Enemy Thine

July 31, 2013

Enemy Thine

Romans 12:20
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

I am reminded in this verse of the parable Jesus gave of the good Samaritan, whom, though despised of the Jews, took pity and showed mercy on a robbed and nearly beaten to death Jew, whom his own countrymen had crossed the road to avoid. How many times do I cross the road in life to avoid the inconvenience of ministering to someone in need? Let alone, someone who despises me as his enemy. There is no more searing testimony of love than that shown through our unselfish actions. We have been the partakers of such a One’s love, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” We were the enemies of God and yet He loved us unconditionally and poured His hot coals of love on our heads through the Lord Jesus Christ.
There will be those in our lives who will hurt us, abuse us, take advantage of us, and treat us shamefully. They would be the objects of our hate and revenge if we were still natural men and women. There is something God wants to flow out of us that is supernatural. It stands in defiance of all natural laws of human relationships. It is a quality that can only come from the Father’s love and the nature of Christ He is bringing forth in us. It is that ability to return good for evil, blessing for cursing and prayer for those who despitefully use you. Mathew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
There are those of us today that are carrying deep hurts from the wounds others have wrongfully inflicted upon us. Jesus is asking something that may be very hard for us to do. He is asking us not only to forgive them, but also to pray for them and to do good to them. I believe He is convicting some of us right now in this area and as we are able to be obedient to the direction of His Spirit concerning these offenders it will be the source of great release and spiritual blessing in our lives. This is a Word of the Lord for you. God is going to show you how to feed your enemy and give him drink, but you must be obedient to lay down the offense and act on what God will show you. Remember we are no longer ordinary people, but extraordinary people because of the Spirit of Christ that indwells us.

