Appropriating God’s Power

December 30, 2011

Appropriating God’s Power


This morning as I was in prayer, I was struggling with a sense of powerlessness and impotency I so often feel in my daily walk to live out and exemplify the life and power of God.  Most of us no doubt struggle with that as we realize the potentially great power that is available to us in Christ, but how do we better appropriate it into and dispense it through our lives.
Rather than share my own material today, I will share with you an article from tobemorelikehim.com.  I don’t know the specific author, but I felt he shared some great principles and insights that would be helpful to all of us.

“GOD’S GREAT POWER WORKING IN US”
                                     or

                               “AVAILABLE POWER FOR AVAILABLE PEOPLE”


(Ephesians 1:15-23)

“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding been enlightened; that ye may know that is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

Elsewhere, I have called the prayer of Ephesians 1:17-19 “the prayer of the three ‘whats’.”  “I pray . . . that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what (are) the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power.”  The first and second, properly understood, are transcendent in their glory, but they mock us without the third.  In fact, the transcendant glory of the first two sharpens our doubt: “Could I ever hope to reach that?”  The third “what” answers our problem: the transcendent glory of the first two “what’s” is to be experienced and implemented only by the power of God!

The three “whats” of Paul’s great prayer presuppose that man has very real problems that cannot be answered, very great needs that cannot be met, except through the answer to this prayer.  One of these problems is the problem of man’s insufficiency, man’s impotence, man’s inadequacy.  This problem immobilizes men everywhere, and Christians are no exception.  If they never realize the power of God and appropriate it into their lives, they will be as powerless as lost people.  Indeed, a candid examination of the church will show that Christians are often as fearful and as impotent, if not more so, than the lost world around them.  Christians, though without excuse, succumb to the external pressures of the world, the internal pressures of the flesh, and the infernal pressures of the devil, just like lost people do.  So Paul is praying that Christians will have the eyes of their hearts opened and flooded with spiritual illumination that they might “know by seeing” the greatness of the Divine power that is available to them.

But is this power truly available to a believer in Christ, and is it equally available to all believers?.  What kind of power is Paul speaking of?  How is it available to each believer?  How is it manifested in our experience?  Paul seems to address such questions as these in this great statement about the power of God.

I.  THE WORDS THAT EXPRESS THIS POWER

First, we must study the words which Paul uses in verse 19 to express God’s power.  No single word is sufficient to describe the power of God.  So Paul borrows several words from the vocabulary of dynamics to describe the power which God employs on our behalf.  He marshals an impressive array of words in one verse to define and describe God’s power.  Paul seems to be straining at the leash of language to picture God’s power.  Even though he was moved by Divine inspiration, Paul was taxed to find words to express the indescribable power of which he was writing.  As someone has said, the words seem to bend under the weight of a giant idea.

The four root words he uses for God’s power are dunamis,  energeia,  kratos, and ischos.  Though there are many dimensions to these four Greek words, they essentially define outward and active power (dunamis); the efficient working of energy (energeia); the mastery that rules and subdues (kratos); and inner, residing power (ischos).  Commentator Dale Moody said that “dunamis is the general word that includes the totality of the other three, energeia is the power as it goes forth in action, kratos is the power applied to the task and accomplishing it, and ischos is inherent power.” These words are like ocean billows that keep sweeping in upon the beach of our minds with new content.  No wonder that the English Bible calls it “God’s mighty power”!  And this power became ours (both actually and potentially) when we became Christians!  It came into our possession through the incoming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but it must be translated from potential to practice through our full and regular dependence upon the Holy Spirit at every moment of our lives.

I have before me a Bible that is loaded with study notes that have resulted from my own personal Bible study.  If you were to receive my Bible, you would receive all the notes that are in it, too.  When you received the Person of Jesus Christ into your life, you received His power, also.  But just as you would have to exploit the use of the notes in my Bible before they could be beneficial to you, you must exploit the power He has given before it can be beneficial to you.  And it must be exploited on His terms, not yours or mine.

Several years ago, while a Rose Parade was in progress preceding the Rose Bowl football game in Pasadena, California, a brightly decorated flower-covered parade float suddenly stopped, halting the movement of all the vehicles behind it.  Mechanics worked feverishly to discover the problem.  It was discovered that the vehicle was out of gas.  To make matters worse, the float was sponsored by a major oil company!  Those who had the most fuel available, and knew best how to deploy it, had simply failed to appropriate that fuel to their own need.  We will say more about this in the final point of this message, but this is often true of Christians today.  Even while on parade, and while advertising the available power, they may themselves not use, or abuse, or misuse, that power.

