Longsuffering

January 31, 2014

 

Longsuffering


Ephesians 4:1-3

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 

 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

 

Longsuffering, patience, forbearance are all attributes of our heavenly Father and those that are to be a part of our nature and behavior as we walk in the Spirit.  Many of us might have to admit that longsuffering and patience is not one of our stronger areas.  We have goals, agendas, deadlines and most of us are in the rat race of moving a hundred miles an hour through life trying to get as effectively and quickly from one point to the next in the shortest amount of time.  Time is a commodity that is precious to us.  There never seems to be enough of it.  We are usually rushing from the time our feet hit the floor until, exhausted, we fall into bed.  Invariably in our race through life there are the slow pokes, the obstacles, the things that don’t go right, the obstructions to what we have our eyes fixed on as our next destination.  Those are the things that raise our blood pressure, push our buttons and often cause us to get very irritable and impatient. Without realizing it we want everyone to be patient with us when we take our slow sweet time, or impede the procession of life in some way, but we have a hard time dealing with being on the other end.  All of these objectives we have and time crunches we are in make it very hard for us to be patient and longsuffering.  The human element and personalities of others often just drive us up the wall, because they aren’t meeting our expectations.   

We can even see the frustration of God’s heart when He deals with us time after time, after time with areas of our lives and we don’t seem to want to change or lay hold of it.  We read the rebukes of Jesus sometimes, even with the disciples, because what should be plain, they don’t get.  Yet Jesus doesn’t scream and shout, throw up His hands and walk away, He forbears with them.  All of us are aware in dealing with the dynamics of human relationships we can all become frustrated, which can lead to impatience and anger.  Then we end up acting and saying things that latter we feel like a horse’s rear end for having done.  

Think about Sunday morning, you’re trying to get ready and get to church on time, but somebody is in slow mode.  You hate walking in after things have already started, but its looking like you are going to be late again.  Frustration is building, you continue to ask if they are about ready, the other person begins to get irritated with your irritation and impatience, words start to be exchanged and before you know it war has broken out.  The trip to church is an exchange of angry words, frustrations and by the time you arrive, you at your spiritual best.  

The enemy is at work to always rob our peace and rest in Christ.  Sometimes our longsuffering is brought about through a lot of prayer and tongue biting.  The flesh, emotions and feelings are often hard to contain and maintain.  Isn’t it wonderful that we get so many opportunities to practice?  Most all of us struggle in these areas, but we must always be reminded that our position is that of the servant and putting others before ourselves.  It is often these surface issues of impatience that cause us to miss the deeper needs of people and how God would have us to minister to them.  We always have to remind ourselves that God’s business is our priority and not our own.  Sometimes I think God puts obstacles in our way to force us to slow down.  I’m convicted that I don’t want to become and be like God’s people of old, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them (Matthew 13:15).”  Where would you and I be today without the longsuffering of our Father?  We wouldn’t even exist.    

Sometimes the one I get most impatient with is myself, for all the stupid mistakes I make and all of the things I forget, but then, if it does nothing else, it should serve to give me patience and longsuffering with others; being as forbearing with them as I must be with myself.  As the Australian’s say, “ No worries mate.”  Let’s slow done and be aware of how God wants to move in us and though us, even in those often frustrating times and events that touch our lives.  We are learning to be His expression and that can only come through longsuffering and patience.

 
Blessings,
kent
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A Measure of Faith

January 30, 2014

 

A Measure of Faith


Romans 12:3

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith


This experience we call being a Christian and partaking of God’s salvation through Christ has one key element that we all have to start with, and that is faith.  It starts with faith to believe upon Christ and receive that which we cannot see into our hearts.   We start our walk with God and we enter into His saving grace because we heard a Word and by that Word we believed in our heart and acted upon it by praying a sinner’s prayer, asking Christ into our hearts.  For all of us to have taken this first step into a Christian walk we had to have a measure of faith.  The Word says here in Romans 12:3 that, “God has dealt every man the measure of faith.”  Now this faith will be common in many ways to the faith of other believers, but it will also develop its own personality because each of us has been given different gifts and abilities by the Holy Spirit.  All of us grow and function out of the faith that works through our lives.  As we begin to grow in faith and act out of faith we learn a reliance not on ourselves and our abilities, but upon God’s ability to channel Himself through these earthly vessels as we yield and trust Him to do so.  

