Call to Fitness

April 30, 2012

1 Timothy 4:8
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

Call to Fitness


Sometimes our spiritual muscles and countenance begin to droop and sag over time like much of the rest of our body.  The spiritual man need not grow old.  He is the eternal youth and life that lives in us.  But if left to neglect the spiritual man can’t serve us.  Certainly we need to care for the temple of this natural body, for it is what houses and facilitates the spiritual man within us.  Our greater obligation and responsibility is to the spiritual man.  This is the eternal part of us that is both now and forever.
The spiritual man is fed as we read and study God’s word.  The spirit man feeds on truth.  He is exercised as he acts upon this truth in faith.  He is strengthened and activated in our life of prayer and fellowship with the Lord.  Spirit feeds spirit.  Do we spend as much time a day feeding our spiritual man as we do our natural man?  Are we as attentive to our spiritual needs as we are our physical needs?  Would your natural man be in better or worse shape if it was given the same amount of attention and food a day as you give your spirit man?  When we put it in this perspective we might see why we might be spiritually weak and ineffective, not only in our lives but in the lives of others.
This is our day to awaken to our spiritual self and who we are in Christ.  This is not just a head knowledge, it is a call to spiritual alertness and fitness.  I can set on the couch and watch fitness and exercise programs all day long, but unless I engage my body in those routines no amount of mental agreement or ascent will change my physical state.  Many of us listen to the word of God and we have a lot of spiritual head knowledge, but like James says, “faith without works is dead”.  In order for us to have spiritual strength we have to exercise our spiritual man.  James 1:22 exhorts us, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”  We are a kingdom people called for a kingdom purpose.  We must become sensitized to who we are as a spiritual people and not just a natural people.  We must see our world through God’s perspective and then act out of our spiritual man in life’s circumstances.  Maybe it is just offering to pray for someone or building them up through an encouraging word.  Maybe it is random acts of kindness and selfless giving.  Whatever it is, it needs to be Christ finding expression through our lives and everyday circumstances.  This is exercising our spiritual man.
Jesus commissions our spiritual man in Luke 17:15-18, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” How many of us are walking daily in this commission?  We have to have a strong and energized spiritual man to carry our what we are called to do.  The Lord is calling us to spiritual fitness so that we can make a difference in our world.  Let us exercise ourselves in all faith and godliness that He may be lifted up and glorified through us.

Blessings,
kent

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Patient in Tribulation

April 27, 2012

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Patient in Tribulation

Sometimes we get discouraged, our faith may begin to wane and doubt looks for opportunity to enter in.  We’ve all been there and we’ve all fought those battles from time to time.  Our natural mind starts to take over and we may begin to think, “Am I crazy, is there really a God and if so, does He really care about me?”  If He did, would I be going through all of these problems and issues in my life right now?
These are all legitimate questions and ones I would imagine all of us have wrestled with at times in our lives.  There is a reason that God didn’t take tribulations, trials, testing, persecutions and afflictions out of our life.  Nothing will test the metal of your faith like these fires will.  Nothing will solidify your confidence and commitment like these things will.
Have you watched kids who grew up having everything and having parents that took care of all of their problems and messes.  They are generally quite weak in their character.  They’ve never endured the hardships and disciplines that developed that character.  Often the strongest people we know may have grown up in the worst of circumstances and had the most challenges in life.
Listen to what Paul says about tribulation in Romans 5:1-5.  “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Are you crazy Paul?   Why would you rejoice in suffering?  Who would want that?
He rejoices in it, because of the fruit that it produces in patience, character and hope that does not disappoint.  It is our opportunity to lay hold of the love that God has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  In your weakness, who makes you strong?  In your poverty, who makes you rich?  In your foolishness, who makes you wise?  It is in our deficiency, that we must find His sufficiency.  Psalms 105:19 says, “The LORD’s promise tested him through fiery trials until his prediction came true.”  In order to receive the promise you have to prove the promise.  The proof is in your faith to stand through the fiery testing till it comes to pass.
1 Peter 4:12-14 exhorts us, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
Listen again at what Peter says in 1 Peter 1:3-9.  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  Suffering and trials are the refining fires of your faith, not to destroy, but to perfect you in the character of who you were called to be in Christ.  Those fires may touch everything around you; they may touch your very person, health, wealth and well-being, but they can only purify your faith that is “shielded by God’s power”.
Consider how the book of James starts out in James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
What is with these  apostles telling us to count our tribulation and trials joy.  Don’t they know that because of them I have been tempted to give up.  I’ve doubted God and myself?
Metal is tempered through the fire.  God’s purifying His divine gold nature in you.  Through our suffering and trials we have to deal with the dross of our doubts, fears and unbelief.  The way up into Him is through the fire.  As God’s loving arms draws you closer into Him, His consuming fire is burning up more and more all that is not of Him.  Romans 8:17 encourages us with this truth, “Now 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.”
Finally Jesus encourages us with these words from 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.”  The good news is that the Overcomer of the world now resides in you.  As we allow His life to live and flow through us we rest from our own abilities and efforts to confidently trust that no matter what we face, we don’t face it alone.   Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith and in Him we shall prevail.

