Psalms 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from?
2My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;
4indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;
8the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Word of the Lord– Run into Me


From the foundation of the world I have known you.  I have created you to be mine.   I have formed you in your mother’s womb and fashioned you in the secret parts.  You are My delight and creation.  You are not an accident or a happenstance.  I brought you forth for such a time as this that My love and My Son might be expressed through you.  You are the portals that join heaven and earth.  You are the conduits through which I might flow and spill My kingdom into earth.  You are My body, the divine structure of My Son.  Through His headship you will move by the Spirit to accomplish and do My will.
Compromise no longer with the world, for I have called you out of the world and set you in Christ Jesus at My right hand.  Out of that position in Me you rule and reign in righteousness.  The world may see you as helpless and weak, but I see you in the might of who I AM.  I AM is who you are because you carry Me resident in you.   The fullness has not yet been released unto you.  It is held back till the fullness of time.  Know this,  you carry within you earthquakes, thunder and lighting, forces untold.  When you rest in Me, then you know that what I do through you and in you is in My time and My way.   Don’t judge yourself or others by what you outwardly see.  My might and power are unseen forces waiting to be released in you.   Set your heart and eyes upon me.  Don’t compromised or be moved by the world around you.  You are to stand in readiness as my force upon the wall.  When I sound the trumpet you will respond and your enemies will fall.  It has not yet been revealed what you shall be, but when you fully see Me, you shall be like Me.
Run, run and again I say run.  You are running from this present evil age as you set your heart to run into Me.  I am your refuge.  I am your safety.  Run into Me that I may catch you up into My arms and rescue you.  I am the mountain of you salvation.  Flee into the hills from which comes your help in time of trouble.  Cut loose the bindings and shackles that are restraining your freedom in the Spirit.  You go to run, but you are held back by the weights and sins that have so easily beset you. Take the sword of My Spirit and cut them loose.  Remove all that hinders so that you are free to run full gait into Me.
Laughter and joy fill my courts.  Joy is going to be your strength, for whenever you think upon Me joy will well up and fill your heart.  Assurance and faith will rush in like a flood and you won’t hesitate to do what you haven’t yet done before.  It is all in Me.  Release  yourself  My children from all that turns your head from me.  Let all the idolatries and foreign affections go. YOU are My redeemed, the Son of My right hand.  In My Son, My honor is shown forth.  For He honors Me with complete obedience and does whatsoever I show Him.  In Him, you will do no less.

Blessings,
kent

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Most Important!

June 14, 2012

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Most Important!


I love it when God just shines His spotlight on a particular verse or meaning.  It may be one of those that we have read many times before, but never really saw for the significance of what was being said.  I think this is one of those verses, as the Lord dropped this particular scripture on me today.
‘Before anything else, agape each other deeply.’  Yes, it is God’s love that is exercised here.  Our love is conditional, easily offended and often self-centered.  God’s love takes us out of the natural realm of loving and puts us into the dimension of the unconditional love of God, that doesn’t love another based on their ability to perform to our expectations or because they are desirable or because they don’t offend us.  The point this scripture makes is that God has put a love of His own within us that can cover a multitude of sins and offenses.
Let’s be honest.  When we are around others that are undesirable to us, typically our response it to avoid, leave or quite possibly even to gossip or speak ill of them.  Here, in this place we operating out of the limitation of natural love.  “I’ll love you as long as you don’t rub me the wrong way.”  Here is where we need to grasp this concept that God has called us up into a higher state of love that is willing to still love the unlovely, the undesirable, the offensive and the sinner.  Think about it, wasn’t that us in our state towards God before He redeemed and saved us?  Romans 5:6-8 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  That is the same love He wants us to demonstrate toward each other.
Think about who you are offended with, who rubs you the wrong way, who you don’t like, who disappointed you or failed to live up to your standards.  Before you read on, take a minute to meditate on that.  Are some people coming up in your mind?
Now apply this most important scripture to them.  Remember, it doesn’t say just tolerate them, it says to love them “deeply”.  This word in the Greek is “ektenes” .  It means to love stretched out, fervently, intently, earnestly, assiduously, without ceasing.
Ouch!  That can be kind of tough sometimes, can’t it.
God is and has called us higher.  In that place He is stretching us beyond our natural capabilities into the supernatural expression of who He is in us and who is He?  God is LOVE!
It is the most important and pronounced expression of His nature, character and being.  If He truly lives within us, can we be any less the expression of who He is?
God doesn’t see us for the sinner that we have been, the offenses that we have committed or the failure that we would see.  He looks past our faults and sees our needs.  That is what God wants us to do with our brethren.  Don’t know them after the flesh, but see them and know them after the Spirit.  It is so easy for all of us to make our judgement after the outward man, but Father is saying look deeper, see, speak and address the Christ in them.  The love of God will go where others won’t go,  it will walk further than others would walk, it will stay longer than others will stay, it will forgive more than others will forgive and it will tolerate more than others would tolerate.
Remember, this isn’t just a simple instruction, this is “ABOVE ALL”, it is most important, so don’t let us take it lightly.  It is critical to our being able to properly function as the body of Christ and move in the love of God.

