Take Responsibility

June 28, 2013

Take Responsibility

Genesis 3:11-13
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Even from the beginning of time people have not wanted to take responsibility for their own actions and consequences. Even as we see Adam and Eve passing the blame for disobedience to someone else, so it continues today. We are continually reading about lawsuits that people actually win where it is obvious that there own negligence, ignorance or stupidity was to blame, but someone else has to pay for it. We obviously want to assume as little responsibility and accountability for our actions as is humanly possible. As a result of the sue-happy society that we live in, attorneys get rich on malpractice and liability insurance because any little thing gone wrong could result in a lawsuit and someone’s bankruptcy. Obviously there are many occasions when someone’s omission or commission causes harm or loss to another. That is where they need to take responsibility for their action or mistakes.
How does that affect us as Christians? Do we carry the same mindset and practice of the world? Jesus gives us principles in the Word that definitely are contrary to the standards and responses of the world. He says in Matthew 5:38-42, “”You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” “ The standard that Jesus gave was to go beyond what is required to give and forgive. That pretty much flies in the face of our human nature that wants to do just the opposite and yet that it is a Christ standard of behavior.
Most of us would say, but don’t you know if you do that you are just going to be a door mat for others to walk all over you? You have to stand up and fight for your rights. Is that what Christ taught us? It doesn’t mean we are without principles and that we don’t stand for our beliefs, but when we go beyond the expected we become empowered because we choose to give beyond what was required.
Paul addresses an even more disturbing situation that still exist among the church today. It concerns the lawsuits among believers in 1Corinthians 5:1-11: “1If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 5I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!
7The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” It is a sad state when brother defrauds brother or when we have to go into the world’s court system to seek the world’s justice. Matters of difference should be arbitrated by the church if, not forgiven altogether.
Many of us still operate our lives by the natural laws that govern men. Christ has given us an even higher standard to follow and it is one our flesh probably isn’t going to like, but we need to exercise godly principles. Maybe you have a legitimate complaint against another but forgiveness needs to be the order of the day, because Christ first forgave us and gave us what we did not deserve and could not earn. That is the heart He wants for us to live out of. This is a foreign concept to many of us and the way we have been brought up to think and believe. Jesus practiced this principal most of effectively in the cross. He took responsibility and paid the price for a debt that was not His own. We will have our crucifixion experiences as well if we are in Him, because “as He is so are we in this world. “ Are we willing to take the responsibility for our actions while at the same time often forgiving the faults and sins of others against ourselves? Such is the law of Christ.

