Success

December 10, 2019

 

Success

 

Joshua 1:8

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

 

We as a people and a society are very success oriented.  There are different ideas and definitions of success.   The one most prevalent in the world’s view has to do more with materialism, riches, fame, houses, cars and social position.  If we are to be successful as Christians then it only makes sense for us to ask the question, “What is God’s definition of success?”  It is interesting you should ask, because the word “success” only occurs one time in the Word of God.  That is in our passage for today.  I don’t think that there are any of us who don’t want to prosper and have good success.  Here is God’s formula for having it.  Now whether God’s ideas for success are those of the world’s, I think not, but I do believe that God created all things for our enjoyment and pleasure if they are used in the context of His will and purpose.  God is telling us today that our key to success lies between two covers that we call the Bible.  It is not just the words on a page that bring success in our lives it is what we do with those words that is life and blessing.  Notice where that Word has to be.  It “shall not depart out of thy mouth.”  Remember Proverbs 18:21 that says, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Our words are powerful instruments of both death and life.  We know that the Word of God perpetuates Life.  John 1:1-4 tells us whom this Word is, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”  God wants that Word to never depart from our mouths.  What we speak reflects what is in our heart, ” for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Is the Word of God prevalent in our speech and conversation?   What we are speaking is what we believe; it is faith in that which we hope for, but may not yet see.

What is in our mouth, is the fruit of what is in our heart, which is what brings us to the second part of success.  What is the meditation of our heart?  Is it our work, our hobbies, our sports, our earthly desires or is it the Word of God?  If we want to succeed and prosper in the kingdom of God, His Word must prevail as the primary source of our meditation and contemplation.  As we eat of His Word and slowly ingest and digest it, as we pray to fully pursue understanding and revelation, the Holy Spirit is little by little making it alive in us and then through us.   It is the staple of our spiritual life that carries over into every aspect of our natural life.

David had the revelation that He gives in the beginning of the Psalms in Psalm 1:1-3 he says essentially the same thing, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

If you and I want to prosper and have good success then it begins and ends in the Word of God.  It is the source of Life and Blessing to us.  It is our guide and counselor through the instruction of the Holy Spirit to bring us into the mind and will of God.  Through it we will experience the prosperity and sweet success of a godly life because His Word fills us with divine life, eternal hope and the riches and treasures that can only be found in Christ.  Jesus said it when He said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”   When our priority lines up with what God is speaking to us today we will experience the abundant life that is in Him tomorrow.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (3 John 1:2).”

Blessings,

#kent

Surrender

December 9, 2019

 

 

Surrender

 

Romans 6:16

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

 

Surrender is what we give up or yield ourselves over too.  How many of us try and piecemeal our surrender to Christ.  We’ve heard the truth of the gospel; we’ve embraced its truth, now comes the hard part, surrendering to it.  Oh how hard it is to give up our will and let it become “His will be done.”  I’ve read about a number of great men of God who in their earlier years struggled so hard to find God.  They put themselves through all kinds of separations, disciplines, self-affliction and legalism, only to finally arrive at the simple truth that nothing they did could produce the peace of God until they finally just surrendered themselves to what He had already done.  Once these men finally came to the end of themselves their self-efforts at salvation and pleasing God, they were set free.  Once they threw up their hands said I give up, only you can do it God, they received the peace of God and discovered what grace was all about.

Living a life under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus is living in that place of surrender of our self and our will to His.  Our delight, our joy, our peace comes in finding what delights Him.  Sure, we still have a life with ambitions and dreams, but all of it is filtered through the surrender we have to Christ.  Our delight is in His service no matter in what capacity that is.

The Word says whomever we obey, that is whose servants we are.  Is our obedience and surrender fully to Christ?  The Holy Spirit is so faithful to us when we surrender to Him to reveal the areas of our lives that we are holding out in.  As He does we present ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto Him, which is our expected service. We are not to be conformed to the world, but transformed through the renewing of our minds, so that we can prove what is God’s good, acceptable and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).  In our minds we often think of surrender as giving up our wants and desires and it is, if they are running contrary to the will of God, but when we begin to fully surrender all to Christ, we find a place of heaven on earth.  It is a place of joy, peace and contentment in the Holy Spirit that the world cannot offer.

How many times I remember singing the choruses of “I Surrender All.”  I had never really thought about how they apply to the believer as much or more than the unbeliever.  Let us freely give all to Him that we may experience His rest and His best.

