How do I Know that I Know Him?

1 John 2:1-6

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 

Have you ever been around someone, who says they go to church and they claim to be a Christian, but their attitudes, their morals, their integrity and their language all testify against them?  Now the truth is we all fall short of the glory of God and we know that if we sin, Jesus has paid the price and offers us forgiveness when we confess our sins and ask for it.  When we behold Jesus and when we see His life and listen to His Words, is He what you really want to be like? Now our church mentality wants to say, “Oh yes, that’s what I want.  I want to be like Jesus.”  What does your heart say?  What is more important is what are our lives saying?  

Have you ever noticed in life that you tend to excel at what your passion is?  When you are passionate about something it is not work, or a burden to you, it is your desire and it is what fulfills you.  If we are trying to serve God out of obligation and duty then we probably won’t do exceptionally well at it, because it is not in our heart.  On the other hand, if Christ is our passion, our love and our desire, then keeping His commandments isn’t that hard.  That’s who we are and what we want to be.  It is our passion and our love, so to do the contrary to that grieves us and steals our joy.  That is why Christ is all about relationship; when we love Him and when we are intimately connected to Him then He is who we desire to please.  His commands aren’t grievous to us, but joyous, because our obedience to them reflect our love for Him and desire to be well pleasing in His sight.  Our obedience is our expression of love back to the Lord.

Remember your first love?  We could not do enough to try and please that significant other.  They were in our hearts, our thoughts and our conversation; we would doodle their name, we talked to our friends about them, they were the passion and joy of our life.  That is what many of us have had with Jesus, but like that first love, the more familiar it became, the more common it became until it wasn’t so special anymore, it was just another part of life.  Many of us have seen this happen in our marriages and we have seen it happen with our relationship with the Lord.  We still love, but we’ve slipped into a routine.  We are faithful, but our hearts aren’t in it like before.  This condition can and does happen to many of us both in the natural and in the spirit.  In Revelation 2 the Holy Spirit is addressing the seven churches.  When He comes to the Church of Ephesus, He says this, “3I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary. 4But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love]. 5Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.”  How many of our marriages have had their lampstand removed for this very reason, we forsook our first love?  We lost our passion for love and relationship?  What we have done in the natural, we are doing in the Spirit.  The joy of obedience and service is in love.  When we loose that love, the joy goes with it.  We have to recapture that first love we had for Christ.  Can you remember when He filled your spirit with His Spirit till your joy was too overflowing?  

While we may be faithful with our bodies or our spirits, our minds and hearts have wandered off to pursue other lovers, but all they are really doing is robbing us of our first love and joy, and they never offer us any long-term fulfillment or faithfulness.  They destroy what we did have to give and leave us nothing but heartache and sorrow.  We are like Israel of old and like Homer, the harlot wife of Hosea.  Hosea writes in Hosea 2:7, “And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my firsthusband; for then was it better with me than now.”  Beloved we need to lay hold of her revelation.  We need to return to our first husband, our first love and our first passion.  This can be said to us both naturally and spiritually.  We have to rekindle those fires of friendship and relationship, both with Christ and with our spouses.  Who can measure how much richer our lives will become if we set our hearts to do that.  I know that my wife would say amen to that, how about yours?  

How do you know that you Know Christ?  The knowing is in the intimacy of relationship that is stemmed out of love and commitment.  It is a dynamic that cannot become stagnant or static or it will whither and die.  Complacency and mediocrity will kill it.  We love Him, because He first loved us.  His passion and His love for us hasn’t changed, if something has changed in our relationship then the problem is with us and not with Him.  Let’s return to our first love.  God’s love is made complete in us through our obedience.

Blessings,

#kent

Advertisements

Abiding in the Vine

October 28, 2016

Abiding in the Vine

1 John 2:24

Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. 

John, the apostle and disciple of Jesus, was very passionate about certain things.  Two of the things he is most passionate about is love and relationship.  I believe John was a man of the heart and when he committed his love to you it was constant from then on.  One area of emphasis is the place of “abiding”.  This word speaks of a place where we remain; we don’t depart from, we continue to be present.  It is a place we last and endure in and a place where we survive and live.  It speaks of a state or condition that is constant and a place where we wait for someone.  This concept of abiding is one that Jesus is passionate that we catch a revelation of.  

Abiding is a two way street.  It is a place of exchange of living and giving, and loving and receiving.  That place where we live and abide in our heart is the key to what our life produces.  Jesus shares the reality of this truth in John 15: 1-8, ““I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  Our place of abiding in Christ is the place where we grow up into Him in all things.  It is the place where He loves us, trains us, corrects us and prunes us.  It is the place where He makes us productive and fruitful with regards to the kingdom.  It is the place where we learn that our life is one with His and the blood that flows in Him, flows in us.  We are of one life and one nature as we abide there.  If or when we sever and separate our life from His then that fellowship and circulation of His life ceases to work in us and we begin to spiritually die.  Outside of Him we perish spiritually.  