Blessings,
kent

Three Dimensions of Jacob

Genesis 32:22-32
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Many of us will remember this story of Jacob. We often say that Jacob wrestled with an angel. As I was meditating upon Jacob this morning I felt like the Lord gave a little insight into this man Jacob. Jacob’s life is like our spiritual journey. Consider with me some of the analogies I felt like the Lord was showing me and I know there is so much more to this than what we will share here today.
When Jacob came into this world, he came in with his first-born twin named Esau. Now Esau was hairy, red and ruddy. He was a man of the earth and field. You might say he was the Adamic nature. The scripture that gives us great insight into these three dimensions of Jacob, which is a type of us, is found in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” While Esau is a type of the body, which is pretty much self-centered and driven by its needs and wants, Jacob is a little more subtle. Jacob is a type of the soul. The soul is where our identity lies. It is our mind, will and emotion. It is expressive of who we are as a person. Like Jacob, most of us have our spiritual side and then we have our fleshly side, for our soul is a mixture of flesh and spirit. Even the name Jacob means “heel holder or supplanter”. The truth was he was an artful manipulator. Even so, Jacob had a spiritual side that hungered for the things of God and the desire for the inheritance or birthright that would normally go to the firstborn. The trouble with the firstborn is that he had little or no appreciation for the birthright. Yes, he wanted the blessing that came through the birthright, but he didn’t have a heart or desire for the legacy and the responsibility that it carried with it. Jacob, on the other hand, did, but he sought to gain it through unscrupulous means, even though, prophetically it had been spoken that the older would serve the younger. Jacob is like us in so many ways. He was always cunning and devising in the flesh how he might obtain the things of the spirit. Whether it was his life, livelihood, his wives or his children, Jacob set about with natural wisdom and understanding to obtain them. That is not to say that Jacob did not have his spiritual side. He encountered God at Bethel in the dream of the stairway or ladder with ascending and descending angels. He experienced God’s blessing, protection and wisdom in his life, but like us, we often seem to struggle and work so hard only to come up so short of our dreams and strongest desires. We have that Labon in our lives, Jacob’s father-in-law, that is always promising so much and delivering so little. No wonder, like Jacob, so many of us are frustrated physically and spiritually.
Even though Jacob knew God and had a relationship with Him, he had his shortcomings, his fears and demons to face. His biggest fear was his brother Esau, the one he had taken the birthright and the blessing from. It is like even though we possess the promises and blessings of God we face our own mortality. Faced with who we are in the natural we fear. In the natural we perceive our weaknesses, our failures, the ungodly part of our nature. That is what Jacob faced in Esau.
In Genesis 32 we see Jacob escaping Labon and his stronghold to return to the promise land, but there he must face his Esau. In this place of fear for himself and his family, he is crying out for answers and favor from God. Try and scheme as he will, he fears the strength of the flesh that is represented in Esau and his ability to take from him all that he has labored to build. While he possesses the promises and the birthright they are of little value to him in his own identity. He sends his family and the others on ahead and takes them over the ford of Jabbok, which means emptying. He sent away his family and all that he had and now, empty, he is left alone. There he encounters this third man. The scripture doesn’t say it is an angel, but it is definitely an agent of God. There, Jacob wrestles with this man till daybreak. Could this be the spirit of Christ in us? The spiritual man that we need to change our nature? The first thing that had to happen in Jacob was an emptying and laying down of all that he loved and possessed. Then there was a battle, the struggle and wrestling with that old soulish nature of Jacob, the heel-holder, supplanter and deceiver. These two men seemed pretty equally matched for strength for they wrestled through the night till daybreak. Is this our place of prayer and intercession where we are in a spiritual battle. Have we come to the place that we are going to lay hold of God and let go of everything else unto He blesses us? Are we the overcomers that will prevail with God and man?
What is our greatest blessing? Isn’t it to be delivered of our former nature with all of its weaknesses, lust and affections?
That morning, at daybreak, the man said, “let me go, it is daybreak.” Jacob said, “I won’t let you go till you bless me.” In Genesis 32:27-31 it goes on to tell us,” The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.” It is there that Jacob prevailed with God and received a new name and a new nature. The new name is Israel, “God Prevails”. The agent of God touched Jacob in the hollow of his hip, so that the sinew shrank and he crossed over Peniel, which means, “facing God”. Jacob would always walk with a limp, no longer dependent upon his own strength and ability.
We have a similar word to us in 2 Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” There is a day for our transformation and new nature to come forth in its fullness, but we wrestle on through the night till we, like Jacob, prevail with God and lay hold of the promises of our inheritance. Then, no more do we need fear our strongholds like Labon or our mortality and flesh, like Esau. No longer are we afraid to loose the things we possess and love. The losses and the wounds we suffer are a small price to pay for the glory we lay hold of. God’s nature and character will prevail in us if we faint not. We will see the face of God, our Lord, and live; no longer after the flesh, but after the spirit. These are the three dimensions of Jacob, body, soul and spirit.

Blessings,
kent

Affectionately Loving One Another
Romans 12:10
[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Did you ever notice that the people that you end up neglecting and abusing the most are usually the ones you say that you love the most? They are most often your family, close friends, or even your brothers and sisters in Christ. The ironic thing is that we often give preference to the ones or the things that are putting the more demands and abuses on our lives, but in the scheme of things are less in importance. Somehow we just expect those we love and prefer to understand when we put them last on our agenda or speak or treat them harshly. Perhaps many of you, like myself, find your lives out of balance with your priorities and preferences. In a society in which we find ourselves running like crazy in a thousand different directions, with people and pressures pressing in on us on every side, when something has to give it is usually our family. That can apply to both our immediate families as well as the family of God. Isn’t it strange that we are doing all of these things that in our minds we consider for the benefit of our families and yet they are often suffering as a result of them? What’s wrong that picture?
I speak this first for my own benefit and then for the benefit of anyone else who thinks it may apply to them. I find I get an agenda set in my mind and I’m not real tolerant of interruptions to that agenda. Some of you, like myself, may find that you have created walls of hurt and wounded the ones closest to you. You have communicated to them so many times through your actions and words that they aren’t as important or as valuable as so many other things in your life. My feeling is that this is a major problem with a good many of our families and relationships. We all need to get our priorities in order. God and his people are often at the forefront of our offense list. It is not usually something we do intentionally and often quite subtly these neglects and abuses creep in to undermine our most precious relationships and destroy one of the most valuable commodities we possess, our families, friends and brethren. We often put up our pretty fronts around others, but the loved ones so often see a whole different face and attitude.
Those closest to us rub us the hardest. We would most like to blame them for being the problem with us, but in reality if we didn’t already have a problem then a lot of what they did wouldn’t irritate us so. Like the old saying goes, “You can’t get a person’s goat unless they have a goat to be got.”
The unconditional love of God prefers the other above themselves. It displays that preference by being affectionate. The connotation of our theme verse is to be tenderly reciprocating love and caring in a relational way as with a parent and child or husband and wife. It is preferring the other above yourself. Please join with me in making it our goal to set the priorities of our relationships and commitments straight. Let our God be at the forefront of all that we do, then our family, our relationships with each other, then those outside and then us. Let’s make it our first priority to invest in the eternal things and then the temporal.

