In the Midst of the Fiery Furnace

Daniel 3:21-25
Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their [other] garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnaceTherefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O kingHe answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Our account today is out of the book of Daniel. Again, this is a familiar story to many of us, but for those not familiar I will give a brief summation of the story to bring us up to the point we want to address today. I would encourage you to read this account out of Daniel 3 in Bible if you are not familiar with it.
The setting takes place in Babylon. The children of Israel have been taken captive and some of the choice young men of Israel have been brought into King Nebuchadnezzar’s court and trained up to serve the King. The chief and most prominent of these men is Daniel who doesn’t happen to be a part of this particular account. However, three other men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, godly men that Daniel has appointed with the King’s authority to rule over the affairs of Babylon, are the key players of this true drama. The King erects a huge golden image, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide (roughly ninety feet tall by nine feet wide). One might note the usage of six as the number of man used in the dimensions of this image. The King then has a dedication in which he invites all of the officials of his kingdom to come to. At the sound of the instruments all of these officials are ordered to bow down and worship this image with the consequences being that if anyone doesn’t comply they will be cast into the fiery furnace. Now, after this dedication, certain Chaldeans, officials of that country, came the King and brought to his attention that these Hebrews didn’t bow down as he instructed. I’m sure there was no, jealousy, covetousness or malice on their part toward the Hebrews. They were no doubt just doing their civic duty. At any rate this enraged the King who had the three Hebrews brought before him. He asked them if this account was true and then he offered them a second chance to fall down and worship the image with the consequences being the fiery furnace if they refused. It is a great testimony and example to us in how the three Hebrews replied,” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we [are] not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be [so], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver [us] out of thine hand, O king But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Hebrews 3:16-18). They knew God could deliver them, although they did not have a sure word that He would, they never the less had already resolved their stand in this matter, they would not bow down to false gods even at the cost of death. Well, this sent the king into a full-blown temper tantrum. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal and his strongest men to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, into the furnace. Note that seven is a divine number of God throughout scripture and well may indicate a divine judgement and purification in this case. The furnace is so hot that the heat consumes the mightiest of the men as they throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound in all of their garments and hats, into the furnace. As the king is able to look into the furnace, his account is as follows: ” Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Christ?).” The account of the story finishes by saying he called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to come out of the furnace. ” Then] Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed [be] the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon. ”
We have laid this foundation to say this, Hebrews 12:28-29, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God [is] a consuming fire.” As we look and see what God did for these Hebrew men, we can see what He wants to do for all of His faithful servants and children. The only thing that the fire can really touch is the bonds of the flesh that have bound us. If we are walking with Christ in us, the judgements and trials that befall us are doing but one thing, they are burning up the areas in our life that bring us into the bondage of the flesh. 1 Corinthians 3:11-16 tells us this, ” For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? ” One day our lives will stand in the fiery furnace of God judgement and our works will be tested by His fire. The exhortation is that God is not trying to destroy us, but He does want to burn up all the areas in our lives that hold us in bondage. He wants to set us free to truly walk with Christ even through the trials of life. So if you are going through the fire today let that be your encouragement, that all that is really being touched are the areas of our flesh while our spirit is being purified and refined. All of us are building on the foundation of Christ, but how we build and what we produce through our lives will have to stand the test of God’s fire. Revelations 3:18 gives us this exhortation, “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.” That gold, spoken of here, is the pure things of the Spirit that have been worked in us through our trials and testings. ‘ We learn obedience through the things we suffer.’ So hold fast in the place of the fire for in it is where we purchase the gold of His divine nature and Spirit within us. Let us build our lives with the things of the Spirit so they may stand in the day when they are revealed by the fire.

Blessings,
kent

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What does this New Man Look Like?

