The Filter of the Blood

January 29, 2016

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 

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Appreciation

January 28, 2016

 

Appreciation

 

Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

 

               One thing that is common in both God and man is that everybody likes to be appreciated.  We will go to great lengths sometimes for others if they have a grateful heart and are appreciative of our efforts.  It is important that we always appreciate the Lord.  It is this appreciation that keeps us mindful of Him and all of His wonderful attributes and the blessings we so richly enjoy from Him.  It is a dangerous thing for us to develop an ungrateful spirit.  That spirit shuts us off from people and causes us to only be caught up with ourselves. 

               We see that thankfulness and appreciation to the Lord are basic steps of etiquette to entering into His presence and fellowship.  Psalms 100:4 tells us, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.”  We can never appreciate the Lord too much and that heart of thankfulness and praise should be resident in us continually. Appreciation gives value to the one receiving it and it is an act of humility and respectfulness on the part of the one delivering it.

The lack of appreciation has far different results.  As many in the world were caught up in sin, it caused their hearts to become hardened toward God, as it can ours.  What was the result of their ungratefulness and lack of appreciation to the glorious God and Creator who authored our lives and gave us life?  Romans 1:18-32 gives the account of man’s ungratefulness and what results.  “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

               Our ungratefulness and lack of appreciation causes a perverted and arrogant way of thinking and leads us to God’s wrath and judgement.  On the other hand, a truly grateful, thankful and appreciative heart can lead us into God’s very presence and the fullness of joy.  What does God command us to do?  Love Him with all of our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves.  That means we truly need to appreciate the Lord and appreciate those that God places in our lives.  We might be amazed at the difference we would have in our relationships if we really became sensitive and attentive to appreciating those around us.  We all want to feel that the things we do are worthwhile and that we are valued.  We all want to be appreciated, even God.

Blessings,

#kent 

 

Joy is a Spiritual fruit, Happiness is a Choice

 

1 Timothy 6:6

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

              

               Isaiah 12:3 says, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”  The thing I have experienced through my life is that when I am walking the closest in fellowship and relationship with the Lord is when I experience the greatest joy in life.  Since joy is a spiritual attribute and fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23, it only makes sense that as we walk in the Spirit and feed off of the fullness and goodness of God we are going to experience the joy and contentment of the Lord.  The thing about the joy of the Lord is that it isn’t dependent up the circumstances around us.  There can be great storms raging in our lives, but yet joy and peace can remain in our hearts when our eyes are fixed on Christ and upon the promises of His Word.  When we walk in the Spirit we see things and life from a God perspective.  If it pleases the Lord, it pleases us.  It is no longer about all of my needs and my wants being fulfilled.  This is where a lot of people confuse joy and happiness.  If happiness is reliant upon our feelings then it is going to be an elusive experience.  It will be here one minute and gone the next.  Why, because our feelings are up and down.  It rides the roller coaster of our emotions.  The feelings of happiness are circumstantial.  They are based again a lot on self: self-contentment, self-fulfillment, self-gratification, but not on self-control. 

               Here is an example many of us can relate with: Why do I have an unhappy marriage?  He or she doesn’t meet my needs.  They only think about themselves.  They don’t care if I am happy or fulfilled.  They don’t provide enough.  They don’t give enough.  They don’t do enough.  What is the central theme you hear in all of these phrases?  You don’t make me happy and what makes you happy for a short time is going to change to feelings of unhappiness and discontentment the moment your expectations aren’t met.  Happiness has to be a choice that you make that isn’t dependent upon what someone else does or doesn’t do.  I read this morning where marriages are more successful with people who go into marriage as already happy people rather than those who go into marriage looking for happiness.  Don’t put the responsibility for your happiness upon someone else.  That is your responsibility.  Otherwise you are always going to be disappointed and hurt.  People can never give you what only God can give you and that is joy and contentment. 