Blessings,
kent

Called to be a Blessing

April 26, 2012

1 Peter 3:8-12
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.
He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Called to be a Blessing


Were we fully aware that God called us to be a blessing in the earth?  What is a blessing?
It is a gift, present or benefit.  Even as God so blessed the world that He gave them His only begotten Son, now He is blessing the world and each of us through a family of sons.  Because we carry the Son of God within us, we, in like manner, become God’s blessing in the earth.  That blessing should be His divine expression and representation.  It should be His love letter written upon our hearts of flesh; an epistle for all the world to read.  As blessings we should carry a particular attribute that is different from the behavior of the world and of the flesh.  We do not repay evil for evil or insult with insult, because there is no blessing in that.
Religion has the opinion that it is teaching and preaching hell and condemnation that changes people.  It thinks that the pretension of holiness and judgement upon those it deems less righteous will bring them to repentance.  Romans 2:1-4 refutes this by telling us, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?   If it is God’s kindness that leads men toward repentance then what do you think that you are doing by being the blessing of God in the earth?  You are leading men to repentance by exemplifying His love and kindness.  The fact that you are different and don’t act like others act and respond and retaliate like others do, speaks to something that you carry that is different from the rest of the world.  When you walk in joy and peace in situations where others are in fear, worry, terror and trepidation, it speaks to the blessing of the One who resides in you.
Consider how Peter exhorts wives of unbelieving husbands to obey so that they might be won to Christ.  He doesn’t exhort them to be judgmental, condemning, belittling, nagging or hen pecking them into the kingdom, but rather he shares this in 1 Peter 3:1-4.  “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.”  Peter share that it is not by the outward things that your husbands are converted, it is by  your Christ-like behavior.
That is what our being a blessing looks like, it is Christ-like behavior to one another and to the world at large.  It is doing good, speaking well, treating with respect someone that may not deserve it or treats us in the opposite manner.  Jesus was always a man of action, not reaction.  What He did, He did deliberately and with right intention.  He was constantly jeered, mocked and provoked, more times by the religious ones than those of the world.  He answered  in love, truth and wisdom, not in anger and emotion.
The reason we are a blessing 1 Peter 3:9 tells us, is because we are inheriting a blessing.  The more that we are a blessing the more we are planting seed into our inheritance.  Part of our inheritance is to come into the fullness of Christ (Colossians 2:10).  John 1:16 says, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.”  That very grace works in and through us to be the blessing of God in the earth.
As you walk through life, encountering people in varying circumstances, remember who you are and what you have been commissioned to do. Remember you are the importation of God’s blessing into the lives that surround and touch you.  Impart that blessing out of His divine nature that is working in you.  Even in the negative and hurtful situations, return good for evil and blessings for curses.  You were born for this, to be God’s blessing, His benefit, gift and present as you express the love of Christ through your daily life.