Colossians 3:9-11
9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

We have been talking about what this new man, who we are in Christ, is. What does this “new man” look like? Well, we know that this new man who is being renewed in the image of Christ is what we generally term a “Christian” or a “born again believer”. If you went out on the street or to different parts of the world and took a poll of random people, what do you think they would say a Christian should look like? No doubt we would get multiple answers and opinions. Some might say it can only be a certain race people, or only males can be Christians, or only certain religions or denominations can be Christians. What does the Word say a Christian is? It says it is a person that “is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” In other words it is one that looks in their behavior to be like Christ. It is one who doesn’t think like the world thinks, but is aligning their thoughts, goals and lifestyle with the Word and the will of God. It plainly says here that there is no outward distinction or discrimination of sex, color, race or creed that defines you as a “new man or person in Christ”. The transformation is within and is expressed without. The defining factor is that Christ is all and is in all. In the Christian’s mind and heart this should be at the forefront of all of our thinking, all of our plans, all of our goals and in all that we are. Is Christ everything? If He is everything in you and I, then what are we going to look like, what are we going to reflect, emulate, and express? What is going to be our nature and character? It is Christ for He is all and in all. He is what our life is all about. He should now define who we are.
Now being honest for just a moment, how many of us can say that is totally where we are at in our thinking, in our lifestyles and in our behavior? What we have to grasp and get a hold of is that Christ wants Christians who are wholly identified with Him. In other words He is to become our identity. What does Christian mean? It means “little Christs”. In the Old Testament to be one of God’s people you had to be one of the circumcision, that defined you as set apart for God. The New Testament tells us in Philippians 3:3, “3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— ” Natural circumcision could only apply to males, but spiritual circumcision, which is the removal of our fleshly heart and attitude, giving place to the headship of Christ in our lives, knows no gender, but is applicable to all. This new garment we are putting on is a spiritual garment that is in the likeness of Him who created us. That is our purpose and our reason for being. We are to be the expression of Christ in the earth. It is Him living through us. Is that what our world is seeing in the majority of Christianity today? Do they really see anything that looks much different than them except in name only? Are they able to see the difference in our behavior, our integrity, our divorce rate or family life? The truth we face is that most all of us are missing the mark. Christ really isn’t our all in all, He is only part of our all. We must all come to the place of prayerfully, honestly, and with a broken and contrite heart defining who we really are. Maybe we are somewhere between dirty underwear and blue jeans and a clean shirt, but we haven’t fully put off the old man with his former deeds. There is a tremendous work of transformation that needs to take place in most of us. God can only work in us, as we are willing to relinquish our will to His. James says, “a double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.” How many of us are abiding in that place of only being lukewarm for God? He is not our everything; He has become our occasional, our “when I feel like it”, if it is convenient, and when it is acceptable in my circle of friends. What is Christ to us? Is He the garment that we put on every morning and wear everyday or has He become something much less? God has called us and provided for us to be so much more than we have been. It is time for us to rise up and answer the trumpet that is sounding and calling us back to our faith, our full commitment and confidence in Christ. He must be our all and who is in all. Christ in us, is our hope of glory.