God is a God of mercy and restoration and I believe that through repentance and the redemption of the blood we can be restored should we leave this place of abiding.  Many of us may have walked away from Christ for a time, but hopefully all of us realize how dead we are inside without His life and fellowship.  It is in the place of abiding that we are living in eternal life, for we are living in Christ.  1 John 2:1-2 tells us, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”  1 John 1:9 has told us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  There is a place and provision for restoration when we fail, but our heart should be that we don’t want to fail Him.  1 John 2:17 tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”  Our abiding in eternal life is our abiding in obedience to the will and purpose of God.  1 John 3:6-9 tells us about the state of the believer in that place of abiding, “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”  Our continual abiding in Christ is going to make us want to be like Him in every way.  We are learning to love what He loves and hate what He hates.  We are being conformed to His mind and transformed into His likeness from glory to glory.  It is a process and a maturing, but it takes place as we abide in Christ.  

It is important that we connect in our understanding of our unity and oneness with Christ, if we are always seeing ourselves as outside of and apart from Christ then we always see ourselves separate and detached from Him.  While our unity and oneness may not be in the manifest glory that it one day will be, we are robbed if we see ourselves as anything but one with Him.  Otherwise we are trying in our efforts to live Christian lives and looking to heaven for God to help us.  He has helped us sometimes more than we comprehend or have revelation of.  He has placed His life in us and our lives are in Him so that we might live out of Christ and unto Christ.  He is our being, we have become identified with His life in us, and we have disowned and are putting to death the former man that we were before Christ.  We have to always remind ourselves that we are dead to our former identity and now our identity is in Christ where we abide in His love and His life.  Lay hold of the truth of where you live, abide and have your being.  It is Christ in you and His love that now lives through you as you abide in Him.

These things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”  1 John 1:9 has told us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  There is a place and provision for restoration when we fail, but our heart should be that we don’t want to fail Him.  1 John 2:17 tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that isin the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Our abiding in eternal life is our abiding in obedience to the will and purpose of God.  1 John 3:6-9 tells us about the state of the believer in that place of abiding, “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”  Our continual abiding in Christ is going to make us want to be like Him in every way.  We are learning to love what He loves and hate what He hates.  We are being conformed to His mind and transformed into His likeness from glory to glory.  It is a process and a maturing, but it takes place as we abide in Christ.  

It is important that we connect in our understanding of our unity and oneness with Christ, if we are always seeing ourselves as outside of and apart from Christ then we always see ourselves separate and detached from Him.  While our unity and oneness may not be in the manifest glory that it one day will be, we are robbed if we see ourselves as anything but one with Him.  Otherwise we are trying in our efforts to live Christian lives and looking to heaven for God to help us.  He has helped us sometimes more than we comprehend or have revelation of.  He has placed His life in us and our lives are in Him so that we might live out of Christ and unto Christ.  He is our being, we have become identified with His life in us, and we have disowned and are putting to death the former man that we were before Christ.  We have to always remind ourselves that we are dead to our former identity and now our identity is in Christ where we abide in His love and His life.  Lay hold of the truth of where you live, abide and have your being.  It is Christ in you and His love that now lives through you as you abide in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

Has God Forgotten You?

October 27, 2016

Has God Forgotten You?

Psalm 77:6-12

I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search. Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth [his] promise fail for evermore.  Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said, This [is] my infirmity: [but I will remember] the years of the right hand of the most High. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. 

Have we ever had those times when we felt like the Lord was no where to be found?  Our prayers just seem to bounce off of the ceiling and fall to the ground.  Most of us have struggled with those times when the voices came in to say; “do you really think there is a God? How long have you been going through this trial and God hasn’t answered your prayers.  People pray and worship all kind of gods, what makes you so sure you are right and everybody else is wrong.  Doesn’t God see?  Doesn’t He care about the things you are going through?  If so, why isn’t He doing something?”

Sometimes we feel that spirit of discouragement come over us.  We become disheartened and like David we are saying in our hearts, if not out loud, “Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth [his] promise fail for evermore.  Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies?”  Even David, who had a close relationship with God and had seen God’s mighty wonders through his life, had those moments of discouragement, questionings and doubts.  

Both hands of God work in our lives to shape and mold us.  There are times we experience the right hand of God’s blessing, health, prosperity, deliverance and salvation.  Then there are times in our life when we might be experiencing the left hand of God.  In Job 23:8-13, Job says, “Behold, I go forward, but he [is] not [there]; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But he knoweth the way that I take: [when] he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary [food]. he [is] in one [mind], and who can turn him? and [what] his soul desireth, even [that] he doeth.” Even the most prominent of God’s saints have had their dark times when they endured the judgements and testing that God allowed to come into their lives.  Can we always make sense of those times?  No.  Sometimes we feel like the blind man feeling his way around trying to find his way in the Lord.  

The one lesson we learn from these men of God is that even in those dark times when God seems so far from us He is nevertheless faithful and true.  How did David cope when he could not perceive God?  He began to recall the works of God and praise the Lord for all the mighty things he knew God had done.  He says, “but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”  Remember, recite and give thanksgiving and praise for all the past blessings and miracles God has done for you and for others.  Dwell on His goodness and talk about all His great doings.  

