Our Lover Jesus

March 30, 2012

Song of Solomon 2:10
My lover spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.

Our Lover Jesus

Feel the gentle breeze caressing you as Jesus strokes your hair.
Look into His eyes of love and feel your heart melt there.
In those pools of gentleness He bathes your soul clean,
We look upon the face of kindness, through spiritual eyes it’s seen.

You sit and listen as we chat with You about our day,
All the fears and concerns, in Your presence, melt away.
In spiritual romance we are wrapped up in Your arms,
In that place of love and security we fear no outward harm.

I don’t know why, but oh, You love us so,
How we love dancing in your Holy Spirit’s flow.
We bask in Your glory when Your presence fills the room,
Caught up in heavenly places in the fragrance of Your sweet perfume.

Lover and Husband, Lord Jesus, You are our precious One.
How Father has loved us to betroth us to His Son.
May the Lilly fields of Your people be pure and white.
Purify us that we may stand without spot or wrinkle in Your sight.

Oh how we long for the consummation of Your love;
When in Your person and likeness we take flight like a dove.
When we are made like You and see You as You are.
Your bride caught up in You with the brilliance of a super nova star.

Then with no more hindrance from the earthly man beneath,
We will fully inherit the kingdom You have delighted to bequeath.
We will stand forever in the presence of Your unveiled face of love,
Ruling and reigning forever with dominion from above.

Blessings,
kent

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

A Principle of Life and Fear


If given the choice, most of us would be quite content to live a nice, safe, secure, healthy and relatively uneventful life.  In many ways, a lot of us have.  We need to ask ourselves is that really living or is that comfortably dying a slow death?
One thing fear does, is it gets us out of our comfort zone.  It often gets our heart racing and our adrenaline pumping.  Our senses come alive in the face of danger and uncertainty.  If we can see our lives in the light of the spiritual couch potatoes we would become if we never faced any trials, testing or adversity, then we can better appreciate why God allows them to come into our lives.
In order for our faith to grow it must be challenged so that our faith can come up to the level of our challenge.  Since fear doesn’t come to us from God then we must realize that faith is the antidote to fear.  Faith sets our eyes and attention back where they belong.  Looking to the Father.  When we realize that fear comes from our inadequacy, weakness and inability to control a situation, we either have to face it in the frailty of human ability or have a revelation of what God has given us to counter it with.  God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, but what He has given us is the Spirit of power, love and a sound mind.  We have a mighty arsenal to combat fear and to overcome it.  Fear only works as long as you are afraid.  When you are no longer afraid, fear has lost its power.  What the Word of God is telling us is that you don’t have to be afraid.  You don’t have to fret, worry or anxious.  What you need to do, is lay hold with faith and confidence upon God’s Word, His promises and assurance.  The more you fill your self with the Word of God and spend time in His presence; the more bold, confident and faith-filled you become.  For the enemy and the spirit of fear, you then become a force to be reckoned with.  The person who really has a revelation of their identity in Christ, who knows their position in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and operates in their God given and appointed purpose is a dangerous person to the enemy of fear and darkness.  The gates of hell can not prevail against that person.
An example of such a person was seen in David.  He was called, appointed, anointed and knew who he was in God when he confronted Goliath.  He didn’t fall into that trap of fear like the rest of the camp of Israel.  He came from a place of faith and authority, not his, but the Spirit of God in him.  Later, we see Saul, with all the resources and armies of Israel at his command pursuing David’s life, but unable to capture and take it.  He was that spirit of fear that pursued David, but was unable to prevail, because David put his trust and confidence in the Lord.
Was that an easy place for David? No, it was a very difficult place, but at that time David lived and walked with God closer than at any other time in his life.  Adversities are often allowed in our lives to stir us into faith.  They cause our spiritual senses to come alive and get our focus off of the world onto the Lord.  Fear isn’t always a bad thing, not because we want to succumb to it, but because we want the faith to arise in our hearts, along with the resident power, love and the mind of Christ to overcome all fear and the adversary that stands before us.  The force of opposition only serves to make us stronger.
We are sons and daughters of the Most High God.  Our Captain, King and Savior has conquered death and the grave.  He has set down at the right Hand of the Father until His enemies be made His footstool.  We are the body and feet of our Captain and King, Jesus.  He is putting the enemy beneath our feet, because we are His.
Someone once said, “You need to either get busy living or get busy dying.”  Our time for being complacent, lethargic and comfortable is soon coming to an end.  We need to make the choice to live or to die, life or death.  If we are going to live then we need to live out of the place where we pursue fear and it doesn’t pursue us.  We have to come into that place of having assurance of who we are and what God put us on this earth for.  We were not put here to be subject to this kingdom that lives under the rule and power of sin and death.  We live under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.  We were put here to invade this earthly kingdom with the kingdom Heaven, Life and God.  “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.”  We are God’s portals, conduits and well springs through which He invades the kingdom of this earth.  That is not going to happen through spiritual couch potatoes that are content with the leeks and onions of Egypt.  It is going to happen through an army of believers that are hearing the trumpet of war sounding in God’s camp and are responding to it.  If we don’t respond to God’s calling and come into that place of abiding in the Almighty and under the shadow of His wing, then soon the spirit of fear will arise and cover the earth and those who have not found their place in Him will be overtaken by it.  Father has not given us that spirit of fear,  He has given us the Spirit of Sonship, whereby we cry, “Abba, Father”.  We are His kids and we were born for this, so don’t allow fear to rule your hearts, but come up into the faith and confidence of who you are in Christ and trample fear beneath your feet!