Blessings,
kent

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A Word from the Lord

June 27, 2013

A Word from the Lord

Romans 13:12
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Leave this day the things of the earthly realm behind you. Look into the dawn of the New Day for from the East arises your salvation and from the West the sun is setting on the former things and the things of this time and place. Open your heart to me and I will fill it. Open your mouth to me and I will fill it. Open your hands to me and I will fill them. I will be your supply and your provision. All of your need is met in me. Lean not upon the arm of the flesh to feed and provide in your day of want. I am your Provider and the supplier of every need. Lean not upon your own understanding, but lean on the council of My Word, for it is the light unto your path and a lamp unto your feet. Take care that you walk in the light of the council of my Word. It is a sword to prove you, to divide and separate soul and spirit. Far too long my people have been a mixture and double-minded in their ways. Let your eye be single and your heart true to the calling that I have given you to walk in My ways and obey My commands, if you do this, then do you love Me. Far too long my people offer up the oblations of praise and worship, but their hearts are far from me. Outwardly they do their homage, but within their heart and their thoughts they entertain wickedness and impurity. I do not judge the outward man, but the inward man, the man of the heart. What value does a beautiful cup or vessel have if it is full of abominations and wickedness?
The fire is sent to purify that which I have sanctified. It will burn with unquenchable thirst until there is no more left to feed its desire. Mercy and grace will wet and temper the steel of godliness in my people, lest they be consumed in judgement. My people shall turn to me from the least to the greatest and those that are mine shall gather beneath My wing. There I will shelter them from the storm. It is a time of pruning and separation so that those who would bear fruit may do so more abundantly and those that are dead upon the vine may be cut off and cast into the fire.
What a man has sown and what he is now sowing will bear its fruit and he shall eat the fruit thereof either to life or to death. Take care how you plant into your life and into the lives of others.
Clay pots hold divine life. Only as they are emptied are they perpetually filled. Stop holding the life till it becomes stagnant and putrified. Pour out that which I place within each one of you. It is only in giving that you truly receive. Release the life. You are not vessels for storage, you are vessel of daily use to wash the feet of common people and make their way clean and sure. Some of you say, what do I have to give? Give your life, your service, and My love that abides within you. With Me there is never a lack of supply or increase. You are shallow, because your deeds are shallow. Become the vessel that is tipped over and poured out. If you sow sparingly you will reap sparingly.
Revelation is coming, but it comes with a price. It must be received with humility and obedience. The revelation of the Most High is revealed in what you live and not in what you know. The revelation of Jesus Christ in you is revealed through a crucified life, laid upon the altar of obedience and service.
Today is the day to seek Me and lay all else aside. I am your refuge, your hiding place, your mighty fortress, but you must truly know me to be hid in me. It is no longer about outward actions of religion and godliness, it is a day to know intimately my heart and come into the inner sanctuary of relationship and abiding that is only found in intimacy and relationship. Come quickly, for the days are getting short and times and seasons are at hand. Rouse you up out of your sleep and slumber and come away with me. I speak these things to you, because I love you. Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit is speaking to the Church. It is the day for the Bride to prepare herself and make ready for her Groom. Take heed and act quickly.

Blessings,
kent

Psalms 114
When Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
2 Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
3 The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back;
4 the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.
5 Why was it, O sea, that you fled, O Jordan, that you turned back,
6 you mountains, that you skipped like rams, you hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.

Instead of Judgement, Salvation

This is an interesting and prophetic Psalm in the Spirit. Let me just share with you how I am seeing this in the Spirit.
Israel is God’s people, Jew or Gentile, for “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:28-29)” So we as the people of God are led by God out of Egypt, which is a type of the world. They are a foreign tongue to us, not because they don’t speak “Christianese”, but because we speak from a spiritual tongue the words of life and truth. Our language is a heavenly language, both in the Spirit and in the natural.
Judah, not Levi, became God’s sanctuary. Levi, represented the priesthood and administration of the Law, which was unto judgement. Judah, from which Christ came, was the habitation or sanctuary of God, the administrator of salvation and the priesthood of Melchizedek.
This Psalm is not speaking in its present day order of Judaism and Levitical dispensation, It is speaking to a new day when Christ is His sanctuary and Israel, His Church, bride and body is His dominion whom through whom He not rules not just over, but out of.
The sea is like the multitudes of the earth, who flee when they look and see. The Jordan, is like the baptism unto death that is turned back as it beholds the life of Christ. The mountains and the hills are the high place in God and in the realm of the Spirit that rejoice and are glad as Christ is revealed and His salvation springs forth.
The earth trembles at His presence, for it beholds the Lord mighty in judgement and dominion, for He took the Rock that has the power and authority to righteously crush in judgement and turned it into a pool, the refreshing waters of life and salvation. Isaiah 41:18 says it this way, “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” What Christ can be in judgement as the hard rock, He has revealed first in restoration, reconciliation and salvation. He is the living water and the life-giving stream. The waters of refreshing to all who will come and drink. It pleased God to strike the hard rock that has the right, the authority to judge all men, so that He might be the refreshment of life in a barren and dead place. See oh earth what the Lord has done; in place of judgement He has shown mercy. Micah 6:8 says, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
God has extended His great love toward us, and in place of judgement He has offered us salvation. Fear the Lord because of His goodness and let us never take lightly all His grace and benefits. Let’s just end with this word of encouragement and exhortation from Titus 3:3-8, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”