Blessings,
kent

White Collar

April 25, 2012

White Collar

James 2:1-9
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, [the Lord] of glory, with respect of persons.  For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;  And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?  Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

If we are truly honest with ourselves most of us would have to admit that we are respecters of persons in one regard or another.  There may be those who aren’t as smart or as accomplished as we are in areas.  They may not be as wealthy, as clean, as organized, as good of workers or live up to the standards we have for ourselves or the standards we consequently impose upon others.  We all have our measuring sticks that are most often formed by our prejudices, upbringing, circle of friends and personal opinions.  In the same way we look down on some, we elevate and look up to others who exceed our personal standard or accomplishments.  We often show our favoritism and respect more to the rich or accomplished who need it less than we do to the poor or less accomplished who may truly need it more.  If we truly search our hearts and attitudes most of us will find that we still have this white collar-blue collar mentality, richer-poorer, smarter-dumber, cooler-dorkier, more spiritual-less spiritual, fashionable-drab, any number of different areas in our lives where we make a class distinction.  Jesus didn’t make a very big impression with the white collar Pharisees when he hung around with the blue-collar sinners and publicans.  Jesus came to do away with these distinctions and make us realize that though He was God and the King of Kings, He laid it all down and became the servant of all.  He loved all the same and treated each one with dignity, love and respect.   Even for the least of men Jesus died and gave His life.  He was not a respecter of persons.  He didn’t give special favor to those who were rich or influential and He didn’t despise and reject those who were lowly, poor and undesirable.  Do we have these same values at work in our lives today?  I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of areas in my life that I fall short in this area.  There are too many areas that I am conditional with my love, my giving and my serving.
The Lord wants to speak to us today about repenting of these prejudices that we carry towards others either for or against.  We must see each one through the eyes and heart of the Father.  If God loved them enough to die for them, who am I to despise and judge them?  A quote was sent to me the other day that said something to the effect, “even God waits to till the end of a man’s life to judge him.”  Do we have the heart of a savior or a judge?  James says, if we are a respecter of persons, we sin.  Am I and are you willing to let the Christ in us, touch each person where they are at.  Are we willing humble ourselves to lift up and minister to the lowly and the unlovely?  The truth is, much of this takes us out of our comfort zone and puts our natural man in places it probably doesn’t want to be.  We are no longer living our lives for just us; we are the extension and expression of the life and love of God.  God is willing to go places we would rather not.  Will we go there with Him? Will we be His servants or are we too proud and too good?  Will we honor the rich, influential and powerful, who are often the ones who despise and ridicule you and your God while, in effect, we do the same thing to those that are lower down than we are on the pecking order of society?  God sees us all the same.  In the end we all face death and in death no one is above another.  What makes the difference is what we did in life.  Did we truly love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength?  Did we truly love our neighbor as ourselves?  The Lord showed us in the parables that our neighbor could be anyone we come into contact with in our lives.  If we don’t truly love God, how can we love our neighbor?  And if we don’t truly love our neighbor, how can we truly love God?  God’s love in us has to work both vertically and horizontally just like the cross of Jesus.  Maybe there are some areas we need to examine in our lives where we are those white-collar respecters of persons.  How deep does God’s love go in you and me?

