Where’s Your Appetite?

April 30, 2015

John 4:8
(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

Where’s Your Appetite?

The Lord dropped this scripture into my heart today, because He is asking you and me, where is your appetite? What are you foremost concerned about feeding and taking care of, your natural or your spiritual man? Hunger is a good motivator; it will motivate us to go and do what is necessary to get fed. It is what motivates us to work and pursue the things that meet our natural needs. Now that isn’t a bad thing, but as kingdom people Father is wanting our appetites to change. He wants to put in us the appetite of doing the will of the Father and to focus on what is feeding and nourishing the inner man, not just the outer.
John 4 deals with Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. He begins telling her about a water where she will never thirst again. He reveals to her that He is the source of that living water. The natural water she can drink, but she will continue to thirst, but the living water is a perpetual life stream that can be a continual well spring inside of us of truth and life.
The disciples return as Jesus is finishing His conversation with this Samaritan woman. Verse 27-38 explains the scene. ” Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28Then, leaving her water jar (Her container for the natural water) , the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
31Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
The Lord is moving us into a time where our appetite and our food will be like that of Jesus. Food and natural sustenance will be secondary to our heart to do Fathers will and impart life bread and water to those who are perishing. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Father wants to put in us a new hunger and new passion that even overrides our physical needs.
The apostle Paul shared in that kind of hunger and appetite. He often paid the price in his body for what he gave out for others. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-31 he shares a little discourse of some of what he suffered for the causes of Christ. ” Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.”
Discipleship comes with a price and we have our time of growing up, but then we must do what 1 John 2:5-6 tells us, “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” So the Holy Spirit is asking us today, “Where’s your appetite?”

Blessing,
#kent

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Defining Love

December 22, 2014

1 John 4:8
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Defining Love

How do we define love? 1 John 4:16 says, “…God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” We know that, in and of ourselves, our love is limited and conditional, but in Christ it knows no such boundaries, ‘for while we yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ The secret to loving as God has commanded us too is in the abiding in Him. That abiding love is not static, it is dynamic in its expression toward all that surrounds it. The eyes of that love are always looking to the real needs in each individual that it encounters. Outwardly men say that they need a lot of things that aren’t really even relevant to the deeper need of their heart. They might not even understand what there need is, but God does. As we walk in the love of God, we become the expression of God by the Spirit at work in and through us. We want to ask God to help us see each individual, from those in our own family to those who are strangers, through His eyes and His heart. Operating and living out of the love of God is in seeing your life as a ministry and service to those around you. Love is an open door of giving. It is often returned with ungratefulness and abuse, but it stays open because it is the avenue of God’s love to our fellow man. When we suffer reproach, abuse and ungratefulness from others then we are, in a sense, filling up the sufferings of Christ. We are experiencing and feeling what He felt. We understand the sadness and heartache for those who reject Him, while at the same time we share in the joy of those who embrace Him.
We have become a very self-contained society wanting our own space and our own things. God blesses us to be a blessing. Abiding in the love of God will often take us out of our comfort zone, as it requires that we often lay down our wants and desires so that we might meet the needs in others. For us to intimately know God we must truly respond to the love of God and become the expression of His love to others. If we are a closed channel, then we have effectively cut off the life to God to someone who needs it. God says, “that is not my love. My love extends it’s arms open to all who will receive Christ and come into Me.”
Do we really know God? For us to really know Him means that we have to be the expression of that same love wherewith He has loved and gave His life for us. Are we willing to give our life for others?
Ask God to give you the eyes to see the world and the individuals around you through His eyes and His love. Then ask Him to help you to respond accordingly. The world is starving for genuine love. You are that love because God abides in you.

Blessings,
#kent

All of our need is met in Jesus

Philippians 4:19
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

It is interesting to note that this scripture follows Paul commending the Philippians for their faithfulness in communicating and supporting his needs. In Philippians 4:15-18 Paul has just remarked to the Philippians, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.” We can see from these passages that the Philippians weren’t just out seeking the blessings of God, their focus and endeavor was to be a blessing. So often we take the promises of God out of context to meet our particular needs or desires. What is as important as the promises are the conditions of the promise and the foundation it is based on. There are some that have the idea that God exist in order just to bless them. It is God’s heart that we be blessed and that our needs are met, but our heart should not be that of seeking the gift, but the Giver. What we find in the economy of the kingdom of God is that in blessing we are blessed, in giving our needs are met. The Lord increases us for the purpose of being a greater blessing, as well as being blessed.
What we must ask ourselves is what is at the core of our heart when we approach God for our needs or wants. Is it covetousness, the strong desire for what we don’t have, or is it the desire to be a blessing? Is our heart just to get or is it to give. Jesus says in Matthew 6:31-34, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.” Jesus is telling us here that it isn’t the natural commodities of this world we need to be focused on, it is the kingdom of God. When we get in the flow of God’s economy we don’t have to worry about the natural, those needs will be met in the course of our living. Certainly we must still work, the Word exhorts “let him who will not work, not eat.” What we fail to see is that even our work can be a spiritual exercise and function of the kingdom. It is a means for providing not only our needs, but also the needs of others, which is a spiritual principle. Ephesians 4:28 says, ” Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” It is in the meeting of needs that our needs are met.
Paul says in this passage, ‘may God supply all of your need, singular, according to His riches in glory.’ What is your need today? Is it about all of the things in life that we need or is it about knowing that Christ is our greatest need and everything else is worked out as we pursue Him.
May we have the heart of the Father in our giving and being a blessing. In blessing we will find ourselves blessed and all of our need met according to His riches in glory.