Blessings,
kent

The Law of Sin and Death

March 28, 2012

Judges 21:25
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

The Law of Sin and Death


The state that we see Israel in the book of Judges is the same state that we could see a lot of us as Christians in.  We have the promise and the inheritance and we have the Word of God, but we haven’t embraced our King.  Just as the Israelites could be God’s chosen people by name, it didn’t mean they were His people in their heart.  They became apostate, doing whatever seemed good to them, while ignoring who God had called them to be.  Isn’t that the way many in the Christian world have become.  They have become apostate because they live and do right in their own eyes and justification rather than according to the will and calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I am not writing this to bring condemnation, but to make us aware of which law we are living under in this state of mind.  Before Christ, we were living under the law of sin and death.  It was a law of the commandments whereby sin abounded because of the weakness of the flesh to live and keep it.  Under that law we stood condemned because we were lawless and law breakers.  Even in our best efforts we were not able to find reconciliation and intimate relationship with Papa because our sin stood to condemn us.  Because sin would ultimately rule us, God had to send judgement to correct us and bring us back to repentance.  There we would cry out under our judgement and God in His mercy would send a judge to bring us back to Himself where we would remain briefly before repeating the cycle again.
Now, we have a king and His name is Jesus.  He is not only the king, but the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  In His realm of authority and dominion He has called us out of the old law of sin and death, because the crucifixion of His divine life nailed that old law of condemnation to the cross.  When we come to Him in faith we must recognize that is where our old selfish sinful nature and man has been identified; with Him on that cross.  We also died to that former way of doing, “whatever seemed right in our own eyes.”  As He raised us up by faith into His life we come under a new law, because we have entered and become citizens and partakers of a new kingdom.  The laws of this kingdom don’t operate like the former one.  Here there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  “In Christ” speaks to a state of being in our spirit man that is translated through our physical being.
We find this in Romans 8.  “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”  The key to living in this realm and kingdom is living by faith out of the law of the Spirit and no longer after the flesh.   A line of demarcation has been drawn that you live under one law or the other, but you can’t live under both.
Jesus says you can’t serve to masters in Matthew 6:24, “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.”  Mammon is the old world order that falls under the law of sin and death.
The question then really becomes, “What law are we living under?”
Romans 8 goes on to define what it is to live in the law of the Spirit of life and what the differences are.  “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12Therefore, 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. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
The Word doesn’t say we don’t still struggle with the inclinations toward our former sinful nature, but it has become a matter of new identity, allegiance and citizenship.  If you move to the United States from a foreign country and decide to become a US citizen then you have changed your identity, allegiance and citizenship. You must renounce the old to embrace the new. If the United States is at war with your former country, who are you going to fight for and stand with?  Where is your identity and allegiance?  You may feel the soul ties that want to draw you back to the former feelings you had for your country and countrymen, but now you have to cut them off, because it is no longer who you are.  You can no longer go between countries and have your allegiance divided or you will be considered a traitor.  You can no longer live under the former laws and traditions of the old country and still be a US citizen.  They don’t work in this new country.  You no longer have to live under tyranny, but you can live in freedom, but freedom isn’t freedom if it brings you again under the bondage of sin.  “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.  You see it is the Spirit that now indwells you that is the power in you to overcome who you used to be.  As we learn to live in obedience and faithfulness to Him we are led by Him.  It is living under His banner and direction that we become the sons of God.
If we are still doing whatever is right in our eyes we are missing what it is to live under the higher law.  It is only under this law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that we live and abide in the life of God and we come to experience the intimacy of relationship with Him.  God has given us the choice to be sons or slaves.  Where is our true identity, allegiance and citizenship, in the law of sin and death or the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus?  Your identity is who you are, not what you call yourself