Jesus, in His ministry and walk upon this earth, told us that He didn’t do His own will, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me (John 5:30).”  Even Jesus is demonstrating through His earthly ministry that His life is functioning not in self-will or purpose but as an extension of the Father to do His will and speak His Words into the earth.  In Christ we see the full measure of faith in operation as the Godhead is channeled through His life through the full surrender of His will to the Father.   In the wilderness the account of Matthew 4:3-4 says the tempter came to Jesus and told Him He could turn these stones into bread, but Jesus knew that His life was not about what He could do, that would have only given place to pride and self-reliance.  Instead, He said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” He is communicating a profound revelation that my life is not about me; it is about the Father.  His Word is life, substance and reality.  At that moment, that statement didn’t make Jesus any less hungry, but Jesus knew and expressed that the spiritual realities of God’s Word superseded the natural realities of His hunger and present physical condition.  Throughout the trial Jesus faced, in a place of great physical exhaustion, His focus was on the Father and His strength and confidence was in the Word.  

We live in a natural world where we are constantly assaulted with trials and tribulations.  Whether they are physical, financial, emotional, family, work or any number of other things, problems are a part of our lives.  We have an enemy whose sole purpose is to rob, steal, kill and destroy.  Our faith is at the top of his hit list.  Our reality, as children of God, must be based foremost on the Word of God.  The enemy’s strategy is to divert our attention from what God’s Word says to what our circumstances and natural reality is telling us.  Jesus didn’t deny that He was hungry, but the basis of His obedience and trust was based on the Word of God, not his hunger.  We have to exercise our faith to exalt God’s Word above our circumstances and natural realities.  2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”  Spiritual reality is first to the spiritually minded, natural reality is second and subject to the first.  If ‘faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,’ as Romans 10:17 declares, then God’s Word is what we listen too, His promises are what we rely on, His Word is our declaration and profession over the obstacles in our lives that we face.  Our hope and confidence in that Word stands in the gap, our profession of His Truth and our praise in the midst of our battle, release the forces of heaven till faith has its manifestation in the natural.  Ephesians 6:10-13 tells us, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  

As we exercise the measure of faith that God has given each one of us we will see His faithfulness, but it will not come without it stretching us from where we are to where He wants to take us.  Fix your eyes upon Jesus, set your heart upon His Word and rest upon His Promises.  That measure of faith will grow as you mature and exercise that daily and constant trust in Him. 

 
Blessings,
kent

Treasure Life

January 29, 2014

 

Treasure Life


Psalms 17:14-15

14 O LORD, by your hand save me from such men, 

       from men of this world whose reward is in this life. 

       You still the hunger of those you cherish; 

       their sons have plenty, 

       and they store up wealth for their children. 

15 And I—in righteousness I will see your face; 

       when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.


Those who have come into spiritual understanding of God’s plan through Christ Jesus have come into an understanding that real life isn’t about the here and now.  We grasp that beyond this time and dimension, we live, walk and are pressing into life eternal.  It is a life and treasure that we contain in these earthen vessels with their limitations and weaknesses.  It is a light that shines in proportion to the amount we live unto this God life as opposed to our natural life.  Like moths drawn to the temporary pleasures and gains of this world we are often drawn to the flame of our passions and desires that will only consume us and frustrate the purpose and will of God for our lives.  What life is it that we treasure most of all?  Is it a life of hedonism, self-indulging pleasures and earthly wealth that we seek or do we have an eye and heart for the greater treasure, the eternal treasure, the treasure of God’s life and intimate fellowship.  