II.  THE WORKS THAT EXPOSE THIS POWER

Second, we will examine the works that Paul mentions to reveal God’s mighty power.  The works, respectively, are the resurrection, ascension, and exaltation of  Christ.  That Jesus Christ was enlivened from the dead, elevated to the heavenlies, and exalted above all, are demonstrations of God’s mighty power, the power that is active in the lives of Christian believers.

Each of these is a demonstration of the kind of power that has been made available to every  believer.  The three great facts about Christ that are stated here present the pattern-works of the power that is operating in all Christians.  Look at Jesus as He was and where He was, then lift your eyes and look at Him where He is.  The kind of power that brought Him from where He was to where He is, is the kind of power that is available to every believer.

The power that made the greatest change for Jesus was resurrection power, and the same is true of us.  Now, resurrection power is different; it is not like any other power.  It isn’t the power of a strong personality nor of an educated mind.  It isn’t the power of a good family background nor of money, numbers, or leadership ability.  It is the power that raised Christ from the dead and thus is able to bring life out of death.  Resurrection power works best in a cemetery atmosphere where death reigns (cf. Ephesians 2:1).  I repeat, resurrection works best in a graveyard!  If you are living in the spiritual and moral equivalent of a cemetery, if everything around you is dead and dull and lifeless, you need this power.  Indeed, if everything within you is dead toward God, it is this resurrection power which is necessary to save you and give you His Life.

Resurrection power is not deterred or defeated by obstacles or impossibilities.  Furthermore, resurrection power requires no outside support.  It needs no vote of confidence.  It can operate alone, completely alone, if necessary.  And it makes no noise or display.  Publicity is not necessary to support resurrection power; it supplies its own publicity.  When resurrection occurs, it combines all lesser miracles—the healing of the blind, the deaf, the crippled, etc.  When a person is dead (the major condition), he is also blind, deaf, etc. (minor symptoms).  When the major condition is corrected, the lesser symptoms are corrected, also.

The same power is required to convert a sinner which is demanded in raising the dead (cf. 1:20 & 2:1); indeed, the regeneration of a sinner is a resurrection from the dead.

Also, the power that is available to every Christian today is a reigning power.  “God seated Jesus at His own right hand in the heavenlies,” the text says.  The Person who was treated like a criminal on earth was elevated by God to the throne of the universe.  His redemptive work was finished.  He had defeated sin, death and Satan.  Verse 21 tells us that He is elevated “far above all principalities, and power, and might, and dominion”– whatever else these words mean, they certainly mean that He is far above any power that may be considered.  The leaders of this world, the leaders of the underworld, Satanic forces, demonic hordes, good angels and bad—He is above them all.  And the power that accomplished His elevation is resident in us!

Paul ascends toward his climax and conclusion when he says, “God has put all things in subjection under His feet.”  Jesus walks over everything you and I fear, and what Jesus walks over, we don’t have to walk under.  If you are in His Body, you are at least as high as the feet, because the feet are the lowest parts of the body.  And He has put everything under His feet!  People have been known to pay unbelievable amounts of money to sit beside someone whom they think to be great.  Christian, what should we think of our seat of privilege, power, purpose, etc., with Christ in the heavenlies (see Ephesians 2:5-6)?

So the resurrection, ascension and exaltation are the pattern-works that reveal the kind of power that is available to believers in Christ.  But the question still remains: How is this power activated in our lives?

III. THE WAY TO EXPERIENCE THIS POWER

According to verse 18, each believer can “know” this power. There is a specified way to receive God’s power.  Two ideas are brought to mind:  (1) Christians must know this power if they are to be a credit to the  God who has saved them.  Remind yourself again that no Christian can live the Christian life or perform as a Christian is supposed to perform in his own power.  In his own strength, any Christian is too feeble for the conflict he is called upon to engage in.  His understanding is too limited.  His heart is too cold.  Trying to be a mature, loving, serving human being on God’s terms while using only human energy is like trying to power a luxury cruise liner with two “C” batteries.  No Christian can live the true Christian life with such a limited, inherently deficient, power source.