Blessings,
kent

The Righteous shall not be Forsaken

Psalms 37:25
I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Often times the walk of righteousness is not an easy walk. As we draw near to God and more and more relinquish our life for His, we sometimes can be become discouraged and disheartened. All around us the wicked and the ungodly seem to be prospering and enjoying life while it seems we are facing one struggle after another. While life is an uphill battle for us, it seems to often be an amusement ride for others and we may be tempted to mummer, “This is unfair Lord.”
The psalmist saw the same thing in his day. He gives an account in Psalms 73 of how he envied the prosperity of the wicked. “For I was envious at the foolish, [when] I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Psalms 73:3).” Do we ever get discouraged and think I’m tired of this walk of righteousness. Everyone is prospering and enjoying life and I’m trying to be godly and yet I’m struggling through life. Where is the equity God? The psalmist goes on to explain what he discovered and the folly of his reasoning. “This is what the wicked are like- always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies (Psalms 73:12-20).” Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.” There are times when our vision becomes obscure when we start to look back at the world instead of steadfastly upon the Lord. The enemy would begin to coax our minds and hearts into thinking that the way of the world is far better. He is only able to do this as we get our eyes off of Jesus. We only need to enter into the sanctuary of His holy awesome presence to be reminded of what the end and the destiny is for the wicked and unbelieving as we see the faithful’s hope revealed in His holy presence. God is not withholding His good from the righteous, He is raising up His righteous to possess and rule all things. In order to do that the “things” cannot possess us. Only He, The Lord God, Pure and Holy, must possess us. Our destiny is not of this world, for this world and all of it goods soon are to pass away and perish with the using, but the possession we have in Christ is eternal and only increases from glory to glory.
Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged by the struggles you have in this world. It is by patience and steadfast faithfulness that we enter in and possess the greatest prize of all, God’s holy nature and manifest presence in our lives. What our God desires to give us is unmatchable by anything in this natural world. We must have the vision of what God’s heart and desire for us is lest we perish in the wilderness, failing to enter in and possess our inheritance by unbelief.
Let us take heart and faint not, knowing that the fullness of our salvation is near at hand. We can know that Paul was right when he said, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:16-19).” We don’t need what the world has. They need what we have, for the scripture declares that the sons of God will be the instruments of God’s restoration and restitution in the earth. The outward apparel does not always reveal the wealthy man. The righteous is being purified to be the containers of God’s wealth and blessing. The blessing that seeks not it’s own, but is the dispenser of the life and love of God even as Jesus, the pattern Son.
If we want renewed vision and purpose we need only draw near by the blood of Jesus and enter the sanctuary of His presence. When we experience the richness of His manifest presence we will know without a doubt that there is nothing in this earth richer or more satisfying than Christ is Himself.

Blessings,
kent

A Pure Heart

June 24, 2013

A Pure Heart

Psalm 24:3-5
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Titus 1:5 says, “Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” The purity of our hearts and our relationship with God has so much more to do with the condition of our hearts than it does with just outward acts, or do’s and don’ts. Many of us are concerned with how others perceive us and how even God perceives us. We spend much of our life and efforts trying so hard to project the right image or performing the outward works of righteousness. The Lord wants us to focus on the truth that purity and righteousness are a condition of our heart. If our heart isn’t right nothing else will be either, no matter how religious or pious we wish to present ourselves.
Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” It stands to reason then that the condition of our heart toward God is the measure of our purity. Impurity takes place when there is a mixture of unclean and clean. With regard to our spiritual state that could be a mixture of impure thoughts, desire, emotions, actions, or motives. If we are God’s kids, His desire in us is purity of heart. He wants every thought and motive of our hearts to be centered in Him, in His nature and character. If the Lord is the treasure we are laying up in our hearts then our motives and that which is spoken out of our mouths will reflect that.
One of the ways the Lords helps us achieve purity is by fire. It is the tribulation and trials of life that reveal our true heart. How do we act in stressful situations? How do we handle sin and temptation? The Holy Spirit within us discerns the thoughts and intents of our hearts. If we want to be pure then it is by exercising the knife or the sword of the Word of God in our hearts through skillful instruction and conviction of the Holy Spirit that cuts us to the quick concerning the areas of impurity in our lives. Hebrew 4:12 says, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word is able to cut into the gray areas of our lives and reveal true heart motive. Then it is our will and choice to purify and cleanse ourselves by relinquishing these areas of our lives to the Lord. If we are the Lord’s then we must always be mindful that this why Jesus came, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)” Jesus has saved us to deliver us from iniquity. The purification is a process by which He is pruning us, cutting away the unproductive ways of our flesh and baptizing us into fire that is constantly dealing with the issues of our heart. Why? The Lord is desiring a peculiar, separated people unlike the world. They are as Peter puts it in 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
In order to have purity, we must by the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word be willing to deal with the impurity. That comes in that place of relationship and desire for all that He is, counting all that we value in this earth as dung in comparison. James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.” The motives of our hearts must be centered in His Love. It is not out of legalism or ceremonial ritual or practice that we will be purified. 1 Timothy 1:5 says the end of the commandment is this, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:”
What is the condition of our heart today? Are we operating out of a pure heart and pure motives generated and birthed out of the love of Christ within us. It is in that continual, life-giving union with Him that the exchange of His nature for ours is taking place and purity of heart is the cream that rises from His love within us.

