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Posts tagged ‘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.

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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.

Joy Is Coming.


Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6

Has something ever broken your heart? Have you ever felt that because your heart is breaking, all you can do is weep? Some people can cry at the drop of a hat, but I’m not referring to that kind of tears. Some men are afraid to cry, because they feel that it is not manly. But the greatest man that ever was, Jesus of Nazareth, wept (John 11:35).

Psalm 126 refers to the end of a nightmare: “When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed” (v. 1). In other words, it seemed too good to be true. But while the nightmare was on, they thought it would never end.

A nightmare is an awful thing. I think that some of them may be caused by the devil. The last thing I do before I fall asleep is to pray for the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus upon my family and myself. I pray so every night, because I know the devil likes to seize upon us in our sleep, when we cannot control what is happening.

The nightmare referred to in Psalm 126 was that of Israel living in captivity in Babylon, a captivity that lasted for seventy years. Many died there, and others were born there. The whole time they lived in Babylon, all they could think about was going home.

You may be enduring a psychological or emotional nightmare, where you think you are losing your mind because the depression is so severe and the anxiety so intense.

Maybe you are facing a financial nightmare, being deep in debt. I think of those in our society who are elderly and have to survive on small incomes. It is very sad to think of them being put under that kind of pressure.

Perhaps it is a physical nightmare that you face, where something has gone wrong inside your body and the outlook is bleak.

Perhaps you are going through a social nightmare. You have been ostracized because of the color of your skin or because of your accent.

Here is a promise that is based on a condition. The promise is joy, even success, but the condition is tears.

Excerpted from Higher Ground (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1995).

By R. T. KENDALL.

A Life in the Spirit.


But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord . . .—Micah 3:8

Flowing in the Spirit is the best way to live. This is not to say that one is conscious all the time that he or she is flowing in the Spirit. But one can be fairly certain whether the Holy Spirit resides in a person ungrieved, and when we know this is the case, there is a great peace and an absence of tension and anxiety.

A marvelous example of flowing in the Spirit was the way Paul reacted to a demon-possessed girl who had a gift for predicting the future and kept pursuing him. For days, she kept mocking Paul and his companions and shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” The funny thing was, she was telling the truth. Finally, Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the malicious spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her (Acts 16:16–18). When we flow in the Spirit we reflect God’s timing: never too late, never too early, but always right on time. There are, however, unusual times of flowing in the Spirit. That is when God is up to something that is not your usual everyday happening. Most of life is lived not on the mountaintop, but in the valley. We must learn to flow in the Spirit in the valley as well as during those times when God does the unusual.

God has never—ever—let me down or left me with the feeling I had been deceived when I experienced flowing in the Spirit. It was pure joy, although sometimes it can be costly. You may lose some friends because you are misunderstood, but God will never desert you.

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

By R. T. KENDALL.

God’s Gifts and Callings are Irrevocable.


For God‘s gifts and his call are irrevocable. —Romans 11:29

Because the gifts and calling of God are “irrevocable,” a person who had a tremendous anointing yesterday can continue to see the momentum of that anointing continuing to manifest itself. He or she may hastily conclude that “the anointing is still with me” when it is but the momentum of yesterday’s anointing.

This is sobering. I could be a hypocrite in my personal life, and yet my gift could continue to function. I could even deceive myself by telling myself, I must be right with God, or I couldn’t preach. The truth is, God’s calling and gifts are irrevocable. That means that God will not withdraw my preaching gift simply because I have not been a loyal, obedient son. He gave me certain abilities when He made me and called me into the ministry. By study and hard work I can improve upon those gifts—without a fresh anointing that comes only from continued intimacy with God. And when people say, “That was a good word,” or “God spoke to me through you today,” I could assume that God is very pleased with me indeed. One of the worst things we can do is to take compliments too seriously.

It is possible that there are those who sincerely don’t know better. They are well equipped, high powered, eloquent, and charismatic; people are blessed by their ministries. These people who are thus used by God may sincerely believe they are pleasing God because their anointing is functioning so well. “I am under God’s anointing,” they may well say. True. But it could be yesterday’s anointing. There may be nothing fresh about it.

The fresh anointing is the essential thing. It is what replenishes the irrevocable. If our irrevocable anointing is not replenished by a fresh touch of God, we are depending on yesterday’s anointing.

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

By R. T. KENDALL.

How to Recognize God.


When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” —Genesis 28:16

The most wonderful thing that can happen to anybody is for God to turn up. The problem is that we don’t always recognize Him at the time, and we only see later that it was God.

The trouble is, we think God can only come in one particular way, and that’s the way we’ve met Him. The question is this: If He turned up in an unexpected way, would we affirm Him?

The sooner we learn to recognize the Lord, the better. For some, it may take years to see that God has been in a situation with them; for others, it may take only a few seconds. But the narrower the time gap, the better, for it shows our hearts are in tune with what God is doing. I can think of nothing worse in the world than for something that God is in to be happening and I not recognize it.

If you’re not a Christian, then it’s also true for you that the sooner you realize when God is there, the better, because the Bible says, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever” (Gen. 6:3). Let me put it like this. It may be that whenever you hear preaching, you sense that the Holy Spirit is dealing with you, that God is on your case. You know that the preacher wouldn’t know much about you, if anything at all, and the only way he could speak in this manner was if God had led him to do so.

If you are a Christian and the Lord turns up and you don’t recognize Him, you are impoverished since you miss seeing God for who He is, then. I guarantee you will wish later you had seen it was the Lord sooner.

Be open to the unexpected time. Be open to the unexpected manner in which God might turn up. He came to Jacob in a dream. God can do that.

Jacob affirmed God. Fortunately for him, it didn’t take him long. The question is, how long will it take you?

Excerpted from All’s Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).

By R. T. KENDALL.

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