               Our verse today is so powerful because it is short but it says so much, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  It simply says we have made a decision that God is enough.  What ever He supplies and provides in my life is enough.  That may be much or that may be little, but as long as I have God that is enough.  The apostle Paul made the statement in Philippians 4:11-13, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Paul didn’t have his eyes on people to meet his needs.  Many of the churches didn’t help him financially or support him.  He could have gotten bitter or angry or upset with them, but he didn’t.  They weren’t his source and his supply, God was.  He had learned to be content with whatever God brought into his life because he had this revelation; “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Who is your strength today?  Who is your supply?  Who is your joy and contentment?  Maybe anger, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness have come in to make you so miserable because you have been looking to others to meet your needs and they have disappointed you. Let us learn what Paul did, that the Lord is enough.  We can make the decision that we are going to be happy because God is enough rather in much or little, rather we are abased or abound, rather we are full or we are hungry.   In order to experience the fullness of joy in our salvation we must take our eyes off of us and let Christ become the focus of why we live.  We live to serve not to be served.  We live to give and not to take.  We live that in all things we may please Him who has given us life.  “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).”  Experience the joy of your salvation by walking in the Spirit and make the choice to be happy because of the One that resides within you.

Blessings,

#kent

Whirlwind

January 26, 2016

 

Whirlwind

 

Nahum 1:3

The LORD [is] slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit [the wicked]: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds [are] the dust of his feet.

 

               Are things being stirred up in our lives?  Have you thought to have an orderly life only to find it going in more different ways than you ever thought possible?  There is a whirlwind moving through our lives, a force of separation that is stirring up and sifting all that is chaff in us.  Left to ourselves, we would be content to let the mud settle out in our lives and the water clear.  On the surface we would look pretty clear and clean, but God knows what lies down in the inner recesses of our hearts.  He is not going to leave it alone and let it stay there.  There is often a whirlwind that passes through our lives and circumstances that stir up things in our lives we might not have even known were there.  There are areas of our lives, feelings, emotions, passions, desires and appetites, that may lie suppressed but never dealt with.  Have you ever thought why is it that things are suddenly coming out of my mouth I would have never thought to say, or things are coming up in my soul I thought were gone.   God is often the whirlwind in the storms that moves through our lives and soul.  The purpose of the whirlwind is to deal with the hidden things in our hearts that have been forgotten, repressed or that we weren’t even aware that they had residence in us.  These whirlwinds that move through our soul can be very unsettling because the Holy Spirit is revealing and showing our true heart in areas. Sometimes that can be a much uglier sight than we care to admit.  He doesn’t do it to condemn us or embarrass us, He does it to purify us and bring into the light those things in all of us that we have cloaked in darkness and tucked away in the closets of our heart.  The Lord is cleaning His house, He is getting into the closets of our hearts and pulling out all that junk that we had so neatly packed away. We all know that when we clean something out that in the process we can have quite a mess as we sort through and separate the good from the bad, the needed from the unneeded.  Sometimes our lives can get in quite a mess as the whirlwind of the Holy Spirit is moving through areas of our lives and cleaning house. 

               Is it disturbing, is it unsettling, is it often bringing us shame or feelings of unworthiness?  Yes, it does all of these things.   Once it is out in the light, then we have to decide what we are going to do with it.  Luke 12:2-3 says, “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.  Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” 

               An unfortunate part of life to us is that often our pain reveals to us a problem that we would continue to ignore if it weren’t significant enough to draw our attention to it.  We know that we can experience more than physical pain.  It is often our heart felt pains that bring to light our heart problems.  Praise God He loves us just the way we are, but too much to leave us that way.  Don’t despair if you going through this process in your life.   We must be willing to relinquish these areas to the Lord, lay them upon the altar, repent of them and find our right standing in His forgiveness and deliverance that He wants to bring to us.  In God’s process of cleaning us up our waters are going to get pretty murky at times as His whirlwind is passing through, but it is because He is working a deeper and purifying work in you.  1 Peter 4:17, “For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

Blessings,

#kent

Defining Love

January 22, 2016

 