Blessings,

kent


The Will and Do of His Good Pleasure


Philippians 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

You and I are a work in progress.  How many times would we just like to give up and say, “it is no use, I’ll never change?” The Lord is encouraging us to do one thing, look to Him.  It doesn’t matter what we see; it doesn’t matter what others say about us or to us.  It doesn’t matter that satan is the accuser of the brethren and is forever parading our faults and shortcomings before us.  God hasn’t called us to be the works of our own hands, “for it is God, which worketh in you both to will and to do His good pleasure!”  God not only wants too, but it is at work in your life in ways you don’t even see or know.  What is that saying, “a watched pot never boils?”  When we are looking at our lives we don’t often see that many obvious changes, but the Lord is working in us over the course of a lifetime.  The more we are willing to submit these vessels to the will and do of His good pleasure the faster that work can be accomplished.  The Lord is always steadfast and faithful; the problem is we aren’t.  We so often want to take these little rabbit trails that depart from His perfect will for us and get off doing our own thing rather than His.  Yet He is faithful even in that to work in us and use the errors of our ways to correct us, teach us and instruct us in righteousness.  So many times we are like our children, we can’t just take God’s Word about what is best for us, we have to do it our way and then endure the consequences of our stubbornness and disobedience.
God never loves us less or desires less for us.  He has His perfect plan for our lives.  Our greatest joy is to find the center of His will for us.  When we are abiding in that place and find the center of His good pleasure we are fulfilled and content as well.  It is like when we realize that it is in blessing others that we are blessed and that there is no greater joy than bringing joy and blessing to others.  We can never be as content doing our own pleasure as we can be in fulfilling God’s good pleasure for us.  This is true success in life.  It doesn’t even matter what the outward surroundings are, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content (Philippians 4:11).”  1 Timothy 6:8 says, “Having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”  It isn’t in the abundance of the things we posses that we ever find our contentment that is only found in the center of God’s will.  We have a concept in our Christian culture today that if we aren’t wealthy and prosperous we aren’t living the “blessed life.”  How many of the apostles and prophets do you see in God’s Word living the “good life” by the world’s standards?  If you are and that’s where God has you, that is great.  There is nothing wrong with being blessed materially in this life, but that isn’t the essence and meaning of our lives.   That essence and meaning for our lives is only found in the center of God’s will.  That is where we find true riches.  It may be in some stench filled hovel in India or in the kitchen of your home raising these crazy little kids.  If you are in the will and do of God’s good pleasure then you are experiencing the riches of heaven.
Even if you are in that place of discouragement where you are looking at your life as just a failure and waste then you are discounting and denying God’s great love and purpose for you.  Sometimes we have to get off of our pity pots of self-doubt and failure and get our eyes on the Lord and not on ourselves.  We all are cracked pots with weaknesses and failures, but we serve a mighty and perfect God that loves us never the less in spite of those weaknesses and failures.  Let it always be in our prayers that God will work “the will and do of His good pleasure in us” to the end that we might, in return, bring Him pleasure and blessing.
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)”

Blessings,
kent

Fallen is Babylon

April 23, 2012

Revelations 14:8
A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”

Fallen is Babylon


Through the ages we have seen both a real church of God and pseudo church who worshiped God outwardly in form and in name, but the true Spirit and nature of God was not found in them.  In the world they represented the church and truth of God and yet through inquisitions and martyrdom they persecuted and killed those who possessed the reality of Christ and refused to be conformed to her ways and doctrines.  The great Babylon has been the source of tremendous influence in the world and yet she has been in bed with the world in so many of her ways and dealings.  Ironically enough it has often been the real that has been hidden in the midst of this great harlot Babylon.  She is the epitome of man’s religion and devices.  Her leaders have taken the holy vessel of God’s true temple and defiled them in their drunkenness and debauchery.  The world sees her hypocrisy, but even they don’t see the depth of her sin and defilement of Spirit.  Even so, in her midst true saints of God and the Bride has been hidden, but their effectiveness and light has often been hidden and obscured by the corruption and watered down religion of that which surrounds them.  This results from a system of men that uses God for their own gain and power.  They have built great edifices and monuments more to their own glory than to Father God.  As they come into the fullness of their corruption they will try to bring their masses into the mindset of this world system.  They will use condemnation and coercion to do what would not bear witness with the true Spirit of Christ.  What she does not yet know is that her time is short and her days are numbered.  Her spirit is that same one as the religious leaders that crucified our Lord.
We hear this word coming out of God’s word repeatedly as expressed in Revelations 18:4 to the saints of God to come out of her, because here in Revelations 18 it tells us of her demise and ultimate destruction. “After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. 3For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” 4Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
“Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; 5for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. 6Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup. 7Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.’ 8Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:
death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”
God is calling us saints of God to true religion and undefiled.  He is calling us out of man’s version of religion and into the truth of Spirit and His life.  In that place we find no longer just outward expressions, words and acts of religion, God is bringing us into that place of intimacy and relationship where we can intimately know Him, not just in head knowledge, but in Spirit and in Truth.  It is a place where we can finally experience the reality of His presence and fellowship in our personal lives.  Our relationship is no longer dependent upon what we do for God or how good we can be.  We come into the place of knowing Christ who is the finished work of our salvation and who is able to complete the good work He has began in you and I.
This is the hour to leave the old wineskin of dead religion and move into the reality of His true Church, which is alive and pregnant with the Spirit of God.  God loves His own and so He is calling His own unto Himself.  He is calling us out of dead religion, old paradigms and ways of thinking and out of our traditions.  Jesus told the religious leaders in Mark 7:13, “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
Press in for yourself and find the reality of Christ for your life.  He is bringing you into a place of freedom.  Your religion may condemn you, but then little does it know it stands condemned and under the judgement of God.  He is calling you to be part of the true Church that He is raising up to the glory and praise of His name.  A church that will be mighty and will go forth doing exploits, signs and wonders.  He is setting you free and He is calling you out!

