Two Trees

February 16, 2015

John 6:44-59
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
52Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Two Trees

Most all of us are familiar with the story in Genesis of Adam and Eve and how God placed them in a garden. In the midst of that garden were two trees, the tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said of all of the trees of the garden you can eat the fruit thereof, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you do you shall surely die. Sure enough, when Adam and Eve yielded to temptation and partook of the fruit of that tree, death entered into the human race and the Pandora’s box of all of it consequences. Before this day it was perfectly acceptable to partake of the tree of life. We have come to know this tree as Christ Jesus who brings us into fellowship, unity and oneness with God. After the fall, the tree of Life was cut off. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden; a mighty angel was stationed there to prevent their return. They know longer knew the realm of personal fellowship they had once experienced with God. They now lived in the realm of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was not all evil, good did exist there as well, but it was a mixture and was subject to the will of the flesh.
What we actually are hearing Jesus say here in this passage from John 6 is that the tree of Life has been returned to us by the Father to bring us again into a state of fellowship and personal relationship lost through the ages since Adam. Romans 5:18-21 says, “18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Once again we have been given access through the tree of Life back into the realm of Spirit and God is Spirit. There, in that place, we can once again walk with Him, talk with Him and find His rest. In that place we have unity and oneness in Christ and are a part of His family experiencing adoption as sons.
Here is a paradox. Just as the partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil caused Adam to die to the spiritual dimension of God and at the same time become alive to the realm of the flesh and soul, we who, now come into Christ and partake of the tree of Life, must also die. This death is now to tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the flesh and the soul, so that we can become alive in the Spirit and experience the eternal life of Christ. The apostle Paul gives us the key to this revelation in Romans 5: 1-14, “1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
Where we struggle is that even though we become identified with Christ in His death and resurrection in our spirits there is a process of possessing and conquering the land of our soul and body. Just as God gave the Promised Land to the Israelites, they had to go in and conquer the land. Possessing the promise and disposing the former inhabitants in our case of the un-renewed mind, will and emotion; along with the giants of our imaginations and strongholds. Their victory was not in their strength, but it was in the reliance and obedience to the One who had promised. It is our identification with Christ, who He is and what He is, that is our victory within our own mortal being. When we take our eyes and identification off of Him then we find ourselves in the realm of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Which tree are you going to continue to eat from?

Blessings,
#kent

Despair

February 13, 2015

Despair

2 Corinthians 4:8
[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;

There may be one today that is in a place of despair. You are so low and you feel so worthless that you despair of life itself. Desperation is overtaking you and maybe you are even contemplating that the world would be better off without you. Beloved, despair is the work of the enemy. Never is it God’s intent to bring you here. God is not the author of discouragement. He values you even more than you can value yourself.
“You may say, “even God can’t love me the way I am.” God has never stopped loving you in spite of what you are. Though the world would despise you, God has not forsaken you. Even in the bondage of deepest and ugliest sin God’s heart beats for us. Even when men can’t forgive you, God can. He loves even the lowest and vilest of sinners, the greatest failures, the nobodies, the forgotten and the rejected. God didn’t come in Christ Jesus just to call out and save the golden boys and girls. He came for all and especially those rejected of the world. 1 Corinthian 1:27-31 says, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
God is calling out to you in your despair today. Despair is the tool of devil for self-condemnation in order to destroy the precious gift of life and hope that God has given you. God is there for us when we turn to Him. It isn’t by the evidence of our feeling that we determine His presence it is according to the promise and faithfulness of His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us if we call out and believe on Him. The Lord wants to instill hope in your life today. He wants to instill in you confidence that in His eyes you are of great value and worth. No matter what your life has been or where it has taken you God can take it and use it for good if you surrender your all to Him. He is reaching out to you the hand of hope and life today. He is your lifeline that will keep you from drowning in the miry sea. Reach out and lay hold of Him. Lay hold of Christ and the precious promises for life and blessing in His Word. Jesus died for you as much as anyone else, reach out by faith and receive life from Him today.

Blessings,
#kent

Ezekiel 6:10
And they will know that I am the LORD; I did not threaten in vain to bring this calamity on them.