Blessings,
#kent

Worthy of this Calling

March 25, 2014

Worthy of this Calling

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I would like for us to be very real and practical today as we consider our calling in Christ Jesus. We often try and talk spiritual and be spiritual around what we consider spiritual people or environments, but what is every day life like for us? How does our real faith play out in the everyday activities of our lives? In the light of that, many of us may not feel too spiritual. We may see ourselves getting angry, losing patience, arguing with the kids and the spouse. A lot of times we see some pretty unattractive words and attitudes demonstrated in our lives. Nothing we could really take much pride in as far as being spiritual or glorifying the Lord. We may get pretty down on ourselves in the light of our many shortcomings and feel there is really no hope that I could be anything in Christ. “Look what a mess I am and how totally unchristian I can act.” Most of us can have those “flesh days” when we are just a mess spiritually. Our spiritual enemy preys on our vulnerabilities. I believe situations are often set up by the enemy, just to push our buttons and lead us off into unspiritual actions and attitudes. You may have really felt that you were drawing close to the Lord and then you are attacked in the areas of your vulnerabilities. You are tempted in the areas of your greatest weaknesses. As much as you don’t want too, perhaps you fail and stumble again in those areas where you thought you were experiencing victory. What follows is nothing less than a barrage of condemnation and discouragement as the devil condemns you for your failures. Perhaps he even uses those around you to assist in heaping on you the condemnation and failure you already feel. With feelings of shame, disgrace, added failure and guilt we become discouraged. We think, “Why am I trying to be something I can never be?” Exactly the state of mind the enemy wants to bring us too.
Realistically our lives are a never-ending struggle of flesh and spirit. We hear about who we are and who we should be in Christ, but then we struggle to live our faith in Christ, often with feelings of being so unsuccessful. These are the reasons why we often grow weary, discouraged and want to just give up. You know what? We all have these feelings, discouragement, and setbacks. Our God is not just writing us off because we do, but He does want to use them to allow us to recognize our weakness, so that we may better lay hold of His strength. The Word tells us that the efforts of the flesh can never produce the righteousness of God. That is why religion is so futile. It is our attempt at finding and pleasing God in our own works.
We find in life that we are most influenced by those we associate ourselves with. If we hang around a worldly and ungodly crowd, it is not long before we find our own actions and attitudes becoming more and more conformed to theirs. It is that same old principle of sowing and reaping. What we are sowing into our lives is what we are reaping in our attitudes and actions. Hosea 10:2 tells us, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for [it is] time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Galatians 5:25 tells us, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” While we will have those times where we will experience failure and discouragement we must stubbornly and uncompromisingly not relinquish who we know ourselves to be in Christ. Our only hope of this is in our identification and relationship with our Lord. No matter how we may get sidetracked and bushwhacked by the enemy of our soul, our spirit and our soul must turn back to Father. He assures us forgiveness when we repent and promises to wash our sin away. Christ in you is your hope of glory. With all that is within us we must cling to Him, relinquish our lives to Him and stay in close fellowship and relationship with Him. He alone is the one that transforms us into His image and likeness. In order to be worthy of His calling, it is our patient and enduring faith in Him that is the manifest token of our salvation. It is maintaining the place of intimacy and relationship that we truly know our God and experience the workings of His righteousness in us. The reality of our faith and walk in the Spirit must be the greatest reality of our lives. Even when we wander or fail, it is the faithfulness of His Spirit in us that continually keeps us returning and drawing near to Him. “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: [Which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer (2 Thessalonians 1:3-5)”

Blessings,
#kent

Boys to Men

October 25, 2013

Ephesians 4: 14-16
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Boys to Men