Blessings,
kent

Psalms 91:9-13
If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the Lord, who is my refuge—
10then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

A Prophetic Word of Comfort and Encouragement


Hold fast your place in Me.  Don’t let go of me.  Don’t allow your foot to slip, not your eye to wander.  Hold fast to Me.  Set your heart and face toward me.  Your safety and security is in the abiding place of My presence.
Go, for I send you forth to conquer and destroy the works of devil; to dispel darkness with light and hate with My love.  You are the conquering force I am raising up.  You make the difference in the land.  Your carry My torch and My banner.  My banner over you is love.
Rejoice when you encounter persecution.  Count it not strange when your good is evil spoken of.  Though the enemy would seek to discredit you, I will establish the works of your hands; for it is My hand moving through you.  You will be strong and do exploits.  You will establish My Word with signs and wonders.  As the stars of the heaven declare my glory, so you are my bright and shining ones in the earth to bring light in the darkness and help men to chart their course in Me.
Labor not for that which perishes and is soon gone with the using.  This is the day to seek My kingdom first; to exemplify the righteousness of that kingdom as it is revealed in you.  Upon this Rock I will establish My kingdom and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Laughter is in the camp.  Joy, overflowing joy shall fill you.  Though it is a sobering day, the oil and the new wine shall fill your hearts with gladness and singing.  You will come rejoicing and filled with gladness.  My assurance is yours.  You can clothe yourself with it as a mantle.  My Word is your strength and your shield as you stand in faith rooted and grounded in it, you shall not be moved.  I have established you.  The enemy will try to use the world to distract and dissuade you.   Keep your eyes on Me and the world shall not move you.  Live out of My Word.  Live out of that position that I have given You in Me.  Faith sees its true identity and lays hold of it, not based on the natural surroundings and earthly evidence.  Operate out of your heavenly identity.  That is your security.  Live in your authority in Me as kings even in the midst paupers.  Don’t look down and talk down to those who surround you, but rather take what I have given you to lift them up into who I want them to be in Me.  I am wrapping you in light and truth; come forth and shine in the brightness that I am bestowing upon you.  No longer hide My light beneath the veil of flesh, step forth into the radiance of My glory.  As you walk in the light, you will be the light and My glory will be seen upon you.

Blessings,
kent

Body of Christ Arise

March 26, 2012

Romans 12:3-8
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to hisb faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Body of Christ Arise


