Body Ministry

February 27, 2015

1 Corinthians 12:25 –26
so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Body Ministry

Yesterday, I began to have some gout flare up in the ball of my foot, above my right toe. It causes swelling, inflammation and pain that can become quite severe. It is a little affliction, not any greater than many others endure, but I felt like through it the Lord was ministering to me this morning about the body. I noticed how my own body reacted to the pain in this member. My hands would gently message it and my other leg and foot would take upon itself more of the weight when I walked. My mind was thinking about what I needed to do to get rid of it. My body was cognizant and responsive to the pain in one of my members. Each one did what it could to lessen or relieve that pain or minister to it.
I began to think, are we in tune with the body of Christ like our own bodies are with their members. In this scripture and those that precede it, the apostle Paul goes through quite a discourse explaining how the body is many members and yet one spirit. These many are made one and function as one through the unity of the Holy Spirit.
As I was meditating this morning on this truth I was thinking about how many times we, for instance, attend the funeral of a friend and we offer our condolences and then we often remark with the platitude, “if there is any thing that I can do, call me.” I think that is more for our benefit than theirs. We feel like somehow we have reached out and made ourselves available for their need, when in reality we have excused ourselves from really meeting any needs. Wouldn’t it be far more effective if we looked around and saw a particular need that we could do that would really minister to them in this time and then with their permission do it? That would effectively be ministering to the need in the body and this particular member.
I know that with myself it is far too easy to get caught up in my life, my agenda and all that I need to do and really miss the ministry and responsibility I have in meeting the needs of the body; rather that would be in my family or in others. I can become desensitized and unaware of the hurt in others and what I could do to minister to that need at that time. This is where we all need to stay in tune and sensitive to the Holy Spirit, because we function and minister to one another through His power and anointing. It may not be miraculous, but is often practical and necessary. Often the miracle begins to take place after we have ministered and went our way. We are not there in those circumstances to get the glory, but to minister the love of Christ and bring Him the glory.
The second part of body ministry is that even as we fill up one another’s needs, strengthening, providing and empowering each other, we, in turn are the servants of the world. A healthy body of Christ is God’s ministry and gift to the world. We are there individually and corporately to minister to the needs of others. We are willing to give ourselves, even as Jesus did on a daily basis to minister in whatever circumstances the Father placed Him in. Let us be sensitive and responsive to the needs around us.
The key to body ministry is that we all function out of the Spirit and by the Spirit. That Spirit is love and love always is thinking and moving on the behalf of others. The Holy Spirit mobilizes us as one man, for one purpose, to fulfill the will and expression of the Father. The expression of the Father is love and love meets the needs in one another.

Blessings,
#kent

Descended to an Ascended Life

February 26, 2015

Descended to an Ascended Life

Ephesians 4:7-10
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Jesus came down that He might bring us up. The Son of God became the son of man so that He might bring the sons of men to be the sons of God. Christ came down and imparted Himself into humanity that He might bring us into His ascended life. It is a life that is marked by the same attributes as the One who has gifted and imparted it to us. It is a life wherein we die to live, a paradox that the world doesn’t comprehend. Just as a caterpillar dies to it’s old ways in the cocoon of transformation, so we are transformed and changed from glory to glory, even into the same image, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). While we live the blessed life, in the favor and fellowship of the Spirit of God, we, at the same time, may be living out the trials and tribulations that are facing us in this world. Again, we find a paradox that we can find peace and joy in the midst of trials and tribulations. While we descend in a spirit of humility into the lives of those that God has placed within our influence, loving them in Christ and meeting them where they are at, we are living an ascended life that is drawing us into the presence of the Father. With eyes and heart set upon things above, we are not an island unto ourselves we are a light and a ladder to bring others to ascend with us in hope and in faith.
The Lord, when He ascended up on high, led captivity captive and gave gift unto men. These gifts He gave us, were not for our glory, but for His. He is glorified when these gifts serve to bring others into this ascending life. While we are ascending up into Him in spirit, we are being poured out and offering up a spiritual sacrifice in the natural. The abundance of God’s glory is manifested in our weakness. When we are operating out of an ascended life then others will see Christ; they will not see us, because the ascended life is not about us, but about Him. We become a usable commodity spent upon a higher good and calling. We spend and are spent that others might taste and partake of that ascended life.
Allow me to leave you with the Apostle Paul’s definition in 2 Corinthians 4:7-19, of the ascended life and how he also descended that he might ascend, but not without hope and not alone.
“7But this precious treasure–this light and power that now shines within us–is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.
8We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. 9We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. 10Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
11Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be obvious in our dying bodies. 12So we live in the face of death, but it has resulted in eternal life for you.
13But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, and so I speak.” 14We know that the same God who raised our Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself along with you. 15All of these things are for your benefit. And as God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 18So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”