Blessings,

#kent

The Passion of Our Hearts

December 6, 2019

 

The Passion of Our Hearts

 

Psalms 86:12

I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.

 

As Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ, we come from many different backgrounds and influences in our lives.  We’ve even congregated and gravitated to groups or denominations that most reinforce our particular view, opinion and understanding of God and scripture.  The primary problem we find with this is that it tends to separate us into different camps and we get caught up in internal squabbling over our sacred dogma or opinion.  It seems to me that in this hour the Spirit of God is working in His body to tear down these walls of division.  He is still “one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:5-6).”  While it is fine for us all to have our own opinions about scripture, there are certain foundational truths we should all embrace and be in agreement about.  What the Spirit of God wants to speak to us about is that our faith is not just about what we think or just us, it is about Him and what He thinks.  The Word and Christ teaches us that the most important commandment is that, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.“ This is the foundation upon which all of the law and the prophets hinge and rest upon.  If we miss this we are building upon sand.  We all know the adage, “Divided we fall, united we stand”. Therefore it is so important that unity be restored back into the body of Christ.  Psalm 133:1 reminds us, “Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!”  When part of my body starts conflicting and fighting with other parts I get sick and I can no longer function to my potential.  God desires for us to lay down our pet peeves and doctrines and start becoming one with the rest of the body of Christ concerning what God’s will and purpose is for us in this hour.  We must learn to build each other up and not tear each other down.

Isn’t it funny how when we meet someone and discover that they are a Christian, the first thing we want to ask them is, “where do you go to church”?  We are more concerned about seeing what brand or mark of religion they have on them than seeing if the mark of Jesus is in them.  We are all at so many different stages in our walk with God and most of us would agree that have been Christians for some time, that our views and ways of seeing and understanding things has changed over time.  We may not have even accepted ourselves for the way we are now if we were judging ourselves by what we use to think and believe.

The thing that should be driving our lives is not our religion or denomination, but our passion for Christ and our love for Him.  God sees men after the heart, not their denomination or belief system.  What do you love the most?  What is your deepest passion and desire?  That is where Christ must be at the forefront or we are missing it.  Our love and compassion for others should be a close second.  Let us focus on what is important to God’s heart and not just our intellectual satisfaction.  When we love and are able to lay hold of the truth, the truth will set us free from our wrong opinions.  Often, we think it is our duty to set everyone straight on how to believe.  We need to quit stepping on the Holy Spirit’s toes and let Him do His job.  Our responsibility is to judge our own hearts and make sure that we are walking in faith and obedience to Him.  If we are all impassioned with Christ, that will be our bond of fellowship and communion with one another and with Christ.  Allow God’s law to be written upon the tablet of your mind and heart.  “The letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life ( 2 Corinthians 3:6).”  God’s Word will guide us and His Spirit will give us peace.  Be at peace with your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Love them where they are at and if you have a greater revelation or insight then speak it through the way you live your life and in your actions.   Above all things, be passionate in your love and pursuit of Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Building Blocks of Fulfilling God’s Purpose

 

2 Timothy 1:8-10

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel

 

Back in the times of the gold rush there were a few men that discovered gold just lying on the surface of the ground or in the water.  Word spread that you could become rich and all that you had to do was just pick it up.  It was just there for the taking.  Men would come from far and wide with the idea of getting rich quick.  They would leave behind all that had been important to them before to come and pursue the gold.  They caught a vision and they believed in a dream.  Some did find the riches that they sought, some met with limited success and many found nothing at all.

When God revealed Himself in His Son Jesus Christ and manifested the riches of His glory in human flesh.  Men saw the gold of God revealed.   God had given nuggets and revelations of His gold throughout the ages that led up to Christ, but now His gold is revealed as He fully unveils His purpose of salvation through faith in His Son.  Suddenly it begins to become apparent that we can become partakers of the riches of an inheritance in Christ Jesus.  Jesus, and His disciples that followed, laid out the way and the plan for us to become rich.  We have the treasure map of those riches laid out for us in the Word of God.  Many embraced Christ thinking that it was the quick way to having all of their needs met and realizing heaven on earth.  Many have become disillusioned because Christianity wasn’t the quick fix to all their problems, wants and needs.  While the Lord has revealed some nuggets and gold on the surface and has given us the earnest of our inheritance and riches through the Holy Spirit, the greatest treasure realized is through a lifetime of mining into the vein of God’s nature and purpose.

Some of us may have thought that in a few short years we were going to walk into the fullness of Christ and do all that He did.  It is not to say that God can’t and won’t do that through some people, but time isn’t as important an element to God as it is to us.  What most of us come to find, is that the nuggets of God’s truth and purpose need to mined and sought after one day at a time.

A purpose is made up of a reason and goal in mind.  God’s purpose is to apprehend us for His family and for His glory.  Our purpose is to apprehend Him that we might lay hold of a transformed life and be partakers of His divine nature.  Our purpose and goal are met through a lifetime of building blocks; each day is a process and a development into God’s purpose.  Sometimes we may feel there is more tearing down going on in our lives than building up, but sometimes for God’s purposes to be realized the old has to be done away with so that the new can take its place.

The important thing about purpose is to never loose the vision of what your purpose is.  Ephesians 1: 3-14 is one passage the lays out for us God’s purpose. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

You and I may not find ourselves possessing in outward manifestation all the fullness of Christ that we had hoped would be evident by this time in our lives and in our walk with the Lord, but don’t despair.  The important thing is that we run the race well, staying on course and keeping the finish line in sight.  Even if our expectations haven’t been met, it doesn’t mean that His have been thwarted.  Purpose is fulfilled in faithfully living out one day at a time, through His grace and strength, lives that are yielded to God’s purpose.  It as Paul says in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Never loose your vision and never forget your purpose.  Everyday that you walk in the faith of Christ Jesus your purpose is being fulfilled.

Blessings,

#kent

Our Pleasure is in the Lord

December 4, 2019

 

Our Pleasure is in the Lord

 

Psalms 16:5-11

LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

 

The Psalmist declares, “You have made known to me the path of life, in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy and at thy right hand pleasures for evermore.”  What a wonderfully secure and precious place the redeemed have found in Christ.  Though the earthly realms and kingdoms are falling down around us, though outwardly we may face peril, adversity and death, what a security and peace we have in knowing who and what we are in Christ.  We know that He will not abandon us to the grave.  We know that He is our resurrection and our life, through faith in Christ we are eternally bound to Him.  One of the greatest basic needs that a person has in their lives is the need for security.  We all want to know and live in that safe place where we are not threatened and we have something and someone that we can count on, that will always be there for us.  Someone who will never leave us or forsake us.  That is what we have found in Christ.  He is our security and our strong fortress.  He is our shield and our buckler.  Whatever life throws at us and whatever trials come we know that our reliance, our final hope and confidence is in Him.  Everything else around us may fail, but He won’t fail.  Everyone else around us may desert us, but He will stand by us.

The Apostle Paul relates this steadfast confidence and the Lord’s faithfulness in 2Timothy 4:16-18, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge. ¶ Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  We can hopefully see why our identification with Christ is so powerful and must be so strong.  Our identity is in Him and not in the weakness, frailties and failures of our flesh.  All that we truly are, all that we hope for and walk in faith in, is realized in Christ.  He is our foundational and unmovable rock.

We are not going to always understand all of God’s ways or why some things happen as they do, but that must never deter us from knowing Him as our life and eternal security.  The greatest undertaking of the enemy is to rock our boat and to bring about circumstances that will undermine our faith and cause us to forsake it.  What we know is that God never fails.  Our perceptions of God may not always hold water, but that doesn’t mean that He has failed.  He is still sovereign upon His throne and He still holds the whole world in His hands.  What I do know is that in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy and that is why I want to spend a lot of time in His presence.  At His right hand are pleasures for evermore.  There is no greater pleasure in life than to be walking in the perfect will of God for you.  In that place you will have fulfillment, contentment, peace and joy.  You will find the pleasure that the world can not offer.  The world’s pleasures are temporal and fleeting.  So many of them only lead to a hollow life full of darkness and despair, but not so with the Lord’s pleasures.  They lead to life, liberty and fullness of joy.

The apostle Paul says it so wonderfully in Romans 8:28-39, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Your life is secure in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

 

2 Timothy 4:14-18

Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge.  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

How many of us have been living life on a pretty even keel.  We are getting along pretty well in our social relationships with people, living, what we feel, is a relatively good Christian life and testimony and then it happens.  Some one comes into your life that train wrecks you emotionally and possibly in many other ways as well.  Quite possibly they have come to you under the guise of another Christian brother or sister who loves the Lord.  Maybe, initially you have sat and had great fellowship with them.  They have won your friendship, trust and confidence and then it happens.  At first some things start not adding up, there are seeming misunderstandings or miscommunications.   Eventually it becomes evident that they are lying to you.  They have been manipulating and using you as long as they could for their own gain or cause.  Perhaps they are slandering you, spreading vicious rumors and trying to destroy your reputation.  This is especially true if you are trying to expose them for who they are.  What is worse is that they are still below the radar of most of their other associations, so most still perceive them as this wonderful spiritual person.  Whether they are still perceived as spiritual or not, you find yourself duped and taken advantage of.   When you confront them they are always full of false promises of restitution and reconciliation or in total denial, turning it back on you as having the problem.  What do you do with someone like that?

These types of people are probably much like those Paul describes in 1Timothy 3, when he talks about those who come having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was (1 Timothy 3:1-9).”  What is disturbing is the emotional and spiritual destruction they leave in their wake.  They often come defrauding honest people, deceiving, manipulating and betraying those who have embraced them in Christian love and fellowship.  They often bring division and strife, as they turn brother against brother and sow the seeds of discord.  Sometimes you would wonder if even they realize that they are the instrument of satan rather than the instrument of God.

The Word tells us that there will be those wolves in sheep’s clothing that will come among and try and destroy and undermine the work of God.  We must guard our hearts, for their greatest strength is gained when they get us into the flesh, operating out of our emotion and feelings, rather than out of the spirit.  If we are able to rather stand in the Lord, entering into the fortress of prayer and lifting up a spiritual standard against this spirit, in time it will be broken.  When we become frustrated, angry and discouraged, we tend to want to fall back upon the arm of the flesh to fight our battles.  What did Moses do when Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses?  Jannes and Jambres were thought to be the Pharaoh’s Egyptian sorcerers and magicians.  It is interesting that Jambres name means, poverty, bitter and a rebel.  What Moses did was let the Lord be His authority and vindicate his position.  God will vindicate the righteous, but it may not be before there is great persecution.  Again, our lesson is to be discerning of men, stand our ground based on the Word of God and through prayer and confidence in God allow God to go before us in battle, so that we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Blessings,

#kent

In the Heart of a Servant

December 2, 2019

 

In the Heart of a Servant

 

John 13:13-15

Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for [so] I am.

If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet;

ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given

you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

 

Lay your burdens at My feet,

Come to Me heavy of heart.

Bow yourself before My Mercy Seat,

There My grace I will impart.

 

You are weighed down with many cares,

You are anxious to the point of despair.

Am I a God who does not hear,

Or whose arm is short to those who fear?

 

Humbly approach my throne,

A broken and contrite heart I will not despise.

I am there for you in your time of need,

Let faith well up to dispel all lies.

 

My grace is sufficient for all of your need,

Your faith must take you beyond what you see.

I often work beyond the immediate need,

Trust that extends beyond sight is the key.

 

You only see the external natural realm,

But I work in the eternal, My will to perform.

You may not understand My hand,

But you can trust My heart through every storm.

 

I came not as one to be served,

But I walked with you as a servant King.

I revealed My heart by giving all for you,

Will you trust in Me for your everything?

 

A servant’s place is not appreciated in the world,

Often they are despised, used and taken for granted.

So have men, even believers, regarded Me,

But it is in the servant that My heart is planted.

 

Regard not lightly the call to serve,

It is regarded in heaven as the place of honor.

A servant’s heart I will esteem and preserve,

On this truth you need to dwell and ponder.

Blessings,

#kent

Shadows of Blessing

November 29, 2019

 

Shadows of Blessing

 

Song of Songs 4:6

Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.

 

Shadows are cast by other objects or persons.  They are often not clearly distinct but can give some semblance of the real object they are cast from.  All through the Word of God, God has used types and shadows to signify and represent the reality which was yet to be revealed.  God uses natural things or shadows to show forth the image of the heavenly things which we haven’t been able to fully grasp and lay hold of.  Old Testament types and shadows symbolized in many ways, dimensions and facets the life and salvation through Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is seen in His presence in three facets, what was, what is and what is to come.  The Old Testament represented “what was”, the sin, the law and righteousness of God and the sacrifice and atonement for sin.  As God’s plan of the ages unfolds in the fullness of Christ we see it in these stages.  The New Testament brought us Christ revealed in the flesh, “what is”, the New Covenant sealed in the blood of the Lamb of God. There we met God face to face in a human and natural sense.  There we saw the reality of many of the Old Testament prophesies, types and shadows fulfilled and revealed in the person of Christ and the birth of the Church, His Bride.  But still we are looking for “what is to come”; the final revelation of Christ in all of His majesty and glory.  We are looking for His “parousia”, presence or coming when we are fully caught up into Him and revealed with Him in His glory.  This is the day break when all the shadows will flee away and Christ shall be revealed in all of His fullness, splendor and glory.   2 Peter 1:19 exhorts us, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”  The Word of God and the Holy Spirit are our illumination and understanding in the shadow lands of our spiritual understanding.  It is what is pointing us forward, instilling hope and faith to look unto the fullness of the day when Christ arises as the morning star in our hearts and is manifest in His holy nature within our beings.  It will be as 2 Thessalonians 1:10 puts it, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”  Christ is not only revealed outwardly, but within us… His saints, His holy temple, His bride. 

            Meanwhile, where is this Christ that we await in His glory and splendor?  I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”  The myrrh and frankincense were elements used in the holy anointing oil and in the incense.  They sought to give myrrh to Jesus on the cross and gold, frankincense and myrrh were the gifts the wise men brought Him in His youth.  Here again we see in shadow that Jesus is dwelling in the heavenlies of our spirit man.  He inhabits that place where we are filling up the sufferings of Jesus through a life poured out in living sacrifice to Him.  It is in the place of spiritual praise where we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth and He inhabits the praises of His people.  It is in the place where we operate out of His life and anointing in our daily lives and ministry. 

            Men, in the Old Testament, like Joseph and David, were men destined for rulership and spiritual leadership. They were men of outstanding blessing and anointed of the Lord.  Through much of their lives they lived only in the shadow of that blessing; through faithfulness, obedience and a vision that wouldn’t fail, there came a day when they entered into the fullness of their calling and inheritance as we will enter into ours if we faint not in the shadow of our blessing.

Blessings,

#kent

Romans 8:28-30

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

 

Called According to His Purpose

 

At some point in life we all ask the questions about who we really are, what is our purpose and what is my life really about?  I remember going through this in college.  I had grown up in a wonderful Christian home with parents and grandparents that were godly and had always taught me about Jesus.  I had a relationship with Jesus, but it had always been built on mom and dad’s values.  Now I had to figure out, are my values and purpose the same as theirs’?  I went through my times of worldliness and self.  What I found was that I was going through the actions of having fun, partying and living my life, but at the end of the day it left me feeling empty and without purpose.  Fortunately it didn’t take me too long to realize that the same Lord and Savior I grew up knowing through my parents was the same Lord that brought reason and purpose into my life.  As I began to turn my heart back to Him and seek Him for more, what I discovered was there was so much more to the Christ-filled life than just church, messages about salvation and trying to live a good life.  I began to find relationship with Christ in a dimension that I had not previously known before.  I began to get that sense of His destiny and calling in my life.  Many of you may have had similar experiences in how God has called you into His purpose and eternal destiny. It amazes me as I look back over the years and see how many times the Lord has had His hand upon me, protecting and preserving me, teaching and instructing us, keeping us from massive blunders, because we sought His counsel and asked Him to direct our paths.

I am just speaking from my heart here.  God can be so near and so real at times and seemingly so distant at others.  There are times in your life when you know they are God moments, events and happenings.  Then there are those times of desperation when we call out to God and it doesn’t seem He hears or answers.  Does that mean His calling or His purpose has changed concerning us?  No, He doesn’t change, neither does He repent of the gifts and callings He has placed in our lives.

It is easy to love and trust someone when they are always there, always doing and providing for you, but what about when they pull away, when they disappoint you and you become disillusioned?  Do you still love them the same?  When you are in the heat of the battle and there are no reinforcements are you still as committed to fighting the good fight or do you just want to give up and quit or die?

There is a vision I heard shared, I believe by Gene Edwards, and the short version went in effect like this.  ‘Jesus came down the road and met three women one day.  The first he embraced, kissed and covered with attention.  His love was so evident to her.  The second He placed His hand on her shoulder  and gave her a reassuring smile.  The third woman He verily glanced at as He walked by her.  When the recipient of this dream or vision questioned the Lord about why He acted differently to the three women.  Why did He seem to love the first one so much and the last one so little?   He was shown that the first woman is like a new Christian.  They need to touch and feel the Lord’s love so they know He is real.  The second woman had known and walked with Jesus.  She knows He is real, but still needs that reassurance of His love.  The third woman knows Jesus so intimately that Her love for Him is not based on His showing outward affection or love.  She just knows that she knows, that she knows.  Rather she sees the evidence of God’s moving or presence, her faith is not shaken, because she simply knows that He is.’  As we mature in Christ that third woman is the place that He is taking us, because she, that was outwardly loved the least was truly loved the most.  She knew her purpose and who she was in Christ.  Outward circumstances could not shake that from her.

In Jeremiah 1:5 what God spoke to His servant Jeremiah He is speaking to all of us that are called according to His purpose.  ” “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  Know that all things are working for the good of those that are called according to His Purpose, even if they don’t seem good at the time.  Know Him, trust Him and don’t allow anything to move you away from your purpose in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Patience in the Midst of Tribulation

 

Romans 5:3-5

And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And patience, experience; and experience, hope And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

 

There is not one of us who has always seen an immediate answer to our prayers and need.  Many of us may have been trusting the Lord for years for certain things, maybe a healing, a loved one’s salvation or a deliverance from some weakness in our lives.  Perhaps we have become discouraged along the way and have wanted to give up.  Maybe we have.  Isaiah 59:1 says, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” In many cases the Lord says it is our iniquities and sin that has made a separation between us and our God, but that is not the only thing that hinders or delays our answers to prayer.

If you had two boys very similar in most ways, but you took one of them and everything he wanted or asked for he received immediately.  There was nothing denied him, nor did he have to wait for that which he asked for.  On the other hand the other boy was taught that not everything is given just because you ask for it or want it.  In some cases the answer was “no”.  While the boy’s needs were met and he didn’t go hungry some things came after a time of patiently waiting.  Some things were gained through diligence and hard work.  While not everything came to him right away, he discovered that through obedience and trust in his benefactor and provider, most things did come to him in due time.  As the boys grew to be adults who do you think grew to be the most responsible, appreciative, humble, patient, related best with others and had the best work ethic?

Some of us may have a concept of God as a celestial Santa Claus.  Whatever we ask or believe for should automatically appear.  God is not a Santa Claus.  He is a loving heavenly Father who loves his children dearly.  Hebrews 12:2-29 is a great account concerning the discipline of the heavenly Father.  Please read it if you can.  It tells us that because our Father loves us He chastens, disciplines and corrects us.  If you are not experiencing this, then maybe it is because you don’t belong to Him and are not His child.  It is this discipline through our trials and tribulations that trains us up in His character and likeness.  It teaches us to trust Him, based not on our sense realm, but on faith in His Word.

Which makes the best stew, one in which all of the ingredients are just added to water, or one in which it is then put upon the stove brought to a boil and then simmered for a good length of time and seasoned just right?

What some of us may have considered God’s unfaithfulness or lack of response, may be the test of our faithfulness to Him.  Job’s response to God when satan took all that he had and counted dear to him, leaving him desolate, childless and in pain and misery was:  “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Job 1; 20-22).”  In Job 5:17 the statement is made, “Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:”

What we learn in our walk with God is that He is God and we are not.  He sets the conditions and the standards according to His Word.  We have to be willing to count Him faithful even when God doesn’t come through on our terms or way of thinking.  He is the Creator and we are the created.  Will the pot say to the potter, “Why did you make me this way?”  We are being fashioned after the image of His likeness.  He showed us the way in the life of Jesus.  Ultimately that way is leading us to the same end through the cross that we may in turn experience the power of His resurrection life.  In Acts 14:22 it says that Paul was “Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God”.

We are a blessed people.  We serve a great and wonderful Lord.  We have all, no doubt, tasted of the richness of His goodness and mercy.  While we hear much ministry today about prosperity and blessings which is certainly a part of our inheritance, we must remember also James 1:2-4 which exhorts us, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

It may be that we are looking for the prosperity and blessings, instead are finding ourselves in the midst of tribulation and trials.  There are seasons for all things, but know this: Romans 8:28-31 encourages us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.   Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?”  Have Patience…

Blessings,

#kent

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