It is exciting to see how the Lord is moving in this hour.  For so many years the majority of the body of Christ has set lethargically back in the seats of the pews, while a few did ministry.  Like our human body, if we sit in a chair all day, every day and work on a computer, only a few members of our body are activated and operating while the majority of the body sits idly by facilitating the operation of the few.  That makes for many of the members of the body getting bored, lazy, fat and under utilized.  This same type of thing has happened to the body of Christ.  We all have gifts, abilities, services and functions to offer as our part of the body of Christ, but we have lacked the vision, leadership and training that puts all of our members to work and utilizes the full capability of the body of Christ.
Verse 5 says, “so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”  It is just like a marriage, if we don’t function in unity, if we withhold our gifting from one another and if we only operate out of a place of self-sufficiency rather than as a couple, our marriage will suffer and quite probably fail.  Our strength as a marriage and as the body of Christ is in the revelation and activation that we all need what each other has.  It is not just about few being the ministry, it is about all of us being the ministry, both within and without the walls of the church building.
I am excited as I see God changing this old paradigm of religious activity and thinking.  Suddenly the body of Christ is being called to arise, get back in spiritual shape and become active in being what Christ created us to be, “the expression of Him” in all of our unique and diverse ways.  Only when the body of Christ awakens and arises from its slumber will we truly see its impact in the earth.  Now is the time the Spirit of Christ is stirring us to action as He is making way for His bride to have expression and operation of her giftings and beauty.  It is the responsibility of the five-fold ministries and offices, not to dominate the body of Christ, but to train it, equip it and set it in motion to come into the fullness of its calling.  Fivefold function is not just to do all of the ministry, but equip and set in motion the body of Christ in its ministry.  A coach equips and trains his player to play the game and to do it well.  That is the five-fold function to coach and equip the body of Christ to play the game of life, so that Christ is magnified and He wins the game as all of operate and fulfill our functions in the body.  We all of have Christ within us, therefore the five-fold if is resident in each of us.  It needs to stirred up and brought to its fullest expression.  We must unselfishly give ourselves to one another to fill up in each one whatever is lacking.   We are the Church, not just the church goers.  We can no longer just do church as usual, we must be the Church and exemplify the One who is our head.  Church is not once or twice a Sunday and maybe on a weekday.  It is who we are twenty-four hours, seven days a week.  It is not about a service, it is about becoming the service of the King of Kings to all our world around us.  What we glean in His presence, we operate out of and release as we go from that place of intimacy with Him.
Church, Body of Christ, Bride of Christ, Arise!  Arise and let your enemies be scattered.  We are the authority and demonstration of God’s Spirit in the earth. As we are willing to step into who we are, the enemy cannot prevail against us.  The Lord will show Himself mighty in us as we arise in the faith and activation of what He has put in each one of us to be the expression of Him.   We are all receiving the call to ministry.  That doesn’t mean standing in a pulpit; it means coming into the full expression of what Christ has placed in you to be who He purposed you to be.  That function, that you carry,  is as important as any other, so don’t take it lightly.  You have His calling, commission and authority to be who He has called you to be.   Let faith arise and your enemies be scattered.  It is time for you to become healthy, strong and exercised in the Word and godliness.  You are the generation that is here to change the earth and transform the face of nations.  Hear your calling and arise!

Blessings,
kent

Where is the Honor?

March 23, 2012

Luke 20:9-16
Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. 10And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. 11And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. 12And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. 13Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. 14But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. 15So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? 16He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.

Where is the Honor?


It is amazing how many examples I see around of those who have given the most and have been honored the least.  All through the Word of God, we see this same principle at work in His people.  Our loving heavenly Father blesses us, increases us, protects and fills our lives with good things.  Time and again the response has resulted in God’s children, forgetting all of His loving benefits, looking at them as if they were entitled to them or had somehow had gotten all  that they had by the works of their own hands.  As a result the Father who provided all these blessings was scorned, forgotten, neglected, ridiculed and greatly dishonored.
It is not unlike the parable that Jesus gave here in Luke 20.  What God has graciously and lovingly entrusted into our care, we begin to think of as our own.  We forget that every breath we breathe we owe to Him.  Father has invested so much in us in order to see the fruit of godliness, thankfulness and the riches of His grace imparted and shared with others through us.  Yet, so often man and even believers, see their lives as theirs alone, to do with as they please.  They perceive what they have is because of their own abilities and accomplishments. God is shut out of the picture and He is even despised and resented should He require anything from us.  The One who gave us life and all of its benefits we now dishonor, reject and scorn.
How amazing it is to see so many examples around me of parents who have given of themselves and the best of what they could to their children to have children that grow up and treat them the same way so many have treated God the Father.  Maybe in that place so many of these parents can experience and understand the heartbreak we bring to our heavenly Father when we  reject Him and the Son that He sent for us.
Jesus made this statement to Nicodemus in John 3:16-20, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
He shows us that, for some, no matter how great the love of the Father is extended toward them they will still reject the light that is in that love, while they covet the darkness of the own ways.  If we have become so caught up in ourselves and our sense of entitlement we will always take all that we can, while despising the very hand that gave it to us.  This is true both in the spiritual and in the natural.  We fail to honor and appreciate those who have given us the most. Many times it goes beyond that to where both earthly and spiritual children, despise, resent and transfer the blame for all of their problems back onto the parents or onto God.
I want to encourage parents who have done the best they could to only have dishonor, disrespect and rejection returned to them from their children.  Father God experienced that long before you ever did from His own children and creation.  What is encouraging is that in most of these parents the feelings of love, compassion, caring the desire for reconciliation, never leaves them.  They still love and care for those rebellious children.  They still lift them up in prayer and pray for God’s compassion upon them.  They still have that Father’s heart for their children.   God wants us to continue to have that kind of a heart; not only for our own children, but for His children as well.  He never stops looking, waiting and anticipating His children’s return to Him.
What children don’t realize is that in the judgements that they make and the dishonor they bring to their parents, they condemn and judge themselves.  When we honor our parents, we honor God who gave them to us.  They may be far less than perfect, but even in their imperfections it could serve to bring you into a much greater place if you maintain that right heart toward them.  Often it is the adversities, even from our parents, that serve to make us a stronger and better person if we allow it too.
First and foremost, may we all endeavor to love and honor the Father who is worthy of all of the praise and glory.  May we always honor our parents, even if they weren’t what they should have been and even the more if they were what they should have been.  May we honor the Father’s image in each person whether they walk in light or darkness; endeavoring to reconcile all of God’s children back to Him.  If this strikes a chord with you, it is always God’s heart that there is reconciliation and restoration between children and parents.

Blessings,
kent


We, the Priesthood of the Almighty


Zechariah 3:1-7
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments; and the angel of the LORD was standing by.  And the angel of the LORD enjoined Joshua, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here.

Joshua stands to us as an example of a priesthood ministry that God wants to raise up in His people.  This is an awesome calling and one we can’t relate with in the natural mind.   We can only grasp it and really lay hold of it with the mind of Christ who is the High Priest of our confession.
This passage is in type, a reflection of what Peter has spoken in 1 Peter 2:9, “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:.”  We are like Joshua standing before the Lord in the spirit.  Satan, the accuser is there, at our right hand bringing before us and before the Lord all the filth and vileness in our lives as he heaps our unworthiness out by the bushel basket.  As we stand there with our head hung low, our shame revealing the filthy garments that clothe us, the Lord has had enough and He speaks.  The first thing He says is, ‘satan, put a cork in it.’  “The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem”, (a city made up of a whole lot more like Joshua), “rebuke you.”  When the Lord speaks, even satan has to listen.  “Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?”  Of course, that is exactly what satan is squawking about?  He had you and I going to hell, the judgement had already been pronounced and we were destined for the fire when God reached down and plucked us out.
Why would He choose this priest dressed with filthy garments, covered with ugliness and the stench of sin?  And how did he become a high priest other than the fact that God appointed and ordained that he should be one?  Why should He want us, let alone make us anything great in Him?  But if He is willing to pluck us out of the fire and clothe us in the righteousness of Christ, what should be our response to such a high and holy calling?  Like Joshua, God is removing our filthy garments of flesh and sinfulness, for he says, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel.”  What could be richer than the righteousness of Christ and His blood that cleanses us from all unrighteousness?  Then the Lord says, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” And so they did.  That turbine is like a mitre or diadem.  When the Lord places that turbine on our heads it is like a renewing of our minds.  We become spiritually minded and no longer earthly minded.  We are putting on the mind of Christ.  Every day we put this turbine on as we are not “conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Joshua in the Old Testament is the equivalent of Jesus in the New Testament.  Are we not Christians, “little Christ”, members in particular, that make up the body of Christ?  Are we not the expression and the members that carry out the orders and ministry of our head, Jesus Christ?  In Christ we carry that office of who He is, our High Priest.  How does He draw the world to Himself and the saving knowledge of Christ if it is not by His body moving under the power and unction of the Holy Spirit?  Are you beginning to catch a glimpse of the priesthood ministry that is in you and I, if this high priesthood ministry is operating in us now, how much more at His coming?
There is an order and hierarchy in God.  While we, as believers, are all redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and a part of the general assembly of saints.  There are those in His body that are responding to a higher calling, as Paul puts it in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” There is a call from heaven for those that have ears to hear to come up higher.   It is a calling to lay aside the ordinary, the common and the “good”, to find not only what is the “acceptable” will of God, but, even more, what is the “perfect” will of God.  God, our Father, has made a way into the Holiest of Holies; through the cross He has rent the veil and given us access.  We are being given a high holy privilege to respond to His call.  Paul saw it and spent His life running for it.  How about you and I?   Will we be willing to respond to the priest hood ministry we have in Christ?  Remember the priest ministered between God and man.  This calling is much higher than just being a priest or preacher in the natural.   Are we willing to come out of the shallow end of the pool and swim into the depths where our feet no longer touch the bottom?  God is calling us up higher, how will you respond to that call?