Blessings,
kent

We are Right in Our Own Eyes

Proverbs 21:2-3
Every way of a man [is] right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Isn’t it a fact that most of us are justified in our eyes for our behavior; the words we speak and the attitude and actions we carry out? Most likely, if others are offended or hurt it must be their problem, not ours. That is because we have that wonderful rational mind that is so skillful at justifying what we do, the words and attitudes we communicate and how we live. Even if we do see and acknowledge some of our faults we may well try and offer a little sacrifice to compensate for it. We want to give token gifts that cover over our offenses and sins. We can rationalize “it is okay if I do this and this and the other, if over here I do this and this and the other. ” They will balance each other out and I will be okay. The mind is a funny creature; it rarely really likes accountability for it’s own actions. Are you ever amazed with all the excuses we can come up with when things go wrong?
The truth is these games don’t fly with most people very long, let alone God. He is looking into the true motivation and attitude of our heart. He sees right past all our little diversionary tactics to justify us. Like the prophet Samuel ask King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:14, ” What [meaneth] then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” The command of God was to utterly destroy the Amelekites and all that belonged to them, but here we find compromise because King Saul had allowed the Amalekite king and the best of the flock to be spared on the pretense of sacrificing them to God. When I read this I think how many times have I compromised God’s Word, by rationalizing in my own mind why it would be okay or if I did it just a little different. If you read or are familiar with the rest of this account and exchange you know that Samuel makes this important point to Saul in 1Samuel 15:22-23:
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.” The lesson is, it can cost you everything to have a heart that is set on compromise and disobedience. The Lord simply requires of us obedience to His Word. We must be willing to look honestly at ourselves and our motives in the light of God’s Word and ask the Holy Spirit to honestly reveal them to us in the light of His truth. There we must deal with them with the blood of Jesus through repentance, submission and uncompromising obedience to the will of God.
“Lord, help us today to have right motives in all that we do and please reveal it to us if we be otherwise minded. Help us not to justify our sins. Help us to yield to Your will in all of our ways and allow You to have Your complete way as we endeavor to live in uncompromising obedience to You.”