Blessings,
kent

Live for Life

September 26, 2013

Live for Life

Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

When God breathed into man the breath of life He gave man something that no other living creature had, an eternal spirit and soul. As there are three forms of expression in God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; so there are three expressions of man: spirit, soul and body. This is brought out plainly in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” While animals are organisms that have the breath of life, this form of life only exists as long as the organism is living. We have that same form of life working in our bodies. We also have another form of life; it is spirit life that God breathed into us. It is what connects us to the spiritual world. We wear this physical body to give expression to the soul which is made up of the mind, will and emotions of man. Your soul is your distinct personality and person. The physical body is the temporary residence that houses and allows this soul its expression. The spirit is the inter-most entity contained within the soul. It is the Holy of Holies, if you will, of a man. The spirit is where we connect with forces beyond the natural realm. The soul is the processing center of both the natural and the spiritual realm. It becomes the battleground in which all the dramas of natural and spiritual life are played out.
Adam and Eve fell from a state of spiritual life and living when they disobeyed God and sinned in the Garden. With them fell all of mankind back into a state of natural life and living. While man still possessed a spirit it was dead to the life of God in its natural state. In this state, darkness and spiritual ignorance hid the face of God from man. While man may have given up on God, thank God, He has never given up on man. God’s whole plan of the ages has been to bring us back to the place of restoration of that which was lost. His desire is to set us again in heavenly places in right relationship with Him. Ephesians 2: 1-6 says, “And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus.” Satan, the perpetrator of death has come to rob, steal and destroy. But God has sent His Son to redeem that, which was lost, because He is the author and perpetrator of Life, Spiritual Life. He has come to quicken these dead spirits of ours that we might begin again to enter into the spiritual life we had lost. In this knowledge and the quickening of His grace and life in us, we no longer live and operate out of the natural man. We understand that this man of the natural is soon to pass away, but it is the spiritual man within and his condition that determines our spiritual destiny of life or death.
Romans 8: 1-2 says, “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Herein is stated the two laws under which a man can live, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus or the law of sin and death.” As believers we have chosen the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ. As such it is important to us that we maintain within our souls the reality and gravity of whom we now are in Christ. It is in living in this life principle in Christ that we truly live and move and have our being in Him. It is in this law of life that we come into the knowledge and revelation of who God really is and His relationship with us. It is in this law of life that we begin to live out the purpose for which we were created and exist. There is now a paradigm shift in our thinking and our living that moved the center of our universe from us to Him. Now everything revolves around our God, because we realize and embrace the fact and the truth that we are first spiritual creatures, quicken in these mortal bodies to live lives to the glory of our Creator. We have and are coming out of the place of self expression to the place of God expression where now it is the life principle of Christ in us that is expressing the life of God to a world that is still in darkness and ignorance of Him. We are His lights and His instruments of God expression. So each day as we live in this natural life in these natural bodies, let us live out the higher principle of the eternal life in Christ that resides now within our spirit and soul. May our bodies become the expression of His Spirit and righteousness as we live by the Spirit out of the law of LIFE.

Blessings,
kent

Rejected

September 25, 2013

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<777@cox.net>

Trickles of Truth:  Rejected – Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainte
 

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<777@cox.net>

Trickles of Truth:  Three Dimensions of Jacob – Three Dimensions of Jacob Genesis 32:22-32 That night Jacob got up and took
 

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<777@cox.net>

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<777@cox.net>

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<777@cox.net>

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Isaiah 53:3

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 



Rejected


Rejection is an attribute that many of us must bear as a privilege of the Cross and all that it represents.  In John 15:18 Jesus tells us, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.”  We are quite likely to face this rejection if we haven’t already, in this road of Christ that we are traveling.  Especially the closer that we walk with Him and the more that we become like Him.  Rejection is one of the bitter herbs of the Passover Lamb that we must partake of as we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood.  

When you are walking in the Spirit and doing the works of the Father don’t be discouraged when you are rejected.  You are not the one that  is being rejected, but it is the Holy Spirit that they resist and revile.  We do not walk this road to be receiver the praise and accolades of men.  We walk it to be well pleasing and obedient to our Father who has called us out of darkness to walk in His marvelous light.  The deceitfulness of sin will always reject that light, because it exposes the darkness.  John 3: 19-21 tells us plainly, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.””

Do not fear rejection because it is part of the journey; rather let that rejection encourage you that you are walking in the light as He is in the light.  

Some of us face rejection for other reasons than spiritual ones.  You also need to be encouraged in the Lord.  Sometimes our rejection comes through no real fault of our own and for others it may come as a result of our own actions or sins.  Here is what the Lord says in Psalms 51:7, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”   It really matters not what man thinks of us.  What is important is where we are at in our relationship with the Lord.  He is the one that we don’t want to be rejected by.  He tells us that if we will get our heart attitude right before Him in contrition, brokeness and repentance that He will not despise or reject us.  It doesn’t matter what your sin has been, how perverse or horrendous, if you will come to Him with a broken and contrite heart in true repentance God’s love is great enough to forgive those sins and Christ’s blood is powerful enough to wash that sin away and cast it as far as the east is from the west.  

Whatever area we may be facing rejection, know that it is the Lord we must be right with and that we must fear.  Matthew 10:28 exhorts us, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Only God can do that.  

Be not concerned with the rejection that is from men, but be right with the Lord in that place of rejection.   