Blessings,
kent


The First Day of the Rest of Your Life


2 Corinthians 6:2
For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.)

“This is the first day of the rest of your life” was a popular saying a while back.  Perhaps it rang so true to us because we realized there is not a thing we can change about yesterday.  It is already spent and gone for better or worse it now abides in our past.  Tomorrow has not yet come, but today is another new beginning, another opportunity at life and living.
As Christians we often get a futuristic viewpoint as we are always seeing Christ or heaven in the future.  Certainly there will be a heaven and there will be a day of the Lord, but how does that relate to today?  Our passage today makes the point that today is the day of salvation.  Our salvation isn’t a one-time event when we went to the altar, repented of our sins and asked Christ into our hearts.  That may have been the beginning, but it certainly isn’t all there is to our salvation.  1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Our spirit is saved when we receive Christ, but there is an active work of salvation going on in our body and our soul.  Everyday should be a day of salvation for us in the sense that we are constantly pressing into a greater in-working of Christ’s nature and life.  The Holy Spirit is always wanting to deal with us, teach us, correct us, comfort us,  exhort us and instruct us in the ways of righteousness.  Each day is about Him.  We want each day to have eternal merit and purpose because Christ is in it and He is living through us to make a difference in our world and the lives of those who occupy that world.  The differences we make may be subtle; nothing really earth-shaking, but nevertheless it is impacting our world.  How are we influencing our world, through our actions, words and deeds?  Are people seeing who Christ really is through observing our lives or are they being impressed by what He is represented to be through the way we live, even when it is not like Him?
We can’t change yesterday and what has been done, but we can make a difference in our world today.  Each day the Lord gives us is a gift and often we are astounded by how quickly they pass by.  One day we will give an account of what we did with all of those days.  Did we make a difference?  Is the world a better place because we were in it?  There is a Latin phrase, “Carpe Deim”, it means, “Cease the Day”.  That is what we must do with each day that the Lord gives us breath.  Cease the day for Christ.  Live that day with a life that is pleasing and glorifying to Him.  Lift Him up and change somebody else’s day for the better because you were in it.  Each day is a gift and God has given each of us talents and abilities.  Each day gift someone with the blessing of you and the Christ that abides in you.  After all, it is the first day of the rest of your life.  Don’t waste it.
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrew 3:13)