Blesssings,
#kent

Spirit Prayer

February 25, 2015

John 17:20-26
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24″Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25″Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Spirit Prayer

Sweet Spirit whisper into my heart,
Move through every part.
Dear voice of God, instruct me in my way,
Even help me as I pray.

Gentle Spirit Breeze,
Move me how You please.
Living in what is pure and true,
Moving and having my being in You.

Mighty Spirit of fire and power,
Transform me in this final hour,
Expression of God in me,
Instrument to set creation free.

Spirit manifest and Christ revealed,
Jesus break this final seal.
Bring forth your life from this broken earth,
Bring to maturity this second birth.

Spirit that raised Christ from the dead,
Join us now in the fullness of the Head.
Make our body of one mind,
That, which we travail for, let us find.

Spirit of God and power in me,
There is no longer me, but only Thee.
You are the righteousness, by which I stand,
I am the expression of Your hand.

Spirit full of love and grace,
Cause me now to see your face.
Beholding only You as I walk my course,
You are my everlasting power and source.
Amen

Kent Stuck

Blessings,
#kent

His Temple

February 24, 2015

2 Chronicles 6:18-21
“But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 19 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. 20 May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 21 Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.”

His Temple

Solomon referred to the temple, which he had built and dedicated to the Lord. We know that in time that temple was destroyed, but it was but the shadow of the temple that God was building for His habitation and dwelling. 1 Corinthians 6:17-18 says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” We so often take for granted who we are in Christ and loose spiritual sight of what God has created us to be. The church is no longer about buildings and glorious edifices built to the glory of God. God is not interested in inhabiting wood and stone. He is interested in inhabiting human spirits and souls. When He does come within our hearts and makes His abode with us, He wants us to realize that our body is no longer our own, but His habitation. Holiness and righteousness has entered in. No longer is this body for our glory, but for His. All of these bodies, now sanctified unto Christ are built and joined together in Him. 1 Peter 2:4-5 says, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” We are the building blocks of God spiritual temple and His life. We are living stones that are an organism formed of God, living and breathing in the earth to express Him and be His habitation.
1 Peter 1: 15-17 says, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Holiness has come and taken up residence within us. The Father is reminding us that we are no longer common or unclean, but the blood of the Lamb has sanctified us. As God’s sanctified and redeemed ones we have the responsibility to recognize that we are His holy vessels and live accordingly unto His glory. God warns us about what we do with our bodies and what we join them with. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
17″Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18″I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
This is what the Lord is speaking unto us in this hour, to come apart and be separated unto Him. We are not of this world. Our values and purpose do not coincide with the values and purpose of this world. He is telling us to take note, we are not our own, but we have been bought with a price. We have been purchased and set apart unto God for His purposes and for His glory. That is our destiny and calling. We must be careful that we do not dishonor Him by not fully respecting and living according to His holy life that indwells us. Our God is a jealous God and He has set us apart for Himself. Our body is His temple and we must honor Him in it in all of our ways and living. He is the Lord God and He will not share His glory with another. Honor yourselves as His holy temple and live your lives accordingly.

Blessings,
#kent

Trapped by Our Appetites

February 23, 2015

James 1:12-16
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16Do not err, my beloved brethren.

