When We Call

January 15, 2016

 

Psalms 138:3

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.

When We Call

This morning, I waited for some time before the Lord dropped this scripture in my spirit.  It made me realize that God does hear us, but we don’t always hear His answer right away.   What makes us bold and stouthearted is the confidence in His Word and in Him that is answering us even through we may not audibly hear or physically see the answer right away.  As we wait upon the Lord, we need to do so from the perspective of worship and faith.  

Now let me share with you the two verses preceding verse three.  “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.  I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.”  Notice the approach and attitude toward God, as David, the Psalmist, approaches God for his answer.  David first exalts the Lord in praise, secondly he bows and prostrates himself in the attitude, position and spirit of worship.  Then he makes declaration of the Lord’s faithfulness to His Word and to His name.  

Sometimes, in our busy life and Christianity we forget that there is a protocol to our coming before the Lord.  In the light of that protocol that we see here, we might see how rude it could be for us to just pray as we go; telling the Lord all that we are having problems with and all that we need.  Most of the time we are never get quite or still long enough to listen and see if the Lord has anything to say back to us.  Remember the awesome, holy God we pray too.  He is not just a part of our “to do” list and He’s not just a part of our “to do it for us list”  He is worthy of our every day, every moment, highest regard, reverence and praise.  God wants to meet with us and have relationship with us, but let us never get so flippant and complacent that we dishonor Him in the way we approach and seek Him.   

Listen to whom God says He is, to whom God says He will look and to whom He will listen in Isaiah 66:1-2.  “This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.

Where is the house you will build for me?  Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord.

“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”  

You see, the attitude and position of our heart has a great deal to do with how God receives us.  This word “esteem”  means to look, consider, pay attention to.  If we wonder why we seldom or never hear from God, then we might want to consider how we approach and honor Him with our lives, our praise, worship and prayers.  Learn to ascend into His presence.  Remember, when we call upon the Lord, to follow how Psalms 100 gives us  instruction on how to approach our awesome and wonderful Father.  

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Blessings,

#kent

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The Authority of Faith

January 14, 2016

 

Matthew 8:5-13

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6″Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” 

7Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” 8The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 

10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.

The Authority of Faith

This story of Jesus and the centurion teaches that faith acts upon and through an authority.  This centurion understood what so many of the Jews did not.  He understood that if you need something you have to go to the one in charge of releasing what your need is.  For instance, let’s say that Jesus needed natural protection from those who sought to take His life.  He could have gone to the centurion and presented his need and because the centurion had authority over protection he could have assigned bodyguards to protect Jesus, because that was his authority and position.  The centurion had such faith in the authority of Jesus over sickness that he didn’t even have to see a physical act.  All he needed was for Jesus to speak the word and he knew that it would be done.  

The Lord commands a multitude and host of angelic beings.  Hebrews 1:14 says, “14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”  When we are in Christ there is a delegation of authority to act and speak in His name.  Obviously this is not like people being loose canons, with a magic wand speaking and doing whatever they want.  Even Jesus did not act in this way when He had the authority of the Father.  He said in John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”  Jesus also speaks some very powerful and keywords in John 14:10-14 when he says, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  Our faith in Christ brings us into that place that the Son possessed with the Father.  The Father brought forth His will through the Son, because the Son’s meat was to do the will of the Father.  Our meat is to do the will of the Son, and in that place He has granted to us His name, nature and authority to carry out His will.  As we live in Christ and act out of Christ we have authority and the angels themselves carry out the will of that authority and word.  

Faith acts in obedience to the authority that is over it.  In that place of submission and divine authority the will of the Lord is performed through us, His people, because He has given unto us the authority of His name. 