Blessings,
kent

Feet?

June 21, 2013

Feet?

Isaiah 52: 7
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

What do we think of when we think of feet? Do you think of the often smelly, dirty, corned and callused little members at the bottom of your body that carries you through life? It has been very enlightening, as I’ve taken some time to go through all of the scriptures in the Word about feet. These little, often neglected, members of the body are spoken of quite frequently. They are definitely members of spiritual, as well as, natural significance. Our feet, so often neglected and taken for granted, carry us through our whole life. They have to support the weight and burden of the whole body. If they don’t work or they slip or stumble, they take the whole body down with them. Spiritually speaking this is significant as well, because the feet represent our spiritual walk. There are many aspects to the feet, but let’s look at this one first.
We have often heard the term, “ to sit at one’s feet”. Throughout the Word of God it is shown that at the one’s feet that you sit , is often the one who determines the direction and the way you walk. The authority that we submit too, the ones we learn from and how that translates into our lives is our definition of “sitting at one’s feet”. There are many instances where people would fall at another’s feet. By that act they were showing submission, obedience, asking for mercy, humbling themselves beneath that one’s authority.
In Deuteronomy 33:3, Moses speaks of God, “Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction.” As a people of God we have at least mentally assented to the authority of God to order our ways. Deuteronomy 11:22- 25 tells us the significance of walking in His ways. “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him- 23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea. 25 No man will be able to stand against you. The LORD your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.” We begin to see a principle unfold that our authority and dominion is dependent upon the way we walk and who we follow. God is saying, ‘if you follow after me and sit at my feet these are the results you can expect to see.’ In Joshua 10 there is an account of a miraculous battle when five Amorite kings moved into position and attacked Israel. You may remember that this was the battle in which their was such great victory for the Israelites, that Joshua prayed that the Sun might stay still in the sky so that he could finish the battle. In verse 24-26 the kings have been captured and it says,” When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks. 25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 26 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening. “ This is a type of what the Word of God is instructing us to do with our spiritual enemies and the strongholds of our lives. We could even see it as being our five senses and living after our natural man. For it is our flesh that wars against our spirit, but our spirit man must prevail and put to death the flesh. Through the example of putting their feet upon the necks of these kings we are seeing that our enemies are put under our feet. The condition is that we have to exercise our authority and if we let the flesh live we will have to come back to fight it another day and it will always plague us and be stumbling block to us as we see it was for Israel.
Joshua is such a strong type of our spiritual authority because he learned it at the feet of Moses and by seeing first hand the faithfulness of God. In Joshua 14: 7-9 he briefly shares a testimony of earlier days and its lesson. “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.” What is the lesson? Faith, that is steadfast, has the reward of an inheritance. That faith is demonstrated through a walk that follows after God wholeheartedly. Fear on the other hand is the contradiction and arch–nemesis of Faith. If we follow it, then it will be our undoing and our defeat.
Another case for this truth is seen in 1 Samuel 2:6-10, “”The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. 7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. 8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them he has set the world. 9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
“It is not by strength that one prevails; 10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.” If we will believe in the Lord and walk in His ways He will guard our steps and bring us to good success and it isn’t dependent upon our might or ability.
We see the spiritual reality of our enemies being put under our feet in Christ. While satan may have been deluded in that day to think that he had defeated Christ when he nailed him to the cross, he simply sealed the Lord’s victory and dominion. When the Lord was resurrected He ascended into heaven, He led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men. He took the keys of dominion and authority back from satan and gave them to the church. He gave gifts unto men. He gave spiritual gifts and offices to His church for what reason? Ephesians 4:12-13 says, “to 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.” Christ gave us the power to crush the head of the serpent under our feet. He did the hard part, He gave His life to redeem us back to God and take those keys of authority. Now He has sat down as it says in Hebrew 10:12-14, “12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Christ, the head has done His part, now it is up to the body to complete and walk out what He started. We are His body and as such, we are also His feet. It is not finished until satan is our foot rest and he has been put under the least and lowest member of the body. 1 Corinthians 15:26-26 says, “25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” The body must experience and lay hold of the fullness that is in the head. For it is Christ through His body that must exercise full dominion and power to put all things under His feet. Ephesians 1: 22-23 tells us, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” It has to be completed in us. God, in Christ, shared our humanity with us, so that we might share His glory with Him. Hebrews 12:5-13 says it so well, “5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8and put everything under his feet? In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.” 13And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” We are the feet of the Lord and dominion and authority is coming from the head through the body till the feet of Christ are rested fully upon the neck of satan as they were on those Amorite kings in the book of Joshua. He that makes us holy and we that are made holy by him are of one family and one body. It is the Lord and trust in Him that gives us strength to walk the path of faith and trust even in perilous and trying times. It is the Lord who strengthens us and gives us help in the battle to overcome the adversary. David expresses these very thoughts in Psalms 18:31-40, “As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God besides the LORD ? And who is the Rock except our God? 32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. 33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. 34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. 36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn. 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 39 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.”

