Holy Ghost Bug Spray

October 18, 2021

Ezekiel 8: 10-12

So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and detestable animals and all the idols of the house of Israel. 11 In front of them stood seventy elders of the house of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them. Each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising.

12 He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.’ “

               There is a place in the recesses of our hearts and in the inner sanctuaries of our soul that we have allowed insects, creeping things and detestable critters to feed upon our imaginations.  There, in those secret places, where we don’t think others see us, where maybe we even consider that God doesn’t see or care, we create our idols.   Those idols are the secret affections that have sprung from our imaginations that we have entertained and enshrined within our dark places.   Outside our temple looks spiritual and holy.  No one realizes what lurks in the basement of our minds and heart.  God sees it and in time, left unrepented of, it will be brought to the light and exposed for what it is. 

               God took Ezekiel and showed him what was in the hearts of those that were the spiritual of Israel.  In recent times we have seen God expose scandalous things among men that were deemed by the church to be spiritual leaders and teachers.  The truth is, bugs can creep in to all of our spiritual houses.  If they are left to have their way they will little by little corrupt and pollute the well spring of our life.  In the same way that a man speaks out of the abundance of his heart he will act out of the imaginations of his mind.  These things harbor in a cocoon that creates a wall of insensitivity to the spirit within us.  It is not that we are unaware, but we try to ignore it, push it back, but we don’t deal with the ugly little critters that are eating at our vine. 

               We need to apply a Holy Ghost bug spray.  We have to tear back the cover that hides the things that creep in our basement.  We need to come with brokenness, repentance and expose ourselves openly before the Lord.  We not only want to hate the corruptible things that defile our soul through our imaginations, we need to smash the idols and eradicate them from our life.  The bugs and creeping things are always looking for access and a way back into the recesses of our heart and mind.  Vigilance must be maintained that stomps on the little critters every time they rear their ugly heads.  We are often tempted to zombie out and let down our guard, but we can not, for they are after our life and seek to devour and destroy, to undermine and corrupt all that is holy within us. 

               Is it time for an application of that Holy Ghost bug spray?  Allow Him and invite Him to come in to expose those hidden things of the heart.  Work with the Holy Spirit through submission, repentance and obedience to exterminate these defiling spirits of the flesh.  They can come in many forms and varieties, but the one thing they all have in common is they are an abomination and they have come to devour and destroy.  We are tempted to cloak them with spirituality and religion, but this serves to not only corrupt and defile us, but the body of Christ as well.  We must eradicate not only their existence, but also the places, the galleries of idolatry we have made for them in our hearts through our imaginations.  We must judge ourselves that we are not judged.

               “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).

Blessings,,

#kent

Time and Clutter

October 15, 2021

Time and Clutter

Ecclesiastes 8:5-7

Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man [is] great upon him

               Are you ever overwhelmed in life by all of the clutter that fills your life and the lack of time to deal with it all?  I find that trying to stay neat and organized seems to be an exercise in futility.  Our lives are so inundated with mail, junk mail, phone calls, solicitors, bills, materials from work, school, church, kids, and internet.  Then there are always all these projects we have to do or someone else wants us to do.  In the midst of this deluge of information, materials and pulling from every direction to make this decision and meet that need we can become overwhelmed and overloaded.  There doesn’t seem to be enough time to deal with it all and even if there is, after while we just want to run away and escape all its demands.  As I look at my desk and the condition of my home and garage I think too much stuff is not a good thing.  Who can keep up with it all?  Obviously some of us are more gifted in that area than others.  While it seems it is hard for many of us to finish one thing before we are distracted and on to something else, thus leaving in our wake a barrage of unfinished business, this is the real world.  It is filled with clutter that demands our time and energy to deal with it.  What’s worse is when you don’t want to throw it away or get rid of it because you might need it someday.  “My God, My God, who shall deliver me?”

               This is for me this morning, so you are welcome to listen in, or not. 