Trapped by Our Appetites

We have bird feeders outside our sliding glass door, on the deck near the house. We love to drink our coffee and watch the birds in the morning. The squirrels also love our bird feeders, because it is a free lunch for them. I have a squirrel trap that I use when the situation gets out of hand to trap the squirrels and haul them off. It is a rectangular cage about two and half feet long. About two thirds of the way back there is a plate on the floor that spans the width of the cage and it has a rod that connects up to the door. When the trap is set, the rod holds the spring-loaded door open, but when something steps on the plate it pulls the rod out of the catch and the door springs shut and locks.
Recently, we have, what appears to be a new litter of squirrels that have discovered the bird feeders, so I had to dig out the trap out and start catching them. Yesterday I found one trapped and another one was on the outside trying to console or help him. We hauled the trapped one off to a park about two or three miles down the road and last night I set the trap again.
This morning as I was spending my time with the Lord, I looked up and saw one of the squirrels in the birdfeeders. He hadn’t come from the ground, but had jumped over from the roof to try and eat his fill. Eventually, he jumped back on the roof and disappeared. After a brief period of time he reappeared, this time walking on top of the deck railing gleaning some of the fallen seed. As I watched he eventually made his way down to the deck where he continued to forage for food. The squirrel trap was set and on the deck, beneath the birdfeeder. I had placed a few peanuts in a plate in the back of the cage along with a trail of nuts that led out of the cage and onto the deck. Initially the squirrel wasn’t real interested in the cage and seemed a little leery, but eventually as he was searching for food the peanuts captured his attention. At first he would go all around the cage looking for another way to get the peanuts, not finding any he eventually stuck his head in the door and grabbed one of the closest peanuts, taking it up to the railing to enjoy it. This little ritual continued on as each time he would venture just a little further back into the cage. At one point he even got on top of the cage and seemed to be testing it to see if he could trip it. Since nothing happened he continued to go back and get one peanut at a time till eventually he tripped the door and was trapped. Suddenly the priority wasn’t about the peanuts anymore it was about the fact that he was trapped and there was no way out. Now all of the attention had turned from his appetite to trying to get free from his bondage.
I felt like the Lord was giving me an object lesson about how we become ensnared by our fleshly appetites and the progression of temptation, to sin, to death. It is rare that one who has experienced Christ turns around and walks headlong into sin and death. It usually is a slow progression of enticing compromises that lead us to that point. We may, like that squirrel, have started in the heavenly and the high places. Little by little our appetites led us lower and lower. We know about the snare of temptation and sin. We may have even seen others caught in it and the destruction it brought. Somehow we think we are just a little smarter, more discerning, more spiritual and we won’t get caught. We start out very cautious, but when nothing happens over a period of time we get self confident that we’ve got this figured out and that we are beating the system. Then comes that day we finally go too far and the door slams shut. Suddenly our sin is discovered and revealed. Our world comes crashing down. Suddenly those temptations and sins that we were so enthralled with mean nothing in light of the consequences we are faced with. Our reputation may be ruined, our family may be lost. There may be any number of devastating consequences we may be facing because we had succumbed to temptation. We who may have once have been considered wise and righteous, may now appear as the fool.
Perhaps this is a warning to all of us to be aware of the areas of temptation and like Joseph, to flee from it. Be sure that our sin will find us out eventually. May we not allow ourselves, like the squirrel, to become ensnared and trapped by our fleshly appetites.

Blessings,
#kent

WHO YOU ARE IN CHIRST

February 20, 2015

WHO YOU ARE IN CHIRST

Here some scriptures that are by no means exhaustive of the subject concerning our identity in Christ. It is important that we get these scripture deep into our heart and confess them over our lives daily, so that we are constantly brought into rememberance of who we are in Christ. The enemy’s greatest device is to try and separate us from our identity in Him. When he does, he can bring in condemnation, unworthiness and failure to discourage us in our faith. Stand strong and take these scripture into you heart, along with others that you may add to them.

John 17:20-26
” “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

John 17:11-12
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.