Look at Moses for a moment.  Here he is the prince of Egypt, the most powerful and influential country of its time.  He had it all at his disposal, power, wealth, authority and all of the pleasures of this life.  He had every thing that most of us have only dreamed about. Hebrews 11:24-27 tells us, “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he looked unto the recompense of reward.  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.”  God has given His people insight and spiritual vision to see beyond this present earthly realm and momentary pleasures.  Because of the faith we have in this vision we are willing to forsake all things, endure all things and count it all lost that we might win Christ.  What does Paul tell us about the excellency of the knowledge of Christ?  Philippians 3:7-14, “Howbeit what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ.  Yea, verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” 

Treasure Life, the life that lifts us and holds promise beyond this present temporal existence; the life that leads us into the promises of the divine nature and the fullness of His presence. “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”

 
Blessings,
kent

Anger

January 28, 2014

 

Anger


Ephesians 4:26

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 

 

 

Anger is an emotion that we all experience, some of us more than others and some of us more frequently than others.  Anger is not a sin in itself any more than our other emotions are a sin.  We see many scriptures throughout the Word of God that speak of His anger and wrath.  There are times when anger is good.  Without it we can become too lethargic and complacent about things. Mediocrity can be just as destructive as anger.  We all need a little passion and fire in us.  

While God has given us emotions from which we express ourselves and our souls through our feelings, desires and passions, He doesn’t want us to be ruled by them.  Anger is such an emotion. There are going to be times when we are angry.  That is just an emotion and feeling we are going to have.  We may have great justification for our anger. Anger can be the pressure relief valve on our soul.  It can allow us to get out of us the pressure of emotions that have built up within us and that can be a good thing. What we must be careful of is that our anger does not rule over our spirit, because it is an emotion of the soul, but rather it should be subject to the control of our spirit.  If left uncontrolled, it can and will become ugly and destructive. It can cause us to say and do things that are harmful and unwise.  It can fester into bitterness and unforgiveness that are destructive and self-defeating to us.  It can alienate and destroy relationships. It can bring us to a place of hate, strife, malice and murder in our hearts.  If we become given over to anger, then the flesh will rule and destructive things will happen.

Galatians 5:22-23 talks to us about the fruit of the Spirit, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  If we are living under the control of the Holy Spirit, most of these attributes serve to keep our anger in check.  It doesn’t mean we won’t ever experience anger and we shouldn’t ever have it.  Anger can be good if it motivates us to action in a positive way.  Sometimes it causes us to quit tolerating some sin or injustice that we have allowed for far too long.  There is a righteous anger that comes out of our spirit.  Sin and rebellion are a couple of the things that we see angering God quite often.  The thing about God’s anger that we must always be mindful of is that His nature is Love and even His anger is motivated and controlled by His nature.   

The Word exhorts us not to be quickly given too anger.  If you are a hot head that flies off the handle at every little thing, the Spirit of God is not rulin’ your emotions.  You are out of control. When anger does come, be careful to get yourself in the spirit of prayer so that God may work through your anger and not your flesh.  After it has had its place, then get over it.  Let it go and don’t hold on to it to let it fester and bring defilement to your spirit and to others.  If you leave food too long it becomes moldy, spoiled and full of bacteria, which is rottenness.   Anger can be the same way.  Allow the Love of God to be greater than your anger and have dominion over it.  Go ahead and be angry at times, but don’t let sin work through it and don’t hold on to it for more than a day, “let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”   Give it to the Lord and allow Him to work through it a positive thing.

 
Blessings,
kent

Zion

January 27, 2014

salm 132:13-18

For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling:

14“This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it—

15I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food.

16I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints will ever sing for joy.

17“Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one.

18I will clothe his enemies with shame,


Zion


Many of us may know that Zion was a stronghold or hill in pre-Israelite time.  David captured this hill from the Jebusites as described in 2 Samuel 5:6-7, “The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” 7Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.”  This is where David  takes up residence.  Here, in Psalms 132, Zion is referred to as the desired dwelling of God, His resting place where He eternally dwells and where He is enthroned.  In the natural it was the high place and stronghold of Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, the place of headship, rulership, authority and kingdom.