Blessings,
kent

Be Kind to One Another

July 25, 2013

Be Kind to One Another

Ephesians 4:32
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

It occurs to me that simple acts of kindness are perhaps one of the greatest expressions and testimonies of the love of God working through us. Think about the example of marriage for a moment. Two people start out deeply attracted and hopelessly in love with one another. There isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other. What changes? Through time we tend to become more involved with life outside of each other, little irritations and annoyances begin to eat at us, our familiarity with each other begins to give place to disregard and sometimes even contempt for each other. What was so special becomes more and more common and less and less special and appreciated. Soon we begin to give expression to annoyances, irritations and dissatisfactions. In defense and hurt the spouse releases their own barrage of complaints. Little by little, what was so perfect and beautiful can become a battleground of insults, hurts and offenses. The relationship becomes divided; each party withdraws from the other more and more till often the end result is separation and divorce.
One of the givens in life is that even the people you love the most will sometimes offend and fail to meet your expectations and likewise you will do the same to them. The greatest antidote to these shortcomings is love, forgiveness and kindness. Let’s back up for a moment and see what precedes our scripture on kindness. Ephesians 4:24-31 says, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Right here some of us may see our relationships and where they have come too. If we find ourselves here, we are not only grieving that person we are in relationship with but we are also grieving the Holy Spirit. You may say, “but you don’t know how much this person irritates me, failed me and disappointed me.” You may not realize how much you have irritated, failed and disappointed the Holy Spirit. If God dealt with us, as we deserved we would all be toast. The Lord sees beyond our faults, shortcomings and the attributes of irritation and sees our heart. He has determined to love us in spite of ourselves and He operates in our lives for our highest good, not His. If the Lord were only looking out for His interests He would have never laid down His life for the undeserving creatures that we are. In Christ, we must adopt this same mindset, where we are no longer responding and acting from our feelings, but out of the mind and heart of God. This is an attitude in life where we are not easily offended through the hurtful comments and actions of others, where we return good for evil, where we bless those who curse us, give beyond that which others may take from us, go the extra mile and act out of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness. These are the love and actions that the world can’t understand, because it so exceeds the kind of love we find in the world.
Our place to develop and practice this love and kindness of Christ is first in our own homes and relationships. Most of the time the hardest people to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving too are those of our own household. This is most often where we will see the reflection of the true nature that is working in us. Do you like what you see? Is it what you want and hope to be?
As we learn to bring every thought and action under submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit we may find ourselves speaking and acting, not out of what we feel in the natural, but out of what we know to be the mind and love of God. As we plant these seeds of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness, we may find our harvest much richer than we ever imagined. We can’t change the heart and actions of others. They alone are responsible for those. The way we can change them is by first changing us. Perhaps they aren’t really the problem; they are only a symptom of a problem that may have its root in us. Let God have His perfect work of grace in you today. Speak the words of kindness that bring grace to the hearer. Let random acts of kindness fill your day as you bless even those who may not deserve it, even as the Lord has blessed you. Take this to heart concerning your former nature, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Blessings,
kent

The Spirit of the Overcomer

1 John 4:2-4
This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Did you know that you have already overcome the spirit of this world? All victory has been granted unto us in heaven and in earth. Our deficiency comes when we fail to step into who we are. Christ has gone before us to conquer and now we must come behind Him and possess. We still have the illusion that we are called to do something that is beyond our power to do. Our victory is in getting a revelation and lining up with God’s program. Christ has provided all that we need for life and godliness, but like clothes laid out upon the bed we have to put on the spiritual garments He has given us to wear. We can’t do that if we are still wearing the garments of the flesh and self-dependency. As the one is put off the other can be put on. Faith and obedience are the means by which we change into the garments of the overcomer, fashioned in the likeness of Christ.
Again, for us to come into who we are we have to see ourselves for who we are. We have to see ourselves as Christ sees us. We have to see ourselves as more than conquerors, as the head and not the tail, as sitting with Christ in heavenly places. You are the overcomer because of the One who is in you and He has conquered and defeated the one who is in the world.
Now obviously that doesn’t mean the world is going to embrace us. It is still antichrist in nature and behavior. It will hate us as it hated Jesus if we are truly walking in Christ. Jesus told us, “ In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”
This is where we have to have the spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart that is tender before the Lord. John tells us here to discern the spirits. It is because we don’t discern and embrace the right spirit that we are struggling in defeat and compromise. We are mingling clean and unclean. It is defiling our walk and is a stumbling block before us, because it will turn us out of the Way. Just as the Canaanites that were left in the land brought the Israelites into idolatry, those wrong spirits left in our lives will be our source of stumbling. This is why John is exhorting us to take a good look at the spirits that influence and touch our lives. Don’t receive and embrace every spirit that comes along no matter how good it sounds, but test those spirits if they be of God. Any spirit that is robbing you and denying you of who you are in Christ is not of God. Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, but He has also come in the flesh of your humanity to be manifest in you. Embrace the spirit of Christ in you with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, because He is the essence of your being and life in God. He is the victory in you that overcomes the world; that delivers you out of darkness into His marvelous light and truth. The assurance we have in Christ gives us the peace and the confidence to go through whatever this life brings against us, because our hope is not in this world or its temporal treasures. We are aliens, spirits of another world, dwelling and sojourning on this earth. This is not our home. We are not just earthly beings with a spirit; we are spiritual beings living in earthly bodies. Our bodies are just to facilitate who we are in Christ while we dwell on this earth, even as the body of Jesus facilitated the Spirit of God while He was in the earth.
Put on your spiritual vision and see that you are in the Mountain looking down upon the valley and not in the valley looking up to the mountain. Don’t allow the spirits of this world to cloud your vision and hinder you from being the overcomer that Christ has destined you to be. We don’t boast in ourselves, we boast in the One who is mighty in us, who imparted His Spirit and His Life into us. Out of that Life we live and move and have our being.
“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1John 5:3-5).”