How do I Know that You are the Lord?

Ezekiel 6 is a prophetic word talking about the judgement that the Lord is going to bring upon Israel. He is speaking against the land and the corruption that fills it. Specifically verse 10 is what I felt the Lord giving me this morning. Often, because our God is so long-suffering and patient we tend to think that just because we haven’t seen what He has said will do come to pass, happen yet, that we can just blow it off and ignore it. Father is long-suffering in order to give us time for repentance and restoration. Father would much rather see us come to repentance and be restored than He would to bring judgement and punishment. How often have we taken so much of what the Lord has spoken to us for granted? We are like the man in James 1: 22-25, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” This is our exhortation today. Give heed to what God is speaking into our life through His Word, His Spirit and His ministers. We are coming into a tremendous spiritual shift and it is imperative that we are tuned into Christ in this hour. John 10: 27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” If there is one thing we must do in this hour it is to learn to discern the Lord’s voice and be obedient to it. We are standing upon the threshold of many changes in life, as we have known it. Perhaps there has never been a more dangerous time in our history than today and our tomorrow. God is not trying to scare us, because He has not given us a spirit of fear. Our fear comes from being outside of His will and purpose. He is trying to position us for what He is bringing forth.
How do we know the Lord is God? It is because He is going to do what He said He would do and we can count on that. It is time for us to awaken out of our spiritual slumber and awaken to the trumpet and alarm that is sounding. Revelations 18:4 speaks and declares, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

Blessings,
#Kent

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

What does this tree of knowledge of good and evil mean today? I would suppose the same thing it meant when God told Adam not to eat of the tree of good and evil, but to partake of the tree of Life. The Word tells us, “The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord.” The Word of God defines what the fear of the Lord is, by telling us it means to hate evil.
When we live in this world, we live around good and evil each day of our lives. We are to live a life trying to find out what pleases the Lord and to avoid evil or the mixture of good and evil at all cost.

The Word also tells us we are to “Put on the Mind of Christ.” We are to “Renew our minds in Christ Jesus.” In fact, we are to be so identified with Christ, Paul tells us, “It is no longer I that lives, but Christ Jesus who lives within me.” How about, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.”
The Word also exhorts us to “Not walk after the flesh but after the Sprit.” It also tells us “What so ever things are pure, what so ever things are lovely and of good report, think on these things.” I believe when the Word tells us to put on the Mind of Christ, it is so important to understand that it is an act of our will…and act of our choice. Adam and Eve both had the same choice and because of their wrong choice, look what it has cost all of mankind.

We have but one life time to live for God so we in turn will live out eternity in His presence…with all Adam and Eve had before they chose to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and lose His presence in their lives. When Jesus came, He led the way back to the Father, showing us He came only to do His Father’s will and we have the same choice. We should strive to live as Christ out of the Spirit of Christ in us. Because man could not earn for himself God’s approval, Jesus came to not only live His life doing God’s will…but yielded up His life of His own choice to pay the price so we wouldn’t have to try and earn God’s approval.

In the book of Exodus, just as the death angel passed over all the houses in Egypt who bore the blood of a lamb over the door posts, so also eternal death will pass by all who are covered by the Blood of Jesus. When we have chosen to be identified with Christ and what Jesus did for us on the cross, this is finding God’s approval; this is the mindset we are to live for. If man could have saved himself, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come and pay the high price He paid for our sin.

Blessings,
Sharon

The Oil that Sustains Us

February 10, 2015

Matthew 25:1-13
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6″At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7″Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9” ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10″But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11″Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
12″But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
13″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

