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Bright Light In Darkened Corners

Greetings,

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Galatians 5: 1

We are free in Christ everyone, but do we actually live like we are really free?  Far too often we trade God given freedom for religious bondage.  We are no longer under the Law.  So why do we live and act as if we were?

In Christ the only law is love.  To love God and love your neighbor as yourself.  If this is true, then why does the “church” have so many rules, laws, and regulations?  Many “churches” have by-laws and sometimes unwritten rules about how to dress, how to act, and what we can or cannot watch in movies or on television.  Then there is the whole dancing issue.  Some “churches” even forbid men to swim in the same place as women.  In the past “churches” even banned books and told people what they were and were not allowed to read.

As followers of Jesus we have the Spirit dwelling within us to guide us through our daily lives and choices.  Because we have The Holy Spirit we no longer require or need an external written code to follow.  We do not need lists of rules or regulations anymore, because we are now led by the internal witness of the Spirit.

The big question is do we trust God to lead us from within in all things or do we want things in the world that we can see and or touch to be our guides?  Do we trust the invisible God or “man” written rules and documents to show us the limits of our freedom?

I say whom the Son sets free is free indeed!  We need to trust God to internally set up the parameters of our freedom.  We are no longer under the law or rules of “men”.  “Men” and traditional religion seek to confine our freedom to religious standards.  God wants us to break free of human constraints and to serve Him freely while abounding in His love.  The only way to reach those who are on the fringe of acceptable behavior is to be free enough to live out on the edge of societies norms with them.  We are supposed to be bright light in the darkened corners.  It is impossible to lead others to freedom when those leading do not totally walk in freedom themselves.  Living inside a religious box is not freedom.  In Christ we should always be free enough to press the envelope of freedom to its outer most limits.  Freedom vs Law can be a constant tension in our lives, it is just like Relationship vs Religion.  However, when I am in the Spirit I choose freedom and relationship every time and I have never regretted it even once.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

 

The Plow

Greetings,
               “Still another said, “I will follow you Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”  Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.”  Luke 9: 61-62
               Jesus is known for His hard sayings and this one ranks right up there, but what is Jesus really saying to us in this passage?  He says if we put our hand to the plow and look back we are not fit for the Kingdom. But what are we plowing?  I feel this speaks of plowing and preparing for service our very own hearts.
               Hardness of heart keeps us from hearing and putting into practice what Jesus wants us to do and be.  A hard heart can separate us from His love and direction.  Jesus wants our hearts to be soft and able to receive, cultivate, and put into action Spiritual truths.  According to the parable of the Sower His seeds of truth do not grow and produce fruit on rocky and hard soil. (Matt. 13)  So what are we supposed to do when we find ourselves with a heart of stone?
               “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your fallow (hardened) ground; for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes.”  Hosea 10:12
               For us to be able to walk in HIS righteousness and fully experience HIS unfailing love we MUST keep our hand to the plow of our very own heart and continually break up our fallow ground.  Jesus wants our hearts to be soft and able to produce a great harvest of love and truth to benefit both ourselves and others who are seeking Him.  To Jesus this is more important than burying and saying goodbye to our family and loved ones.  A soft heart is able to receive HIS truth and love, then produce a bounty of Spiritual fruit.  When our hearts are soft the fruit we bear can help sustain the Body of Christ and also attract those hungry to be set free and follow Jesus.
               I put my hand to the plow of my heart over 46 years ago and even though I struggle at times; I have never looked back.  If you really want to press forward deeper into the things of God just place your hand on that plow and allow Him to make the difference in your heart and life each and every day.  Remember this is your hand, your plow, and your heart.  A Pastor or someone else can’t do this for you.  It is your choice, your action and your life.  So go for it!
               Love and …..
          Kirk Out !

When I First Saw Jesus

Greetings,

My earliest memory of Jesus was when I was four years old.  We were at a campground in Pennsylvania and I wandered off into the woods and got lost.  After about an hour in the woods I was crying and very upset that I could not find my way back to our trailer.  Then I just cried out “God please help me?”  Soon after that a man in a white robe with a beard and long hair appeared in the distance and He motioned that I follow Him.  Minutes later I was out of the woods and the man was gone.