1 John 4:8

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Defining Love

How do we define love?  1 John 4:16 says, “…God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”  We know that, in and of ourselves, our love is limited and conditional, but in Christ it knows no such boundaries, ‘for while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’  The secret to loving as God has commanded us too is in the abiding in Him.  That abiding love is not static, it is dynamic in its expression toward all that surrounds it.  The eyes of that love are always looking to the real needs in each individual that it encounters.  Outwardly men say that they need a lot of things that aren’t really even relevant to the deeper need of their heart.  They might not even understand what there need is, but God does.  As we walk in the love of God, we become the expression of God by the Spirit at work in and through us.  We want to ask God to help us see each individual, from those in our own family to those who are strangers, through His eyes and His heart.  Operating and living out of the love of God is in seeing your life as a ministry and service to those around you.  Love is an open door of giving.  It is often returned with ungratefulness and abuse, but it stays open because it is the avenue of God’s love to our fellow man.  When we suffer reproach, abuse and ungratefulness from others then we are, in a sense, filling up the sufferings of Christ.  We are experiencing and feeling what He felt.  We understand the sadness and heartache for those who reject Him, while at the same time we share in the joy of those who embrace Him.  

We have become a very self-contained society wanting our own space and our own things.  God blesses us to be a blessing.  Abiding in the love of God will often take us out of our comfort zone, as it requires that we often lay down our wants and desires so that we might meet the needs in others.  For us to intimately know God we must truly respond to the love of God and become the expression of His love to others.  If we are a closed channel, then we have effectively cut off the life to God to someone who needs it.  God says, “that is not my love.  My love extends it’s arms open to all who will receive Christ and come into Me.”  

Do we really know God?  For us to really know Him means that we have to be the expression of that same love wherewith He has loved and gave His life for us.   Are we willing to give our life for others?

Ask God to give you the eyes to see the world and the individuals around you through His eyes and His love.  Then ask Him to help you to respond accordingly.  The world is starving for genuine love.  You are that love because God abides in you.  

Blessings,

#kent

 

2 Chronicles 34:1-7

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

 3 In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles, carved idols and cast images. 4 Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles, the idols and the images. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem. 6 In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins around them, 7 he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem.

There is Nothing You Can’t Do

It is no wonder that the apostle Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:2,”Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”  God is not a respecter of persons, or age, gender, race or even challenged individuals.  Here in 2 Chronicles 34 God shows how he can even take the weaknesses and immaturity of a young boy and show Himself strong and righteous.  We always want to make excuses as to why we can’t do the exploits and the works of God.  It is not who we are that hinders us, but our lack of faith to move out and believe God for whatever it is that He has placed upon our hearts to do.  

This young boy, Josiah was different because he chose to fix his eyes upon the Lord and through the Lord’s strength and guidance, do what was right.  He turned his nation back to God.  He tore down and destroyed idolatry out of the land.  He was a purifier and a restorer of God’s holiness.  At a very young age He took the resources God had placed in his hands and he made a significant difference in his world.  

What is it that may be holding us back from making a significant difference in our world?  No, we may not be a king, but there are resources that God has given us and placed into our lives.  The greatest resource is the Christ in us.  In Philippians 4:13 Paul declares, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  It is not a question of what you can’t do, it is a question of what has God put in your heart to do?  If God has commissioned you and placed His dream and vision in your heart, then all that hinders you is the faith to act upon it.  It is not your might or resources,  it the Christ in you that will empower you to accomplish what He has called you to do.  

Take it from this little boy Josiah, nothing is impossible with God if you only believe, act and do.

Blessings,

#kent

The Perpetual Love of God

January 20, 2016

 

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The Perpetual Love of God

John 3:16 is like the ABC’s of Christianity.  It may have been the first verse that we ever memorized.   It is like the powerful foundational scripture of our faith and yet many might deem it simplistic and elementary.  It is elementary all right.  It is the elementary foundation that all else is built upon.  It is God’ love that created us.  It is God’s love that has kept Him from destroying us.  It is God’s love that calls us back to Him when we have been his enemies in sin and rebellion and it is God’s love that was so great that He was even willing to give for us His only begotten Son.  