Blessings,
kent

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

A Life That Makes a Difference


When we reflect upon our lives and their meanings don’t we all want to feel like our life made a difference in the world and had an impact?  Life is not lived to make a void when it is gone, but to make a difference while it is here.  A selfish life is an empty life.  Life is a gift given to us that we may impart into others.  If we miss our purpose then we have missed our meaning.
The older I get the less I care about what others think of me or how they view me.  My heart is, “God let every day count and let me live it to Your glory by accomplishing Your will.”  I told my brother-in-law the other day at his birthday,  “You know, I feel like I have reached critical mass and I am accelerating into the Son!”  The older we get the more aware we become of the urgency to impact our world and the lives around us.  This is what Jesus intended us to do.
How often in the past have I sat on my light or muffled its sound for fear of offending or not gaining another’s approval?  Do I represent Jesus before men, as I would want Him to represent me before the Father?
Think about what Jesus said concerning the meaning and direction of our life in Mark 8:34-38, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Doesn’t this say that Jesus wants our lights to shine with a passion?  It doesn’t mean we have to be fanatically strange, but then if we are so like Jesus we are going to tend to stick out like a light in a dark place and that’s okay.  There are those who are drawn to the light and then there are those who will recoil back into the darkness.  We are not here to be conformed to the darkness but to dispel it with the light and truth that dwells within us.  Jesus said as much with the way He lived His life as He did with His words.  It is not about meeting a quota and witnessing to so many people, it is about being a witness through the way you live your life and how you lay it down for others.  Some of us feel condemned because we don’t always know what to say or how to say it.  The fact that you take the time to care about someone you don’t know or who can’t benefit you, speaks to the One in you.  The fact that you would just take the time to tell someone how special they are and that God wants them to know that He really loves and cares about them.  We have made it more about pitching religion and getting someone to pray the sinner’s prayer than about really loving and caring about them in the way that Jesus would.  I have found that when people don’t feel like you have an agenda when you approach them in a sincere and loving way, more times than not they are open to that.  They want to know that God really does see them, care about them and love them.  It can be a real blessing even to have a loving stranger offer to pray for you or meet a need.  So many people out there may be smiling on the outside, but they are crying on the inside.  They need and want answers, not just religion and dogma shoved down their throats.  They want to see the reality of it exemplified in the lives of God’s people.  So often they watch those who say they know Christ, but then become disappointed and disillusioned, because they see God’s people acting and being like everyone else.  There is such power in love to bring light into people’s lives, but it has to be the real deal.  People are fed up with the fake and the insincere.  When we can bring the genuine light of Christ into people’s lives, many will respond to it, but it takes more of us that truly look like Him in the way we live our lives and the love that we carry that so exceeds our own.
Man, in his unregenerate state, is a “self-lover”.  It is always about him.  That man or woman that really is a disciple of Jesus has come to that point where they are willing to lay down their lives so that may become “life givers”, rather than “life takers”.   As Jesus said, ‘If we gain the whole world and lose our soul, its worth is as dust falling through our fingers at the end of life.’  We are left empty, desolate and void, even though we may have thought that we had everything.  Now we face eternity as the poorest among men.  The richest  are those who spent all to let their light so shine in a way that it brought others to Christ and imparted His goodness into them.  They may have had nothing in this world, but they face eternity with money in the bank of heaven, a smile on their face and rejoicing in their hearts.  They have gained the fullness of life while lighting the way for others to see.  They are a city set upon a hill that cannot be hidden.  They have lived a life that made a difference.

Blessings,
kent

Romans 14:8
If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Life Statement of a Believer


Is this what most of us think of as our mission statement in life? Are our lives really all about the Lord?  According to Romans 14:8 they should be.  Romans 14 deals with us being so concerned with how others believe and if they practice religion like we do?  People are going to have different opinions and ways of doing things than you and I.  Rather than our being so concerned about if they are doing everything right let us realize that each man or woman has to do what they know to be right before the Lord, because before Him, and not man, do they give account and stand or fall.
God wants us to be considerate and honoring of one another, but not to where we feel it is our duty to pass judgement upon others.  We can share our scriptural opinions in love, but it is the Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth, not our opinions or understandings.  The Lord would have us judge our own house before we judge the life and house of another.  What are you living for?
Live your life as the example of what you believe.  If your beliefs are right, they should bear the fruit of what the Word says they should produce.  The important thing is not that we are concerned about judging others according to our standards, but that our lives are being totally focused upon living for the Lord.  He is the reason we live, move and have our being.  We want our life to express Him in all that we do and are.  It doesn’t mean that we quit living in the earth and relating with others.  It certainly doesn’t mean that now we are holier than everyone around us and we have the right to judge them.  It means that our life’s purpose is to express Christ in all that we do and all that we are.  Our righteousness is lived out of faith in what God has made real in our hearts, not in servitude to rituals, holy days and traditions of men.  Our faith is not a religion, it is a relationship of willing love and submission to Jesus as we obey the Word; following the prompting and dealings of the Holy Spirit within us.
Colossians 3:12-17 exhorts us in our perspective of relationship with one another and our relationship with Father.  “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  We function as the Lord’s ambassador and as one another’s servants in love.
If you really have a grasp and revelation of who you are and what you are in Christ, then you know your life’s purpose and calling.  You know that it is to build up the brethren, extending toward them the same love and mercy that Christ has extended toward you.  It means forgiving the offences and extending grace to the irregular people, even brethren, that rub and irritate your life.  Jesus had them just as we do.  They are for the stretching and exercising of our love and patience in Christ.  Anybody can love those who love and appreciate them, but it takes the measure of God’s love to love those who go against our grain.  Love is not in the talk, it is in the walk, so walk as He walked and love with the same gentleness that He so loved us.  While we were yet sinners and His enemies He gave His life for us.  That is why we give our life back to Him
“If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”  His name, is upon our lives and our foreheads; indelibly written in His blood and sealed with His promised Holy Spirit.  We are His in life and death.