A few days later I was alone with my earthly father in our trailer.  He told me to take off my clothes and to strip naked.  This is my first memory of being molested and sexually abused.  However, while my father was abusing me the man who led me out of the woods just days before appeared in the room.  He told me that He loved me and that I was going to be alright and not to worry about what my father was doing to me.

There are at least a dozen other times that I remember being raped and abused by my father and his cousins between the ages of 4 and 11.  And every time the man in the white robe was there reassuring me that I would be alright, speaking words of love, comfort and peace to me.  There were other times while I was alone that this man came to me and told me of faith, hope, love, relationship and fellowship.  At the time I did not understand all what He was telling me.

Having never been to a church building in my youth it was not until I was 12 that I came to understand that the man in the white robe was Jesus.  Soon after I came to that realization I encountered my very first Gideon’s New Testament bible and all the things that I read in there confirmed the very things that Jesus had been speaking to me all those years.  In my teens I tried to find the rich fellowship and love that Jesus had shared with me at many different church buildings and among many congregations, but I never could find it among any of them.  Some of the songs were nice, but the sermons and the service were not at all like what Jesus had revealed to me as authentic and real.  I searched and searched for HIS pulse within these so called fellowships, but all I could discern there was the heartbeat and traditions of “man”.  Eventually I came to understand that true fellowship was not to be found in any “church” building, no it was to be discovered totally outside of all the religious camps.

I share these things here today because I feel He wanted me to and recently my son asked me to share about the time I got lost in the woods.  Jesus said He would never leave or forsake me and in all these years He hasn’t.  For 21 years I have suffered from PTSD flashbacks of my being raped and abused, but until recently I saw only the abuse.  However, in the last several years when I have the flashbacks I actually see Jesus there with me now.   This, I believe, is a major breakthrough for me and those who love me.  When Jesus is there it takes all the terror away.

I just want to say to everyone that Jesus is always with you, whether you can see Him or not.  For those who believe, He is there to comfort and lead you.  If you are not yet a believer, He is there knocking on the door of your heart saying “Let ME in?”   He wants everyone to follow Him and He desires that we all be healed.  Today I choose to walk in His love and healing. He is THE Difference maker!  Turn to Him and He will accept, love and lead you; even outside of the traditional camps.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

P.s.  I still have the occasional PTSD flashback, but I have not had a full blown PTSD episode in over eight years.  Praise Jesus!

 

 

Only God Is To Be Exalted

Greetings,

Jesus, when He was talking about teachers of the law and Pharisees had this to say:

“… they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi’.  But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi’, for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.  And do not call anyone on earth ‘father’, for you have one Father, and He is in heaven.  Nor are you to be called ‘teacher’, for you have one Teacher, the Christ.  The greatest among you will be your servant.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  Matthew 23: 6-12

Jesus made it abundantly clear in this passage that He does not like or approve of people being called by the titles of Rabbi, father, or teacher.  I am also certain that this goes for the title of Pastor also.  Jesus does not want us to elevate some people in the church over and above others.  No, Jesus says we are ALL brothers.  All titles in the church are counter productive to the cross.

It is also clear that Jesus does not want any of us brothers to exalted.  In the church there should not be special seats or parking places for anyone.  In fact no one should be viewed as special or exalted over and above other believers.  Because Jesus is saying that we should all be equal sibling brothers and peers in the true church.

The calling of every follower of Jesus is to be a servant to all.  No one in the Body should have a special position or job that places them in some separate elevated place over other believers.  No one should EVER be exalted except God Himself.

The concept of us all being servants, siblings and peers under ONLY Christ is easy to see and understand through scripture.  Jesus makes this point extremely clear.  If this is true then why do the vast majority of modern “churches” have exalted leaders called Pastors?  Have you ever asked yourself a question like that?  Something is wrong, very wrong, in the modern “church”.   So we all need to ask ourselves the question…….Do we want to do things man’s way, or God’s way?  God’s way says we are all Priests and Ministers that serve the church and reach out to those who have yet to know Him.  In the true church EVERYONE is a leader who shares when the Spirit leads them.   The whole Body is supposed to work together in concert so that God is exalted.  In the false “church” most things are a one “MAN” show.  I don’t think it can be any clearer than that.  True humility does not seek a platform or pulpit.  It seeks to serve from within the Body, not from above it.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

P.s.  To be clear, “Brother” is a generic word used in scripture to identify both females and males who follow Christ and are part of His Body.  In Christ we are all equal sibling peers!