Blessings,
kent

Consecrated Son

July 23, 2013

Consecrated Son

1Samuel 1:9-11
So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD And she [was] in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

Most of us know the account of Hannah and how she cried out in her bareness for a man-child. We know that Eli spoke a prophetic word to her, she conceived and gave birth to a child she called Samuel, who was a wonderful prophet and man of God. The only thing is that as Hannah had vowed, when the child was weaned she would come and present him to the Lord. The child was consecrated unto the Lord according to her promise. She had to fully relinquish the normal routines of a mother raising a child. The priesthood raised him and she only had visitation rights.
John 1:12 tells us,”But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:” When we come to Christ there is a spiritual dedication and consecration that takes place within us. Our soul, through its vow to Christ, dedicates the spiritual child within that is birthed to God. Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:5-7, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Most of us who are Christians are very aware of our new birth, or born again experience. We understand the concept of that new creature which we now are and still are becoming, is the product, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. We should understand, like Hannah, that this spiritual seed, which is the product of the faith in our soul uniting with the promise of the Spirit of God, has produced a spiritual man-child within us. Our body is the tabernacle of this holy seed of God. What we often forget is that this child doesn’t belong to the soul. It belongs to the Spirit. We gave up our rights and dictates to it when we received Christ. As such we must remember and honor our vow that we are no longer our own. We belong wholly to the Lord. For many of us, even though we have been spiritually birthed, we have never been really separated unto the Lord. We are still being raised by our soul. The result is that our spirit man reflects the soulish woman rather than the godly man after the image of the Father. Who is raising your spirit man, your man-child that resides within? Is he becoming just an extension of your soul, of your mind, will and emotions? Or has he been truly consecrated and given to God? Is he being raised in the discipline of the Word of God and godly correction? Is he learning to truly bear the nature of the heavenly rather the earthly? Roman 12:1-2 exhorts us, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” God has answered the cry of our soul to birth a part of Himself in us. We are exhorted to keep our vow and commitment to now let that spiritual man within us grow up in obedience and consecration to the Father and the instruction of His Word. The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a mentor, a spiritual governor, advisor, helper, comforter and instructor to help us grow up into the priesthood of God. We are men and women of God. We are not ordinary and common people of the world. We have been consecrated and set apart unto God, for His glory and for His purpose. We must, as Samuel did, grow up into our calling and relationship with our Father. We are purposed and destined of God. We are not our own, we were purchased with a price. Has our soul relinquished the man-child we are and the destiny we have before us to be conformed into the likeness of the Son of God? If not, perhaps it is time we make good on our vow. What we give up in the natural, can in no way compare to what we gain in the Spirit. Let’s make sure we have been truly consecrated and released to God.
The soul or the mother is the vehicle to produce the son. She must then give place for the son to grow up in the likeness of his Father. The soul must decrease and the spirit man must increase. Have you consecrated your son?

