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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The Worth of a Child

April 8, 2016

 

The Worth of a Child

Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 

There is no knowing the potential that each child holds.  Every one of us is unique and special.  God has His purpose and design for each one.  Most all of us are made up of a mixture of strengths and weaknesses.  We can be so outstanding in one area while very lacking and needy in another.  

We are God’s children, children of destiny and purpose.  How many of us are living up too and into the purpose and destiny that the Lord created us for?  So often it is our will that God has given us that can subvert the desired purpose of God in our lives or yield to His design and plan through us.  Most of us seem to have this concept that we can do things in our lives better than God and we are always wanting to get our hands in His kitchen and change the recipe.  

The first thing that all of us must realize is how valuable we are to the Lord.  He couldn’t have stated that any better than His willingness to come into humanity and pay the price for our sins.  It is important that we are not proud or arrogant in who and what we are, but some of us want to perceive ourselves as of little or no worth or value.  We develop a self-defeated attitude.  We devalue in ourselves what God has created for His glory and purpose.  Often it really takes on the form of self-pity and a “woe is me” type of syndrome.   We need to realize that the source of that attitude is selfishness and sin.  That may surprise a lot of people in this category, because this is their view of humility.  It doesn’t glorify God to take what He made and talk down about it whether it is someone else or us.  Our potential is in Christ and not in ourselves.   The fullness of who we are and who we become is never going to realized in any of us in our own merit.  It is realized in who we are in union with Christ that transforms this lump of coal into a diamond.  

My grandson recently got a gift from his babysitter.  He is 8 years old and she gave him a necklace with that said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  That faith in that scripture is our power and our calling.  We all need a necklace or bracelet or just to remind ourselves daily of who we are in Christ.  The enemy’s victory is in getting us to forget that.  When we forget who we are in Christ we get out of Christ-reliance and into self-reliance.  We either get full of ourselves or we get discouraged and defeated in ourselves.   That phrase, “in Christ” is used some 224 times in scripture, do you suppose that the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate to us that this phrase is a pretty important part of who we are?  We are so prone to forget that our life is not about us, it is about Him.  We all have the potential and ability to love and serve God in whatever means and abilities He has bestowed upon us to do it with.  It is not about how much we have or how gifted we are; it is about what we do with what the talent God has given us.  You may be as the widow who had nothing and yet gave more, in the eyes of God, than all that had wealth and riches.  It is within God the Father and in Christ that that all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid as it says in Colossians 3:2; those treasures become a part of us as our lives are hid in Him as well.  

God has not created you and called you to be something that you are not able to be, but to live by His strength, to the potential that He has called you to be.  That must be the legacy of our lives, to live well the life He has called us to live in the faith and confidence in Him.  

You and I are children of worth as are our children and their children.  We just must always remember that our worth is only fully realized and invested into the kingdom of God as we invest the fullness of ourselves in loving the Lord our God with all of our hearts, our minds, our soul and our strength.  It is the Lord that gives our lives value, purpose and a reason for being.  Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanshipcreated in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  You are of great value and worth, live accordingly. 