P.s.s.  URGENT PRAYER REQUEST……….  Three of Talena’s and mine grandchildren have the virus.  Kordell is 20 and on the mend, Joshua is 12 and slowly improving and Juniper age 8 spiked her first fever last night.  They all follow and serve Jesus.  Please pray……

 

 

When Jesus Calls

Greetings,

“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.  They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  ”Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed Him.  Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John.  They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets.  Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.”  Matthew 4: 18-22

Just a short and simple blog today.  What I see in this passage is that when Jesus calls our response needs to be “immediate” and “at once”.  It doesn’t matter what we are doing at the time or who is with us.  When Jesus speaks to us we need to drop everything else we are doing and respond to Him in that very moment.

I have to admit that I am not always good at responding exactly when He calls.  Sometimes I am far to involved in what I am doing and I choose to put Jesus on hold.  Not a smart thing to do, but I am willing to admit it and work on changing my ways even more.

I really should know better because there have been many times when I did respond in the moment that He called to me.  Then later the circumstances confirmed that I made the right choice.  There have been several times that while driving I heard Jesus tell me to “Turn right now” or to “take another route”, only later to find out that there had been a terrible accident on the road I was taking before He spoke.  It may sound too simple or spooky Spiritual, but this is really the way He works in our lives at times.

I have learned through experience to respond immediately to His voice, even though what He says may seem insignificant in that moment.  I have told this story before, but I think it really fits here right now too.  While I was in college after a Resurrection Band concert I had promoted that night I made a food run for the guys who helped haul equipment.  I was in the Burger King drive thru waiting to order 5 whopper meals when Jesus spoke to me and said order a 6th meal.  It was only four bucks more so I did so and was obedient, not knowing why The Lord wanted me to change the order.  When I got back to the dorm I set the 6th meal up on top of the bunk bed while the five of us ate ours.  Five minutes later a guy named Tim stuck his head in the room and jokingly asked where his meal was and I was able to point to the top bunk and say, “it’s right up there.”  He ended up eating with us and when the conversation turned to the Lord, 20 minutes later Tim fully accepted Jesus to be his Lord and Savior.  That’s right, because I was obedient to the voice of the Lord at the BK drive thru someone got born again.

It is very important that we are faithful in the small and seemingly insignificant things.  Because ” We know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him.” ( Romans 8)  EVERYTHING MATTERS!  We need to practice and learn to hear His voice because He doesn’t always shout or put it up on a billboard.  Responding to His voice in a timely manner could mean the difference between life and death.  ”His sheep hear His voice and obey.”  We need to always be totally open and available to Jesus whenever He may choose to call us.

Love and ….

Kirk Out !

P.s. I guess it turned out not so short or simple

P.s.s.  Jesus just reminded me of something that would be a well fitting example of imediate obedience.

When I was a junior in college circa 1988 I broke my arm playing basketball.  I went to the hospital and the x-rays showed a clear fracture.  They put a cast on my forearm.  That evening I went to the fieldhouse to hang out with some friends shooting hoops.  It was my left forearm and it sucked because I am also left handed.  Friends were playing 3 on 3 and one of them twisted his ankle.  Right then Jesus spoke to me and told me to rip off my cast and go play in place of my injured friend.  While in the process of ripping of the cast I thought to myself “THIS IS REALLY NUTS!”  Jesus responded and said “NO, THIS IS A DEMONSTRATION OF MY POWER TO ALL THOSE WATCHING!”  All the folks around me were freaking out, but I just gave glory to Jesus.  I must have played another hour without a twinge of pain or discomfort and hit almost every shot I took.  It was wild and my testimony of that event led some dear folks to Jesus in the following days.