               Our time must be more and more ordered by priorities.  Most important things first.  This brings us to the spiritual aspect of our lives, which we should have rated number one on our list.   Don’t you find that without God first, the rest of life begins to fall apart?  He is the order in our lives and helps us with focusing on our priorities.  Sometimes it demands getting up earlier in the morning or staying up later at night just to have that time with Him.  Our families should be our next priority.  How often do we neglect our wife or husband, children or grandchildren because they’ll understand if we have work demands, or are wading through all the clutter that takes all of our time and attention away from them?              

What about meeting the needs of others?  “The needs of others, I hardly have time for my own needs.”  Isn’t this part of our life mission, to reach out to others and meet those needs where we can?  We haven’t even talked about work, which usually consumes a major portion of our time and life.   It is a constant juggling act to balance all the areas of our lives.  Yet, I must believe that God is our wisdom to walk in this world and deal with all of the issues that we are faced with.  Truthfully, we bring a lot of it on ourselves.  Our possessions bring with them the bondage of time and money to take care of and deal with them.   Simplicity, in as much as it is attainable, is an asset we need to cherish.

               In Matthew 6 Jesus gives us some wise counsel we need to continually apply to our lives.  In verses 19-21 he says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Doesn’t this deal with our priorities and the things we value in life?  It is so easy for our focus in life to get on the wrong things.  We are not here to gain the world for ourselves, but to gain the world for Christ.  In verses 24-26 and verse 33 Jesus says, ” No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore, I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  …But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

               Time and clutter must find their order in the One we serve.  The Lord and people must be the focus of what we live and work for, not things.  The Holy Spirit is the filter through which all things must pass and judgements must be made on their significance or value.  How much clutter do we bring on ourselves that hinders us from the more vital things in our lives?  Let us order and organize our lives for the advancement of His Kingdom and not ours.

Blessings,

#kent

The Highest Thing

October 14, 2021

Psalms 138:2 (Amplified)

I will worship toward Your holy temple and praise Your name for Your loving-kindness and for Your truth and faithfulness; for You have exalted above all else Your name and Your word and You have magnified Your word above all Your name!

The Highest Thing

               What could be higher than the name of Yahweh, God Almighty?  Is there anything that could be higher?  The Psalmist David tells us there is.  It is His Word.  The Word of God is God’s guarantee of the truth that He backs and upholds by the integrity and reputation of His name that is above every name.  If you doubt the Word, then certainly we doubt God, because who is the Word?  John 1:1-5 tells us, ” IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. 2He was present originally with God.

 3All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. 4In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. 5And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it].  What God has spoken and what God has “in-Christed,” if you will, He has backed with the very character and person of who He is. 

               Now look at Hebrews 6:16-20. “Men indeed swear by a greater [than themselves], and with them in all disputes the oath taken for confirmation is final [ending strife].  17Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath. 18This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us].   19[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil, 20Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.”  Is not the promise and the oath of God contained within His Word? 

               You see God has given us His Word as His divine promise, by which He can not lie or deceive that He will bring to pass all that concerns us.  This is a steadfast, immovable anchor that we can take to the bank and never fear that it can be reneged upon.  Because it is the Word that holds together the universe, “All things came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being (John 1:3),” it is more feasible for the universe to utterly collapse and extinguish than for God to not uphold His Word.  That Word, that we often take so lightly and flippantly, is the power, authority and promise of the All Mighty.  Everything that God is, rest in the integrity of what is in His Word.  When we disrespect, doubt or knowingly distort the Word of God, we have stepped on and insulted the integrity of Father.  Let us not ever take His Word lightly, because He exalts it above His very name.  Let us stand in awe and wonder at just how powerful and holy God’s Word is.  It is that power and the promise that brings us within the veil into His very presence.  With all that is within you respect, honor and fear it.  His Word is not just written words upon page in a book.  They are alive, active and energized to carry out His purpose and His promise.  When you hold the Word of God, you hold a loaded gun.  It is a weapon that can kill or give life.  This is why we need the Holy Spirit to operate in it properly.  It must become a part of who we are, because He lives in us.  We are the expression of that Word in Christ and His promises are being fulfilled as we carry in faith this Holy Word in these earthen vessels.  Philippians 2:14-16 says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”

               Our walk with God is in the power and authority of His Word.  What you carry, know and speak will not only change your life, but has the power to change the world around you.  God is Spirit and He has given us a spiritual Word that we, being spirit and operating out of the Holy Spirit, might bring to pass what has already been written, declared, promised and foreknown.