Verse 17 says, “Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one.  I will clothe his enemies with shame.”  A horn is a “strong one”  What we gather from the scripture and from how Zion and Jerusalem are described in the spiritual sense, we can see by the Spirit that the natural Jerusalem and Zion are only a shadow of a heavenly Zion and Jerusalem.  King David, is a type of Christ that has come to reclaim and conquer what satan has stolen and gained possession of.  Zion represents the spirit of man which was God breathed and owned but which fell into the enemies’ hands through Adam’s disobedience.  Christ Jesus is the King of Kings that reclaimed Zion upon Calvary.  Hebrews 2:8-11 says, “and put everything under his feet.”

In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”

That is a scripture to meditate upon for there is a wealth of truth in what is said here.  Jesus conquered Zion which is represented in the redemption of mankind.  Christ is that horn, that “strong one”  Psalms 132:17 refers to, but more than that, He has become the eternal resting place and dwelling place of God.  The awesome thing is that we are “in Christ” which brings us into and makes us a part of Zion.  Didn’t Hebrews 2 just say, “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”  We, the IN-Christed Ones, are that Zion and Jerusalem of God.  We are His holy people and the place of His habitation, because our spirits are in Christ.  What we await is the New Jerusalem, the city of God to come down out of the spirit and manifest itself in this natural world.  Christ, Himself will lead that descent.  

Revelations 21:1-4 declares, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Do you see that New Jerusalem is not just a location, it is a person.  It is the bride of Christ.  Christ in His people.  Praise God! 

There could be so much more written and said about this, but I just felt Father wanted to give us a foretaste of what Zion is all about.  

 
Blessings,
kent

Only Believe

January 24, 2014

 

Only Believe


Matthew 5:35-36

While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s [house certain] which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

 

 

This is the word the Lord is speaking into my heart.  How much of our lives are filled with fear, doubt, unbelief, lack of confidence and feelings of inadequacy?  How far are we living under our potential in Christ because of these limitations in our lives?  We still judge and evaluate our lives out of the standards of the world.  Many of us look at ourselves and all we see is our weaknesses, our inabilites, our poverty and our lack.  We walk about with our head hung down in shame and condemnation because we only see what we don’t have and what we are not.  

Beloved, that yoke and that mentality are the chains and prison of the enemy.  Why are we so willing to believe the lie rather than believe God’s Word about us?  I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of living in the limitation of my natural man and little thinking.  Isn’t it time that we step out into the awesome expanse and possibilities of God’s promises and word?  Little faith and lack of faith are accompanied by one thing, fear.  Fear equals one thing and that is spiritual defeat.  When we are fearful and unbelieving we cannot and will not embrace the powerful possibilities and promises of God.  

The children of Israel, after they came out of Egypt, could have entered in and possessed their inheritance forty years sooner had it not been for their fear and unbelief.  Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan in order to spy out the land, ten of them came back with a natural minded mentality.  Only two came back with a God mentality of faith.  Because the people embraced and believed the report of the ten spies they failed to enter in because of unbelief.  They all saw the same thing, why were there reports and recommendations different?  Ten of the spies saw the giants in the land and the fierceness of the people.  Joshua and Caleb saw it with the eyes of faith.  While they agreed there were giants in the land they saw how much greater and bigger their God was than these people.  They knew that if God went before them, even the giants of the land would be no match for them.  Are we still living in that mentality where we are cowering down to the giants in our land and in our lives?  We will never see the supernatural in our lives as long as we are living in that realm of fear and doubt.  Isn’t it time we got up off our defeated bottoms and begin to declare with authority and faith the Word of our Almighty God?  In our complacency and apathy we can dwell quietly in the shadow of our oppressor who has discouraged us from the great things that God has for us.  We have to be willing to fight the good fight of faith if we want to see the benefits and the power of our freedom in Christ.   Many of us are no different than the people who have lived under a dictatorship, it has become such a way of life, and even though it is miserable we have accepted it as the norm.   Yes, it is true when you rise up in faith and begin to press into what is your inheritance in Christ you will be met with great opposition, but who are you looking at, the enemy or your God that goes before you into battle?  We are the sons of God, why are we still content to wallow in the world’s mess and bondage?  Romans 8:17 says, “And if children, then heirsheirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.”  

