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

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

A Broken Man

June 15, 2015

Isaiah 66:1-2
Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

A Broken Man

There is something powerful about a broken man. A broken man has no reliance upon his ability or strength or wisdom. A broken man, in himself is poor, he is undone and his esteem can no longer be found in himself. A broken man is one that is not defeated, although defeat may have brought him to this place. He is not a worthless man, even though he has come to realize that his worth is not in himself. The broken man is not a man given to his own wants and pleasures, but he trembles and has a godly fear before the Lord. He has come to the end of Himself as He has caught a glimpse of the magnificence of His God. Now, He bows before his Maker in full surrender, humility and his brokeness becomes his strength. It is his strength because it has caught the eye and the attention of the Almighty. The Lord has found a gem that is not given to himself, but is given to the Him and that which pleases Him.
2 Chronicles 2:9a says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him.” He is looking for the broken person in you and me. He is looking to us to be the floodgates through which His power and life might flow. He is looking for a people of integrity, faith and obedience. He is looking for the broken man and woman that know there is no good thing in themselves, except the Christ that indwells them and redeems them. The key to our being able to release the power of God is not in our prayers, laying of hands or speaking the right words. It is like it was for Jesus. It is moving in the will, direction and the power of the Spirit. It hearing the will of the Father and doing it. We are simply the gateways and the doorways for God to release Himself to others. He could adequately do it without us, but He has chosen to use us as the instruments of His expression and love. The perfect vessel for Him is a broken one, one that is emptied of it’s self so that He may shape it and fill it with Himself. There is great power and potential in a broken man, because he can capture the eye and the heart of God.

Blessings,
#kent

2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Garments of Righteousness

When you came to Christ, you made an exchange. He took your old filthy garments of sin, which He died for on the cross and exchanged, through faith and by His grace, the garment of your sin for the garment of His righteousness. What we could never do or earn to bring us into right standing with God the Father, Christ has done for us through the cross.
There are days when you are going to feel so condemned, so unworthy and so unrighteous. There are days when you feel only failure, defeat and discouragement. Remember it is not about your self-worth, but about your God-worth and what God has called righteous, who are we to call it unrighteous. Our defeat comes when we relinquish to the feelings of self. We are not who the accuser says we are. We are what God says we are “the righteousness of God in Him.” If we want victory, we must get our eyes off of self and on to Him. We must stop living in the cemetery of the old dead man and start living in the sanctuary of the Life-giver. When we set our eyes upon Him, we see what we are and what we are becoming. It is Christ that is now our value and our worth. There is none that can devalue Him. His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness and maintains our right standing in Him.
Here is what the Lord would say to you who are discouraged. Isaiah 61 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. 8 “ForI, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.” 10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”

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

Do You Love what God Loves?

December 3, 2013

Luke 15:1-7
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4″Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Do You Love what God Loves?

I have the joy of photographing many people. We jokingly tell our clients that we have one rule when they view their photographs. They can criticize anyone else but themselves. Why do we say that? Invariably, the ones we are the most critical and judgmental of is ourselves. We can see faults and weaknesses in us that no else would even notice or pay attention too. Self is sometimes the hardest person we have to live with and accept. Sometimes it is hard to love your neighbor as your self, because you don’t really love yourself.
God sent Jesus Christ to tell you that you have extreme value and worth in His eyes. We often judge ourselves according to worldly standards of acceptance. We may hate ourselves because we don’t fit into the right weight class, physical appearance, intellectual ability, race or social –economic status. There are numerous reasons we may feel condemned and rejected. We may be struggling with hidden sins or urges we know are perverse or unclean. We may have done things that we are ashamed of or feel dirty and condemned for. Do you know why these sinners and publicans liked to hang around Jesus? It wasn’t because He told them what scumbags and worthless people they were and that they were all going to hell. They were attracted by the Love. It was a love that they had never seen or known for themselves. It was a love that was unconditional and that could look past their sin and shame and see their heart. It was a love that spoke to them that they were not just refuse and rejects, but that they had value and were precious in the eyes of the Father. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God didn’t come after us with a big stick. He came after us with the greatest act of Love ever demonstrated to man. God isn’t trying to reject you; He is trying to accept you. We already stand rejected and condemned because of our sin, but God’s love says come to me, trust in My Son and His blood will cover your sin and shame. His blood, shed for your sin, can wash you as white as snow if you will embrace Him in faith. God’s heart is to save and redeem a lost and dying world. It is not His desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and eternal life. We have a will that He has given us and He will not violate our will. He doesn’t force us to receive salvation, He simply invites us to receive the provision He has provided for us to be delivered out of the judgement that is already in place for sin and come into His life, receiving His forgiveness.
Many that have walked in darkness for a time are really sick and tired of it. They realize the emptiness it leaves inside of them. It is fun for the moment, but then it leaves us feeling unclean, used and worthless. So we come back to that attitude so many of us have about ourselves, for various reasons. The truth is that God wants you to love and respect what He loves, and that is you. His heart beats for you, His arms are open to you and He wants to receive you and transform your life. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, the important thing for you to know is that He loves you and He can forgive you if you ask Him too. Simply give your heart to Him. Ask Him to forgive those past sins, come to live in your heart and to give you His life. He has a destiny and purpose for your life that you will never know or find in the places of darkness and self –loathing. It is in His love and His light that He will teach you the path of righteousness and show you the great value that you can have in His kingdom.
Do you love what God loves? Isn’t it time that you did? You are the object of His love.

blessings,
kent

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