Blessings,
kent

God at Arm’s Distance

July 18, 2013

God at Arm’s Distance

Revelations 3:15-20
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Did you ever have a relationship with a person where you really liked them, but you wanted to keep a little space with them, you really wanted the relationship on the terms of your comfort level? Many of us have those kinds of relationships in our marriage where we love our husband or wife, but we want our own space to live our own life and do our own thing. We want a relationship, but we want it at arm’s length, a place we can either pull away or be close, but not feel too confined. Isn’t that very much like the relationship many of us have or have had with the Lord? We believe in Christ, we love God, but we are afraid to get to close to Him. We’re afraid He might let us down, or we’re afraid He might require too much of us, or we’re afraid we’ll have to give up the things we love and want to do. Fear is the counterpart of faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Herein is contained a promise of God that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. For a lot of us there is truth we would rather stay ignorant of or things we would rather not hear, because it requires of us accountability and we rather like things the way they are. I know these things because I see so many of them in me. I don’t always like it when somebody speaks the truth to me in areas where I am comfortable and don’t really want to change, yet I know that if I refuse to hear the truth and harden my heart, I am shutting out the Holy Spirit. I am holding out my arm and saying to God, “don’t come any closer Lord, you are infringing upon my territory, my self will.” Then I am reminded that I am not my own, He bought me with a price and my life belongs to Him completely and without reservation.
So many of us, especially here in America, have been so blessed and we have enjoyed so many things and privileges that we have become fat and satisfied. We are the Laodicean Church it speaks about hear in Revelation 3. “We are rich, increased with goods and have need of nothing.” In the natural that is true, but in the spirit it has left us “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” We can’t serve two masters and when we choose to be rich in the things of the world we suffer spiritually.
Most of you who read this faithfully are those who are willing to hear the truth even when it is convicting and most who don’t may not want to read it because the Lord does deal with us in hard areas that we maybe rather not have to deal with. The truth is we will have to deal with these issues either now while there is still time for us to align ourselves with the will of God or when it is too late and we experience the displeasure of the Lord. If there is one theme the Lord seems to be reiterating again and again through these writings it is that He is calling out a people for His Name, a people He wants to have relationship with and bring out of the common into the Most Holy Place. He is calling us higher into Him. The Lord is a consuming fire and as He draws us into His bosom and into His heart that fire is going to become hotter and hotter to our flesh till it consumes it more and more. Will we welcome his embrace which means we will buy the gold of His nature tried in the fire and we will put on the white raiment and clothing of His righteousness? Will we anoint our eyes with the salve of His Truth so that we might see by the Spirit and no longer by the flesh? Will we receive the rebuke, the correction and chastening of the Lord that brings us to repentance because we have quit holding God at a distance, surrendered our whole heart and said, “Yes Lord, I want all of you no matter what the cost.” Some of us need to make that commitment today in our lives. Perhaps we had in the past, but have found ourselves again compromised with the world. It was to the Church that Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Jesus is calling out for us to come back into right relationship with Him, to sup with Him, to “eat of His flesh and drink of His blood” so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. We can never give up anything in this life that the Lord requires of us but what it will result in so much more in Christ. Instead of holding God at a distance open your arms and embrace Him with a full commitment of your love and devotion. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelations 3:21-22).”

Blessings,
kent

Return to Your First Love

Revelations 2:4
Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Most of us have been in love and hopefully still are if we are married. Remember the thrill you felt to be with the one you loved. They were your desire, your focus and they filled your thoughts continually. All you could think about was them and how you wanted to be them when you were apart. Remember how your world revolved around that special person. There was no one else in the world like them. When you were away from them for an extended period your heart yearned for them or when you thought you might lose their love your heart grieved and broke. That was your first love.
Remember when you first came to Christ and the joy of salvation filled your heart. The Holy Spirit had given you a revelation of Christ’s great love for you and you fell so in love with Him. Many of the same emotions that you experienced with the human relationship of love, you experienced with Christ. He was the delight of your heart and you wanted Him to fill and be a part of everything you did. No greater joy and blessing was there than to be in His presence. He was so real to you and you vowed in your heart you would never leave Him or turn away from Him.
Many of you know that when you have been in a long-term relationship, such as marriage, with the person you love those feelings and emotions often subside over time. You still love them, but you take each other for granted a lot. All of those first feelings, emotions and passions of love have faded into a daily routine that often has lost it’s luster. After all, we have all of the demands of life upon us and so many other things competing for our time, attention or affection. We come to find we have left our first love.
As we have done this with our human relationships, we have most likely been guilty of doing it with Christ. Is He the passion, the love, the joy and the longing of your heart that He once was or have we slipped into complacency and lethargy concerning our love relationship with Him? Yes we still love Him, we are Christians and He is our Savior, but is He still our lover? Does our hearts still long and thirst after Him every day? Does He continually fill our thoughts and are we in constant communication with Him? Is He the praise on our lips and the song in our heart? We all so often fail in the area of neglecting our relationships. We can have many good attributes, but we don’t want to lose that “first love”. It is the passionate and fervent love that is always in pursuit of the object of its love and affection. Ask the Father to renew in you that passionate, fervent “first love” for Christ. Seek it out and lay hold of it again. It is vital to us individually and corporately if we are to be His bride, His Church and possess all that He has for us in Himself as our husband.