Blessings,

#kent

God is Love

January 7, 2016

1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

God is Love

The one characteristic that most defines the nature and character of God is His love. It is a love that is unconditional, everlasting and without measure. It is a love that we are still trying to comprehend in Christ Jesus, the expression of God’s righteousness, holiness and most beloved of all that God holds dear. Yet God’s love is so great, along with that of His Son, who is in His nature, that His divine life was given and sacrificed on behalf of His creation. Romans 5:6-8 states it this way, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” So God’s love is an unmerited, limitless, undeserved and selfless love.
Isn’t it God’s purpose to bring a people into the image of who He is? This scripture tells us that love is the foundation of walking and coming into the image of God. We already have a pretty fair revelation of the limitations of our natural love. It often rises and falls along with our moods and attitudes. Our love is often influenced by our self preservation and self-interest. It is a love of condition and as such can be given and taken back at will. Perhaps this why we struggle with the concept of God’s love that loves us unconditionally as sinners, even though He hates our sin. Especially if we don’t even love ourselves, how can we reconcile our thinking and understanding that God can still love us?
There are sin issues that people carry that are not only abhorred by society, but by the individuals that carry them. They would believe that their is no one and nothing that could love them the way they are. They even hate and despise who they are and yet God’s love reaches even to the lowest hell and the greatest of sinners. If we ever judge that someone is unredeemable then we don’t comprehend the love of God. What is impossible with man is not impossible with God. His love is that great.
What this scripture is telling us as believers in Christ and in the love of God is that we also must carry this mantle of love, because we have been first partakers of it. If the Spirit of God’s Son reigns upon the throne of our hearts then what is the dispensation of His kingdom if it is not love? Our mind and earthly thinking are often a paradox and contradiction to the mind of the Spirit. That is why Romans 8:5-8, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” It is the love of God through His Spirit that will motivate and encourage us to do what may be a contradiction of our natural thinking to do. As such we are learning to act in obedience to the prompting of the Spirit. What often tips us off that they are from God is that is may in total contradiction to the way we feel, our fears or what we want to do in the natural. When the Spirit of God begins to prompt us to act out of love and obedience we usually have a barrage of natural reasoning come at us to why we can’t or should do what the Spirit is prompting us to do. One of the things that defines the Holy Spirit’s prompting is that He acts out of love. If we follow Him in obedience then our actions will carry that same love with them. Because we are to be a Spirit led people then it only follows that our actions are defined by God’s love. If our life is still only defined by selfishness and self-interest then we need to strongly take a look at where we are in our relationship with the Father. Whose image are we walking in, the first Adam or the last Adam, which is being conformed to the image of the incorruptible Christ?
If we are in God and know God, then our love, or rather His love in us, and our actions should be defining and expressing who we are. Because Christ is in you, you are the expression of His love.
Blessings,
#kent

Two Adams

January 5, 2016

 

Romans 5:12-20

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

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.

Two Adams

What this passage in Romans 5 speaks to is spiritual principles and acts that have global and eternal impact upon all of creation and in particular, humanity.  Verse 14 says that “Adam was a pattern of the One to come.”  Now a pattern is a prototype after which all things that are made from that pattern look like.  Adam was the example of what God intended from the beginning to have in His relationship with man.  Adam is like us, in Christ and perfected with one exception.  His righteousness was in his obedience, but not out of faith in Christ as ours is now.  Adam was allowed to partake of all of the trees of the Garden, but two trees in the midst of the Garden or we might say the “heart” of the garden had far reaching eternal spiritual weight and ramifications. There was no prohibition from partaking of the “Tree of Life”  because it would only perpetuate the state of godly relationship Adam enjoyed with God in the Garden.  It was that other tree that was the Pandora’s box to a spiritual dimension that even Adam could not have imagined.  

It was obedience that kept Adam in his perpetual state of bliss.  The principle we see here is that obedience that is not tried and tested is not obedience that is of proven character.  

Jesus was the last Adam.  1 Corinthians 15:45 declares, So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”  Adam may have represented the best of man, but it was outside the life-giving Spirit that could only come through Christ.  He no doubt did well for an indeterminate amount of time, but there came a day of testing, trial and temptation and this living soul, the pattern of the one to come, gave place to disobedience.  When he partook of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he brought death and condemnation spiritually and physically, not only to himself, but to all of mankind and creation.  

What made Jesus different?  Well, first and foremost, He was the Son of God and yet clothed in the frailty of a human body with like passions and weaknesses.  Jesus Christ came in the midst of a sinful and perverse world wrapped in the body of a fallen creation man.  There was only one way this  Christ man could bring all of creation out of the bondage that had been released upon it through Adam’s one disobedient act.  It was now the act of unfaltering obedience that would be needed to bring creation back out of its bondage and into the eventual fullness of restoration that God had purposed from the beginning.  It was the act of obedience on the part of Jesus that would determine the fate of creation.  If He failed then all hope of creation would fail with Him and the destruction of creation would be inevitable.  

Praise God in the highest and His Son Christ Jesus; He didn’t fail, but was obedient even unto the death of the cross.  The difference between Adam and Christ is brought out in Hebrews 5:8, “Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.”  Jesus is now that pattern Son for us.  If He learned obedience through sufferings, then we will learn the same way.  The proof of what is in the character of a person is not fully seen until it is tried and tested.  