Blessings,
Kent

Two Adams

June 20, 2013

Romans 5:12-20
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Two Adams

What this passage in Romans 5 speaks to is spiritual principles and acts that have global and eternal impact upon all of creation and in particular, humanity. Verse 14 says that “Adam was a pattern of the One to come.” Now a pattern is a prototype after which all things that are made from that pattern look like. Adam was the example of what God intended from the beginning to have in His relationship with man. Adam is like us, in Christ and perfected with one exception. His righteousness was in his obedience, but not out of faith in Christ as ours is now. Adam was allowed to partake of all of the trees of the Garden, but two trees in the midst of the Garden or we might say the “heart” of the garden had far reaching eternal spiritual weight and ramifications. There was no prohibition from partaking of the “Tree of Life” because it would only perpetuate the state of godly relationship Adam enjoyed with God in the Garden. It was that other tree that was the Pandora’s box to a spiritual dimension that even Adam could not have imagined.
It was obedience that kept Adam in his perpetual state of bliss. The principle we see here is that obedience that is not tried and tested is not obedience that is of proven character.
Jesus was the last Adam. 1 Corinthians 15:45 declares, So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Adam may have represented the best of man, but it was outside the life-giving Spirit that could only come through Christ. He no doubt did well for an indeterminate amount of time, but there came a day of testing, trial and temptation and this living soul, the pattern of the one to come, gave place to disobedience. When he partook of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he brought death and condemnation spiritually and physically, not only to himself, but to all of mankind and creation.
What made Jesus different? Well, first and foremost, He was the Son of God and yet clothed in the frailty of a human body with like passions and weaknesses. Jesus Christ came in the midst of a sinful and perverse world wrapped in the body of a fallen creation man. There was only one way this Christ man could bring all of creation out of the bondage that had been released upon it through Adam’s one disobedient act. It was now the act of unfaltering obedience that would be needed to bring creation back out of its bondage and into the eventual fullness of restoration that God had purposed from the beginning. It was the act of obedience on the part of Jesus that would determine the fate of creation. If He failed then all hope of creation would fail with Him and the destruction of creation would be inevitable.
Praise God in the highest and His Son Christ Jesus; He didn’t fail, but was obedient even unto the death of the cross. The difference between Adam and Christ is brought out in Hebrews 5:8, “Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.” Jesus is now that pattern Son for us. If He learned obedience through sufferings, then we will learn the same way. The proof of what is in the character of a person is not fully seen until it is tried and tested.
Just as the many were made sinners through one man’s act of disobedience, many will be made righteous through one man’s act of obedience. It is our faith in Him who is our obedience that appropriates that righteousness to us. When the sinful nature of Adam was crucified on the cross in the mortal body of Jesus, the last Adam, Christ, became a quickening, life-giving spirit through the resurrection power of the Spirit of God.
As we have comprehended in our spirits this truth we now, by faith put off the old man, identifying it with the death of Jesus on the cross. We now, by faith, put on the new resurrection Man that is a life-giving Spirit that has set us free from our former curse of condemnation inherited in our first man Adam. We are now after the order of a new pattern and prototype that is Christ Jesus. Even though we still live in a world that is plagued by the state of the first fallen Adam we have risen in our spirits into the state of the resurrected last Adam. In Christ is the hope that is being manifested through us.
Romans 8 speaks to the purpose that is now in us who have acted by faith in partaking of the obedience of Christ. Romans 8:12-25 declares, “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. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not 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. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
It is in the this hope and patience that we press into the high calling that is ours in Christ Jesus. It is in that faith, hope and patience that we exercise ourselves in godly faith, so that as many of us as are being led by the Spirit of God, we are the sons of God. The body of Christ is the key to completion, reconciliation and restoration for creation through what Jesus finished upon the cross.
“Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:18-19)”