Galatians 3:26-29
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Romans 8:28-39
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,j who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Philippians 4:13
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

1 John 4: 17
By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

Colossians 3:3
3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthyg when God called you. 27Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28God chose things despised by the world,h things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
30God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 31Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 5:21
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Ephesians 1:11
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.

Ephesians 1:18-23
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Ephesians 2:21-22
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Ephesians 3:17b-20
…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Galations 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;10for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.

2 Peter 1:2-4
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;3seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

1 John 4:4
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Colossians 1:27
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Blessings,
#kent

Purpose

February 19, 2015

Ecclesiates 3:1
To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Purpose

Each season is created and set forth in the time and purposes God. We are a blessed people in that we live in the fullness of time. Everyone is created for a purpose, but not everyone will be the full expression of God’s purpose. God has a people that have sensed the stirring of His Spirit within their soul. They have sensed and perceived the Almighty’s hand upon them. It may be hard to explain to the average person, because it may not be a greatness that is seen with the outward eye or understanding. There comes to be a knowing within your heart that you are here in this season for a reason and that reason is for His purpose.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.” Are we called according to His purpose? One of the things that will signify your calling in Christ is your love for God. “All things work together for them that LOVE GOD.” The love of God is pronounced because it is His love that will help you stay the course through all of the things that are working good in your life. While the outcome of what is working is good, the process of working that good may be very difficult and trying. That is because it is processing out the old man, as the new man in Christ Jesus is coming forth. A golden vessel is a good thing, but the process of getting it from the ore hidden in the earth to that beautifully crafted golden vessel was a process of crushing, fire, being pounded upon by the smith and shaped by the goodness of it craftsman. Throughout so much of that process no one could have seen what it would ultimately be but the Master Craftsman that purposed it.
Many of us have been called and purposed. We have a destiny to fulfill in Christ, but we must stay the course as Father brings us through the process unto our perfection. Even with that knowing that is within us, we sometimes become discouraged, disillusioned, distracted and sometimes discontent.
Father is speaking unto His people in this hour to stay the course. Press into your purpose with all of your heart and being. The promises to the churches in Revelations were not just to the called and purposed, but to the overcomer. The overcomer will stay the course, because he no longer lives, but Christ in him. Old things are passing away, behold, all things become new. Embrace your new creation man and even the processing that comes with it for you were created and purposed for such a time as this.

Blessings,
#kent

Purpose

February 19, 2015

Purpose.

Matthew 5:17-20
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The Law: To Abolish or Fulfill

Often times many us think of the Old Testament as being a former dispensation of God that applied to the Jewish people, gave the Law, the history, the Psalms, Proverbs and a lot of good stories. Many might think that because we are a New Testament people that the Old Testament doesn’t have real application and promise to us. After all we are no longer under the Law. While there is truth to this we might be overlooking what Jesus is saying here. Jesus declares that His mission and purpose isn’t to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. The Old Testament and the Law provided the foundation and groundwork for the fulfillment of that Law through Christ. What has changed for us is that it is no longer the works of the Law that we are trying to keep through the efforts of the flesh, but it is the Spirit of that Law now written upon the tablets of our heart. The nature of God has not changed or His Laws, but He has taken them from the outward to the inward through the power of the Holy Spirit and His nature that now resides in us. Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” Christ fulfilled what we could not in that He fulfilled all of the requirements of the Law, but more than that, He became the sin offering to take upon Himself all of the penalty of sin for us. His faith in us embraces and appropriates that finished work of Christ that fulfilled the Law. It is that faith in His finished work that is now reckoned unto us for righteousness. The Law is fulfilled in us only through Christ. As we now live in Christ it is His nature within us that fulfills and keeps the Law. As we walk by the Spirit we no longer fulfill the lusts of our flesh. Romans 8:10-11 declares this truth by saying, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” In Christ, in this New Testament man, we do not abolish the Old, but we become the fulfillment of it. We have the power, authority and life of Christ to walk into what the Old Testament saints dreamed about. They were our examples and mentors to help us walk into a greater dimension of faith and faithfulness to the Lord. We walk into it by the power of Christ in us and the identification that we have died to the weakness of the Law, which is our sinful flesh. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. We have the finished work of Christ behind us. We have a commission of Christ to bring Him into our entire world. The Law and the Prophets live on. They along with the apostles have become the foundation of our faith. What is it that God is building? Ephesians 2:19-22 declares, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” We are God’s lively stones built upon this foundation to be the holy temple of the Lord. This is that place where God chooses to make His abode. Christ didn’t come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them and we a part of that fulfillment as we abide in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