 
Blessings,
kent
 
 
 

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

September 24, 2013

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

2 Timothy 4:14-18
Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

How many of us have been living life on a pretty even keel. We are getting along pretty well in our social relationships with people, living, what we feel, is a relatively good Christian life and testimony and then it happens. Some one comes into your life that train wrecks you emotionally and possibly in many other ways as well. Quite possibly they have come to you under the guise of another Christian Brother or Sister who loves the Lord. Maybe, initially you have sat and had great fellowship with them. They have won your friendship, trust and confidence and then it happens. At first some things start not adding up, there are seeming misunderstandings or miscommunications. Eventually it becomes evident that they are lying to you. They have been manipulating and using you as long as they could for their own gain or cause. Perhaps they are slandering you, spreading vicious rumors and trying to destroy your reputation. This is especially true if you are trying to expose them for who they are. What is worse is that they are still below the radar of most of their other associations, so most still perceive them as this wonderful spiritual person. Whether they are still perceived as spiritual or not you find yourself duped and taken advantage of. When you confront them they are always full of false promises of restitution and reconciliation or in total denial, turning it back on you as having the problem. What do you do with someone like that?
These types of people are probably much like those Paul describes in 1Timothy 3, when he talks about those who come having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was (1 Timothy 3:1-9).” What is disturbing is the emotional and spiritual destruction they leave in their wake. They often come defrauding honest people, deceiving, manipulating and betraying those who have embraced them in Christian love and fellowship. They often bring division and strife, as they turn brother against brother and sow the seeds of discord. Sometimes you would wonder if even they realize that they are the instrument of satan rather than the instrument of God.
The Word tells us that there will be those wolves in sheep’s clothing that will come among and try and destroy and undermine the work of God. We must guard our hearts, for their greatest strength is gained when they get us into the flesh, operating out of emotion and feelings, rather than out of the spirit. If we are able to rather stand in the Lord, entering into the fortress of prayer and lifting up a spiritual standard against this spirit, in time it will be broken. When we become frustrated, angry and discouraged, we tend to want to fall back upon the arm of the flesh to fight our battles. What did Moses do when Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses? Jannes and Jambres were thought to be the Pharaoh’s Egyptian sorcerers and magicians. It is interesting that Jambres name means, poverty, bitter and a rebel. What Moses did was let the Lord be His authority and vindicate his position. God will vindicate the righteous, but it may not be before there is great persecution. Again our lesson is to be discerning of men, stand our ground based on the Word of God and through prayer and confidence in God allow God to go before us in battle, so that we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Blessings,
kent

How Serious are We?

September 23, 2013

Matthew 11:12 (Amplified)
And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize—a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].

How Serious are We?

God is looking for violent men and women, not in the sense of destruction and hurt, but violent in the sense of zeal and determination. We live in the midst of a complacent church, fat, full of itself and, in its own eyes, having need of nothing. Because it has need of nothing, it has the power to do nothing. It is like a cow fattened in the pasture thinking it has it all and not realizing that it is ripe for the sacrifice.
In this hour God is sounding a trumpet and a call to arms. He is looking for violent men and women who are no longer content with mediocrity and religion. He is raising up a hungry people that are coming forth to seize the kingdom of God by force. They are serious about a relationship with their God and they will allow nothing to dissuade them from the blessing and the promise they have in Christ Jesus. They are God-chasers, kingdom warriors and believers of the highest order. They often don’t sit well with the religious system, because they have become radical in their pursuit of truth and power and love. They no longer are content to sit with the masses on Sunday morning, because they are intent upon breaking through to get their answer and see their miracle.
The Lord gave me this scripture as an example in Luke 5:17-26: “One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”” These friends of the paralytic are examples of the kind of violence that we are talking about. Even though everything in the natural told them that they couldn’t get through to Jesus; they just needed to be one of the crowd, they refused to be denied. They started thinking and acting out of the box. They had such faith and confidence in Jesus that they knew that if they could just reach Him they could have what they were petitioning Him for. It was no different with the woman with the issue of blood. She believed if she could just touch the hem of Jesus’ garment she would be healed. God is looking for a people with that kind of tenacity and faith. They refuse to be denied. They are violent kingdom people that will storm the gates of heaven with prayer, intercession and acts of faith until they have laid hold of the promises of God.
If God has given you a word or a promise you hold on to it and you fight for it. Don’t allow the enemy to rob it from you. Just because it has been a long time, it hasn’t come to pass and everything in the natural says that it can’t happen. God is a God that keeps His covenant and He is a promise keeper. That is not to say that you will not be tested and tried. Hebrew 10:23 says, “Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)” Stand in the battle and fight the good fight of faith and keep your confession. Take your promises before God often and speak to Him out loud that you are standing upon His promises and that you refuse to be denied. Fight the good fight of faith and don’t relinquish the promise. It is yours. He gave it to you and He gave it to us. Now let us become a violent body of Christ who are content with no less than all that God has promised to us. Let us take it with violence, zeal and uncompromising faith. He has created you to prevail and to have dominion. How serious are you?