Blessings,

#kent

The Power of Our Words

October 13, 2021

The Power of Our Words

Matthew 12:30-37

30“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

33“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

               Words are powerful utterances that have the power to work not only in the seen realm but in the unseen as well.  This scripture here tells us that words are pretty important, because by them we are judged and must give account.  “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Why are words so important?  Words are the expression of the heart and it’s condition.  If our heart is evil, our words will reflect that and if our hearts are pure and just, our words will reflect that as well. 

               In the first part of this study let’s begin to look at the power of God’s Word.  There is a creative power in words that cannot be denied.  Perhaps the greatest and foremost of these is seen in John 1:1-5, “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” 

All of creation is held together by “the Word”, which is Christ Jesus.  He was the spoken Word of faith proceeding out of the Father’s mouth that set all of creation into being.  That Word has expression through a person Christ Jesus who is the divine mouthpiece of God.  Jesus even said in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.”  What Jesus spoke in this earthly ministry was not idle chatter; they were the foundational building blocks, the DNA of eternal life.  Our faith in those words and the God-man that spoke them is the essence of our faith and the hope we have in eternal life.  It is the power of God’s Word that has the power to change and transform our hearts and lives.  Again, in John 14:10 Jesus says, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”  Jesus again confirms that His presence and His expression are the extension of the Father and not His own as a separate entity.  Through our unity in Christ Jesus and common faith in Him, He has joined us to Himself for us to, in turn, be the expression of His Word.  Our unity and alliance with the Word is seen in our obedience to it.  Because Christ was the Word, His life lined up with it in total obedience.  Jesus tells us our lives must do the same if we are a part of that Word.  In John 14:23-34, “23Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.””                  Jesus expresses His mission and what His Word is to accomplish in and through us in John 17:6-8, ““I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.”  Then in verses 14-19 Jesus prays, “14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctifythem by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”   We should begin to grasp how central God’s Word and truth is to all that He is imparting into the believers.  Words are a creative and dynamic power we will continue to expand on as the Lords leads.

Blessings,

#kent 

Going Where Few Have Gone Before

Matthew 14:22-33

22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

               Throughout the Word of God we see examples of basically three types of people in relationship with God.  We could refer back to the tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness and its three dimensions.  In the outer court we saw a place where the general congregation of Israel could meet.  It was like the place of the cross where they found redemption and forgiveness of sins.  There were many precious people in this group, but they weren’t the ones that really knew God in a deeper personal relationship that the priesthood could know Him.  After all they ministered before him night and day, they could enter into the Holy Place and partake of the elements of that dimension of worship and relationship.  They enjoyed not only the natural illumination of sunlight, but also the spiritual light of the candlestick, and their provision was from the Lord.  But there was one dimension that only Moses knew and the high priest, but once a year.  It was that place of personal intimacy and relationship in the awesome presence of God Almighty Himself within the Holy of Holies.  While anyone else, even the high priest would tremble and fear to enter in lest they should be unclean and die, we see Moses having chats with God frequently.

               I say all of that to say this; there are dimensions of relationship based upon our faith and response to God.  The Word reveals that we determine the level of our relationship with God. James 4:8 says, “come near to God and He will come near to you.”  We also know from Hebrews that, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”  Moses had a boldness of faith to enter before the Almighty that no one else had and yet He was the most humble of all men, another key element in approaching God. 