In his useful book, A Guide to Spiritual Success, Pastor Tony Evans declares this truth by means of this illustration:

Suppose you went to Sears and purchased a new refrigerator, the top of the line.  This model has all the bells and whistles and cost you a hefty $6,000.  On your way home you stop at your local grocery store to purchase the food for your new appliance. Later that afternoon your refrigerator is delivered and installed, and you fill it with all the goodies you purchased – your favorite chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate milk, and fresh corn on the cob.  You retire for the night, but when you come into the kitchen the next morning, you experience the shock of your life.  Ice cream is all over the floor!  The milk is sour, and the vegetables are changing color!  It is quickly evident that your brand new, top-of-the-line refrigerator isn’t working!  Angry and disgusted you call Sears to give them a piece of your “Christian mind” for selling you a dud.  The salesperson who sold you the refrigerator is aghast at the news.  He asks you to pull open the freezer door to see if the light comes on.  You do so.  No light.  He then asks you to put your ear to the bottom of the refrigerator to see if you hear the low hum of the motor.  You do so.  No hum.  Finally, he asks you to look behind the refrigerator and see if the electrical cord has been plugged in.  You do so.  Lo and behold the cord is lying on the floor, unplugged!  You return to the phone and inform the salesman that the refrigerator is unplugged but that shouldn’t matter.  You argue that for $6,000 it should work—plugged in or not!  The salesman then explains a very important principle to you – namely, refrigerators are dependent appliances.  They were never made to work on their own. They are built with certain specifications that can only be realized when they have been energized by the power of electricity.  While all the necessary parts are there, they will not work until they get the necessary electrical juice to enable them to be and do what they were created to do.  In this regard, Christians are like appliances.  We are dependent creatures.  When you receive Christ as Savior, He gives you the requisite parts necessary for you to live a victorious Christian life.  But you will not be able to do so until you are plugged into God’s power source, the Holy Spirit.

As Pastor Evans said, each Christian is like machinery that stands idle until the electric current is turned on.  When  it is, power is released into the working parts.  Great forces are then set in motion.  When we recognize and receive the power that God waits to release in and through us, our lives will be powerful and productive for Him.  But how?  How do we receive this power?  Not by intellectual perception alone, but by contact and relationship.  This is “acquaintance power,” thus it is character power, not cataclysmic power.

(2) Christians may know this power, and the means of appropriation is faith.  Paul tells us in verse 19 that this power is exercised by God “toward us who believe.”  Note that Paul places himself on an equal footing beside his Ephesian brothers and sisters.  So this power is not exclusive or elite power.  It is available (& necessary) for even the simplest believer.  The key word in this verse is the word “believe.”  “Faith” is the noun, and “believe” is the verb, and both convey the same idea.  Following the “machinery” analogy of the previous paragraph, faith is the “switch” we push to release the power of God in and through our lives.  Doubt, fear, and skepticism will short-circuit that power in us.  It is available to faith alone, and must be appropriated by faith alone.  So it is essential that we understand what faith is.

Faith is the faculty of taking God into the heart and accommodating Him there.  Faith is God-receptiveness.  Faith appropriates the nature of God into the human heart, and enables Him to transform the believer’s character and conduct (I John 4:8).   Faith, like a narrow channel, conveys God’s ocean fullness into the lagoons of human need.

If you should take a boat up the Nile River to central Egypt, you would often see simple farmers with homemade irrigation devices, lifting water from the Nile by buckets affixed on a horizontal pole, which in turn is affixed atop a vertical pole.  As the horizontal pole is rotated, each bucket is filled with the water of the Nile and is manually revolved to be emptied into the ditches of the farmer’s field.  So the mighty Nile River fills an irrigation ditch!  Even so, through the simple “irrigating” device of man’s receptive faith, the mighty power of God will flow into and through a Christian.

The late great pastor and author Ray Stedman has this paragraph in one of his books:

“I’ve been doing a bit of electrical work in an addition to my home, and I’ve discovered that electricity follows a pattern of its own and takes no notice of how I feel at the moment.  That can be a shocking experience!  Electricity is not in the slightest degree impressed with my position as a pastor of Peninsula Bible Church. It doesn’t hesitate to retaliate for any violation of its laws that I commit.  It is up to me to discover how it works, and then to respect it if I want to use it.”

The same is true of God’s great power.  It will remain totally indifferent to me and aloof from me if I don’t discover what it is, what the laws of its operation are, and how to adjust myself to those laws and thus to receive His power.  But if I do learn the “laws” of the Holy Spirit’s operation and adapt myself to Him by means of those “laws,” I can experience His power and can be a channel through which it flows into the world.

So each Christian is not only to be a point of reception of God’s power; he is also to be a point of release for God’s power.  According to verse 15, Christians are not storage batteries for God’s power as much as they are relay stations for it.   “According to your faith be it unto you.”  You can (will) have all the power of God that you will   make room for.  The only limit is the capacity of your faith.  Wherever faith links the believer to the  Lord Jesus, His nature begins to flow in to the waiting, expectant heart, and then to flow out toward all the saints and toward the surrounding world of lost people.  May God grant that more and more of His people will awaken to their privileges and their responsibilities with regard to God’s mighty power.