Blessings,
kent

Isaiah 28:16
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

That Upon Which All Sure Things are Built

Every well-built building and lasting structure began with a plan and was established upon a sure foundation. God’s house is no different, for He is that master designer and builder and He has laid a foundation stone in Zion. Upon this stone is established His creation, His house, His purpose and His plan for the ages. He purposed that in Christ all that is lasting and eternal should be built. We know that Jesus Christ is that chief foundation and corner stone. While He has often been rejected of men, God has selected him and all that God is establishing is built upon Him. Without Christ we are missing the essential corner stone to build and establish a meaningful and close relationship with God, for God is in Christ reconciling, restoring and building His temple. It is that temple which we are as His people, living stones, being conformed to the image of the chief corner stone and built up into a holy habitation for God’s own dwelling.
1Peter 2:1-10 tells us, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone ” 8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Throughout our lives we are constantly living, building and growing into who we are as a person. We must carefully choose the foundation upon which we build and add to it every decision that directs and establishes who we are and what we are becoming. If we have missed building each precept of our lives upon that chief cornerstone, we may have a weak foundation that is subject to failure and fault, but if we carefully, obediently and willfully choose Christ to be the forefront and foundation of all that we do, we also will build a sure house; one that will stand in the day of storm and testing. Let us choose well the foundation upon which we establish our life, our values and our purpose.

Blessings,
kent

Giving

June 18, 2013

Giving

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Around Christmas time we all think a lot more about sharing and gift giving. We have learned that it is not just the joy of getting, but that it is the joy of seeing someone else’s face light up when they receive something that blesses and pleases them, that is the greater blessing. I guess we tend to give more around Christmas time because it is the season, but we know that it should be an attitude that we carry with us throughout the year.
You know, God is an extravagant giver. He doesn’t just give to us what we deserve it and His gifts aren’t even based on how good we are, because His love is unconditional and it can not be bought or earned. It has been the prayer of my heart for some time now, “Lord, make me an extravagant giver like You are.” We don’t want the giving that is based on how much we have monetarily or in possessions, it is an attitude of God’s nature within us that says, “make me a blessing.”
When Jesus came into the earth as God’s most extravagant gift to mankind, He didn’t grow up to take what He could have rightly claimed as His own, He came to give His life day by day. He cared about people and He showed that love and caring in personal and real ways. His richest gifts weren’t money or wealth; it was himself. Oh, that I might give myself to bless others as He has blessed us.
Christmas often gets caught up in commercialism and gift giving and getting, but our most important asset is a giving heart. In all we give and do, I know that God looks at our hearts. Proverbs 21:2 says, “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.” In Matthew 12:35 Jesus says, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Our giving then is not about how much, but the attitude of our heart in what we give. One day Jesus was observing the people giving their offerings. Many of the rich were presenting their offerings with great pomp and show. It didn’t impress Jesus, but He saw a little widow that humbly put in her two mites or about the equivalent of a penny and he said, “truly she has given more than them all, because she gave all that she had.” The Lord is looking upon our motives that same way.
“God so loved the world.” It is His love that makes us extravagant givers. In as much as He enables and helps me, I want to learn to give like our Father gives and with the same motive of heart, how about you?