Blessings,
kent

Revelations 6:1
I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

It’s Time to Come Up Higher

Sometimes when we are called up to the next level of our walk in God it presents before us a great chasms that our mind of reality can’t grasp how we can span and cross over.  We know that once we make that leap, that if we survive, there is no way back to what we knew before.  Comfort and security are basic instincts that our natural man holds fast too.  Why rock the boat if there are no waves?  The problem with safety and security is that they lulls us into complacency.  In complacency we become lethargic, lazy and unmotivated.  Our safety and security can become to us a greater death trap than our leaping out in faith and risk.  In our safe and secure place, our dependency and trust shifts from God to ourselves.
God speaking through Moses warns His people about this snare in Deuteronomy 8:10-14, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.  Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.  Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”   This is pretty much the state we find ourselves in today.  As a country we have forgotten all that God has done for us, but as His people we have grown fat in the comfortable pastures of Christianity that feeds us weekly and has dumbed us down in our own personal responsibility and activity with the Lord.  We become content to follow the programs and doctrines of men, accepting it naively as God’s will and provision for our lives.  This is exactly the condition we need to be in for satan to come in and rob the inheritance, burn the fields and plunder the camps.
People of God the day for playing church is over.  It is a day to arise out of our security and complacency and realize that we have been made fat for the slaughter.  For us to remain where we are is death.  God is calling us back into the ranks of fighting spiritual warriors.  He is taking us back through the boot camp where we are stretched out of our comfort and complacency into the painful agony of bringing every inactive spiritual muscle back into shape.  This is not a pleasant place for our natural man to be, but it is what God is calling us to if we want to live in His life and take back what the enemy has taken from us.
Father is stirring our hearts, He is laying the ax to the root of our old denominations, creeds and traditions.  These things have made the Word of God of none affect.  The world at large is starting to shake, rattle and roll, but it is best that it starts in the house of God so that we, His people might prepare and sanctify our hearts, shedding the old wineskins of religion and embracing the coming of God’s kingdom.  Father wants to shed His spiritual light into our hearts and illuminate present day truth that take us to the next level in our walk with Him.  That next level may be rather scary because it is not a familiar way, it is drawing us out of our comfort zone and it no longer provides for us the leeks and onions we were used to when we were in Egypt.  Like the wilderness, God is leading us again on a journey of faith, where He alone is our provision and provider.  If you only look to your natural circumstances you will become a grumbler and complainer.  We know they didn’t fair well with the Lord’s favor.  His favor is upon the righteous who live by faith, who count God faithful even when there is no substance of reality visible to sustain such a belief.  We walk by faith, not by sight.  We count those things that are not as though they were.  We are coming to a place where we will declare a creative word into our circumstance and like it was through Moses, provision will be made.
It is time for all of us, as the body of Christ, to come up higher; to take the risk and leap of faith.  How long will we waiver between two opinions?  If God is God then let us go where He goes and do what He show us to do.  Being willing to allow the old things, the former ways and the past life to be left behind.  It will not serve us well where we are going.  It will only encumber and weigh us down.  Remember Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Stir up your spirit and ready yourself for the journey to the next level in Him.