 

Weathering Any Storm

       Greetings,
                 “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.  The disciples woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown.’  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Peace!  Be still!’  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to His disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?’  They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this?  Even the wind and waves obey Him!”  Mark 4: 37-41
                A Canadian friend and I were exchanging testimonies yesterday, so I thought I would also share this story here today:
                 Back in 1992 I was working as a Psychiatric Technician in a mental health facility.  I was at the nurses station charting when this HUGE patient came up and punched out the wire reinforced window, during a fit of rage.  There was glass and blood everywhere.  This guy was six foot eight and weighed over 400 pounds.  All the staff stood up and looked at each other first in disbelief and then everyone turned and looked directly at me expecting that I should be the one to do something about the problem at hand.
                 I stepped out of the station and into the hallway about 8 feet away from the troubled patient.  The psychiatrist asked the patient if he was alright, but got no response.  Then I spoke to the giant, asking him to calm down.  He raised his fist and took a big step towards me.  I asked him to think about what he was doing.  Again no response.  Then I said, “You are a big man and you could hurt me, but I am pretty big too and you are also going to get hurt if you want to fight.”  Again no response.  Then I stepped right up to him and whispered in his ear.  Immediately he calmly turned around and went back to his room.
                 The staff was dumbfounded and the psychiatrist who was a German Jew asked me, “Vat did ewe say to heem?”  I then faced everyone and said, ” I just told him peace, be still, in Jesus Name.”  The Doc did not know what to say at first, but a few moments later he actually said, “Jesus huh? I don’t understand it, but it worked. Good job Kirk.”  All the other staff just smiled and nodded in agreement.
                 During the clean up I was asked very probing questions about what happened and I just kept giving all the credit and glory to Jesus.  Several days later I worked a midnight shift and the nurse who worked nights questioned me about the incident.  After a couple of hours of conversation she asked Jesus to invade her life and she still serves Him to this day.  The name of Jesus is very powerful and He can calm any storm, be it weather or emotional.  Anyway, that’s just another day in the life of this long haired Jesus freak.
                 Love and ……
       Kirk Out !

Do You Really Know Jesus, Or Just Know About Jesus?

Greetings,

“His 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.  Through 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.”  2 Peter 1: 3-4

We cannot even fathom how much God really loves us.  It says here that He has given us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness.  In Christ we lack NOTHING.  Stop, pause and ponder that for a moment? I mean WOW!  Through knowing Him we are made complete.  This speaks of more than just believing in Him.  This is about intimately knowing and experiencing Him in your daily life.  Many people know ABOUT God, but that is not at all the same as truly knowing Him and His heart, will and ways.  This is not about what we know with our intellect, it is about knowing in Spirit and Truth, with our complete inner being.  Most people worship God from afar, but this is about worshiping Him from within, totally up close and personal.  It is time to trust in, cling to, and rely on Jesus for everything.  He gives Himself to us and in turn we give ourselves totally to Him.  Relationship is everything and He presents Himself to us and all we have to do is surrender and respond to His glory and goodness.  Jesus stands at the door of our hearts and knocks.  So go ahead open the door and let Him in!

Is it possible that the vast majority of the people in the “Church” or religious system today do not really know Jesus in HIS fullness?  They have been taught information concerning Christ by Pastors and preachers, but they have little to no experience of feeling HIS presence or touch in their daily lives.  When scripture talks about us KNOWING Christ, in the Greek text it means that we will KNOW Him as in intimately touching Him and being touched by Him.  To experience Christ in this deep, rich and rewarding manner requires in depth personal relationship that goes far beyond being told mere factual information and instead goes to the very heart of God Himself.  Jesus said that His sheep KNOW His VOICE and obey.  This means a very literal hearing and comprehension of Christ’s actual Voice.  It is NOT just about what we READ in scripture or what the Pastor’s voice conveys on Sunday mornings.  WE are talking about the actual clear cut, real and actual voice of Jesus speaking directly to our heart, ears and inner being.  Do you hear His voice?  If not, fall on your face and sincerely seek Jesus until you do really hear Him!

If we walk with Him we get to live in His promises and participate in His divine nature.  If His nature lives within us then we get to escape the corruption of the world.  We will still have to deal with corruption, but it will not come from within us and it will not overtake us and overly burden our lives.

I find it interesting that the corruption in the world is caused by evil desires.  Please notice that it is not caused by evil deeds, although deeds follow desires.  If His divine nature truly is allowed to live within us then our desires will line up with His will and not be evil.  We should not be overcome with evil, we should overcome evil with good.  This is only possible by The Christ living in us being greater than the world within us.  After all, Christ in us is THE Hope of glory.  Wise “men” still seek to KNOW Him and long to hear His Voice each and every day.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !