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Posts tagged ‘R.T. Kendall’

Value the Kindness of God.


But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. —Titus 3:4-5

Gratitude may be defined simply as showing that one values the kindness of God. It is a feeling, but it is more than a feeling. Gratitude is also demonstrated by what we do; it may be a sacrifice in that we don’t have an overwhelming feeling. Sometimes we feel grateful; sometimes we do not. But we must always be grateful, whether or not we feel like it. We must do it, that is, demonstrate gratitude not only by words but also by deeds.

Gratitude shows that we set a value on God’s kindness. “In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

Sanctification is thus the process by which we are made holy. It is both a process and an experience. It is used in the New Testament, however, in more than one way. Sanctification is something that happens to every Christian.

Sanctification is progressive and is never completed until we are glorified. As Paul said, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:1-2).

Moreover, sanctification is a never-ending commitment. If we “got it” completely along the way, we could forget about it from then on! But only glorification will mark the end of this life commitment. In the meantime, we demonstrate our gratitude to God for His sheer grace by holy living, self-denial, and walking in the light. Not in order to make it to heaven, but in thankfulness because heaven is assured.

Excerpted from Just Say Thanks! (Charisma House, 2005).

By R. T. KENDALL.

Give Thanks to the One Who Remembers.


Give thanks…to the One who remembered us in our low estate. —Psalm 136:3, 23

God made a choice to remember, and He wants us to choose to remember! He wants us to hold Him to His own Word. Nehemiah prayed this way (Neh. 1:8). The psalmist prayed the same way: “Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope” (Ps. 119:49). Hezekiah prayed much the same way (Isa. 38:2). With His own Word we can pray so as to give God “no rest” until He grants our request. (See Isaiah 62:7.) We likewise pray with Habakkuk: “In wrath remember mercy” (Hab. 3:2).

The most depressing book in the Bible (to me) is the Book of Judges. The unthinkable things that are described in this book show that there is a precedent for the worst kinds of sin and wickedness. The bottom line of the Book of Judges is, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit” (Judg. 21:25). But there is an ominous explanation that lay behind this folly—an even greater folly: (1) They “did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies,” and (2) they “failed to show kindness” (Judg. 8:34-35).

God’s promise to remember His Word is recounted again and again:

God remembered Rachel. —Genesis 30:22

God … remembered his covenant. —Exodus 2:24

For he remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham. —Psalm 105:42

In other words, God keeps His promise to remember. He puts us on our honor to remember to be grateful. God kindly cautions us not to forget to be grateful. He puts it succinctly: give thanks.

Excerpted from Just Say Thanks! (Charisma House, 2005).

By R. T. KENDALL.

Even the Weakest Can Still Build for Eternity.


But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . Matthew 6:20

Even the weakest Christian can build a lasting superstructure. You may say, “Well now, look here, I am not able to do this or that, and I just feel I must be the weakest Christian that ever lived.” It is worth remembering the Old Testament character Barak.

Barak was the equivalent of an Israeli general in the days of Judges. Deborah, a judge in Israel during that period, was told by the Lord that the time had come to defeat the enemy. So she turned to Barak and said, “Take ten thousand of your men and meet on Mount Nebo, and the Lord is going to deliver the enemy into your hand.”

Barak said, “No, I just do not think I want to do that. I’m not ready.” But then he said, “Deborah, if you’ll go with me, I’ll go.”

She said, “Well, now, just a minute; if I go, you are not going to get any glory; it will go to a woman.”

He said, “It’s all right.”

Now why did Barak do that? He did that because he wanted to see Israel win, but he was afraid they would not win by himself, and he asked for Deborah to go with him. And a woman, Jael, in fact, got the glory, and we have the song of Deborah in Judges 5:24; it is not about Barak. He felt like he was a nobody; nevertheless, in Hebrews 11, when the writer comes down the Old Testament, whom does he choose to mention as having faith? Barak. And I find that so encouraging—that the weakest Christian can do it. The reason Barak was given that glory was that he did not want the glory then.

Excerpted from When God Says “Well Done!” (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).

By R. T. KENDALL.

Forgiveness Begins in the Heart.


Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God1 John 3:21

Total forgiveness must take place in the heart or it is worthless. If forgiveness truly takes place in the heart, one does not need to know whether one’s enemy will reconcile. If I have forgiven him in my heart of hearts, but he still doesn’t want to speak to me, I can still have the inner victory. It may be far easier to forgive when we know that those who maligned or betrayed us are sorry for what they did, but if I must have this knowledge before I can forgive, I may never have the victory over my bitterness.

If Jesus had waited until His enemies felt some guilt or shame for their words and actions, He would never have forgiven them.