               Let’s look at our text today to make one specific point.  This is scripture where we often perceive presumptuous Peter jumping out of the boat and trying to walk on the water to Jesus only to fail and sink.  What we don’t really see here is that Peter saw Jesus.  He knew that in Christ, he could do all things.  He knew that if Jesus said so, he could do whatever Jesus did.  As he and the disciples see this figure walking upon the water in the midst of the storm they are afraid.  Fear is the greatest deterrent of faith.  Then Jesus speaks, “Take courage, it is I, don’t be afraid.”  Do you know that every time we come to the Word of God or approach Him in prayer, that is what He is saying to us?  “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” and nothing dispels fear and unbelief like faith and nothing builds faith like hearing the Word of God.  Peter has a moment here of great faith.  It is faith that causes him to step into a new dimension of experience that none of the other disciples had yet known.  He didn’t do it presumptuously.  He said,  “Lord, if that’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus didn’t say “No, Peter, you’re not ready for that yet or that’s only something I can do”.  He responds to the faith He sees in Peter’s heart and says, “Come”.  This is the level of faith that will respond to the Word revealed from God and act upon it regardless of all the opposing circumstances it sees around it.  This is the faith that Abraham had to obey God and have the willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.  We often criticize Peter for stepping out and then getting his eyes off of Jesus, but he dared to go where no other man had gone before Him.  He stepped into a supernatural dimension of faith and what we do learn is that in order to maintain that miraculous walk he could not take his eyes off of Jesus and look at his circumstances.  In this dimension, faith in the Word of God is the only sure foundation we have to walk on, it is all that we have to support us. 

               Today, we must fix our eyes and hearts upon Jesus, without fear, in full assurance of faith, obeying what He tells us we can do.  He has made a way for us to pursue Him into the Most Holy Place of His presence, but it must be with full assurance of faith.  Hell itself will rise up to oppose you and the only way it can defeat you is by getting your eyes off of the One who has called you and said “Come”.

Blessings,

#kent

Our Greatest Possession is Love

1 John 3:1,11-19

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not…

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.  Not as Cain, [who] was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

               There is no greater possession we can possess than the love of God.  We in fact, as believers in Christ, possess that love, because we possess the Spirit of Christ in us.  Christ, is in truth and in deed, the greatest definition of God’s love we could ever have before us.  While we use the word love in many different contexts, most of us know that in the Greek there are several words that define different kinds of love which I am not going into.  Agape is the form of God’s love with which we are concerned with here today.  This is the manner of love that the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God.  We possess this love because we possess Him.  What should define the sons of Gods should be the nature of the love they possess.   As we truly possess and manifest this love we will fulfill the law of God.  All of the law is fulfilled in His love.  Galatians 5:14 says, ” For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”  Normally a person’s first instinct and concern is for themselves, their welfare, safety, needs, wants, desires and well-being.  The love of God takes this love we have for ourselves and channels it through us to others.  We begin to empathize with others, identifying with them by how we would feel in their circumstances.  Agape love is totally unselfish, self-sacrificing and treats the needs of others as it would it’s own. 

               1 Corinthians 13:1-8 tells us, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, [and] is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” It does not matter how many gifts, abilities, works, words or knowledge we have, if we don’t possess the Agape love of God everything else is meaningless.  There is nothing in the world or in what God has given us that will do more for conforming us and others to the nature and image of God than His love.  That love has to be so much more than ideology or theology, it has to be expressed through us in deed and in truth through our actions and our words.   1 John 3:16 is the revelation of God’s love through us much like John 3:16 is the revelation of God’s love through Christ.  It tells us, “Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.”  Did you catch that we are to be the extension and continuation of John 3:16?  If we are the sons of God should we be any different than the Son of God in our mission and purpose?  

               When I view my life, perhaps you, like myself, feel like we come up way short of the kind of love that God wants to express through us.  We must remember that this is not the kind of love we can produce in the efforts of our flesh.  Romans 5:5 tells us, “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.”  So this love is a product that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.  The way we have more of this love is to have less of us and more of Him.  We are constantly maturing in our faith, or we should be, to where the Lord is filling and possessing every part our being.  As we walk by the Spirit and have our focus in life fully on Him, His love will be the by-product of the relationship we have in Him.  It is not in what we can produce; it is simply letting Him be God in us and through us.  We will have His heart, His vision and will be the instruments and channels of His love and grace.  We already possess the most precious possession of all.  We must just release it and let its fragrance fill the earth.