God doesn’t teach His love by word only, but by the demonstration of giving us His most prized possession, His Son.  Who of us would sacrifice our children willingly for any man?  Yet, this sounds the depths to which God loves His humanity.  

Jesus came to do the work of the Father, to destroy the works of the devil and to finish the work on the cross that would open the door of reconciliation for all of mankind to come back to the Father.  All He asked us to do was to respond to His ultimate gift of love.  That is what Jesus is to the believer, God’s greatest gift to all who will simply believe and receive.  

What we may not see is that through God’s only begotten Son, He has called many sons to glory through Him.  What Jesus completed upon the cross as the incarnate, God expression, of God giving Himself for us, He is now bringing to completion and perfection through Christ the many-membered body with Jesus as it’s head.  What Jesus did as the forerunner, the first-fruits, the template and pattern son, He is now bringing forth through His body after the same example in a company of sons.  

In Hebrews 10:12-14 the Word says, ” But when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”  Now you put your feet, not your head on the footstool.  If we are the body of Christ then those feet of His body can represent, the lowest, the last and the members that carry us into the completion of our victory and full overcoming in Christ.  When we get a revelation that Jesus has put His feet up then we can come into the rest of knowing that our enemies are under our feet as well, because we are all one in Him.  

God’s love is perpetual, not just in His Son Jesus, but in and through His many-membered Son Christ Jesus that envelops all of the household of God.  We are the continued expression, being and doing of Jesus in the earth.  His love is perpetuated through us as we are in Christ, living, moving and having our being.  God gave His only begotten Son, not only to love us through Him, but He so loved the world through the ages that He continues to perpetuate His love to the world through the expression and life of His Son in us.  

Remember that as you go forth today.  You are the expression of Jesus to this world because He abides in you and you abide in Him.  Perpetuate God’s love to a lost and dying world, because that is His heart, and His heart is in you.

Blessings,

#kent

Honor the Lord

January 19, 2016

Matthew 15:8-9

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

9They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”

Honor the Lord

Does the honor of our lips match the integrity and obedience of our heart towards God?

Yes, God loves the honor of our lips if it is coming from a pure heart of love and worship, but if we are just going through the program, singing and saying the things that we are directed to sing and say it is in vain.  It is hypocrisy to honor God with lip service, but then live in rebellion and sin.  A consecrated life is what honors the Father.  It is one that humbles itself before Him and draws its direction and strength from Him.  It is one that willing says “Yes” to whatever Father says do.  

The honor of the lips should proceed out of the honor of the heart.  If we don’t honor Him with our lives then we are hypocrites to honor Him with our lips.  How much of our religious service to God has just been our religious tradition of service and doing our religious duty.  If that is what it is, it is vanity and emptiness.  We don’t become holy by putting on our “Sunday go to meeting clothes” and playing Church.”  The church isn’t the building, it is who we are as the body of Christ.  “No ye not that God does not dwell in temples made with hands?”  He dwells in the temple of His people; those who fear and worship Him out of a broken and contrite heart.   We can no longer just go through religious motions and expect God to move on our behalf.  He is looking for an expression of Himself and to have that we must love what He loves and hate what He hates.  So many that call themselves and identify themselves as Christians really have no revelation of what Christianity is really about.  

This is a sober word, but one I believe God speaking to awaken some of us out of sleep.  Romans 12 exhorts us to present ourselves as living sacrifices which is our reasonable service.  That speaks to a daily walk where we are set apart unto Him.  We still live and function in life, but we are always pursuing His highest and His kingdom, not the kingdom of this world.  