Blessings,
kent

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Restoration

December 29, 2011

Acts 1:6-7
6So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Restoration


We know that there are times and seasons in the economy of God.  We don’t exactly when they will come into being, but in that hour the Lord will begin to unfold His purpose and plan through His prophets and mouthpieces.   We know from history that when Jesus ascended that it was not the hour when the kingdom would be restored to Israel.  In fact it was the hour when the kingdom of Israel came into judgement and the Israelites were dispersed throughout the nations.  In more recent history we have seen the signs of restoration again as natural Israel has become a nation again and its in habitants have been returning.  It is a sign of the times of restoration.
Before we see the restoration of the nation of Israel in it’s fullness and before we see the restoration that the sons of God will bring in the earth, restoration must begin within us, His people.  We must be restored into right fellowship and relationship with Him again.  Spiritual Israel has become a mixed and polluted people.  We have become integrated and filled with the values and influences of the society in which we live.  God is starting the procedure of restoration, which is first a process of purification and sanctification unto Him.  He starts with judgement and purification of His own house, because the spirit of reconciliation and restoration will flow through His people to the nations.  John the Baptist was a forerunner of Jesus as it says in John 1:23, “He said, I [am] the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.”  Again the Lord is sending His word forth, “Make straight the way of the Lord.”
This is a day in which our focus is to be restoration within our own hearts and lives back to a right and close relationship with the Father.  Many things are brewing both spiritually and naturally immediately in front of us.  It is a day of preparation and watchfulness.  Let us not be caught up in just ‘the buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage’.  It is time to turn our eyes from the economy of this world onto the economy of God and where we fit into His plan and purpose.  The wise virgin prepares herself, stores up her oil and is in readiness when the Bridegroom appears.  That is where we want to be.  Draw near to Him and listen to Holy Spirit as He speaks to your heart and leads you in His ways.

Blessings,
kent

Honor and Respect

December 28, 2011

1 Peter 2:17
Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Honor and Respect


One of the things that I have heard the Holy Spirit speaking into my heart for the direction that He is leading us  in this hour is that He desires greater honor and respect of one another in the body.  It is easy for all of us to focus and see what is not right in a person, but can we as readily see what is right in another and celebrate that?  When we read the newspaper what is the majority of what read about?  It is mostly about bad news. That is what sells papers.  Is it because we have become obsessed with the sin and failures of others?  Perhaps it comforts us to know that that there are others with greater problems and failures than our own.  When we are critical or judgmental of others doesn’t it give us an air of superiority.  How many times do we validate ourselves by tearing others down?
Have we forgotten that we are to know no man after the flesh?  2 Corinthians 5:16 exhorts us, “Therefore we know no one after the flesh from now on. Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more.”  If our viewpoint of ourselves, others and even Christ is from a human perspective rather than a spiritual perspective then are we not operating out of the flesh?  So many times we don’t even think about how judgmental and derogatory our statements can be towards others and particularly our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If we are obsessed with their faults and failures then we have the wrong focus.  If we are more focused on mining and extracting the gold in one another we won’t be so focused on the impurities of the ore that surrounds it.  Were we called to be judges of others or those who impart righteousness, love and life by our example?
What is love?  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  Could it be that we are the greater ones at fault by our judgements and dishonor of others than the ones we gossip and look down on?
It is a day when we need to be learning practicing the ways of Jesus.  Philippians 2:5-8 says, ” Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!”  If Christ, who is Lord and King of all was willing to humble Himself that we might be lifted up then maybe He was living an example of how we should be humbling ourselves to lift others up.  If we see that our brothers are weak in an area, then instead of judging and looking down upon them let’s get under them to encourage and help them in their weakness so that they can be made strong.   The Word teaches us that with the same judgement that we judge others we will be judged.  Are we without sin?
It is a day to start walking in honor and respect of one another out of true humility and love.  Jesus said the world would know us by our love one to another.   Are they seeing that today?  Are they seeing that in us?  Let us repent if this is convicting us.  Let us resolve to walk in love, honor and respect of others, loving the brotherhood of believers, fearing God and honoring our leadership.  True unity can only be found where honor and respect flourishes.