Are you going to suffer in the process, probably?  Did Christ Jesus suffer to conquer sin and death for us?  Yes.  Are we any better than Him?  

Romans 8:18-21 goes on to declare, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”  How can we set creation free when we ourselves are still living in the bondage and intimidation of the enemy who wants us only to look at what we have not, rather than what we do have in Christ.  We have the capability of possessing kingdom promises if we will rise up in the faith and confidence of our God and His Word and by the power of His might to go in and possess it.  What does it take?  ONLY  BELIEVE!   

 
Blessings,
kent

The Hidden Things

January 23, 2014

 

The Hidden Things


Psalms 18:11

He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him [were] dark waters [and] thick clouds of the skies.

 It is hard to conceive of God in all of His light, glory and splendor being able to go where darkness would not be dispelled before Him.  I began the think about the workings of God and how they are so often shrouded in the darkness of our understanding.  Spiritually there are so many things that we don’t understand and to the natural man many of the ways of God are foolishness and myth to his way of thinking.  

How many dynamics and workings of God are taking place in our lives, even today that we are totally unaware of?  If we are trying to grasp and understand God with our natural mind, then He is hidden to us.  Does that mean that we can’t grasp and understand the personal workings of God in our lives?  We can’t comprehend with the natural mind, but we have another mind that can comprehend the mysteries of God.  1 Corinthians 2:9-12 tells us, “9However, as it is written: 

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”  It is the mind of the Spirit of God within us that unveils to our understanding the mysteries of the kingdom.  It is He that brings the dark things of God to the light of our understanding.  

There are many, even Christians, that struggle with what they see as what God has allowed.   If there is truly a God then why does He allow so many bad things in the world and why does He allow them to touch you and me personally?   Our lack of understanding often haunts us, because our natural mind often can’t rationalize it.  

It is imperative to us that we all abide in a place of submission and obedience to the Lord.  It is necessary that we maintain a relationship and fellowship with the Lord whereby we can hear and discern His voice, but the truth is, there are many things the Lord is silent to us about.   When we don’t hear, when we don’t comprehend, we must trust.  Sometimes God requires us to trust Him in the face of much pain and hurt.  Sometimes we want to say, “God you failed us, You let us down.”  We are sometimes left in the dark about why things are as they are.  In these times we have to have enough faith and confidence in the nature and character of God to know that He is working all things to the good of those that love Him and that are called according to His purpose.  When we don’t understand the workings of His hand then we must trust His heart.  

Yes, God often does dwell in the secret place of darkness when it comes to our understanding of all of His ways, but we are His.  A soldier is expected to carry out an order rather he understands the reasons or not.  We must walk in faith and obey the Lord rather we always understand His ways.

It is in that special place of trust and obedience where perhaps our faith is tested and tried, but our faithfulness brings us to find that in living in the secret place of the most High we abide under the shadow of His wings.

 
Blessings,
kent

A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice

January 22, 2014

Phl 4:18

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.

 

A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice


Is the Lord only interested in our tithes and offerings that we give out of obligation and legalism?  Tithes and offerings are a good thing to bring unto the Lord, but what is God looking for?  Is it just money and our substance?  In Hosea 6:6 God says, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”  Often in the law of our traditions, we, like Israel of old are only concerned with carrying out the ceremony and doing our duty.  God tells His people your duty has no relevance if you don’t have a revelation of what the significance of the duty is about.  God doesn’t need our money.  He is the Creator of all things and all things are His possession.  The possession that He doesn’t own is that which He gave to us to choose to whom we give it too.  That is our soul and will.  If we bring our offering, but it is not an expression of our soul and our will then it is not acceptable to God.  