Blessings,

#kent

Strongholds

October 8, 2021

Mark 3:23-27

So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.

Strongholds

               There are strongholds that each one of us deals with in our lives.  Some may be stronger than others, but all of us have dealt with areas of our flesh where we are weak and more prone to failure and sin.  Most all of us tend to want to keep these in the secret places of our closets so others won’t see, but often very ugly things reside behind the closed doors of our home and our hearts.  These strongholds have fettered us and kept us in a state of bondage even as Christians for far too long.  It is most often a love-hate relationship.  We hate our sin and yet we love it too much to let go of it.  As a result, we struggle with our hypocrisy, often justifying it or rationalizing it so we can live with this bondage that is crippling our wholeness in Christ.  Many of us live with much guilt and condemnation because we truly love the Lord and yet in these areas, that may differ with each one of us, we are weak and seem unable to break free. 

               The enemy knows our areas of weakness and vulnerability.  These are his inroads to our soul to hinder us and cripple us in walking in obedience in these areas.  No amount of rules or laws are going to deliver us from these sensual or fleshly indulgences. 

               Paul says this in Colossians 2:19-13, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”  The truth is that Jesus Christ has bound the strong man, disarming his powers and authority.  We now possess in Christ a greater power and authority than that which has bound us.  Verse 10 says ‘you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head over every power and authority.’ 

               So why are we still enslaved by these strongholds of sin and flesh?  God has placed the Spirit of Christ in us to overcome the flesh.  It is easy when someone does everything for you, but it doesn’t help you to grow or to find the strength you need to live in victory.  God has called us to overcome in Christ Jesus. 

               We plead, “But I have tried and I still fail. I can’t do it.” 

               That is exactly right, we can’t do it, but we have a power resident within us by which we can.   Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  The key words here for us are “By the Spirit”.   We have an identity in Christ that we must put on in every area of our lives.  We are no longer identified with the weakness, fearfulness and the lust of our flesh.  We are identified with what we possess which Colossians 2:10 says is the ‘fullness in Christ’.  

               Colossians 3:1-11 exhorts us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” We must know who we are and where we now reside in the Spirit.  We are not an earthly people any longer, we are a kingdom people with the King of Kings setting upon the throne our hearts and souls. 

               Some of us cry out in our souls and say, “I want to be free, but I can’t.”  Can’t is not a statement of faith, but of fear and unbelief.  “We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.”  Our greatest enemy is the deceptiveness of sin.  We hide our sin in the closet because of our shame.  We don’t want people to think of us less than spiritual; when in truth we are all struggling with the same garbage.  It doesn’t matter how wicked or perverse the thing is that you struggle with, God sees it and He knows.  It is not His will that this stronghold possesses you and rules over you.  The greatest tactic of the enemy is to get you alone with your sin, like you are the only one going through this. You are not alone.  We all struggle in areas of our life.  Our greatest strength and victory is going to come when we bring our sin and struggles into the light and we allow the body of Christ to stand with us, pray with us and offer accountability to us.  James 3:16 tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  The reason we confess our sins to one another is to bring them into the light, which renders the devil powerless.   He can only work in darkness.  In the light we unite with the strength and support of fellow believers who can pray with us, stand with us and help us to be accountable in those areas where we are so prone to temptation. 

               It is time for all of us to come out of our dysfunctional state of sin and failure.  Let us help one another in coming into the full freedom and deliverance from these strongholds that have so long crippled and hindered us in our walk and full devotion to Christ.  You are not alone in your struggle.  Surround yourself with other solid believers that you can trust and confide in.  You may find that you are able to help them as much as they can help you.   Let us walk in the light as He is in the light.  No more strongholds!