Blessings,
kent

Fear

July 16, 2013

Fear

1John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

It has been said that fear is the opposite of faith. How many places does fear have in your life? We recently did an exercise in a Christian business class where we listed ten things we would like to do if we had no fear of failing. Try it, you might be amazed at what you would do if you couldn’t fail. I found I would do things that perhaps I had never really dreamed of before. Being a rather prudent man when it comes to taking risk, I find I evaluate my situation more from the standpoint of seeing my glass half empty rather than half full. I can see all the reasons something can’t work or why it will probably fail. One of my goals is not to be presumptuous, but to step out in bold faith where the Lord is leading and do things out of my box.
How many of us become paralyzed by our fears. Our fear of death, our fear of sickness, our fear of lack of finances, losing our job, our children being hurt or becoming involved in harmful things, someone not continuing to love us and on and on. For many of us, our lives are consumed with fear and the bottom line is, this isn’t faith. Fear has torment and many of us are tormented daily by our anxieties and fears about so many aspects of our lives.
Perfect Love casts out fear. Close your eyes for a moment and picture yourself upon the lap of all mighty heavenly Father. You’re sitting there with your head against His breast and His loving arms surround you. In that place what do you feel? Do you have any fear in that place or do you see yourself just surrounded in the security, peace and the power of His love. It is a place where nothing can touch you unless it goes through the Father first. This is that place of perfect Love. It is a place you can dwell in all of the time. Do you know your position in Christ? Ephesians 2:6 says, “And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:” You see the Word says we are already in that place in Christ. How many of us are being robbed, tormented and have no peace because of fear. Fear is not knowing who you are and where you are in Christ. This kind of fear is not of the Spirit of God, it is Satan’s favorite tool to undermine your faith and confidence in God. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, ” For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God wants us to be free from our fears. For this to happen faith has to operate in the perfect love of the Father. We have that assurance that even when bad things happen to Christian people it is filtered through the Father. Even in our spiritual discipline there is love at work in our lives to bring us deeper into our walk with Him. This is why we must begin to declare the Word of God over our lives into our circumstances. ‘It is not the things that are seen that are real, but the things that are unseen.’ We must cease to just live out of our senses and lay hold of who and what we are in the sight of God. We are no longer just fleshly people; we are spiritual people who must live out of the Spirit of God. That is the real and that is the eternal. If we are going to fear anything, let us fear God in the sense that we take Him at His Word and reverence what He has spoken to us through it. Our fear is an insult to God, because we are telling Him we don’t trust in His perfect Love. Find the peace that is in His perfect Love and the fear will have no place to rear its dark ugly head in the light of God’s glory and grace.
The verse before our key scripture today in 1John 4:17 says, ” Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” Praise God, what a bold and wonderful statement. Take a moment to try and comprehend it. Christ is the example of what we are becoming in this earth and what we are to manifest to our world in Him. Fear is the lie that robs our faith and makes us impotent to carrying out the will and purpose of God in our lives.
Rebuke and bind the spirit of fear off of your life in the powerful name of Jesus. Begin to lay hold of the whole counsel of God and what He says you are and what you have in Him. Come into that place of confidence and assurance in His Perfect Love. Let faith arise in your hearts and live in the realm of faith, not circumstances. ‘You are more than a conqueror through Christ that has loved you.’ You are the child of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords and the God All Mighty what can this world or Satan do to you, or what does it matter?
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)”
“NO FEAR!!!”

Blessings,
kent

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