We have all had experiences with others where they may have did what we said or expected, but their heart and their will was not in it; especially within our own family.  Love gives from the heart, not just out of obligation.  The sweet smell of our sacrifice is when it comes from the love of our heart.  Song of Solomon 4:10 says, “ How fair is thy love, my sister, [my] spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!”  What was it that made, in type, the Lord’s bride better than wine and all spices?  It was her love.  The Lord so loves us and He proved that by giving Himself for us.  Now it is our opportunity and privilege to express back to Him our love for Him in every way.  When we offer up the sacrifice of praise from a heart of love, worship and praise then it is like that sweet smelling incense that was burned upon the altar.  We are like that altar, made of flesh, but covered in the nature and gold of God’s character and likeness.  We are the instrument upon which is offered the sweet smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and well pleasing unto the Lord.  

Paul experienced this same type of sacrificial giving from the Philippians in Philippians 4:18.  Paul, who had sacrificially given of His life to the church was now experiencing back a sacrifice that he knew came out of a heart of love and caring.  I believe his words are expressive of how the Lord sees the sacrifices that we bring Him that comes out of a right attitude of heart and love.  

In Exodus 30: 7-8 the Word says, “Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. 8 He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the LORD for the generations to come.”  God is looking and desiring an incense that will arise continually from that altar of His people.  The incense of a broken and contrite heart that functions in the love and fear of God.  The incense of continual worship, praise, thanksgiving and adoration of the One who gave it all.  Our lives, how they are lived and expressed, have the ability to be that sweet smelling incense that rises up into the nostrils of the Father.  It is in the expression of our love that he delights and it is in this expression that our offerings and sacrifices are acceptable unto Him.  

 
Blessings,
kent

The Filter of the Blood

January 21, 2014

2 Corinthian 5:21

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


The Filter of the Blood


 I am in awe and amazement at this declaration of scripture.  Can we truly comprehend that Christ made an exchange with us.  He became our sin so that We might become His righteousness which is the righteousness of God.  I definitely got the best end of that bargain.  All of this so that the Father might reconcile us back to Himself and bring us back into relationship and fellowship with Him.  Indeed that is amazing grace.  We have a high priest in Christ Jesus that has become identified with us in our weaknesses and infirmities, being tempted in like manor as we were tempted to fully represent us before the Father in our human state.  Hebrews 4:14 -16 says, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  

Jesus has gone through the heavens as our great high priest.  He has gone through the natural heaven of our earthly man.  He has gone through the second heaven of spiritual warfare and demonic activity and He has come into the third heaven where He sets at the right hand of the Father, ever living to make intercession for us and bring us, in Himself, into the Father’s presence.   Colossians 3:1-3 tells us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  

You see Father God looks upon us and now instead of seeing our sin, weakness and failure, He sees us through the filter of the Blood of Jesus.  Through that blood He beholds in us the righteousness of His Son that has been imparted to us by our faith in Him.  When He sees you, He sees you complete in His Son and because you are in the Son you have access to throne and you can now approach the throne of His grace with confidence and boldness so that you may receive mercy and grace in your time of need.  

If the righteous Holy God of all can see us through the filter of the Blood of Jesus and behold the righteousness of Christ in us why is it we can’t look through that same filter to see ourselves and others in the body of Christ the same way?  Many of us struggle with self condemnation and always feel estranged from God because we don’t see ourselves through the filter of His blood. Many of us see the faults and shortcomings in one another.  We judge and condemn one another rather than forgiving one another.  When a brother or sister falls so many times instead of restoring them in love we cast them out and count them no longer worthy.  

When were any of us ever worthy?  Ephesians 4:29-31 gives us as Christians this exhortation, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Don’t you suppose it is the Father’s heart that we view each other through this same filter of the Blood of Jesus that He views us.  Since when did we become God and Judge, especially when the same things reside in us that we condemn in others?  If God can love me, then there are no limitations on who He can love and who He can forgive.  

In Colossians 3:12-14 we receive this like exhortation, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”  Isn’t it time that we get our eyes off of people and on to Jesus?  People, no matter how great they are, will always disappoint you.  They will always fall short of your expectations.  So many of us are looking to people, rather they be spiritual leaders, civic or political leaders, marketplace leaders or even our husband or wife, mother or father.  None of these people can take the place of Jesus in your life.  Don’t put on others what only Jesus can do for you.  Understand they have the same weaknesses and frailties as you.  Forgive them and forbear with them.  See others through that same filter of the Blood of Jesus that the Father sees you.  