Blessings,

#kent

Through Tribulation

October 7, 2021

5/13/04

Through Tribulation

Revelation 1:9 

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 

Our walk in the faith of Jesus Christ is not always an easy one.  If we really are walking in a full commitment to Christ we, like John, may well come to know that beside the blessings that are ours in Christ, there is often a price to be paid to walk this way.  The Kingdom of God is not about God raising up spoiled children, pampered with every desire of their flesh.  He is raising an army of sons trained up in Kingdom principles and equipped for spiritual warfare.  When the Lord trains us up in His ways we may not feel very blessed because He leads us through hard places.   Places of trial and tribulation.  Often, just as in military training, there is a process of tearing down of the old ways in order to build us back up in the new ways. 1 Peter 1:7 says, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” Our faith is only a head and knowledge thing until the fire of tribulations and trials come to us.  It is there we either press into and lay hold of what we say we believe or we forsake what we may have confessed with our mouth, but has never been worked in our hearts.  Our faith is much like a marriage; it is a covenant commitment of our hearts and lives to our God.   Not unlike many marriages today, when the honeymoon is over and the rubber meets the road with trials and conflicts, our resolve and commitment of love quickly wanes.  We find ourselves in a place of tribulation and rather than overcoming through trust, obedience, patience and steadfastness, we want an easier, less painful way.  Jesus could have chosen an easier way, but He endured the beatings and the shame and the pain of the cross for us.  Father God could have chosen an easier way than giving His only begotten son to die for us, but He didn’t.  He gave the most precious gift He could give us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  When we accepted and were baptized into Christ we accepted and became identified with His cross.  Our flesh, with its sin and selfish desires were nailed there with Him.  We accepted a death sentence to our past life and in exchange we were given a new life in the Spirit.  While we are new creatures in Christ, born of the Spirit, there is a process and working out of our salvation wherein we are possessing our spiritual inheritance through faith and daily overcoming of those former passions and desires that still want to work in our earthly members.  As we yield to the Spirit there is being worked in us a greater and greater death to the old man as we come up from glory to glory in our spiritual man.  That process is most often worked through testings, trials and tribulations.  

Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” For God to bring us into sonship He must work the nature of the Son in us.  Concerning Jesus it is said in Hebrews 5:8-10, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.”   When it says “and being made perfect” it is saying that perfection lies in running the race and staying the course.  The only way for Jesus to do this was to suffer on our behalf.  Just as were saved when we accepted Christ into our hearts, our salvation is being worked out day by day as we are being made perfect by our identification with Christ, which includes His sufferings.  When the children of Israel were told to eat the Passover lamb before Moses led them out of Egypt, they were told to eat the whole lamb, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Exodus 12:7-10).  We know that the Passover lamb, in type, represented Christ.  We must partake of Him today in the same way.  There is bitter with the sweet.  

Jesus said in John 16:33, “in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  Again, in Acts 14:33 it speaks, “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.”

So what is this tribulation is working in us? “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  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 (Romans 5:1-5).”  As our faith is tested and exercised through tribulations, we learn to look at our circumstances and adversities not as negative things, but as stepping stones upon which our faith and trust in Christ is built up and spiritually we are being built up unto that perfect man.  Though outwardly not pleasant God is using these negative experiences to work the positive treasures of His grace and glory in us as we run the race and the stay the course in our walk of faith.  

“Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him (James 1:12).” 

Blessings,

#kent

Neglect

October 6, 2021

Neglect

Ephesians 5:21

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

                 Does your mind ever wander back over the years of your life and you wonder, in retrospect, what you might have done differently to make them even, better, more productive and more loving. 

               It occurs to me that I will never regret not yelling or being angry with my wife more, but I may well regret the time and attention I neglected to give her.  I’ll never regret the times I spent playing with my kids or grandkids and the special memories they created, but I may well regret all the times I was to busy or involved to take the time with them.  Neglect is often something we are not even aware of when it is happening.  Usually we have enough other priorities to justify it when it is taking place. 