Blessings,

#kent

Psalms 119:11
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

What We Treasure in Our Hearts

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)”
Think about the things we protect, hide away, keep and save. They are the things that we value and that are meaningful to us. Most of the things that we treasure and value are temporal and perishing. Many of us save and put away money, possessions, jewelry and other items we consider valuable. The most precious and lasting treasure of all lies upon the pages of the book we call our Bible. While we treasure our earthly things, for many, the Bible sets upon the shelf and collects dust. It might even get taken to church on Sunday, but do we really appreciate the treasure that is contained and hidden there among the pages of God’s Word. The treasure that we find there is life-giving and eternal. It has the power to change our lives and helps us to know the true heart and mind of God. It has the power to show us ourselves and bring light where there has been darkness.
God no longer walks among us in flesh and blood as He did in Jesus Christ, but neither is He absent and gone from us. He has left us the testimony of His Spirit and His Word. It is His Spirit within us that unlocks the mysteries and reveals the treasures of His Word. If we want to walk with God and have a closer relationship with Him then we must treasure, honor and revere what is precious to Him. His Word is what reveals and imparts that to us. Do we desire to please God? His Word gives us that direction. Do we desire to be free from sin and avoid that which is evil? Again, His Word digested and hidden in our hearts is what transforms our thinking and renews our minds to think and see things as God does. It puts within us the fear, the reverence and awe of God that we would in no way want to offend or displease Him and at the same time dispells the fear that we find in the world and in our minds. We hide many things in our hearts, but far too often it isn’t the Word of God.
John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” We know through the scripture that Christ declared that He was the Word. We know that spiritual life is contained and obtained through Him. When we possess the Christ and He truly possesses us then we will find that treasure that is hidden in our hearts. He will take those words from a page and make them a fire in our belly. His Word will illuminate and transform us. Come and find that treasure that doesn’t perish with the using, that only increases and never decreases and brings you into the presence of the Father.
Where is your treasure today? What do you value and store up in your heart? “Where a man’s treasure is, there will his heart be also.”

Blessings,
#kent

Real Love and Beauty

August 24, 2015

1 Peter 3:1-7
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Real Love and Beauty

On the subject of beauty:
So many derive their value from outward perception and how they view themselves through the mirror of others. Thus many have believed a distorted view of who they are.
God says we were ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.
Our truest beauty comes from within, not without. See yourself through the beauty
that God has created you to be. The greatest beauty is seen in the one who aligns their heart
with God’s purpose and design to best express Him.

On the subject of love:
Young love is sexy and beautiful. It is fresh, passionate, sensual,
but its roots are young and it thrives more on the feelings of the outward man.
Old love is not always as passionate. It is not as sexually driven or motivated,
but it stills sees the beauty that it first saw. Its roots are now deep, as are the scars and life experiences that have knit and grown these two souls together. What was once expressed
outwardly is now the inward sharing of two hearts that beat as one. They have learned
that it is not always feelings that keep you together, but the decision to love one another even when you don’t feel it. Love is not just an emotion, but a decision of will.

Blessings,
#kent

Luke 20:17
And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

The Rock in the Middle of the Road

There is a rock in the middle of the road that is often traveled on foot. Those that pass by the rock, what will they do with it? Most will ignore and walk on. Some who are not paying attention will stumble over it. Some may kick it. Some may throw it or toss it aside. How many of a multitude of people will take the time to pick up the rock, examine it, value it or keep it? Why, because it is a common rock of no particular value or significance to those who pass by. What if it were a gold nugget obscured in granite or a diamond hidden in an ordinary exterior? This is what Jesus was and that is why He was missed by so many. It wasn’t the outer beauty that attracted men to Jesus; it was what was within the man.
Jesus passed a lot of ordinary rocks as He walked down the road of His life. Rocks that people passed by all of their time and never gave a second thought too. There were harlots, tax collectors, blind men, lepers, beggars, cripples, little children, demon possessed, those who were dying or those who were dead. The list goes on and on, but the point is that Jesus took the time to pick up a lot of rocks. He didn’t just see the ordinary or common without, He saw they were precious to the Father and so they were precious to Him. He ended up giving His very life for a lot of ordinary, common and undeserving rocks.
As we travel down life’s road it is easy for us to pass a lot of rocks and never give them another thought or glance. I know I need that sensitivity to take the time to pick up some of those rocks and as I can, make their lives better in some way. I may well be treading over gold ,diamonds and precious gems unawares. Peter shared what God had spoke to him in a vision in Acts 10:28, “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
As you go through life today, think about that rock in the middle of the road. As God has picked you up, pick up and value those around you.