Blessings,
kent

Three Dimensions of Jacob

September 20, 2013

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 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 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 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?
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 man 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 what 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

1 John 4:7-12
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

The Most Powerful Force in the World

The most powerful force that we can possess and know is the power of God’s love. We, as Christians, certainly know and believe that God is the most powerful source because He is the creator and originator of all things. Here in 1 John 4 we have a definition of who God is. “God is love.” It only follows, as the scriptures tell us, that the true sense and definition of love is only born out of God; therefore everyone that truly loves is born of God and knows God.
We often hear the argument of non-believers that if God is love how can He allow all of the suffering and violence that goes on in the world. That suffering and violence isn’t the act of God’s will, it is the act of man’s will that has rejected the love of God. The darkness that pervades our world is really that absence of God’s light and love in their souls. God’s love isn’t selfish and controlling. God in His love gave us free will and choice to accept or reject His love. Even though mankind had chosen to reject the love of God, it doesn’t mean that it lessened the love of God for us. God still demonstrated His exceedingly great love for us in that while we were yet sinners, He ‘sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins’. This demonstration of love is what should resonate in us as we have seen, acknowledged and accepted this love of God in our hearts. When we became new creatures in Christ Jesus, His DNA was infused into us. The make-up of who He is, is Love. The power and presence of Christ in a person is not in how well they can orate the gospel, or the works they can accomplish or even the miracles they can do. The true evidence of God in your life is the power and the demonstration of His love in you and through you. It is the love of God that energizes us and empowers us to live a life that is outside the selfish love of self. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love ourselves, because even God loves us. It means that all that energy we used to put into pleasing ourselves we now put into serving others. What is it to love others as you love yourself if it is not gaining for others what you would have gained for yourself. It should be evident that the love of God then shifts the focus of our love from self to first loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and then serving others with the same love we would serve ourselves.
As we face each new day what is the motivation and the goal of our life and heart? Is it simply to further our own agenda or is it in the challenge of changing the world around us through the power of God’s love that resides in us? You don’t really have the power to change anyone’s life but your own, but when your life comes into alignment with God’s love and purpose you can be sure the world will change around you. It is God’s ultimate purpose that His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It is His will and purpose to ultimately restore all of creation through His power and love, but right now that begins with you and me. It begins with God’s kingdom coming within us and His will being done in us, in this earthen body and as it is in heaven. The revelation of that Kingdom is God’s love revealed in you.