It is my experience that most people we must forgive do not believe they have done anything wrong at all, or if they know that they did something wrong, they believe it was justified. I would even go so far as to say that at least 90 percent of all the people I’ve had to forgive would be indignant at the thought that they had done something wrong.
Total forgiveness, therefore, must take place in the heart. If I have a genuine heart experience, I will not be devastated if there is no reconciliation. If those who hurt me don’t want to continue a relationship with me, it isn’t my problem because I have forgiven them. This is also why a person can achieve inner peace even when forgiving someone who has died.
Confidence toward God is ultimately what total forgiveness is all about; He is the one I want to please at the end of the day. He cares and knows whether I have truly and totally forgiven, and when I know I have His love and approval, I am one very happy and contented servant of Christ.

Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).

By R. T. KENDALL

The Esteem of God.


I know you by name and you have found favor with me. —Exodus 33:12

I heard Gigi Tchividjian give a talk in which she admitted to low self-esteem. She said, “Whenever I was introduced, I was referred to as Billy Graham‘s daughter, the wife of a Swiss psychiatrist, or the mother of six children.” She concluded that she had no identity of her own, but she sought it and found it in Christ.

As God earmarked you for a work in the future, I would urge you to get your sense of self-esteem from knowing you please God alone. Just Him. He isn’t hard to please. First, the blood of Jesus washed all sin and imperfection away. Second, Jesus is at the Father’s right hand and is moved with compassion over our weaknesses. Third, the Father, in any case, “knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14).

It is true that God will refine you so that when your time has come you will be ready and trustworthy of a greater anointing. But you won’t be perfect. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). God isn’t waiting for you to get perfect before He can use you. Otherwise He wouldn’t use anybody—ever.

Do you have a heart after God? Do you yearn to honor Him? Do you aspire to seek not honor and glory from your peers but the honor that God alone can bestow? If so, God will find you. Your parents may not see in you what is there, however well they think they know you, but God does. He will find you. He will discover you. Someone said, “It takes fifteen years to become an overnight success.” God’s time has come when someone who knows all that is needed to know about you steps in without your raising a finger.

Excerpted from The Anointing: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Charisma House, 2003).

By R. T. KENDALL.

Build on the Right Foundation.


For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ1 Corinthians 3:11

What we are told in this verse is that when Paul laid the foundation in Corinth some four years earlier, he was doing nothing more than following God‘s architectural blueprint.

Peter says that foundation was predestined; the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world, who died on the cross, was slain from the foundation of the world. What happened at Calvary two thousand years ago was simply the following of a blueprint that had been predestined in eternity.

It is provided, or as Jude puts it, ” . . .the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). We do not need to go looking for this blueprint in the archives building as though no one knows what the faith is. We have it in the Bible, given by inspiration of God.

This foundation is an unchangeable foundation, not just from place to place as in Ephesus, Corinth, or Thessalonica, but also from generation to generation. This is why Jude says, “I . . .urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” It is not received from the saints; it is delivered to the saints.

But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice [propitiation] for our sins. —1 John 2:1-2

What does John mean? For God to be propitious toward us means that He is favorable toward us, because when Jesus died He was the propitiation who satisfied the justice of God! Thus, calling this foundation propitious simply means that all who rest on it are saved. The superstructure may go wrong, but all who rest upon the foundation are saved.

Excerpted from When God Says “Well Done!” (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).

By R. T. KENDALL.

Openness to the Spirit.


And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. Matthew 11:6, KJV

Some of us find it easier to be open to the Word than to the Holy Spirit. Being open to the Word directly is to be open to the Spirit indirectly—as the Spirit applies that Word. But being open to the Spirit is when He manifests Himself in an immediate and direct manner.

We feel safe with the Word but fearful that the Holy Spirit may lead us out of our comfort zone. But the Holy Spirit to whom we should be open is the Author of the Bible, and He will not lead us in any way that is contrary to what He has written through His sovereign instruments. We are as safe with the Spirit as we are with the Word. And yet if we are not open to the Spirit, we will likely never experience some of the very same things described in the Word.

When one is offended by the Spirit, it is because he is offended by God. It is not possible to find God pleasant and to find the Holy Spirit offensive. It is incongruous to affirm all that Jesus Christ was and did, then turn around and reject the Holy Spirit. The persons of the Godhead are united. Equally, each has His own stigma. The Holy Spirit mirrors the other persons of the Godhead; therefore, how we respond to the person of the Spirit may show what we really feel about either the Father or the Son.We must affirm God as He is—the Holy Spirit is God. When our hearts are truly right with God, we will find that God is not offensive at all! We will instead find Him glorious! But we must take God as He is and be prepared to affirm the presence of the Holy Spirit—however God may sovereignly choose to reveal Himself.

Excerpted from The Anointing: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Charisma House, 2003).

By R. T. KENDALL.

Snuff Out Gossip.


Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. —Proverbs 26:20

Gossip. What an ugly word. I hate the word. It is what sells millions of cheap and tawdry magazines at the checkout line in a supermarket. I so despise them that I like to think I am above this stuff.

I may not read these magazines, but I am just as guilty as those who do read them when I myself hear with glee that a person I don’t like has been found out—and I pass it on; or I repeat news of something unflattering about an enemy or a person who has wanted to hurt me in some way; or I make a person feel good that I know would relish news of their enemy’s difficulty. James says the tongue is a fire (James 3:6), and when I enter into conversations like this, I grieve the Holy Spirit.

Gossip is a defense mechanism to preserve our self-esteem. It arises out of an inferiority complex; we build ourselves up by tearing others down—or enjoying hearing that they are in trouble of some kind. It is a poisonous habit that betrays our insecurity and lack of spirituality. If gossip makes us feel better, we are self-deceived.

We may claim to be Spirit-filled, sound in our theology, faithful in our commitment to the church, zealous in worship, and have devotional lives that are highly admirable. But when we grieve the Spirit by saying what comes to mind that is not honoring to God, we become the very examples James laments: we praise the Lord and curse men.

James asks, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” (James 3:11). If the well in us—the Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39)—overflows, one expects the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). But when the Spirit begins to speak through us, and instead of love, joy, and peace, suddenly there emerges anger, vengeance, and envy, something has gone terribly wrong.

The Holy Spirit will not produce gossip, anger, revenge, or any other fleshly reaction any more than a fig tree can bear an olive or a grapevine bear a fig (James 3:12-16). It is impossible for the Holy Spirit to produce other than the fruit such as love, joy, peace, and self-control. If we say we are Spirit-filled, then let us display the fruit of the Spirit.

Excerpted from Controlling the Tongue (Charisma House, 2007).

By R. T. KENDALL.

Today’s Servant of Christ.


God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10

Part of the sacrifice of being today’s servant of Christ is that vindication usually comes tomorrow, possibly after we are in heaven. Partly what made those in Hebrews 11 “today’s” servants in their day was that they were willing to have the fruits of their labors borne by a successive generation. “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (Heb. 11:39-40).

Peter reminded his readers that, as for the prophets of the Old Testament, “it was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things” (1 Pet. 1:12).

This is an example when those with the Lord continue to be today’s men and women. Those Hebrew Christians who did not succumb to the pressures of their day would never be forgotten.

We are all guilty of thinking of ourselves and how we will be remembered. But the irony of church history is that those who prepared most for tomorrow’s church were the most remembered; those who wanted to build their own empires became yesterday’s men and women while they were still alive—and hardly remembered afterwards.

The late President Ronald Reagan kept a little plaque on his desk that read, “There is no limit to how far one can go as long as he doesn’t care who gets the credit.” That to me is profound. If you and I can bring that into our own lives, I suspect it would make a considerable difference—not only in our usefulness, but also in how we are remembered. It would mean wanting, first of all, the honor that comes from God only, then to affirm His servants, no matter who they are. That is the challenge of being today’s man or woman.

Excerpted from The Anointing: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Charisma House, 2003).

By R. T. KENDALL.

Wait to Succeed.


Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4

In early 1956 I felt that God gave me a fresh message to preach. I saw things in Scripture that I had not heard preached anywhere. I saw teaching, doctrine, and insight that I thought had been revealed to nobody but the apostle Paul! I foolishly left college since I felt I had no more to learn there. I also was convinced that the Second Coming of Jesus was so near that I was wasting my time with further preparation.

My dad was distraught that his only son had come to this. Dad begged for proof that I was in God’s will. I assured him God was going to use me—powerfully and internationally! I had been given visions from the Lord that showed me clearly that I would see great revival. Dad had one question: When? I replied with absolute confidence, “Within one year.” He asked me to write it down so he could have it to show me one year later! I wrote it down. One year later I was selling Stroll-O-Chairs, a portable assortment of baby equipment. I had no opportunities to preach.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones once said to me, “The worst thing that can happen to a man is to succeed before he is ready.” That statement was probably the most powerful word he ever gave me. I  believe it to be true, and I can only conclude that I was withheld the success I had hoped for by God’s gracious will. One reason I took myself too seriously back in 1956 was that I received visions that indicated I would be used of God. I assumed these visions would be fulfilled soon. They weren’t. But because I had them and believed they were truly from the Holy Spirit, I assumed I was special. I became arrogant. I was not ready.

I am so thankful God is still peeling away those layers of arrogance and presumption. I’d rather not be greatly used at all than be given a greater anointing that I would abuse. God has withheld the success for which I have hoped for my own good—to keep me from being successful before I am ready.

Excerpted from The Anointing: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Charisma House, 2003).

By R. T. KENDALL.

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