Blessings,
#kent

Silver Dollar

May 5, 2015

Revelations 3:17-19
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

Silver Dollar

Years ago the value of money was in the coin. When someone gave you a dollar you knew it was worth a dollar because it was backed by the value of the silver in the coin. Today we pass representations of a dollar around, as the real thing and put the same value on them when in reality there is nothing of substance to back up that value. I feel like the Lord is showing me that we do the same thing with our faith and our discipleship. We say we are Christians and represent ourselves as such, but does our faith and discipleship carry the same value as is represented in the Word and as seen in the early Church? Are we living out the value of our faith or are we just paper representations of the real thing? This is what the Lord is dealing with in this passage in Revelations 3 concerning the church in Laodicea. They perceived themselves as rich, having the value of the faith and in need of nothing when in reality the Lord is saying you are nothing more than paper dollars, wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Talk about a devalued dollar, that is what they represented. Now the Lord is showing them what they are and the error of their perception not to condemn them, but to bring them to repentance, so that they might regain the value they once carried. God is at work in the Church today exposing the same things in our lives. He is exposing how religion and man’s theology has left us as a devalued dollar in the eyes of the Lord. The Lord is counseling us, His Church, to buy gold tried and refined in the fire so that we may become rich and our true value restored. It is not our talk , dress, social circles and church attendance that give value to our faith; it is the walking out of our faith in daily life. It is living out the principles and the actions of the kingdom that put value in our dollar. It is not what we think in our mind; it is what we perform out of our heart as we seek to be led and directed of the Holy Spirit. Many have settled for a “feel good” faith. It soothes the conscience and gives an appearance of righteousness. Many of the religious people of Jesus’ day had that same thing. It didn’t impress Him then and it doesn’t impress Him now. Jesus can no longer be just a token of our life, He has to become the sum and substance of our life. The Word doesn’t tell us that we were created for ourselves to please ourselves. It tell us in Colossians 1:16, For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” We were not created by Him for us, but for Him. Hebrews 2:10 also tells us, ” For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. We are created by Him, for Him that we might be the sons He brings into His glory. Paper dollars can’t fulfill that calling. It takes silver dollars that have the value and the weight of the Son within them.
The paper dollars will fail, because they don’t carry the substance of their value, do we?

Blessings,
#kent

Despair

February 13, 2015

Despair

2 Corinthians 4:8
[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;

There may be one today that is in a place of despair. You are so low and you feel so worthless that you despair of life itself. Desperation is overtaking you and maybe you are even contemplating that the world would be better off without you. Beloved, despair is the work of the enemy. Never is it God’s intent to bring you here. God is not the author of discouragement. He values you even more than you can value yourself.
“You may say, “even God can’t love me the way I am.” God has never stopped loving you in spite of what you are. Though the world would despise you, God has not forsaken you. Even in the bondage of deepest and ugliest sin God’s heart beats for us. Even when men can’t forgive you, God can. He loves even the lowest and vilest of sinners, the greatest failures, the nobodies, the forgotten and the rejected. God didn’t come in Christ Jesus just to call out and save the golden boys and girls. He came for all and especially those rejected of the world. 1 Corinthian 1:27-31 says, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
God is calling out to you in your despair today. Despair is the tool of devil for self-condemnation in order to destroy the precious gift of life and hope that God has given you. God is there for us when we turn to Him. It isn’t by the evidence of our feeling that we determine His presence it is according to the promise and faithfulness of His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us if we call out and believe on Him. The Lord wants to instill hope in your life today. He wants to instill in you confidence that in His eyes you are of great value and worth. No matter what your life has been or where it has taken you God can take it and use it for good if you surrender your all to Him. He is reaching out to you the hand of hope and life today. He is your lifeline that will keep you from drowning in the miry sea. Reach out and lay hold of Him. Lay hold of Christ and the precious promises for life and blessing in His Word. Jesus died for you as much as anyone else, reach out by faith and receive life from Him today.

Blessings,
#kent

Why Should I Drop My Rock?

December 9, 2014

John 8:1-11
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Why Should I Drop My Rock?