blessings,
kent

Buffet

September 18, 2013

Buffet

2 Corinthians 12:7
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

The word buffet means to strike with the fist, give one a blow with the fist, to maltreat or treat with violence. This is one of only two places where this word occurs. In both cases the outward violence is prompted by a spiritual influence. Here Paul speaks of the afflictions in his flesh brought about by a messenger of satan. The implication here is that God permitted satan to afflict or beat up on Paul for the purpose of keeping pride in check.
The other scripture deals with Jesus, when the religious leaders are examining Him. “And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands (Mark 14:65).” We might observe that these buffetings were physical afflictions or attacks brought by satanic influence, but permitted by God.
The question then becomes why does God allow bad things to happen to good people. Why would God allow Jesus or Paul or any of us to be buffeted by satan, especially in light of the fact that he is a defeated foe. Hebrews 5:8-10 tells us of Jesus, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” The one principle we learn here is that in the place of suffering we learn obedience and submission. Paul says this in Romans 8:18, “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.” When we desire and press in to rising above our earthly state we are often met with great spiritual resistance. Of course we cry out to God, but God doesn’t always immediately remove our trial and test. Perfection in us is not brought about by our deliverance from every unpleastantry, but by our steadfast fast faith and obedience to overcome in the midst of trial and testing. It is counting God faithful even in the face of failure, defeat or loss.
Why would God be so hard on us? The condition of every precious jewel and precious metal, in it’s raw state, is mostly earth and dross and impurities, that’s us. God is the master jeweler, the great potter and the master craftsman of His creation. What He is working in you and I are nothing short of perfection and stunning beauty in His eyes. What we feel in the process is often rejected, persecuted, abused, afflicted, cast down. We are not so unlike Paul’s description in 2 Corinthians 4:7-8, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” Satan is simply a tool or hammer in the left hand of God. While Satan may have delusions of destroying our faith, God’s intent is to test it, try it and temper it, dealing with it and burning away all of the impurities. He is giving us eyes for only Him, so that no matter our circumstance, rich or poor, sickness or health, success or failure, Christ is all and in all. Like Paul, we cry out for God to deliver us, but often His answer to us is the same that He gave to Paul, “My grace is sufficient.”
You are not enduring this buffeting because God hates you, or despises you, or is mad at you. You have been counted worthy to suffer the cross. You have been called to come into the ranks of the saints who ‘overcome by the word of their testimony and the blood of the Lamb; and they loved not their lives unto death (Revelations 12:11).’ Revelations 12:17 says, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This is you and I.
If you are buffeted today rejoice in the love of God and that He has counted you worthy to be the ultimate instrument of His victory, glory and praise. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans 8:37)”.

Blessings,
kent

Stepping Up

September 17, 2013

Stepping Up

Ephesians 4:15
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:

Our walk in Christ is a progressive one; it is a journey that each day should bring us a little more into His character and likeness. If we charted it on a graph I doubt that for very many of us it would look like this smooth sloped line starting at zero and going up. The truth is we would probably see dips and rises. Sometimes it is like we go two steps back to take one forward. Some days we can be so discouraged with life or ourselves that we just want to give up and sometimes we may even do that for a time. Life is a series of ups and downs and we all know that on the surface it is easier live a sweet Christian life when things are going well. When we are caught up in the Spirit and we are feeling and experiencing the Lord’s presence and blessing in our lives it can be like we have heaven on earth. The reality is, we know that we can experience hell on earth well. There can be those times in life when all that we know and held dear is pulled out from under us. Our world can be turned upside down in a heart beat. One thing you can count on in life is that nothing stays the same. It is these experiences in our lives that are the testing and proving grounds of our faith. The adversities in life are what exercise our muscles of faith and sound the depths of our character and integrity. Often it is when we feel spiritual the least that we grow the most. Our Father always sees the big picture where we can only see the next hundred feet. The one thing we have to be committed too is that come heaven or hell, our lives are wholly His. We are His garden, to prune, to dig around, to water or however He decides to deal with us individually. What we can hold fast too are the facts and truths that ‘He loves us with an everlasting love’, ‘He is able to complete the good work He began in us’, ‘He will never leave us of forsake us’ and ‘all things work together for the good of them that are called according to His purpose.’
The important thing for all of us in Christ is that we maintain a focus and vision of continual faithfulness toward the Lord. The enemy of our souls has continual roadblocks, diversions, disasters, and snares to discourage, get us off track and get us back into that mindset of the flesh and the world. We must maintain a continual vigilance of our souls and we need one another to help us see the things that we often don’t see in ourselves. Our spiritual transformation and progression is not something we accomplish in and of ourselves. Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” That is why our walking in the Spirit is so important. Walking in the Spirit is where we experience His righteousness, His freedom, His strength and power through us to overcome sin and temptation and deliverance from evil. It is where we walk in the company of the Strong One, the Wise One, and the Faithful One. It is in Him and our continual union and fellowship with Him that we experience growth from glory to glory as 2 Corinthians 3:18 puts it, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Every day should be a progressive walk in the Spirit, irregardless of what life circumstances are. Each day should be a stepping stone of faith and trust that brings us up higher and transforms us into His likeness. Keep your eyes upon Him and your walk in the Spirit. Let each day be another step up into the glory that is before us.

Blessings,
kent

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