The Oil that Sustains Us

Virgins are symbolic of those who have been made pure before the Lord. They all have obviously had an experience with the Lord and are aware of His imminent coming. The lamps are the illuminated lights of God’s Spirit within us. What keeps that light burning is the oil. The oil is the Holy Spirit, but it is more than that. It is the Holy Spirit worked out through our lives in experience.
In Leviticus 24:2 the Lord tells Moses, “Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.” This oil was created through a process of beating or pressing. This is the in working of the cross of Jesus Christ in our lives. We are beaten and pressed as we press into Christ. Through our walk we experience tribulations, trials, persecutions and difficulties. It is as we walk through these hard places in the faith of Jesus Christ that the precious oil of the Holy Spirit is formed and stored up in us. The wise virgins know that if the relationship with the Bridegroom isn’t there, then the oil will not be there either. The oil has flowed out of that relationship of walking in faith and obedience.
The foolish have received the fundamentals of the faith, but they have not pressed into the relationship to really know the One to whom they professed to give their hearts. They have gone about life eating, drinking, giving and taking in marriage. It is life as usual. In other words their relationship is shallow and without substance and depth. They have chosen to remain babes when they should have grown into maturity. The things of the world and the cares of life have occupied their time and their hearts. As a result they have not bought the oil with the price of experience and relationship in walking with the Lord. Now that the time of the midnight hour has come they have been found wanting. Now it is too late to go out and buy the oil, for the Lord has opened the door to the ones who have come to truly know Him in an intimate way, not just from a distance through the teaching of others. The hour has come and they can’t ride in on the coattails of those who have stored up the oil and prepared for this hour. By the time they get what they need the door is shut and it is too late to enter into the Bridegroom. His reply is, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
Religion is the oil of the foolish virgins. It is merely man’s search for God. It is merely head knowledge and outward works to appease God. God doesn’t want our sacrifices, He wants our obedience and He wants our hearts. Relationship with Christ is what will bring forth the oil of His Spirit as we walk through the hard and difficult places and come to know Him as our Redeemer and Deliverer in every situation.
Hear the word of the Lord. This is the hour for you to be storing up the oil. The midnight hour is soon approaching and you better have the oil of His Spirit and Life worked and stored up in you if you want to enter in. If we have been half-heartedly serving the Lord, it is the time to repent and give Him our whole heart, mind and soul. We must walk in the truth of His life if we are to have the oil to see us through and keep our lamps lit in the greatest hour of darkness. We need this oil if we are going to go the distance and hold fast the course. We must make Him the priority of our lives, for His kingdom is come and it must be established in us. Let us come to Him and give our utmost for His highest.

Blessings,
#kent

1 John 2:8-11
Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.

What is keeping You in the Dark?

Many of us wonder why we are struggling with so many issues in our lives and in our relationships. I believe the Lord is speaking to us to go and clean out the closets of our past, because they are defiling and polluting our present and our future.
Many of us have hurts and wounds, perhaps from those that we loved and trusted, that we are still carrying into today’s life and experience. Hate, resentments, unforgiveness and bitterness are all walls that shut out the light of God’s love and truth to our soul. Think about when you have gotten angry with someone and you ran into your room, shut and locked the door. Symbolically, as well as literally you were shutting off your soul and your love to them. You were putting them out into darkness and cutting yourself off from them. In most cases, we eventually open up the door, get over our anger or hurt, reconcile with the person and restore the relationship. There are still a lot of cases we have not done this. The door is still shut in our hearts. Hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness still remains, keeping us in the darkness. These elements shut out the light of God’s love and forgiveness.
There may be very good reasons you have not reconciled with certain individuals and there may be very good reasons that you shouldn’t be physically around them any longer, but what we carry from our past can destroy our future.
There is a tremendous amount of emotional healing that needs to take place in the body of Christ. We can’t always control how we feel toward another, but we can begin to release forgiveness in faith toward them. When Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That act of forgiveness on the part of Jesus opened the door for the light of God to come in and reconcile the very ones that crucified Christ back to Him. Our unforgiveness can hold both ourselves and the ones we refuse to forgive in spiritual bondage. In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says it this way, “”In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”
Are you struggling today in your relationships with God and man? Maybe we need to take some time and find out if there are past issues that haven’t been dealt with and forgiven. If you want to walk in the light of God you need to go back and deal with the issues that may be keeping you in darkness. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that you are still holding on too and haven’t released to Him. As you repent, ask God to forgive those you may have not truly forgiven. Release forgiveness to all of those who have offended you and come into the light and the true fellowship of Christ. Don’t allow your past to be an anchor that hinders your glorious future in Christ.
“Father forgive us as we forgive those who have sinned and trespassed against us. Amen”

Blessings,
#kent

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