               In life, the most beautiful and productive gardens are those that are constantly tended with a loving hand.  Hours are spent watering, fertilizing, planting, pruning, pulling weeds, spraying for insects and all the things that make for a beautiful garden.  Will you and I regret that we didn’t spend more time in our gardens nurturing the human relationships that God has allowed in our lives?  Will we even remember, what it was, that was so important that we didn’t make the time for those most important in our lives?

               Perhaps our gardens aren’t so pretty today, because they have been neglected.  Our time and our love can do wonders to restore life and relationship if it comes from our heart.  People are no doubt the most important thing on God’s heart.  If I am becoming more like Him they should be more important to my heart as well.  Especially the ones God has given me responsibility for or accountability too. 

               Maybe today is a good day to go out and work in the garden of relationship. 

Blessings,

#kent

Be Kind to One Another

October 5, 2021

Be Kind to One Another

Ephesians 4:32

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

               It occurs to me that simple acts of kindness are perhaps one of the greatest expressions and testimonies of the love of God working through us.  Think about the example of marriage for a moment.  Two people start out deeply attracted and hopelessly in love with one another.  There isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other.  What changes?  Through time we tend to become more involved with life outside of each other, little irritations and annoyances begin to eat at us, our familiarity with each other begins to give place to disregard and sometimes even contempt for each other.  What was so special becomes more and more common and less and less special and appreciated.  Soon we begin to give expression to annoyances, irritations and dissatisfactions.  In defense and hurt the spouse releases their own barrage of complaints.  Little by little, what was so perfect and beautiful can become a battleground of insults, hurts and offenses.  The relationship becomes divided; each party withdraws from the other more and more till often, the end result is separation and divorce. 

               One of the givens in life is that even the people you love the most will sometimes offend and fail to meet your expectations and likewise you will do the same to them.  The greatest antidote to these shortcomings is love, forgiveness and kindness.  Let’s back up for a moment and see what precedes our scripture on kindness.  Ephesians 4:24-31 says, “But ye have not so learned Christ.  If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

 Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Right here some of us may see our relationships and where they have come too.  If we find ourselves here, we are not only grieving that person we are in relationship with but we are also grieving the Holy Spirit.  You may say, “but you don’t know how much this person irritates me, failed me and disappointed me.”  You may not realize how much you have irritated, failed and disappointed the Holy Spirit.  If God dealt with us, as we deserved we would all be toast.  The Lord sees beyond our faults, shortcomings and the attributes of irritation and sees our heart.  He has determined to love us in spite of ourselves and He operates in our lives for our highest good, not His.  If the Lord were only looking out for His interests He would have never laid down His life for the undeserving creatures that we are.  In Christ, we must adopt this same mindset, where we are no longer responding and acting from our feelings, but out of the mind and heart of God.  This is an attitude in life where we are not easily offended through the hurtful comments and actions of others, where we return good for evil, where we bless those who curse us, give beyond that which others may take from us, go the extra mile and act out of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness.  These are the love and actions that the world can’t understand, because it so supersedes any kind of love we find in the world. 

               Our place to develop and practice this love and kindness of Christ is first in our own homes and relationships.  Most of the time the hardest people to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving too are those of our own household.  This is most often where we will see the reflection of the true nature that is working in us.  Do you like what you see?  Is it what you want and hope to be? 

               As we learn to bring every thought and action under submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit we may find ourselves speaking and acting, not out of what we feel in the natural, but out of what we know to be the mind and love of God.  As we plant these seeds of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness, we may find our harvest much richer than we ever imagined.  We can’t change the heart and actions of others.  They alone are responsible for those.  The way we can change them is by first changing us.  Perhaps they aren’t really the problem; they are only a symptom of a problem that may have its root in us.  Let God have His perfect work of grace in you today.  Speak the words of kindness that bring grace to the hearer.  Let random acts of kindness fill your day as you bless even those who may not deserve it, even as the Lord has blessed you.  Take this to heart concerning your former nature, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Blessings,

#kent

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