Romans 6:1-6
Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.
4So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Intimacy that Produces Life

In our former marriage we were under the law.  Under the law we struggled to maintain the written codes and the letter of the law.  Yet we were so often unfaithful as temptation used the Law to entice the weakness of our flesh.  We are always enticed to do what we are forbidden to do.  Because our passions ruled us and the law condemned us the fruit of this relationship was death, because it produced sin, which leads to death.
When we came to Christ we died to the law.  That means that the former husband that we were obligated too died to us.  We were set free from the covenant of the law to enter into the covenant of grace.  The Law could be seen as an arranged marriage.  One we were subjected to and obligated to without choice.  Such is not the case with our marriage unto Christ.  It is a marriage by choice and by choice we give our hearts to Him.  This marriage involves an intimacy that few really knew under the law.  It is not a harsh and critical taskmaster as we viewed the law, but a person that we know to be loving, compassionate and full of grace and mercy.  It is not that we go in a different direction than the law was taking us, for the law was righteousness, but it was weak through the sinfulness of our flesh.  This same righteousness is present in our relationship with the Lord Jesus, but now He has become the object of our love and our desire is no longer for sin, but for deeper intimacy with Him.  When we find that place of intimacy, we find the joy and the love of His presence.  He lifts us up, edifies us and ministers to the deepest needs and longings of our heart.  In that place of intimacy the seed of His life is made one in us, so that the fruit of our lives is producing what He is.  His grace has released us from the power of sin, but sin is no longer the object of our desire, He is.  When you truly love someone with all of your heart isn’t it your desire to please them, to give to them in all the ways that you can? Our bodies become instruments of righteousness, because He is that righteousness within us.  We have entered into a covenant that is both life giving and life changing.  As it changes our life it will in turn change the lives of those around us, because the fruit our lips and actions should speak forth the life of who He is.  Through the transformation in us others are drawn to His light and truth.  Intimacy is all about what pleases and meets the needs of your partner.  When we are the object of one another’s desire both parties are not taking but giving themselves to one another in all of the ways the are pleasing, edifying, fulfilling and life giving.  We can never out-give Jesus.  We can never love Him more or give more of ourselves to Him than He has and will continue to give to us.  When Christ truly becomes our husband, sin and the passions of the flesh are no longer our desire, but He is.  The way to come away from sin is to become deeply intimate with your Lord.  When we find the true joy of His presence and love, there is nothing on earth more precious and rewarding.

Blessings,
kent

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Restoration

May 30, 2012

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

Restoration


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

Blessings,
kent

Acts 6:1-7
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
5This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

The Equipping of the Body

We have had a typical paradigm of the church that seems to be modeled in most denominations and services.  It is not that it is a bad thing, but I believe God is wanting to bring something fresh and new to energize His “ekklēsia”, what we have called the church.  Which is simply an assembly of “called out ones” to be the legislative and governmental body of Christ.  This assembly is currently most often administering two primary functions in its gatherings.  Acknowledging and worshipping God and the dispensation or oration of the Word of God through a pastor or clergy title.  Through this model the general assembly participates in worship and singing and then sits through the dispensation of the Word.  What seems to be lacking is the activation of the body at large.  If we are an assembly of the government of God then that government needs training and expression beyond the walls of a building.
I believe what God was showing me when He dropped Acts 6 in my heart today is another piece of what needs to be happening within and beyond the Ekklesia.  The catalyst for this new dimension in the early church was the complaining of how there was an inequality in how the food was being distributed to the widows.  The twelve apostles saw that their function and station wasn’t to handle all of the practical affairs of the ekklesia, because they were called to establish the church through giving themselves to the Word.  They did what Moses finally did.  They delegated responsibility to others.  They put it in the people’s hands to choose out from among them seven men full of the Spirit and wisdom.  This pleased the whole group.  One of the reason it might have pleased them is not just for the widow’s sake, but now spiritual responsibility was delegated to the body to express who they were in Christ.  The apostles approved these men through prayer and the laying on of hands and they were released into their commission and now someone besides just the apostles are released into ministry and expression of their purpose in the kingdom of God.
What was the result?
“So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”  Notice it doesn’t say believers increased rapidly, but disciples increased.  Disciples are those who don’t just hear and believe, but hear, believe and do the will of God.  When the body was activated initially through these seven men, it was an empowerment of the Ekklesia to carry out the government and dispensation of the kingdom of God.
Could it be that God is wanting to greater activate His whole body and what they need is men, in addition to the clergy, full of the Spirit and wisdom that can, in turn, help various aspects of the body develop and become the expression of who God has called them to be.
Yes, we need the word of God taught and shared, but to complete that we need the Ekklesia activated in the knowledge of the Word and revelation that they are receiving.  These are not waters to be stored in our own cisterns and holding tanks, it is a word to be shared through lives that are living it and dispensing that living water into the lives of others, making disciples of all men.  The body may truly be in need of men and women that are able to work more personally with the people to help them and develop them into what a true disciple looks and acts like.  The apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelist and teachers can’t do all of that, but they do need to be equipping those who can.
I believe the Lord is through with the days of “One men shows”.  He is wanting to equip and empower the entire Ekklesia to administrate His kingdom in the earth.  We need to get out of our old paradigms and begin to understand what that looks like for all of us in the body of Christ.  Perhaps it may be most difficult for the leadership that has been raised and steeped in these traditions.  We have to get a revelation that it is going to take that whole body to accomplish God’s kingdom in the earth, not just a select few.  It is more like God has anointed the select few for what Ephesians 4:11-13 says they are to do: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” There function is not to try and do all of the works of service, but they are the equippers, the coaches, if you will, that help the rest of the body to come into who they are in the functionality and purpose of God’s kingdom.  There needs to be an equipping, commissioning and releasing of more of these leaders that are full of the Spirit and wisdom to further speak into and help equip the body in a more personal way than we have seen thus far.  Through a ladder of leadership at all levels we all help bring the ones, less mature than ourselves up to where we are, as those more mature than us, help us to progress to greater level and thus the body is growing into maturity through the functionality of the whole body.