Blessings,
kent

Sound the Alarm in Zion

December 27, 2011

Sound the Alarm in Zion


Joel 2:1
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand-

Set your feet in righteous paths for the destruction is outside the walls of My protection and grace.  Return unto Me with your whole heart and not a divided heart.  Rend your hearts and not your garments.  The Lord’s love is toward His people and His compassion fails not.  Life is what He has called you too, but the destroyer has come to destroy and he will have his day.  Your safety is in the secret place, the place where I will hide you under the shadow of My wing.  Indeed a thousand will fall at your right hand and ten thousand at your left, but it will not come nigh unto you, if you are hidden in Me.  Fear and trembling will consume the earth, but where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace.
Come now to Me with your whole heart.  Fix your eyes upon Me now and lay down your encumbrances as the farmer leaves his plow.  It is a day of reckoning and judgement that is at hand.  Prepare the way of the Lord and prepare your hearts to receive Him.   Darkness will cover the earth as the water covers the sea.  You are My lights in the dark places.  You are the lamp by which many will find their way.  My life and presence within you will draw men from the darkness as they see your light shine.  It is a day to make ready, a day to buy and store up the oil and a day to buy gold refined in the fire.  Hear the voice of the Bridegroom as He is calling unto His bride to make ready the way of the Lord, for the time is near at hand.
The people that are called by My name shall be strong and do exploits, but not before the day of great testing and turning away.  It is a day when the love of many will wax cold.  It is a day to be either cold or hot for the lukewarm will not withstand the day of My abiding.  Many will fall away, for their hearts were wavering and divided.  The way of the cross calls for a full and total willingness to die to everything that is not of Me.  Many carry a cross of convenience, but the fire will reveal the true nature of one’s faith.  Set your heart to know Me in Spirit and in Truth.  The façade of Christianity will be torn down and thrown away and then will the true one stand.  My Church shall no longer be a religion, but a reality in the earth.  The earth will see it revealed for what it is and not what it has been perceived to be.
This is a call to the faithful and true.  Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit has to say unto the churches.  Let My ways be your ways and My thoughts be your thoughts, for you are a redeemed people, sanctified by the blood of the Lamb.  Put on the garments of righteousness and gird yourself with praise.  Rise up and let your worship be true and real from your heart.  I will inhabit the praises of my people and I will abide in those who enter into Me.  Come now, prepare your hearts while there is still time.  Cast off your complacency, for when men say, “Peace, Peace, then comes sudden destruction.”
Hear the trumpet in Zion and the sound that I speak in my holy hill, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.  Rend your hearts and not your garments.  Seek Me while I may be found.”

Blessings,
kent

Life’s Control

December 23, 2011

Jeremiah 10:23
I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.

Life’s Control


Many go through life thinking they have got it all figured out from where they go to school, the type of person they will marry, how many children they will have, the kind of profession or job they  will do and so on.  Most of us, who have lived life for a time, come to find that we can make plans, but there is no guarantee that our life will go as planned.  Ultimately man doesn’t have sovereign control over his future or destiny.  As believers we know who holds that destiny and our future in His hands.  We hopefully have come to place of understanding that as Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”  Ultimately the Lord is sovereign over everything that touches our lives.  Now the natural life has both good and bad.  Living as natural men in a fallen world subjects us to the  same calamities that can happen to non-believers.  Even Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  Jesus never promised us we would be exempt from the troubles of this world, but He did encourage us to take heart because He overcame the world and we are in Him.  Even when there is total chaos in the world or in our lives, Jesus still sits on the throne.  That is why the only safe and perfect place to be is “in Christ”.  In Him, things can be falling apart on the outside, but on the inside we can have peace.  If our confidence is in the world or the things of this world then that will be where our peace is also and when it falls apart, so will our peace.
We can’t foresee or control what our future holds for us.  In the midst of our calamities we might be inclined to blame God and hold Him accountable over all that touches our lives.  After all, He is sovereign.  We are not always going to know where God is in a situation or why things happened like they did, but we can choose to be like Job where he speaks in Job 26:8-12,  “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him.
9When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.  10But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”  We can’t depend on our natural understanding to comprehend the ways of God.  Can we rightfully say as the clay pot to the potter, “why did you make thus?”  It is His creation, His wisdom and He has final say over all that touches my life.
What He has given me control over is my faith, my will, my choice to serve and trust Him or not.  What I must understand is that the gold inside of me is Christ and to get to the purity of who He is in me, all else must be stripped away.  It will tested and it will be purged to the end that as Job says, “when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”  That gold is His nature manifested in me.
We seek to act and move in faith in as much as we know and in the revelation that we have, but God is still in control, lest we ever think that He can fit in our box of understanding.  God was never meant to fit in our box, but if our hearts are right we can fit in His.  What we can do is what Proverbs 3:5-18 instructs us to do. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
7Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
8This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
9Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
11My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke,
12because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
13Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding,
14for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.
15She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
16Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
17Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
18She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.”