Blessings,
kent

Psalms 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

How Do I Wait Upon the Lord?


After  our article on being silent and listening to God, one of our readers wrote and ask the following question.
“Since you wrote about being silent, how do I do that? I know it may sound simple, but I honestly have no clue how to wait in front of the Lord. Could you give me any insight?”
I humbly acknowledge that there are many who could answer this far better and with more experience than I might, but with God’s help let’s explore it, because it may well be the question on a lot of people’s heart who want to know God more intimately and personally in their relationship.
It should be noted that all of us have our own unique relationships and ways we encounter and hear from Father.  So there is no box or one size fits all.  We are all unique and God speaks and deals uniquely with each one of us.
Sharon, my wife was studying the other day about what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth.  When she looked up the word worship she found its definition being, “to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence, much like a dog licks its master’s hand in affection. In the New Testament, by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication.”  Worship begins with how we posture ourselves towards the Lord.  Not to be legalistic, but how we physically posture, kneel or prostrate ourselves is an outward expression of the inward act that we are doing in our heart and spirit.
We may begin our worship with thanksgiving and praise.  Psalms 100:4 tells us, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”  When Jesus gives us the model of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6, He begins it with “Our Father”.  This is where we begin in our praise, prayer, thanksgiving and worship.  Let’s come into the fullest acknowledgement of “Our Father”  because that is what takes our mindset and focus from earth to heaven.  When we start acknowledging and worshipping Father for all that He is in general and then all that He is to us personally it should bring us into such a place of humility, reverence and awe of the mighty God who has loved and saved us; who least deserved the abundance of His goodness and grace.  All of these elements are positioning our heart to be tuned into Father.  Before it is ever about us, it should be all about Him.  This can be such a rich place, because there is no higher place than at the feet of Jesus, in that place of worship.
This a time best planned when there are no other distractions and demands.  This is “Daddy time”, the most important time of the day or night.  Even though God is so great and awesome beyond words or comprehension, you are His child and He delights to have you jump up on His lap; to love and hug on Him.  There He just wraps you in the security and safety of His loving arms.  That’s a good place to ask Father, “Father what do specifically want to say to me today?  What do you want to teach me?  How do you want to instruct me?”
This year I bought Sharon and I a journal so that as we are in this place or the Lord is speaking into our spirits we can write it down.  I found that even as I write my questions to Him and listen in my spirit, I often hear Him answering.  Then I write that which He is dropping into my spirit.  Sometimes  your day, or future circumstances or encounters may contain the answers to the questions that you are asking.  God can never be contained or limited in the ways that He can express Himself to us.  Some of us hear words, some see pictures, some have visions, some will hear through another, something they read in the Word, book  or some other means of confirmation or communication.  God is unlimited in how He communicates with us.
The most important thing to do is to give Him that space.  Often as we read and meditate upon the Word, the Spirit can be talking and teaching us. The more we read, study and know the Word the more He can tie different passages and truths together to speak a common thread of revelation and understanding.
Even if you don’t feel that you are hearing from God, listen to a few of the things He has to say about those who wait upon Him.  Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  Psalms 37:9 says, “For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.”  Psalms 123:2 again encourages us, “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait on the LORD our God, until that he have mercy on us.”  Finally Habakkuk 2:1 says, “I will stand on my watch, and set me on the tower, and will watch to see what he will say to me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.”  Let us be persistent, unrelenting in our pursuit of Him.  Even His bride had to pursue Him.  In Song of Solomon 3:1-4 the bride speaks,
“All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him.
I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
So I looked for him but did not find him.
The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city.
“Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
to the room of the one who conceived me.”
Hearing and knowing the Lord is a relationship that we grow into as we become more intimate with our time and pursuit of Him.  The Lord must become so much more than a chore, a duty or responsibility, He wants to become to us life and breath itself, till all that we are is invested into Him.  Just as lovers are united and invested in one another and everything else pales in comparison to that love, so the Lord wants us to be in that love relationship with Him and Him with us.  There we will find the quietness of His presence, the richness of His fellowship and the leading of His voice.