Blessings,
kent

Stand and Speak

May 25, 2012

Acts 5:20
Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

Stand and Speak


As the angel of God spoke these words to Peter, does not the Spirit of the Lord speak this command to us today?  Wherever your temple or the platform God may provide for us is, let us speak forth the words of this Life.  We know that this Life is Christ and His word does not return unto Him void, but is able to accomplish that for which it was sent.  First, it has to be spoken.  Even as Jesus was the mouthpiece of God the Father, so we are His mouthpiece to speak the words of this Life to those in our place and in our world.
Let the richness of God’s word indwell you, but don’t be a sealed well or a fountain shut up.  Go stand and speak in the temple to the people all of the words of this life.  As we set our eyes upon Jesus, our faith and trust resting in Him, He will be the expression of Life through us to draw men to Him.   Let the words that you speak today be saturated with the honey of God’s love and His word.  Be a source of encouragement and blessing to the other brothers and sisters that are among you.  Let us be bold to be His witness and proclaim His Good News in word and in deed.

Blessings,
kent

Pursue and Destroy

May 24, 2012

Psalms 18:37-42
I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.
39You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.
40You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.
41They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—to the Lord, but he did not answer.
42I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind; I poured them out like mud in the streets.

Pursue and Destroy


This is the word that I heard this morning and as I  looked it up I came to this passage in Psalm 18.  Like David, most of our lives we may have felt the enemy was always pursuing us, trying to capture and destroy us.  Always coming to kill, steal and destroy, for such is his nature.
The Lord will allow us to be the receipients of the smith’s hand and hammer for only so long.  He will allow Him to afflict in order to shape and mold us in our faith, patience, hope and steadfastness.  Even as Jesus, though He were a Son, learned obedience through the things that he suffered, so we are perfected in our sufferings.  Romans 8 also tells us that if so be that we suffer with Him we shall also be glorified with Him.  There is a day when the pursuer will become the pursued and just as Jesus led captivity captive, so in Him we will become the destroyers of our enemies.

“Today I speak and say, “Your enemies will become as dust beneath your feet.  I will rise up mightily within you and I will show Myself strong on your behalf.  You will no longer be the afflicted, but the pursuers of the unrighteous and the destroyers of the wicked.  Your enemies will become filled with fear as they see My might behind you and they will flee in many directions.
Know this, that I train up my own, not to destroy them, but to make them mighty for battle.  You are My spiritual warriors and I am your Captain that leads you into battle.  Under My banner you shall not fail nor be overcome.  I am strong in you and one of you can put a thousand to flight.
Shrink no longer from your enemy, but face him with the boldness and fierceness of the Son of God.  The enemy was created to be your footstool and to be trampled beneath your feet.  You have all authority and I am the empowerment of that authority.  As you move by My Spirit you shall conquer and destroy and none shall stand against you.  If  you are given over to the enemy it is ultimately for their destruction and not yours.  Even in death, you hold the victory of life and even if they are allowed to touch your body, they can not touch your soul.
Satan thought that He was destroying the Son of man, but in His death, satan was undone and he only destroyed himself.  Through you will be the fulfillment of that destruction and the gates of hell can not prevail against you.
Be bold as lions.  Know and exercise your authority from whom you are in Me.  My sons will light up the darkness and it will flee before them.  Darkness can not overtake light, but light will always dispell darkness.  You are the light in the world, for you carry the treasure of the Son within you.  Take up your torches, pursue and destroy all of the dark places, for I the Lord go before you.”