Blessings,
kent

Practical Religion

June 8, 2012

Luke 10:25-37
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26″What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
28″You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36″Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Practical Religion


Most of us are quite familiar with the story of the “Good Samaritan”.  The Lord began to convict me this morning that what you know and what you practice can be two totally different things.  When we stand before God we won’t be judged for what we knew, but what we did with what we knew.  This story brings this point home when it talks about how the priest and the Levi both saw the man’s plight, crossed over to the other side of the road and passed him by.  These were representatives of the most knowledgeable, pious and masters in religious and godly matters.  Was their knowledge translated into practical application?  No, they, like many of us don’t have time, don’t want to get involved, don’t want to get our hands dirty or don’t consider it our responsibility.  Yet Jesus demonstrates a man that they despise as a heathen and half-breed coming along and giving of himself, his time and personal resources to care for a man that probably wouldn’t have given him the time of day, because he was a Samaritan and despised by the Jews.
True religion is practical religion.  James 1:27 says this, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  Doesn’t it strike us as strange that he doesn’t say it is how many times you go to church or how long you read your bible or pray?  It is in the doing.  Often God imparts much to us, but we are like a stream that has become dammed up.  We don’t allow the life of God to flow through us.  We hoard it up unto ourselves so that we can appear religious and pious.  As a result we stagnate spiritually and really benefit no one else but ourselves.
I remember a friend telling me his testimony of how he came to the Lord.  He said he was either building or remodeling his house and he had a friend at work that would talk to him about the Lord.  He said what really made the difference for him is when this friend took his personal vacation to come and help my friend to fix his house.  That practical application told him that this Jesus was more than just mere words and an ideology; He was practical love expressed through this man that sacrificed to help him.  That is how our world will know and embrace Christ, when they see the reality of His love expressed in ways that are not natural or normal.  If actions speak louder than words then Christ is amplified and magnified as we live and walk our talk.
There are basically two directions that our faith must express itself.  The first is upward in our personal relationship and obedience to God the Father and our trust in Jesus Christ.  The second is in the expression of what we receive in that vertical relationship and then in stretching out our arms to those around us.  This is what Jesus did when He hung on a cross.  His vertical obedience and relationship with the Father expressed itself in His outstretched arms to all of humanity.  He became the intersection where we could turn the corner on our lives and head in a heavenly direction back to the heart of the Father.  We also find that in our identification with Jesus, we also must lay down our lives for others.  Those others, often might be the people we would least care to serve or love in the natural, but then truly loving your neighbor is a God expression and not just a human one.
How practical is our religion?  Does it really express who we are in Christ or just what we know about Him?

Blessings,
kent

Mark 14:38
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.

Temptation Through the Back Door


How often have we found ourselves in sin because we were in a place of complacency and we had let down our spiritual guard?  We all can easily get distracted with natural things, events and happenings around us.  It is so easy to slip out of that attitude and place of prayer and vigilance then find ourselves in a place of giving place to the devil.
That word “watch” means exactly that; be on the look out, give attention, be cautious, active.  Take heed lest through a letting down of your guard, laziness, sloth or apathy you give place to temptation.  Because the body and the flesh is weak, we can never be dependent upon our natural abilities to walk in righteousness and not be overcome by sin.  Our walk in the Spirit is what gives us victory over sin.  Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  We can plainly see here that it is not by the efforts of the flesh that you put to death the flesh.  If the flesh can find in loophole and means by which it doesn’t have to fully die, it will take it.  So much of the sin in our lives is like when we go out into the garden to pull weeds,  we just tear off the top, but don’t get the roots pulled out and we all know that it won’t be long until they come back.  The Holy Spirit  can help us find the root of our sin, so that it can be permanently extracted and have no more power over us.
Romans teaches us that our power over sin, is by understanding that we live under a new law.  The old law of sin and death brought us into awareness of sin, but didn’t give us victory over it, it condemned us for it.   The new law that we now live under is that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  Under that law we no longer live out of the weakness of our flesh, but out of the strength of the Spirit of God within us.  It is God’s Spirit empowering our spirit that gives us victory over sin and temptation as we walk in Him, relying upon Him and drawing from His strength.
As the flesh is ever present to demand its way and to seek its own, we must ever remain vigilant and watchful that we abide in the Spirit and practice the presence of Christ in our lives.  We know by His word that we are dead to natural man and alive unto Christ, but as long we walk in these natural tabernacles the world, the flesh and sin exerts its influences and pulls upon us.
This is why knowing your identity is so important.  You can’t be what you are, if you don’t know who you are.  We have the identity of Christ and in that identity of “Christ in us the hope of glory”  we host His presence and honor Him by allowing Him to have the expression through our lives and no longer the former man of sin.
The enemy is always out to rob your identity or to try and give you another.  When he can get our eyes and our heart off of who and what we are, then he can lead us into who we are not.  Maintain that place of watchfulness, vigilance, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)”
Let’s end with this exhortation from Ephesians 6, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Somebody needs this today to overcome a temptation in your life.