Drawing Near

February 17, 2015

James 4:7-10
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Drawing Near

James gives us a strong admonition here reminding us prior to these scriptures that our friendship with the world is enmity and rebellion against Him. His Spirit is jealous over us as His possession. It is His will and desire that we honor Him with the fidelity and faithfulness of our hearts. If we wonder why we are in such a state of disconnect with our God this may well be why. A sanctified people are a separated people. We are disassociating with the world, its standards and its ways as we consecrate ourselves to the Lord’s service and His purpose.
James now admonishes; do you want to get back into right relationship with your Lord? Do you want to know His fellowship and closeness again? It first starts with submission. Until we are willing to submit our self-life to Him we are going to be double-minded and adulterous in our thinking and doing. First, we must submit ourselves through repentance and consecration of our lives and wills to Him.
We should know up front that if we have been allowing the devil access into our lives then just because we change our minds and hearts doesn’t mean he easily gives us up or leaves us alone. Temptation will come which brings us to Jame’s second admonition, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, He resisted the devil by speaking the Word, “It is written…”. Our power to resist the devil is never in our reasoning or rationalizing with him. He knows how too artful twist the Word to pervert it to his own ends. Resist the devil by standing on the truth and declaring it over your life and circumstances. As an example, do you know that Romans 8:37 declares, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” This word, “more than conquerors” in the Greek is hü-per-nē-kä’-ō. This word indicates no small win, but a great, pre-imminent and surpassing victory. This word indicates you just kicked the stuffing out of your adversary. It wasn’t even close. Your victory in Christ is so superior, overwhelming, and indisputably complete. In your resistance of the devil come into complete identification with the Victorious One and stand on your complete victory through Him who is completely and utterly victorious over all the powers of sin and the devil.
Thirdly, “come near to God and He will come near to you.” This passage is all about the restoration of that fellowship and unity that has been broken because we have been double-minded, trying to please ourselves and please God also. It is like dating another while you are married to your wife or husband. Your spouse is jealous over you because you have entered into a covenant with him or her, promising to forsake all others. If you want right relationship, you have to be single in your love and affection for that spouse. We are espoused to Christ and our covenant, sealed in the blood of Jesus and the earnest of His Spirit, is with Him.
Fourth, purify your hearts and wash your hands. Separate yourself from all impurity of spirit, soul and flesh. Renew your mind through the washing of the water of the Word and put away from you all impure and unholy things. The hands speak of our works and doings. When we wash our hands we are separating and cleansing them from the works of iniquity. We are choosing rightly and doing the works of righteousness.
Fifth is the change in the attitude of our heart. In verses 9-10 we are reading about a true attitude of repentance, not just in our heads, but in the inner depths of our heart. This is a deep cleansing act of repentance where we become very grieved over our sin and rebellion. We have a true revelation of how we have called ourselves Christian, but have been anti-Christ in our behavior and compromise. This is an attitude much like Peter had after he realized he had just denied and forsaken his Lord. Because of the repentance of his heart and his willingness to humble himself the Lord forgave and restored Peter. He will do the same for us if we will get our hearts right before Him.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, but recognize, acknowledge and do what is required so that you may have a right relationship with your Lord again. God is in the business of restoration, so no matter how far you have wandered or how much condemnation you may feel, Jesus wants to restore you to right fellowship and relationship with Him again. Just honestly, completely and without reservation give back to Him your whole heart, mind and soul. His blood will wash you. His Word will renew your mind and His Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth if you will turn your back on all of the past darkness. He loves you with a complete and unconditional love. He abides faithful, even when we are faithless. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you!

Blessings,
#kent

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