Blessings,
kent

Come with Me

May 23, 2012

Song of Solomon 2:10-13
My lover spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.
11 See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.”

Come with Me


Even as in the natural the winter is passing and spring is coming the life and glory of God is springing forth within its people.  It is a time for dead things to be pruned away so that the life of Christ within us might flourish and bring forth in fruitfulness.
The Lover of our souls is whispering in our spirits, “Come with me.”  He is stirring within us a renewed love and passion of Him.  He is calling us up unto Him and into His presence.  His voice is tender and sweet, but still a whisper.  If we have the volume turned up to loud in our outward lives we could easily miss hearing Him.  He is speaking to those whose hearts are tender and who are pursuing Him.  Many will miss it and continue on with life as usual, but He is whispering to those who are listening and to those that can hear He speaks, “Come with Me.”
This is a beautiful time of fruitfulness in the Lord if we are walking with Him and if we are discerning His voice.  The Lord is ushering in His kingdom through a kingdom people, many of which are hidden and unknown to the world or even Christianity at large.  They are the precious ones that He has hidden unto Himself.  Those that He has been training up and revealing Himself too.
Our Lover speaks in verse 14 and says, “My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”  In this hour the Lover of our souls is calling forth His dove, His spirit-filled ones who have been hidden.  It is the hour when they will show their face and be revealed to the world.  Their voice is sweet with the truths that the Holy Spirit has revealed and planted in them and their countenance is lovely with the glory and presence of the Lord.
In verse 15 the Lord speaks to us what we must do.  “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”  It is those little things that you must deal with.  It is the little tormentors that spoil our fruitfulness that keeps us focused upon the outward and concerned about the natural.  It is those little foxes that push our buttons and causes us to respond out of the flesh rather than walking in the Spirit. It is those little foxes that are like the weight and sins that so easily beset us and hinder us in our high calling in Christ Jesus.  We have to catch those little foxes so that they can be laid aside to no longer rob and hinder our fruitfulness in righteousness.  Hebrews 12:1-2 exhorts us, “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.”  What is it that hinders us from coming with Him if it is not the entanglement and encumbrances of this world?  We must rid ourselves of the little foxes.
Are we listening and can we hear?  It is springtime and the Lord is stirring up and bringing forth new life.  Listen to what He is speaking into your spirit.  Listen as He calls you forth unto Him.  He is pruning the dead things and the foxes that spoil our vine so that the things that pertain to life and godliness might flourish and be fruitful.  Let him who has ears hear, even as the disciples heard the call of the Lord when He said leave what you are doing and come with me.  Very few really hear and even fewer are willing to let go of their life and respond to His.  Those that can hear and have their ear tuned to the Spirit, He is speaking, “Come with Me.”  He is calling unto Himself His kingdom people.