Blessings,
kent

The City of God

March 21, 2012

Psalms 48
1 Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress. 4 When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, 5 they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror.
6 Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor. 7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind. 8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever. Selah 9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. 10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is filled with righteousness. 11 Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments. 12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts,view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

 

The City of God


Men have conjectured many things about the city of God and what it is, but what does the Word teach us.
Revelations 21:4 gives us an insight and description of this city of God: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” We see this city now described as the bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  We grasp the Word is not describing for us just a physical place and structures.  It is describing for us that the redeemed of the Lord are the city of our God and the place of His habitation.  We see that God Himself inhabits this city and even as Psalms 48:3 says, “God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.”  When your enemies see you they will flee in terror, because they will see the glory of the Lord upon you.
We are such a blessed people when we catch the revelation of who we are in Christ.  Some say we only need religion and God as a crutch.  He is not our crutch, He is our life, our strength our divine ability and purpose.  Sin and self are only a recipe for death and judgement.  If God is my crutch, then yes, I will lean on Him all day long, for He upholds me in righteousness and keeps my foot from slipping into the paths of sin and wickedness.
The world still hates us, because if first hated Him and He is now in us.  They may think they have triumphed as they did when they crucified our Lord, but that was only the catalyst to release the awesome resurrection power of our Redeemer.  Through death He now lives and He will raise up our mortal bodies also to live and reign with Him in glory.
Hebrews 11:8-12 says, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”  We also have a call to go, live and abide in this promise land.  While upon earth we abide in temporary dwellings and tents while we look forward to the city with foundations whose architect and builder is God.  1 Peter 2:4-9 says, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” 8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  We are the house of God, the city of God, His Jerusalem and Zion.  We are His holy habitation and the residence of His dwelling.  Just as God has given diverse giftings to the body of Christ and made us many members one in the Spirit, so He has joined by one Spirit the saints of all of the ages that in His appointed time He might present us as one new man in Christ Jesus.  This is the city that the Lord has built and He has chosen for His dwelling place.  Let us, His saints rejoice that He has made His abode with us and sanctify ourselves.
2 Peter 1:10- 11 exhorts us, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Blessings,
kent