 
Blessings,
kent

The Fast of the Lord

January 20, 2014

 

The Fast of the Lord


Isaiah 58:3-11

Wherefore have we fasted, [say they], and thou seest not? [wherefore] have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as [ye do this] day, to make your voice to be heard on high Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? [is it] to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes [under him]? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? [Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? [Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 

 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I [am]. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And [if] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 


Isaiah 58 is a good chapter to take and read in its entirety.  We have quoted enough here to give us some of the meat of what it is saying.  Many of us consider ourselves religious or spiritual. We profess to love God, we may have our set times to pray, read the bible, fast, go to church or other such spiritual activities we do in the name of the Lord for Him.  If we are doing all of these things to seek God and please Him, then we may ask, like the people of God in that day, “Lord, why don’t you hear our prayers and answer them?  We serve you, but we aren’t blessed.  How come you don’t acknowledge all of our efforts Lord?”  

He may in turn ask us, ” If you do all of these activities and things to seek and please me then why are your lives no different than those of the world around you?  Why is it you yell and argue with your family all the way to church and then come in to praise Me?  Why is it you fast and pray and then get up off of your knees to go and do your own pleasure?  Why is it you go to church, but are angry with the minister if he doesn’t get you out in time to beat the rush to the restaurant or see the sports game on TV?”   Could it be that a lot of our spirituality is phoniness and hypocrisy done more to make us feel like we have done our duty to God than doing what really pleases God.  If we want God to meet us in a greater way than He has before then it isn’t God that has to change, it is us, and more religious activity isn’t the answer.  

God takes the time in this passage to tell us where His heart is and what is meaningful to Him.  He tells us to do such things as “loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free, and that ye break the yoke?”  What does all of that mean?  Could it mean that we are outwardly spiritual, but inwardly wicked?  We talk down to people, we talk about people in a demeaning way, and we’re critical, hateful, judgmental, gossips, backbiters and controllers.  We may want to put all of our baggage, laws, rules and standards upon others when we can’t even live up to them ourselves.  How often do we do things for others in the guise of being so nice and generous to help them out and then turn around and hold those things we gave or did for them as a yoke to control and manipulate them?  There are times we give or loan things to people and they can’t pay them back.  Sometimes we need to just release those debts and forgive them even as God forgave ours.  We can be cruel taskmasters to one another and to others.  When the world looks at that, are they seeing Christ?  Could it be that God wants us to quit being above others and treating others, that don’t have what we have in areas, as inferior and as servants?  Maybe it is time we become like Christ, to use what we have, to get under them to lift and build them up, to be their servants rather than them being ours.  

God goes on to tell us if you really want my blessing then you need to care about the things I care about.  Are you clothing the naked and feeding the hungry?  Are you visiting those in prisons, nursing homes, jails and shut-ins?  Are you even really taking care of your own family and making sure they have not only their physical needs met, but their emotional and spiritual needs met?  Are you spending the time you need to with them and nurturing them?  Are we pointing our finger in judgement and condemnation of others while we ignore the other three that are pointing back at us?  

When we start getting the heart of God then will we begin to hear from God and see His blessing.  This is the true fast of the Lord.  It is not about going to church, it is about being “the Church.”  We have to become in lifestyle and practice what many of us now only pretend to be.  We have a form of godliness, but we deny the power of it.   God despises pompous, pretentious spiritual pretenders.  I have been there more than I like to admit, how about you?  If we are going to have the real thing then everything we do has be about the Lord and what honors and pleases Him.  Ouch!  That’s pretty tough on my flesh, but then I said I reckoned it dead with Christ, so what’s my problem?  My problem is always “I.”  The more it is there the less effective I can be for God, because the less of Him that is in me.  It is only the death of self that can give place to the life of God.  This is the true Fast.  

 
Blessings,
kent
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