Blessings,
kent

Your Priestly Calling

May 22, 2012

1 Peter 2:4-5
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.

Your Priestly Calling


In today’s culture we often relate priest or priesthood to Catholicism or some of the denominations that still use this title to distinguish their spiritual leaders, bishop or pastor.  What Peter is revealing to us as true believers here is that each of us, in Christ, have a calling and an appointing from God to be His spiritual house of holy priests.  Many of us may have never thought of ourselves in the light of being a priest, but in Christ, that is who you are.
The Word speaks about two priesthood orders that are God has established.  The first one and one we are probably most familiar with is the Levitical priesthood instituted during Moses’ time.  The second is the Melchizedek order spoken of first during Abraham’s time when Abraham paid to tithes to this priest-king of Salem who had no genealogy, no beginning or end.  In light of this let’s look at the priestly calling upon Jesus in Hebrews 5.  “Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.
4No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. 5So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
6And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
Now Jesus is declared by the Father to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.  In reality Jesus was also the fulfillment of the Levitcal priesthood as well which the type and shadow or the figure of what was to come.  The Levitial priesthood typified the spiritual role that we have as priests, but no longer after the Levitical order, but after the order of Melchizedek, an everlasting priesthood.
What does that look like for us as the spiritual priests of God under the high priest and king, Jesus?  This could become quite extensive, but I believe God wants to really introduce many of us to the concept that we are His priests.  For instance, Thayer’s Lexicon gives these qualifications for priests:  Implies divine choice, implies representation, implies offering sacrifice, implies intercession.
We have seen that clearly God has chosen us as His royal priesthood from our introductory scripture and Peter goes on to expound this in 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But 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.”  Revelation 5:6 also declares, “He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”
Now that we know who we are it is important that we realize that this constitutes that we God’s representatives on the earth.  We carry and represent His holiness.  We host His holy presence in our mortal beings.  This is that representation that is another aspect of the qualification of a priest.
A priest is an agent that reconciles God and man.  In 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Paul tells us, ” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  A priest is an ambassador that brings two opposing parties together.  We take man’s hand in our one hand and God’s hand in our other and we join the two together.  That is our reconciling priestly ministry.
This office implies sacrifice.  We no longer offer the blood of bulls and goats, because Jesus is now that fulfillment of sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.  Even as Jesus gave himself, we commit as Romans 12 says to ‘offer ourselves a living a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God which is our reasonable service’.   We are as Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
We are the priestly agents of His service.  So lastly I will touch on the final qualification that Thayer gave for a priest.  It was intercession.  As priest we stand in the gap for others just as the example our high priest and king sets for us in Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”  Because we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and the prayers of a righteous man availeth much we enter into intercession for others as a part of that priestly office and anointing that we carry.
Only the priests were able to wear the garments of beauty and glory that were typified by their office.  They minister before the Most High and carried that ministry out to the people.  In Christ, as His priest, we make up that bridge that joins heaven and earth and we bring the kingdom of heaven into the earth.  Never take for granted the great and holy calling that you have and carry  upon your life.  You are His priests.

Blessings,
kent

False Labor

May 21, 2012

Isaiah 26:16-18
Lord, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them,
they could barely whisper a prayer.  As a woman with child and about to give birth
writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, O Lord.
We were with child, we writhed in pain, but we gave birth to wind.
We have not brought salvation to the earth; we have not given birth to people of the world.

False Labor


It you have ever been pregnant there may have been a time or times near toward the end of your term when you had what they call Braxton Hicks contractions or false labor.  It certainly felt like the real thing with the pains and the contractions.  In this hour we so long to bring forth the man-child, the fullness of that Christ-within.  We have been pressing in, laboring, travailing to bring forth. Our desire and expectation is so great.  We so long and yearn for the fullness of our inheritance.
What I have been hearing the Spirit showing me this morning is that when the time comes it won’t be because of our labor.  It will be because it is the fullness of time and then nothing can prevent it.  Just as a baby has a natural time for its delivery, so the spiritual man-child has its God ordained day of birthing.  It doesn’t mean we haven’t experienced the legitimate pains of birth.  It doesn’t mean that the day is not coming, but it is all in Father’s time and not ours.
Some may be asking what birth are you talking about?  Romans 8:18-24 gives us insight into the birth that we long for.  “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
For now, we patiently wait in hope, but with continued expectancy and faith as we are being accelerated into this later period of pregnancy.  Just know that there are times of false labor and that our efforts can not produce the real thing, but when it is time, nothing can stop it.
I’m sure this isn’t a popular word and one that I am reluctant to speak, for I, as well, long to see the full adoption as sons and the full redemption of our bodies.
The Lord says, “continue to nurture the child, prepare for the birth and anticipate with gladness its arrival, but know that false labors will not produce it, lest you be disappointed when you don’t see your desire and lose hope.  “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  These current labor pains are the preparation of that which is to come.

Blessings,
kent

Change

May 18, 2012

Mark 6:12
And they went out, preaching the need for a change of heart in men.