Just as the many were made sinners through one man’s act of disobedience, many will be made righteous through one man’s act of obedience.   It is our faith in Him who is our obedience that appropriates that righteousness to us.  When the sinful nature of Adam was crucified on the cross in the mortal body of Jesus, the last Adam, Christ, became a quickening, life-giving spirit through the resurrection power of the Spirit of God.  

As we have comprehended in our spirits this truth we now, by faith put off the old man, identifying it with the death of Jesus on the cross.  We now, by faith, put on the new resurrection Man that is a life-giving Spirit that has set us free from our former curse of condemnation inherited in our first man Adam.  We are now after the order of a new pattern and prototype that is Christ Jesus.  Even though we still live in a world that is plagued by the state of the first fallen Adam we have risen in our spirits into the state of the resurrected last Adam.  In Christ is the hope that is being manifested through us.  

Romans 8 speaks to the purpose that is now in us who have acted by faith in partaking of the obedience of Christ.  Romans 8:12-25 declares, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  

It is in this hope and patience that we press into the high calling that is ours in Christ Jesus.  It is in that faith, hope and patience that we exercise ourselves in godly faith, so that as many of us as are being led by the Spirit of God, we are the sons of God.  The body of Christ is the key to completion, reconciliation and restoration for creation through what Jesus finished upon the cross. 

“Consequently, 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. (Romans 5:18-19)”

Blessings,

#kent

When Men Cry Out

January 4, 2016

 

Psalms 14:1

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are sinful and their actions are sinful. There is no one who does good. 

When Men Cry Out

Wisdom, salvation and the knowledge of the Lord comes to him who seeks for light and truth.  The man that opens his heart and listens with a spiritual ear will hear the truth and it will bring him into liberty and life.   ‘It is a fool who says in their heart there is no God’ when all around all of creation bears testimony and witness of His existence and divine wisdom.  The order and delicate balance of the universe and life on this planet aren’t a matter of chance.   Only a fool would believe and embrace such a concept.  The Word says if we had no other witness than the creation itself, that would be enough to bear witness to God.  

Even though the truth of God is self–evident all have not turned their hearts to Him.  Psalms 14:1 goes on to say, “They are sinful and their actions are sinful. There is no one who does good.”  Sin and disobedience to God has been the fault of all men, even those who were His chosen people.  Romans 2:9-12 says, “What about it then? Are we Jews better than the people who are not Jews? Not at all! I have already said that Jews and the people who are not Jews are all sinners. 10 The Holy Writings say, “There is not one person who is right with God. No, not even one! 11 There is not one who understands. There is not one who tries to find God. 12 Everyone has turned away from God. They have all done wrong. Not one of them does what is good. No, not even one!”   Have we not all foolishly turned from the God of our creation and salvation?  God gave the law that we might know the error of our ways and that we might know what sin is, but even in that knowing, none of us could honor, obey and fear him as His holiness required.  The law could only reveal our sin, but it could not justify us before God, because we would always fall short of the law.  Romans 2: 21-26 says, “But now God has made another way to make men right with Himself. It is not by the Law. The Law and the early preachers tell about it. 22 Men become right with God by putting their trust in Jesus Christ. God will accept men if they come this way. All men are the same to God. 23 For all men have sinned and have missed the shining-greatness of God. 24 Anyone can be made right with God by the free gift of His loving favor. It is Jesus Christ who bought them with His blood and made them free from their sins. 25 God gave Jesus Christ to the world. Men’s sins can be forgiven through the blood of Christ when they put their trust in Him. God gave His Son Jesus Christ to show how right He is. Before this, God did not look on the sins that were done. 26 But now God proves that He is right in saving men from sin. He shows that He is the One Who has no sin. God makes anyone right with Himself who puts his trust in Jesus.”  

When men are faced with their sin and they come to really face and acknowledge the depravity of their souls, then God has made a way of reconciliation and the way is Jesus Christ.  When men cry out to Him in repentance and desire to change from their wicked ways, God has heard and answers them through the love of Christ.  We have all played the fool with our sin and our disobedience, but the God of all wisdom and love has taken pity upon our low estate.  He has provided the way for us to be lifted up, know Him and come into fellowship and relationship with Him.  It is not a hard thing, all it requires is the simple understanding that ‘God so loved you He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should believe upon Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’  It simply requires that we bring back to Him what He gave us in free will, our hearts and our souls.  In exchange we receive His eternal life, for our current life of sin and death.  Only a fool would refuse such a trade.

When men cry out, God will hear their cry and answer them in the face of Jesus Christ.  ‘If He be lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself.’

Blessings,

#kent

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