to bicker over our differences, but to edify one another in who we are in Christ. Let us lay our petty differences aside and let us allow one another the freedom to walk in the light of what we know realizing that we are all growing in the light and knowledge of Him. God is our judge, not man, before Him alone do we stand or fall. The Lord told me once concerning trying to correct how someone else believes. Don’t argue and debate them. Speak the truth in love and the truth will set them free.

Blessings,
#kent

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