Blessings,
kent

Prayer for a Nation

June 6, 2012


Prayer for a Nation


2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Are we not still a nation under God?  When we look about us and see the spiritual condition of our nation we indeed have reason to lament and cry out for much wickedness has invaded our land and our hearts.  Many of us grieve as we see innocent babies terminated in the name of legality, while we watch our God and heritage being removed from our school, public places and society.  The one salvation this nation has is its people who are called by the name of the Almighty, who will indeed humble themselves and pray for the state of our union.  No one man or political party can change the injustices that pervade this land, but we as the people of God can.  We have the power of prayer, we have the sword of the Spirit of Truth and we are the ones that must usher in the change.
Our past complacency has found us out because we didn’t raise our voices in opposition to sin, cry out against injustice and humble ourselves in prayer and supplication. We now find our nation in a place where the enemy has established strongholds and bastions of evil.  Much of our demise has been because we, as people have lowered the standard in our own lives.  What we see in our nation is in many respects a reflection of the condition of our own hearts in the body of Christ.  We as the people of God set the spiritual climate and temperature of our nation.  It is refreshing to see the body of Christ when it does come together as a cohesive and effective force to raise up a cry in the land that denounces unrighteousness and calls out for a higher standard.  We know deep within our hearts that the change in the attitude and morality of this nation begins with us first getting on our knees in repentance, with a broken and contrite heart.  If we desire to see God move, then we must first be moved to repentance and restoration of a right spiritual state in our lives.  People of this nation don’t just need to hear the condescending voice of a religious people denouncing them as evil.  They need to see in us the nature and character of our Master, who in love is willing to lay down his life for the good of all.  True Christianity must be practiced in our lifestyles for Christ to truly be respected and honored as the God of love and salvation that we preach.  Christ should be preached everywhere and we should use words if we have too.
May our hearts join in one voice today as we cry out and pray in a spirit of true humility and repentance.  May we stand in the gap as intercessors, praying that God would continue to be merciful, longsuffering and deliver our nation out of its darkness and back into the marvelous light of Truth.  A nation’s strength is in its spiritual backbone.  Our nation has been experiencing some serious osteoporosis.  We, the people of God, are the spiritual backbone of this nation.   If we aren’t the ones to make the difference in our nation, then who?  We need more than a day of prayer, we need a lifestyle of prayer and daily supplication and intercession on behalf or our nation, it leaders and its people.  God has commissioned us to make a difference, but it must first begin in us.  We must set the bar and the standard for righteousness through holy lives that are honoring to God.
May our nation, as well as our God, see a people whose God is the Lord, whose confidence is not in the flesh and who are committed to making a difference in their world.  God has given His people the power to change the destiny of their nation through a heart of true humility and repentance.  God, help us to make the difference so that we might leave a spiritual legacy and one nation under God to our children.