Blessings,
kent

Silence Before Me

April 18, 2012


Silence Before Me


Isaiah 41:1
Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew [their] strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.

One of the most difficult areas for us to come into relationship with our God is in the area of silence.  It is hard for us to be still and wait.  We are used to activity and chatter.  Most of our ideas of worship are involved in going somewhere, listening to somebody, reading someone’s book, watching Christian programming or coming to God in prayer while we do all of the talking.  We rarely take time to just listen and meditate.  We’re like the cat on the hot tin roof.  We don’t know how to be still.  We are so used to high gear and rushing through life with all of it flurry of activity and demands that we never take the time to get silent before the Lord.  We need to pencil that into our appointment books, for it is essential to our really hearing what the Lord has to say to us.  In your prayer time, have a pencil and paper.  Listen and write down what He speaks into your heart.
Habakkuk 2:20 tells us, “But the LORD [is] in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.”  We have become so busy in an idolatrous world, where our confidence is in those things which cannot speak and have no breath that we don’t take time to listen to Him that does.  Today the Lord is speaking to us to begin to take the time to be silent before Him.  Meditate on His Word.  Ponder His majestic glory and wondrous ways.   Who can say what the Lord wants to speak into your life and how will you know if you don’t take the time to be silent before Him.  Rise up and enjoy the sunrise with Him, take a walk with Jesus, spend some time in the swing watching His sunset and enjoying the stillness of an evening.  Get alone with the Lord, be silent and listen.  The Holy Spirit has much to say, much to teach you and can only begin to reveal insight into your life if you are silent before Him.  Psalms 4:4 encourages us, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.”  Psalms 46:10 commands us, “Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”  When God truly does speak then we can be assured that all of the world will stop to listen.  Right now He is speaking in a still, small voice.  That is where we want to learn to hear Him, not in the thunder of judgment, but in the house of prayer.  We are His sons, His workmanship, created for His glory.  Doesn’t He desire to speak into us that which concerns Him and that which concerns our lives in Him?  Be still, listen and be silent before Him.

Blessings,
kent

Reconciliation of Offense

April 17, 2012

Matthew 5:23-24
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Reconciliation of Offense


This is an interesting verse, because unlike the one compels us to forgive the trespasses of others as our Father has forgiven ours; Jesus addresses this to the perceived offender.  This means it is not just up to the offended to get over it and forgive it; it is up to the offender, if they know someone has something against them, to go and make it right, before you offer your gift to God.  It becomes pretty evident that it is important for us the to have our horizontal relationships right before we approach our heavenly one, whether we are the offended or the offender.
One of the biggest hindrances to that is our pride.  We don’t want to admit or acknowledge that we have done something wrong.  Maybe we don’t even know what we have done that offended a person. I believe we could be a hundred percent in the right, but if someone has been offended by us then we want to implement the reconciling tool of humility, not pride.  God is not as interested in our justification of the right and wrong of it, as He is in our doing all that is within our power to restore relationship.  When we offend another that can become a stumbling block to them as well.  One of the basic strategies of the enemy is to cause discord, strife and division.  The more we walk in love toward each other the less we will offend, the less we will take up an offense and the more the enemies strategies will be averted.
Father wants us to keep short accounts.  Romans 12:18 exhorts us, ” If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  James 3:18 give us this promise, “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.  Colossians 3:15 tells us this about our demeanor as believers, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Finally, Paul concludes his second letter to the Corinthians, in 2 Corinthians 13:11 with these words, “Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”  One of the keys to right standing with God is the pursuit of right standing and relationship with others.
Have we offended, hurt or wounded someone?  We may feel it is just their perception, but what is God’s perception?  Isn’t it that we do all that we can to make it right and restore that relationship?

Blessings,
kent

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