Blessings,
kent

The Simple Gift of Love

December 20, 2011

Colossians 2:8
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

The Simple Gift of Love

For many this season of the year holds, anticipation, expectation and the joy of family and giving.  Unfortunately it is not that way for every one.  The season is also one of the times for the highest incidents of suicide.  It is not a happy and joyous time for everyone.
Some are lonely, without family, friends or very few that they believe even care about them.  Christmas only intensifies that loneliness and isolation.  It can launch them into deep depression.  Others are weighed down by all of the finical burden of those who they perceive to be looking to them to make all of their wishes come true.  Many, if not most, spend beyond their budgets and their means in an effort to bless, give and make others happy.  The reality is, often, when it is all over, they have given to those who were unappreciative of their gifts and sacrifice, who filed their gifts among the myriad of other belongings they possess and it is soon forgotten.  Meanwhile the debt for all that giving is weighing heavy on the generous giver, who no longer has joy, but only the anxiety and pressure of how to pay for all that was purchased.  This was never intended to be God’s highest for us.  He loves a cheerful giver who is willing to give out of what they have, not what they have not.
Traditions of men have brought many of us under the bondage of obligation to conform to the world and the materialistic thinking of the world.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe the Lord is pleased with our desire to bless one another, but so often the motive isn’t one of love.  We are often afraid of what others will think about us if aren’t like everybody else.  Our motive is to please man, not God.
Jesus didn’t relegate giving to a season or a day.  He makes that a standard for our life.  The greatest gift we can give is the simple gift of unconditional love.  That love which comes with no strings of expectation, condition or reciprocation.  Love has many expressions and many forms and it should never have to come with a price tag.  If we really believe that Christmas is about the birthday of Jesus then wouldn’t it make more sense that we would be giving gifts to the poor, the widows, the orphans and the homeless?  We say Christmas is about Jesus, but in reality it is really about us.
If we want to really give then let’s teach our children and ourselves to have an unselfish focus and look at how we can be a blessing to others and not just ourselves.  Most of us don’t really need any more toys or stuff, but we do need to know the joy that comes in giving to those who really do have needs.  The greatest gift you can give this season and all year through is your joy, your love and the Christ in you.

Blessings,
kent

Revelations 12:1-5
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

A Greater Revelation of Christmas

As I was in worship with the saints on the Lord’s day and the music this Christmas season centered around the birth of Jesus, I admit I often struggle with that knowing the origin of Christmas and so much of what is behind it.   I also started thinking about how Jesus really was the greatest gift that God has ever given the world.  He was the fulfillment of so many prophecies, types and shadows in the Old Testament.  Even so, I realized that God works in “what was”, “what is” and “what is to come”.  Jesus came as a fulfillment of what is, but He also came as the Spirit of Prophecy and the shadow of what is to come.
The mistake that the religious world so often makes is that it is content to live in the shadows of holy days and traditions of men.  When we are content to live there it hinders our vision to look and press into the spiritual fulfillment of the types and shadows that we have.   When Jesus came into the earth it was the end of one dispensation, but the beginning of another.  What He fulfilled the prophetic in one age, He began it in another.  Now here we are looking to the end of the age that He began here on earth.  If we are content to keep Jesus that little baby in a manager, that we celebrate in His season once a year then we have missed the greater revelation of His coming into the earth.  It was through crucifixion that He birthed and new woman in the earth, His body, His bride and His church.  This woman has been impregnated with the seed of the Holy Word of God and we now carry this manchild, the mystery that Paul proclaimed, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.   This is that manchild I believe the woman of Revelation 12 carries, because she is the church and the bride of Christ.  He is that identity with God that each true believer carries in their spirit.
Now, as I think of Christmas, I no longer want to see just a season of giving and goodwill, but a life in me that is transformed by Him; whose continual nature is love and giving.  I yearn for the birthing of the Christ who is in us that will bring forth this manchild in the likeness of His Son.
We see that all the forces of hell are bent on His destruction, but they cannot destroy this manchild any more than they were able to destroy the Son of Man.  I pray that the traditions of men are but a reminder and awakening of the hour we are entering into in order to partake of “what is to come”.  Jesus is no longer the baby in the manager, but the risen Christ who is now resident in us and who ultimately wants to be fully manifested through us.  Christ is the reason for the season, but it is a new season and new day.