The true church are those who are gathered in one accord to truly bring honor to the Father out a heart filled with gratitude and praise.  True worship emanates out of our spirit that so desires to fully connect with His.   It brings worship and honor because He is truly worthy of all worship and honor.  We are not only honoring Him with our lips, but out of our lives that have become an expression of worship, because they are an expression of Him.  True church endeavors to humble itself under the direction of the Holy Spirit and allows Him the freedom to move and direct the order of our worship.  It is not about a one man show, but a body functioning in His giftings in an orderly fashion where God is honored and the body is edified; building itself up in love.  

We have so missed it by making it all about our agenda and time constraints.  That is one of the reasons we often don’t experience God in the depth and dimension we might desire.   Yes, we still need good teaching and preaching, but we need the balance of the rest of God’s gifts and offices in operation as well.  

It is no longer a time just to play church.  It is the time for us to be the Church, in and out of the church building.  Let our lips praise Him from an honest heart of gratitude and worship, as well as a life that is living after the Spirit and not after the flesh.  We are the organism of Christ’s body, not His organization. 

Blessings,

#kent

Count it all Joy

January 18, 2016

 

James 1:2-4

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. 3Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. (Amplified)

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  (Message)

Count it all Joy

I don’t know about you but I think most of us think about joy and gladness coming with blessing, prosperity, good health and divine favor.  So when the Word comes and says count it all joy, a sheer gift, when trials and temptations come upon you, that goes against the grain of most our thinking and paradigms.  Why should I be glad about that?  That is exactly what I have been praying to get out of.  

As much as we all love the good times and the blessings of this life, most of us know by now that it isn’t in these places that we grow spiritually.  In fact it is in these places that we usually grow complacent and our heart generally moves away from God and onto ourselves.  It becomes about us and not Him.  The joy of the trials, temptations and tribulations is that it exposes our weakness, but reveals His strength.  It forces us into that place of dependence and trust in Him to do in us and through us what we could not produce in ourselves.  The “sheer gift” of our trials is the working of the divine nature in us, because we are compelled into a place where we must walk by faith and not by sight.  

Does it seem joyful at the time we are going through it?  Probably not, until we see God show up.  When he shows up in the midst of our weakness, our failures and our struggles then we so appreciate who He is in us and what we are not in ourselves.  These trials and testing are the boot camp of our faith.  They strengthen our resolve.  They train us for war.  They teach us how to endure with patience under pressure and hardship.  They reveal to us our true nature and where we are at with our walk in Father.  When we see where we truly are then we can see where we truly need to be.  As we start moving in the direction of godliness and dependence we are being exercised and finding more and more that Father is our strength and provision in these difficult circumstances.  The circumstances of life are not our enemy; they are simply the tools to exercise and increase our faith and maturity.  The old saying goes we can never have a testimony unless we have first had a test.  God wants to show His faithfulness to us.  We will never experience His rest until we come to the place where we realize that our self-efforts and abilities can never measure up to produce what only God Himself can produce in us and through us as we yield fully and unconditionally to Him.  

I am of the firm conviction that many of us in the body of Christ are going through great financial hardship in this time so that we may learn the rest and faithfulness of Father.  It is pressing us into a place of maturing in areas where we may have always had plenty.  We have grown up with our dependence upon the economy of this world and now God is weaning us off of that bottle and beginning to feed us the meat of a kingdom economy that operates out of faith and not works.  Most of us are out here crying, “Give us back our bottle Father”.  The earthly things are passing away and Father wouldn’t be showing us His love if He left us in that desolate place.  Rejoice in Him, because He loves you so much He is teaching you a higher way and we have to relinquish the old to embrace the new.  While we may be struggling now, we will be those who help others who are struggling when this world economy fails.  Your struggles today are God’s answer to someone else’s struggles tomorrow.  Because of your testimony to the faithfulness of God and the principles that He has taught you someone else is lifted up to where you are.  God brings us into maturity not for our benefit.  Maturity means you are moving from selfish to selfless.  You are the giver and not the taker.  You are the example and not the follower. 