Change


When you think about it a great deal of life is about change.  One thing that is certain in life is that nothing will stay the same.  While that is true in this realm.  It is not true of God.  Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.”  There is no need to change that which is already perfect.  Our God, who does not change or waiver in His ways and character gives us the stability and confidence to know that God is who He says He is a and will do what He says He will do.  His ways are right, good and perfect.  It is in this character, exemplified through the life of the Lord Jesus that we desire to be changed.  As believers the goal of our change is to transformed into the likeness, image and character of Christ.  We have come to realize through the Word and through personal experience that the ability to make this change or transformation does not rely solely in our ability to do so.  Thus we were given the Holy Spirit to indwell us, teach us, correct us and empower us to walk in the direction of change and transformation that is bringing us more and more into the likeness and image of Christ as we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.
Now, it should go without saying, that not all change is good.  We can change for the worse as well as the better and we can be as Paul describes in Ephesians 4:14, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”
Our change began with a heart of repentance, when we came to knowledge that our ways were wicked and out of alignment with the will and purpose of God.  We came to understand that the “wages of sin is death”  and the only way to change that is by our repentance from our former life of sin and acknowledgement by faith that Jesus paid the price to redeem us out of that sentence of death and judgement.  We came to understand that by aligning ourselves with Him and the Word of God we could begin to affect change in our life that would bring us more and more into His image and likeness; aligning us with His purpose and design for our lives.  We changed our thinking.  We changed the law and the principles that we live under from the law of sin and death to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
One of the hardest things for us as humans is to change our old habits and ways.  We so often operate out of that definition of insanity that says, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”  We get in these ruts in our lives that are hard for us to break out of.  One preacher said, “A rut is like a grave with both ends knocked out.”  It keeps you in a place of inability to change out of  your circumstance.  These ruts or graves, so to speak, are the areas we all contend with and struggle to break free from.  What holds us there are mind sets and dynamics that we may not even fully comprehend or understand.  We may need to go back and seek to discover what it is that inhibits us from moving out of this place.  Sometimes it is a poverty spirit or a spirit passed down from previous generations or any area the needs to be recognized, renounced, repented of and deliverance appropriated through the power and the blood of Christ.  Then we need to begin walking in these right changes by recognizing any time that old mind set wants to manifest that it is no longer a part of us and no longer has power over us.  We are free in Christ, we count it as dead and walk in the other direction from how it formerly influenced us.  It goes beyond just our thoughts and regrets to positive action that appropriates that power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and the authority we have in Christ that we have been given over every spirit and stronghold that is not of God.  We begin to walk out of these ruts, graves and bondage, affecting change by our actions, choices, confessions, faith and appropriation of who we are in Christ, because of who He is in us.
Paul says this in Philippians 3:12-14 and 20-21, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  ” But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”  As we fix our eyes upon our Lord and Savior we walk each day out in the transforming power of His Spirit within us and we know that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” and is able to change us into His glorious likeness.

Blessings,
kent

2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Living Out of the Unseen

Natural eyes, physical sounds, human reasoning, life circumstances, what others tell us, five senses, human conditions, perceptions, surroundings and our understanding all feed into what we perceive as real.  In the moment and with all that processes through our being, that may be what seems real and factual.  As believers, the word teaches us that there is a realm beyond just human natural perception.  This realm is not ruled and governed by the same principles that govern our earthly realm.  This realm is not dictated by earthly facts or circumstances.  This is a realm that God wants us to more and more operate out of, because it is the realm of the kingdom of God and its principles are truth.  Its government and dictates are spelled out in the Word of God.  It supercedes that which is natural, for what we currently perceive and understand as reality is passing away.  It is temporal, but that which now unseen will take its place for it is the eternal.
Currently, we see in part the invisible realm invading the natural realm, but until it has ran its course in fullness of Father’s time, we will not experience the fullness of the currently unseen realm made manifest.  1 Corinthians 15:50 tells us, “I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”  In this present corruptible world we can not inherit the fullness of that kingdom which is incorruptible until death is swallowed up with life.  This is currently taking place in measure even now as Christ comes forth in us and we live out of His life.  His life is swallowing up the death in us.
Before the apostle Paul says this he gives us understanding of the state that we have been in and that which we are moving into.  “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.”  Now while we may see Jesus as the last and only Adam to presently demonstrate the fullness and likeness of the man of heaven, the Word of God and the message of Christ reorients the mind of the believer to not just be operating out of this earthly realm.  Ephesians 2:6 says, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”  Colossians 3:1-4 declares, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
In light of these scriptures we can see how our spiritual position has changed as we have died to the old Adam and are raised up in the last Adam.  In that spiritual identification we see that God has positioned us in heavenly places and in that unseen realm that is eternal.  From that position, what does He tell us to do?  ” Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  While our physical perspective and position  hasn’t changed, our spiritual position has.  Now you tell me, which one does God want us to live out of?
Romans 8:5-11 teaches us this, “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.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
You, 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. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And 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.”  You can see where we run into conflict; we find ourselves in two different states,  but in Christ we have made a declaration and a statement of faith to disenfranchise and disown our former natural man even while we still abide in this earthen vessel and have put on Christ and identification with His eternal life.  That is the position we are operate our physical lives out of.  Even though we don’t see the fullness of that yet manifest we are as Romans 8:22-25 states, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
In that patient hope we aren’t focused on the temporal, corruptible and that which is passing away, but we are embracing the eternal as we declare and decree by faith the Word of God and its promises.  It is out of these kingdom principles we now live, move and have our being as we walk by the Spirit and live no longer according to the dictates of the flesh.  We are a new creation being made conformable in the likeness of Him who has translated us from darkness into His marvelous light, from death into His incorruptible life.

Blessings,
kent

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