Blessings,
kent

Strength to the Weary

December 16, 2011

Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Strength to the Weary


There is many a weary saint out here today.  The trials of life have weighed heavily upon you and you may be gasping for air beneath its crushing weight.  Even the youth grow tired and weary.  There are those of you that have been strong and exuberant in your faith, but sometimes you are just tired of the battle and you want to give up.  Even though you love the Lord and have sought His ways, in your weakness you may have stumbled and fallen.  The power to walk in overcoming life, prevailing over the storms that are assailed against us doesn’t come from our strength, our ability or even our desire to be good.  Our power is only in the Lord and in His strength alone can we stand and prevail against circumstances, fear, doubt and unbelief.
Whatever fails in you, don’t lose your vision.  We must hold with all tenacity of faith to the vision we have in Christ; the author and the finisher of our faith.  It is the hope and confidence in the promises of His Word in which we stand.  Though our soul lies in the dust of destruction, the eyes of our spirit behold the Lord.  We see Him high and lifted up as His train fills the temple and His angles cry holy, holy, holy.  It is there our spirit unites with Him and the strength comes to lift our soul out of its despair.  “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”  When our strength is exhausted His has only began.  There, at the end of our works and efforts, we enter into the rest of the Lord and we learn to wait upon Him; not only waiting for Him, but learning the joy and strength of ministering before His presence.  It is most often at the end of ourselves, our efforts and our abilities that we begin to find the true rest of the Lord.  As we enter into our Sabbath, it now becomes about Him and about us no longer.  He is the reason we live and move and have our being.  Our eyes and our heart become fixed upon Him and in Him we can not be moved.  It is in that place of total rest and reliance upon our faithful God that the wind of His Spirit sweeps under us, lifting  us up to soar on wings like eagles.  We become like the runner who runs till he thinks he has no more left to run and then that energy and strength comes to renew and regenerate his ability to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint.
People of God, your strength is not your ability, goodness, holiness or even your great faith.  Your strength comes from the Lord.  Ephesians 4:4-9 reminds us, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Even our faith is not of ourselves, but it is His gift that works in us.
Rest in His arms of love today.  Take the time to crawl upon Abba’s lap and let Him hold you, comfort you and strengthen you.  We are not going to understand all of the things that happen in life and all of the why’s and wherefore’s.  What we must understand is that we can rest in the faithfulness of His love for it never fails.
“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. (Isaiah 51:6)”

Blessings,
kent

Activate

December 15, 2011

Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Activate


That is the word I hear in my spirit as we approach the new year.  This coming year is going to be a year of activation for the body of Christ.   As we commit and devote our hearts to the Lord we are going to see activation.  The Holy Spirit is wanting to activate his body even as the early church was activated after Pentecost and even greater.  This is the day to take our Sunday Christianity and make it an active part of our every day life and encounters with the world around us.  We need so much of Jesus spilling out of us that there is no way we can contain or hide the life that is living inside of us.  This is the day to let Christ shine through our lives in word and deed.
For years we have set under the Word of God. Today is the day to become the Word of God in the flesh as we live by the Spirit in the love of God toward all men.  We are carriers of His divine life and we want to infect every part of our world with His love and great salvation.  It is not just about getting someone to pray a prayer and make a confession of faith, it is about being so much the reality of what we profess that others want what we have and they will seek us out to receive it.
The world’s general perception of Christianity looks very little like Christ.  As the world has looked upon the Church as a whole, they have seen hypocrisy, materialism, ungodliness, judgementalism and self-righteousness.  No wonder so many disdain Christianity.  This is the time when they need to begin to see the reality of the true Church, the bride of Christ and His power and love manifested through her.  For this love and power to flow through us, He must possess us body, soul and spirit.  Our lives must be so focused and set upon the Father’s business.  It can no longer be about life as usual; eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.  This is the year to see and step into a radical transformation in the body of Christ, at least the first fruits of it.  I believe God has prepared a people to champion His cause and bring a transformation in the paradigm of what the church of God is and what it should look like.
It is a day for us to graduate out of the school of learning and knowing and step into the world of being and doing.  What is our faith if it is not activated to bring us forth in who we have been called to be as sons and daughter’s of the MOST HIGH GOD!
“Holy Spirit, arise in the hearts of your people and activate us to extreme godliness, holy living and love impacting lives.   Help your people to rock the former image of your church and be the example of what the people of God are to truly look like.  Help us to loose ourselves as we take up our cross and follow you whithersoever you would lead and direct us.  Give us ears to hear your precious voice and hearts tender to quickly obey whatever you instruct us to do.  Help us to walk the walk of faith and step boldly into who you have created  us and called us to be.  You are our God and in You we will be strong and do exploits.  The world will come to know us by our love and unity and no longer by our division and condemnation.  We will exemplify the love and nature of Christ in the earth, because we dare to allow that Christ to come forth in us.   We dare to step into our Sonship and the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.  Our eyes, our hearts, our minds and desires are set upon You Holy Father.  Activate Your people in righteousness, power and divine authority to have dominion over every darkness and every perverted thing that we may bring the hearts of a lost world into alignment with the restoration of the identity you want to give back to them.  Help us to come into the image of what the true Church and body of Christ is suppose to look like in this hour that you might be glorified and magnified among men.   Amen!”
Today is our day to be transformed from the introverts of self-centered lives to become the extroverts of Christ expressed lives.  Let us be that standard of Christ activated for all to see and aspire too.  Let our lives be the light that transcends the darkness and the love that brings healing, hope and salvation to every lost and wounded soul.