As I was meditating this morning an old John Wayne movie came into my thoughts called “The Cowboys”. Many of you may still remember it. It was about a rancher who had to drive his cattle to market, but he couldn’t get any men to help him so he had to take a group of boys to drive his cattle. Along the drive they are confronted with cattle rustlers who capture them. John Wayne never allows fear or intimidation to be seen on him. He stands up to these rustlers and demonstrates before these boys what a man of courage and integrity is all about. In the process the leader of the rustlers kills him and they go on to take the cattle. The only other adult is the old cook. After John Wayne’s death, these boys rise to the occasion and they no longer see themselves as boys, but as men. They plan their strategy and take the cattle back from the rustlers, defeating them in the process and killing their leader. They then take the cattle on to market and complete their mission.
What I felt the Lord was showing me through this is that we have a man who has walked before us and shown us the true nature and character of God. He has never shown fear or been intimidated by His enemies, but demonstrated before us the greatest degree of courage and self-sacrifice as He gave His life for us. We are like those boys, who have never seen ourselves really as men, but God is placing us in circumstances that we must gird up our loins as men and walk the walk of the Savior. There comes a time we put aside our childish ways and we come into manhood and I speak this figuratively for women as well as men. The Holy Spirit is there to give the wisdom and guidance to grow up into Him which is the head, even Christ. As we come into maturity, we put aside our petty bickering and differences and we function as one man, one team filled with the Holy Spirit, with power and authority. I believe that in this time the Lord is telling us to grow up and go from boys to men. We know the way; Jesus walked it before us, now it is time that we walk His walk, not going where we choose, but where He leads us. Many of us may be weak or of no special ability or strength, but God has chosen the foolish to confound the wise and the weak to prevail over the strong. It is not because of who we are that we are anything, but it is because of who He is in us that we are everything and capable of anything. It is time we take our eyes off of our immaturity and childishness. It is time we place our eyes upon Him that we have been called to be conformed too and begin to walk in His image and likeness. Faith sees what is not evident and without faith it is impossible to please Him. It is that faith of who He is in us that is taking us from boys to men.

Blessings,
kent

September 12, 2013

The Blessing of Our Women

Proverbs 31:8
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her.

Most all of us have a woman or women that are very special in our lives. They are often so dependable, constant and such a continual source of blessing that we often become complacent and even unappreciative in our attitudes toward them. Much like our attitude can become toward the Lord, we can become very insensitive to their presence, their continual serving and blessing and all that they contribute to our lives. We often are far more acutely aware of their faults, their nagging, and their expectations. Yet it is often some of these little irritating qualities that keep us on track, that help us live up to our abilities and responsibilities, and they are often the cornerstones of our households. These little ladies look after us, pamper us, serve us, bless us, love us, even when we are unlovely and are constantly laying down their lives to unselfishly serve and bless their families.
Often we relegate one day a year to commemorate and recognize these special ones, which is much like just going to church on Christmas or Easter. We should be so cognizant to love and appreciate them every day, in every way and through all of the little actions as well as the larger ones. Sure they have their human side. They can get cranky and irritable and some times hard to live with, but that may be a good indication that we as men and children aren’t doing our part to support, love and care for them.
I know my wife is so giving and far more generous than I am. While I’m always carefully watching the bottom line, if there is something I really need or want, she doesn’t hesitate to try and bless me with it if it is in her power to do so. Time would fail me to tell all of the examples of her giving and blessings in my life. She is such an example of love and Christ to me in these areas. Often, I get irritated with her for always asking me if I remembered this or that, but if she didn’t she knows that there is a good chance I would go off and forget it. What I am saying is that these special women are such a constant source of blessing and help to us, and we usually cop an attitude with them in their efforts to help us keep on track.
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” We men and children that have godly women in our lives are very blessed and should never fail to praise and appreciate them. They wear innumerable hats, continually work at daunting tasks and yet manage to love and serve their household in that process. Many of us truly have heroines living among us whom we don’t love and appreciate nearly enough. They deserve our best, because they give no less of themselves.
It is interesting that some of Jesus’ last thoughts and concerns, while hanging on a cross, were for His mother. He delegated her care to the disciple John. If we see Jesus throughout His ministry so tender, loving, forgiving and caring of women should we, as men, be any less so? He valued women as few men did of that time. The Word exhorts us husbands in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
We must ask ourselves, as men, husbands and children, are we really everyday appreciating and showing the women in our lives how special they are? Our encouragement and praise means so much to them and helps them to continue on in their endeavor to serve and bless us. I speak this as strongly to myself as I do anyone else; that the women in your life are an extension of you in one way or another. If we love ourselves then we must not fail to love and bless them as a part of ourselves. Many of our marriages and relationships fail, because we cease to really love and appreciate one another. We become focused on all of the faults and shortcomings and actually cause them to become accentuated through the negative confessions of our lips. What if we were to speak, sometimes by faith, what we see or would like to see more of them, in a positive way? What if we were to be sure and praise and appreciate often the positive aspects of one another while humbly and willingly receiving loving correction and exhortation from one another. None of us are the perfect husband or wife, mother or child, but we can move and encourage one another toward that through the positive reinforcement we can bring to one another’s lives. Let today and each coming day be a day of true appreciation of those special women in our lives. Let us continually let them know how special they are and how much they bless our lives.

Blessings,
kent

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