Blessings,
kent

Body Ministry

June 5, 2012

Romans 12:4-5
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Body Ministry


The Word gives us the illustration that our marriages are like Christ and the bride.  We who are many are made one in Christ Jesus and we who are many members, having many and different functions in the body are to all function as one in Him.  One of the mistakes we make in marriage and in the body of Christ is that we often want to try to fit others in our box.  We tend to think, others should think as we think, have the same doctrinal views that we have and fit our idea of what a Christian should look like.  We do that in our marriages and that’s why a lot of our marriages have severe problems or don’t work.  Instead of loving and accepting the other person for being the unique expression that they are, we want to clone them into us.  We forget that one of the things that probably first attracted us to them may be those very things we have been trying to change in them.  They can no more be you than you are them.  What we miss in marriage and in body ministry and functionality is that we were created to be different.  Love is the key ingredient in us that helps us to defer and give place to another.  If God’s love isn’t present, then it becomes all about us and our world.  It is kind of like how scientist use to think the sun revolved around the earth, rather than the earth around the sun.  It has to do with our perspective and understanding.  In a good marriage there are two individuals that have learned that they belong to one another and their function is to complete the other, not to try to change the function or individuality of their spouse.  In the compliment of the two lives, you see one complete life.
There is a key here in these two verses that we really need to get a hold of, “each member belongs to all of the others.”  You see, our particular gifting and abilities are not about us, they are for the benefit and the building up of the rest of the body.  If  I wrote what I do and then just kept it to myself, I would be denying the rest of the body of what Christ has put in me.  He has put something just as important in you, but if you fail to recognize that it doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to the body, then the body is deprived and robbed of that expression of Christ that only you can bring.  We are all just parts of the bigger picture, but the picture can’t be complete unless you are in it, doing and being what you were created to be and do.  I need you.  You need me.  Our completion comes from Christ functioning through all us, not just any one of us.  This is one of the reasons I believe God is moving away from one man ministries.  The expression of the body is being denied, but don’t think that your expression can only happen in church.  That may be the last place it happens. Does that make you any less significant or important?  No.
We often have the perception that our identity is related to a title, ordination, or an acknowledged position.  We need to know that Christ has already acknowledged our position and it is in Him.  He is our ordination and He has given us the title of sons and children of God, which is our identity.   You are in Christ regardless of the title of man.  Titles are simply houses our identity sometimes lives in, but regardless of title, it doesn’t change who we are or what we do.  Some of the most significant members are those that are least seen.  Our significance and worth has nothing to do with how men perceive us, it is all about how Father sees us and are we being true to what He has created to be in our expression of Him.
Just remember, in marriage or in the body of Christ, it is not important that others are like you or that they believe just like you, or do things your way.  It is not about you.  It is about Jesus and our individual faithful expression of Him.  When we get a revelation that we are not our own and the Son doesn’t revolve around us, but we were created, formed and called into Christ to belong to the body.  We are here to give what Christ has put in us to give and not get offended when others don’t always seem to appreciate that.  Our value comes from Christ, not the kudos and acknowledgement of others.  There are parts on your body that get little to no praise or recognition, but you would sure notice if they quit existing or functioning.
It is the love of Christ and the oil of the Spirit that lubricates and unites us to function in the unity of the body of Christ,  If we are missing those ingredient, will then we begin to wear on each other.  Let us remember, we are not our own, we belong to each other, so let us be there for each other in whatever need we can meet.

Blessings,
kent

Destiny

June 4, 2012

Jeremiah 1:5-10
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
6“Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”
7But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
9Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. 10See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Destiny


God created us with destiny.  He knew our beginning and our end before we were ever born.  Our destiny  awaits our arrival.  It calls to us; it beckons to us come.  All our life we can be walking in perhaps unperceived portions of what is bring us into the greater.   The circumstances that touch our life, the environment that we grow up in, the influence of those around us, the physical, emotional, social and spiritual influences that shape us into who we are.  We are the product of many things, but first and foremost we are the substance of who God created us to be.
God says of His people in Isaiah  46:3-5, ” “Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived,
and have carried since your birth.  4Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
5“To whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?”
Psalms 71:6 says, “From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.”
Psalms 139:13-16 gives this revelation of our destiny, “For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
We were created for God’s good pleasure and whatever we were designed to become in Him was programmed in our DNA and called forth by His Spirit.
Many arguments have been waged and denominations formed on the predestination and sovereignty of God  in the lives of men.  Just know that He is sovereign and as Romans 8:29-30 declares, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”  God knows His own and His own He has called to partner with Him in walking by the Spirit to perform and bring to pass that destiny of God that is upon your life.  If we are a destined one in the Father to become conformed to the image of His Son, then our Spirit will be united with His to be the instruments of righteousness and salvation that He purposed and designed us for in this hour in time.  God didn’t form us just to have a form of godliness and deny the power thereof, He called us to exemplify His form in the earth through lives that demonstrate Him in love, power and authority.  We will know His own, because they will look more and more like Him.  For some, it may not yet be revealed who they are, but like Paul, in due season, it pleased God to reveal His Son in Saul.  We don’t know the time, the season, or the callings upon men’s lives, but we do know that we are to  faithfully share Him in many ways so that the Holy Spirit, working through us, might call out His own unto Him.
In Christ, you are already walking in your destiny; your faith and obedience, allows Him to bring it to the level and fullness of expression He created you for.  Be all that you were destined to be.

blessings,
kent

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