Blessings,
kent

A New Day and a New Order

December 14, 2011

1 Samuel 3: 11-18
And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible,z and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ ”
15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.”
Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes.”

A New Day and a New Order

Samuel represented for Israel a new day and a new order when the voice of the Lord was again being heard in the land.   God has put the old order on notice that His judgement is coming.  The family of Eli is representative of appointed and often anointed men and women of God that  have taken their office  and used it for their own gain and to fulfill the lust and desires of their own flesh in the name of God.   Many are aware that for some the Word of God and the giftings He has given are a way of great gain.
Top level ministry can be big business.   The former times of great men and ministry is quickly coming to a close.  We saw God’s judgement come on a number of these teleevangelist during the Eighties and Nineties.  It is an old order that is passing away. That is not to say that all great ministries are bad, but you can be sure of this, if they are of God they will setting your eyes upon Jesus and not on who they are.
Samuel is representative of new day and new order.  ” And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.”  We see this Samuel coming from behind the scenes.  He is not of the household of Levi, He was actually an Ephraimite, which was a descendent of Joseph and represented an introduction of a Gentile seed from their Egyptian mother’s side into the priesthood of God.  For years we have thought of clergy as being ordained ministers educated through seminary.  Let me tell you in this day God is raising up ministry that have been educated in the wilderness by the Spirit of God.  This priesthood ministry is not after the old order of things.  They are a type of John the Baptist ministry in the spirit of Elijah.  They come with the Word of the Lord, with authority and with power.  They don’t come to usurp the authority, they will become the recognized authority because of the Spirit and anointing that is resident in them.  They will sound a new trumpet with a distinct sound of Zion.  Their purpose is to activate God’s people to action and purpose.  Many wonderful saints have lived and died while they faithfully filled the pews at church, listening  and learning a good word, but never being activated into who they were called to be or what they were called to do.  After all they were “just laity”, parishioners whose primary responsibility was to support the building and “ministry”.
In 1 Samuel 7:2 it declares, ” And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only.”  This Samuel ministry is to return the hearts of the children to their Father and the Father to the children.  God is calling us again to have His heart that we might finally come out from under the yoke of the oppressor.  He is calling us to a unity of Spirit, no longer under the direction of big name ministries, but through a body of Christ rising up to function together rather than segmented, splintered and factioned.  It is a day to lay aside personal agendas and pet doctrines as we all seek the truth of God as ONE MAN.  The church world as we see it today is not the design of God.  It has become a house of Eli.  Yes there is godliness in it, but there is also much flesh.  God is cleaning house.
He is wanting to restore the wounded, broken, rejected, despised and hurt sheep.  Those which “the Church” has rejected and cast aside are precious to the Lord.  It is not He who cast them aside, but it will be His Spirit of love that will restore and bring them back again into the House and Sanctuary that He is building with lively stones by His Spirit.
It is a new day and a new order.  Can you feel the love of Jesus as He is gathering the scattered and lost lambs of “true Israel”?   He is bringing the rain of His “rhema word”; that which is spoken into us by His Spirit.  That Word is bringing us into understanding and alignment with the will and purpose of God in this hour.  It is no longer about big name ministries and looking to man.  It is about setting our eyes upon Jesus and recognizing the anointed leadership He is raising up.  That leadership will have the heart do Ephesians 4:11-13, ” It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  The body of Christ has a purpose and this is the day for us to come into it.

Blessings,

kent

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