The law of sin and death apprehends us in our sin. The accuser comes before the Lord proclaiming our sin and demanding just retribution. “The Law says” and condemnation follows.
There we are, lying in the dust, naked and ashamed, fearing what may soon follow. We can’t justify ourselves. Our sin has found us out and Jesus has every right to say, “do what the law says and stone the sinner,” but He doesn’t. He stoops there, almost oblivious to the crowd, the railing accusation, the demands for justice and in that place of rest and peace He just writes with His finger in the dirt. Perhaps He is listing all the sins of the accusers.
Finally, Jesus speaks one sentence so amazing, profound and convicting that it shuts the mouth of every accuser and a disperses the angry and blood thirsty mob.
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The law of sin and death has to bow to the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus. If that were us lying there naked, ashamed and in sin, awaiting the rocks and stones to fly and pelt the life out of us, what would it mean to us to be justified by Jesus. He didn’t justify the sin, but He justified the sinner, making it as though she had never done it. Jesus was without sin. He had every right to condemn and judge her. He could have thrown that first stone and yet He chose to throw mercy and forgiveness upon her instead of judgement.
How many times could Jesus have cast me out and cast me off, because of my sin? Instead He has always chosen to forgive me and exhorts me to not live in that place of sin any longer. Are we any different than this woman? Are our sins so much more righteous than hers? Does God really measure sins or are they all a falling short of Him and His highest for us?
I believe that this was a life changing moment for this woman when the kindness of God led her to repentance and change. I believe she saw in Jesus, someone who could do for her what she could not do for herself. She found forgiveness in Him, who looked not upon her shame and failure, but rather saw her value even in her sinful state.
When we read this, we should realize that is exactly what God did for me. He took my sin away, He exonerated me, forgave me and justified me; just as if I had never done it. In the light of that grace, what justification would I have to judge and condemn another? Knowing the debt that Christ paid for me, who am I to hold another accountable for the little debt they may owe me, or the sin they may have perpetrated against me? If God could forgive me so much, why, as His child, am I willing to forgive so little?
Again, Jesus would say to you and me, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
How many of us have failed to drop our rocks and stones of offense and unforgiveness against others? “Father forgive me my trespasses and sins, as I forgive others.”

Blessings,
#kent

Luke 15:17
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!

“When He Came to His Senses”

We all have an inheritance of the Father. We all have been given the substance of life, breath, health, gifts and abilities. What have we done with what Father has given to us?
We take Father’s gifts so lightly and often don’t even acknowledge or appreciate what we have been given. He gives us loved ones, parents, grandparents, wife, children, grandchildren and friends. Do we take the time to value, appreciate and sow back into the lives of those who have loved us and sown into us?
As long as life is going well, we so often get caught up in its flow and busyness. We become self-absorbed with our own life and interests while neglecting the ones we say we love and hold dear. Suddenly we wake up one day to find our life in ruins. Everything we cared about and that is truly meaningful to us is suddenly gone. Only then, when it is often too late, do we come to our senses and realize our foolishness and neglect.
The prodigal son is not unlike many of us. Like him, many of us have only focused on our success, our pleasures and our fulfillment. We have not planted the love and attention our loved ones have needed and longed for. Suddenly we find ourselves bankrupt and in famine. All our substance has been spent on that which has not produced real life and fulfillment, but only temporary gain. As we come to our senses perhaps we finally realize our true treasure was in those we took for granted and neglected. We used up all of the grace and love they had until there was no more for them to give. Now they’re gone and our concern has come too late.
Every day we are planting, either seeds of life or seeds of death. One day we will reap the harvest of what we have sown in our daily living. Take care the seeds that you plant in your life for they will bear fruit and you will reap a harvest either good or bad, either life or death.
Let us take a lesson from the prodigal son and come to our senses before it is too late to turn our life around and preserve that which is most precious to us. What is it going to take for us to come to our senses?

Blessings,
#kent

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