Grace Be Unto You

March 20, 2012

Grace Be Unto You


1 Corinthians 1:3
Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ.

This salutation and greeting it used around ten different times in the New Testament.  It is one of those phrases that might grow somewhat cliché’, but perhaps the Lord would have us take a little bit closer look at why this greeting was used.  I believe the Apostles used the salutation, because it was the grace of God that was the foundation and expression of God that gave all that were a part of the church hope and confidence in the call of God, the in-working of His life, the strength and the power to live godly lives.   One definition I read sums it up like this, “grace speaks of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.” If we take grace away from the Christian what do we have left except law and self-effort. We are right back to where we were before Christ.  It makes more sense when we read Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  It would be like me greeting you and saying, “what God has provided, be unto you.”  All that God has provided and that is working in us today as it is activated by our faith and confidence in Him, again a gift which He has provided, is the definition of grace.  When we say grace at a meal we are acknowledging and thanking God for what He has provided.  Grace is God’s provision for every need and in every circumstance.
When we speak grace to someone we are speaking a blessing of God’s provision and salvation working into their lives.  When we speak peace, we are speaking the blessed assurance that all God has said through His Word and through His Son Jesus Christ is right, true and shall come to pass.  We can take it to the bank and we can sleep through the night because of it.  It is the rest of God.
God would not have us take lightly the salutation contained in these scriptures.  They are the introduction and reminder that all things good flow through Him to those who believe and embrace His Word.  Even in the midst of great tribulation, suffering and persecution which many of the early Christians endured they could rest and take hope that the grace of God was sure and would bring them to their final destiny in Him.  “Christ in us” is the grace that is working out His exceeding great promises toward us that we might be partakers of the divine nature.
Today, and each day, “grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. “  Have a wonderful day and a wonderful life!

Blessings,
kent

Ephesians 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

The Prominent Woman of the New Testament


I was thinking this morning, “If I were to identify the most prominent woman in the New Testament, who would it be?  Would it be Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Elizabeth or one of the other godly women?  Then it struck me that the most  prominent woman and the one to whom the whole New Testament is dedicated too, is the bride of Christ, us, His Church.
He loves us so much that He laid down His life to redeem us for His bride.  His love for His bride becomes the model of every husband’s love for his natural wife.  For Jesus, the life that he lived, the love that He proved in action, the Word that He gave and His Spirit that now indwells, all speak to the passionate love that He has for us.  He did nothing for Himself, but all was for us.
The Word teaches here that even with the same love and care you extend to personal self, you should extend to your wife; loving your wife as your own body.  Our wife is an extension of our own flesh and blood.  Spiritually she is united and one with us.  This scripture teaches us that all that Jesus did and is still doing, even His very life was dedicated to this woman, His bride.  All that He has done and is still doing is to make us all that we were called to be in union with Him. We were called and betrothed to holiness, so He cleanses  us with His blood for the forgiveness of our sins and He washes us with the water of His Word that renews us in our identity with Him; His mind, His heart, His love.  By the sacrifice of His own self He imparts into us His own righteousness and virtue to remove every stain, wrinkle and blemish.  As husbands who follow this example, we are compelled to provide an atmosphere and environment where our bride is treated in the same manner.  When she submits herself to us there is no fear or trepidation in her, because she is so secure in our love and best interests for her.  In that love she finds such a place of security and peace.  She knows that she is at the forefront of all that we do and provide.  She delights to submit, because her joy is to reciprocate the love that is so freely and unselfishly lavished upon her.  Her husband has cut all ties to his former obligations and earthly commitments that He might put her first.  She is His treasure and He will protect and cherish that treasure with His very life.
This may all sound very idealistic, but it shouldn’t.  It should be the way, we, as Christian men and husbands should think and believe, because it is the Word of God.  It is the way that Christ loves us.  Since we have inherited this same love, it is incumbent upon us to love our wives in this same manner.  God gave us all of His Word, but in particular the New Testament as His love letter to His bride.   His one desire is to bring us into all that He is and all that He possesses.  Jesus loves us with undying, unfailing and unending love.  Just as He is so in love with us; He wants us to be so in love with Him.  He gave us marriage to practice that love affair.  In the same way that we love one another in that marriage relationship, it is the same way we love Jesus.  You may think your spouse is so stubborn or has such issues that you can’t get along and love them in that way.  Do we think that it has been any easier for Christ to love us through all of our issues and sins?  Yet He does. His love never fails, it never gives up and never runs out on us.  He looks past our faults and sees our needs.  While He would have every justification to divorce us, He doesn’t. He patiently loves us, forgives us, ministers life and blessing to us, even when we live in defiance and rebellion to Him.  Love never fails when it comes to this prominent woman in the New Testament.  He has committed to stay with Her until He brings Her into His highest and into the fullness of Himself.

Blessings,
kent

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