Precious people of God, get down and get happy because all of the various trials and temptations are here to perfect your faith, teach you endurance, mature and develop you into your destiny and purpose.  Rejoice, for these are the tools that bring forth the Christ in you!

Blessings,

#kent

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say SoPsalms 107:1-3 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!For His mercy endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, 3 And gathered out of the lands,From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south. Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So We are the redeemed of the Lord whom the Lord has called out and gathered from every tribe, nation and tongue. We are the apple of His eye. His goodness resides with us and we are highly favored and blessed in Him. It is our joy and our privilege to declare the Lord’s goodness and His lovingkindness. The Lord has afflicted His people in their arrogance and rebellion. He has brought them low so that they might look up to their Redeemer in true repentance and cry out to Him. In that lowly place He hears them and delivers them out of their torment and sorrow. Our greatest stumbling block is pride and self-reliance. When we wander from Him, we wander into the wilderness of desolation, famine and spiritual depravity. In that place we must be humbled to be restored. In the last of Psalms 107, verses 39-43, the Word says, “When they are diminished and brought low Through oppression, affliction, and sorrow, 40 He pours contempt on princes, And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way; 41 Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction, And makes their families like a flock.42 The righteous see it and rejoice, And all iniquity stops its mouth. 43 Whoever is wise will observe these things, And they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.” It is the humble, the contrite, and those of a broken heart that the Lord smiles upon with His lovingkindness and mercy. It is the redeemed that have experienced both the blessing and the discipline of the Lord that appreciate Him so. We have seen what our ways have brought us, and yet even in our unfaithfulness the Lord abides faithful. We are the declaration and the exclamation of His faithfulness and it is the redeemed who say so. Psalms 34:2 says, “My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear [thereof], and be glad.” It is the humble that realize and acknowledge that everything that they are and hope to be is found in the Lord’s strength and in His life. They acknowledge that in Him they find the resources and provision for all that He has called them too. We are the Lord’s redeemed. Let us walk humbly before our God in fear and admiration, in respect, dignity and obedience. Let us declare His works before men in both our words and our actions. Blessings, #kent

January 16, 2016

Psalms 107:1-3

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!For His mercy endures forever.

2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,

3 And gathered out of the lands,From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south. 

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

We are the redeemed of the Lord whom the Lord has called out and gathered from every tribe, nation and tongue.  We are the apple of His eye.   His goodness resides with us and we are highly favored and blessed in Him.  It is our joy and our privilege to declare the Lord’s goodness and His lovingkindness.  

The Lord has afflicted His people in their arrogance and rebellion.  He has brought them low so that they might look up to their Redeemer in true repentance and cry out to Him.  In that lowly place He hears them and delivers them out of their torment and sorrow.  Our greatest stumbling block is pride and self-reliance.  When we wander from Him, we wander into the wilderness of desolation, famine and spiritual depravity.  In that place we must be humbled to be restored.  

In the last of Psalms 107, verses 39-43, the Word says, “When they are diminished and brought low Through oppression, affliction, and sorrow, 40 He pours contempt on princes, And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way; 41 Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction, And makes their families like a flock.42 The righteous see it and rejoice, And all iniquity stops its mouth. 

43 Whoever is wise will observe these things, And they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”

It is the humble, the contrite, and those of a broken heart that the Lord smiles upon with His lovingkindness and mercy.  It is the redeemed that have experienced both the blessing and the discipline of the Lord that appreciate Him so.   We have seen what our ways have brought us, and yet even in our unfaithfulness the Lord abides faithful.  We are the declaration and the exclamation of His faithfulness and it is the redeemed who say so.  

Psalms 34:2 says, “My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear [thereof], and be glad.”  It is the humble that realize and  acknowledge that everything that they are and hope to be is found in the Lord’s strength and in His life.  They acknowledge that in Him they find the resources and provision for all that He has called them too.  

We are the Lord’s redeemed.  Let us walk humbly before our God in fear and admiration, in respect, dignity and obedience.  Let us declare His works before men in both our words and our actions.   

Blessings,

#kent

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