Blessings,
kent

Shallow is the Grave, Deep is the Well

John 4:6-10
Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with [his] journey, sat thus on the well: [and] it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

The word today is from the account of the woman at the well which many of you are familiar with, but if not take a few minutes to read it. There are many wonderful truths in this short encounter. The truth I feel impressed of the Lord to bring out today concerns areas that He is dealing with in my life and no doubt areas He wants to deal with in yours. In the natural scheme of the life of that day, this encounter with Jesus should have never happened. In the eyes of society and especially the typical Jewish outlook, this woman was way beneath good Jewish men, being considered little more than a dog. You know, in our state of sin we are much on that same level in regards to God and His holiness and greatness. Yet, God’s incomprehensible love humbles itself to come down to where we are in the messiness of our lives, in the squalor of our filth and sin and minister’s life to us. All of our lives we have come to the well and drank the waters of self efforts, our goodness and the accomplishments our own lives. The very best of what it could do or offer always left us thirsting again. Now, here is a man that is offering us living water that we would never thirst again. Wouldn’t that be great to never have to rely on my self-efforts and goodness to satisfy that thirsting of my soul? Here is a man that is offering to allow me to drink from the deep wells of salvation. It is so much more than the well of my religion that my forefathers dug. It is a well of deep relationship that forever satisfies.
As that woman, I would think, “this is wonderful, but who is this guy? Are you greater than what we have had before? Are you greater than our doctrine or religion or the belief system I have grown up with all my life? And where do you get this water seeing you have nothing to draw it with (no degree, pedigrees or theological background)? ”
“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:13-14).”
“Okay Lord, I’m convinced. Yes, give me this living water. This has got to be so much easier and better than the old routine of drawing from the well that I am used too.”
Then Jesus says something that catches her off guard and goes to a place she doesn’t really want to go. He tells her to go and get her husband and come here. She says, “Well, I’m not married.” Jesus sees right into her heart and says, ” You are right, you’re not married. You have had five husbands and the one you are with now is not your husband.” Immediately, though, no doubt taken back by His insight, she says, “Sir, I perceive you are a prophet,” and begins to engage in a religious discussion about where the true place of worship is. When the Holy Spirit addresses the other husbands in our lives, our personal sins and idols. We get pretty squeamish, defensive and want to get out of the light of His conviction by changing the subject.
There is an underlying truth here. Jesus wants to give us the living water, but He also wants to deal with these other husbands who haven’t even been true husbands at all. When we drink of this living water we enter into a relationship where Christ becomes our true husband that is our eternal supply, which is able to meet every need. In order for us to drink the fullness of the deep wells of salvation we have to deal with these other husbands in our life. If we have other husbands in our life we are in adultery and idolatry, because they will be taking the place of our true husband, Christ. The only way for us to be in right relationship with our true husband is for these others to die and be buried.
Easily said, not always easily done. These other husbands can represent strongholds, drives, habits, addictions and affections in our lives we don’t really want to let go of. We still have a love or at least a lust for them. We would rather the Lord not go there, but in order for us to experience the depths of the well of salvation and living water we must experience the death and the shallow grave of our idols and the husbands of affections that have ruled over us. So it comes down to a choice, to exchange, a shallow grave for a deep well or keep a shallow well, wherein we continue to thirst and a deep grave if we continue to hold on to the things that only bring death and destruction. Either way, there has to be a death, death to the spiritual to maintain the natural or death to the natural to experience the depths of the spiritual. In what areas do you have other husbands or lovers? Which well and which grave will you choose?

Blessings,
kent

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