Job, likewise in the midst of his great darkness and adversity, though God’s ways are darkened and hid from him says, “But he knoweth the way that I take: [when] he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary [food].”  Job, though he doesn’t understand the entire why and wherefore, never questions God’s faithfulness or integrity.  He sees with the eyes of faith that God is faithful and has his highest good at heart even though the natural circumstances and facts would testify to the contrary.  He esteems God’s Word as more important and faithful than even the necessary food of life.  

When those times of darkness, discouragement and trials are upon us our spirit within us must rise up to encourage our soul that God is faithful and worthy of all praise no matter what the outward circumstances proclaim.  Our Lord has promised that He would never leave or forsake us, but natural feelings and senses are not the gauge of God’s closeness or faithfulness.  Paul gives us all great words of encouragement to hold on too through these times in Romans 8:33-39, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth,  Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  We must know and believe that our security and confidence in Christ does not rest in what we are going through or what we see around us, or how we feel; it rests in God’s sure Word to us that He will always love us and never leave us.  Whether in life or death, He is ever there with us.  Nothing can separate us from His love.  Encourage your soul in the Lord if you are in this place of discouragement and doubt.  He is forever faithful and true. You can be sure He hasn’t forgotten you.

Blessings

#kent

Entering into His Rest

October 26, 2016

Hebrews 4: 1-11

1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, 

“So I declared on oath in my anger, 

‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 

6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: 

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. 

Entering into His Rest

The Word teaches us that when God lead the people of Israel out of Egypt they wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they tested, quarreled and doubted the Lord even after all that He had done and shown them.  What’s more, Hebrews 4 tells us that even after Joshua led the people through the river Jordan and into the Promise Land they still never truly entered into the Sabbath rest even though they had instituted the Sabbath.  

The Sabbath first came into being after God had brought forth creation in six days and it says in Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”  It is God’s desire that we now enter into the rest of the Lord. We are told that those who went before us didn’t enter into this rest because of disobedience.  That Sabbath rest is a holy place and it is not found in the realm of natural doing and thinking.  It is entered into not by the will of the flesh or the will of a man but by the Spirit through faith.  We must first believe that He is.  We must receive that He is the completion of all things in our lives and in our spiritual transformation.  Many of us are still striving within our means and abilities to please God and curry His favor.  His favor is already ours in Christ.   Christ is the Holy rest that we are to enter into.  He has finished the work.  He has imparted His righteousness and salvation to us, now it is ours to rest in it.  If we are still working to earn His favor, if we are still living under condemnation and sin, if we still think that somehow we must get good enough for Him to receive us then we have missed the rest of God.  The rest of God, His holy Sabbath, is when we cease and He begins.  The rest of God is the relinquishment of our self and our self-efforts.  It is that place where God is our all in all.  We walk by faith and not by sight.  We see our world through the promises and the heart of the Father.  Our obedience and submission is to walk in the light of that Truth.  

We will be challenged and tested even as Israel of old was, but will we murmur and complain?  Will we rebel and be dissuaded from Him by our natural circumstances?  Will we forget our covenant with Him, stray from Him and enter back into that place He died to deliver us out of? If disobedience causes us to fall away from the rest then it only seems logical that trust and obedience are the attributes that lead us into that rest.  

We are called not to make the same mistakes as our predecessors.  God has again led us into the Promise Land of Christ Jesus so that we might enter into His rest, ceasing from our efforts as we embrace all that He is and all that He has already done.  As we enter into that rest the Holy Spirit will be at work in us discerning and showing us our true hearts and motives.  He doesn’t do this to condemn us, but to show us the obstacles that are standing in the way of our rest.  As we are willing to relinquish these things to Him then His rest will continue to fill our lives.  We have a High Priest in Christ who has walked before us and experienced our weaknesses and our temptation.  He is interceding on our behalf.  Because we are now in Christ through our faith and trust in Him we can come boldly before the throne of grace and experience that rest that is now ours in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

The Everlasting Arms of the Father

Deuteronomy 33:27

The eternal God [is thy] refuge, and underneath [are] the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy [them]. 

Perhaps you have memories like I do of times when you were little, at nighttime, when you had been put to bed.  Your imagination would start to work and you would imagine shadows as being monsters or think there was something under your bed that would get you if you got up.  As your imagination worked you would become more and more fearful until you might jump up in a panic and go running into your momma and daddy’s room crying and afraid.  Maybe they would put you in bed between them and all of the fear would dissipate in the safety of their embrace and presence.  You felt confident that no monsters were going to get you while mom and dad were holding you and your peace would return.  

Ironically life often isn’t so much different as we become adults.  Obviously it is not practical to go running to mommy and daddy anymore.  The truth is that sometimes our monsters still seem very real and they still perpetuate fear in us.  We can be very anxious about areas in our lives, things we must face and even spiritual attacks that can come upon us.  There are some that are reading this today that are facing such fears.

Some years ago, after we had our middle child, through some rather traumatic events my wife began to experience demonic types of attacks.  There was a dark presence that would come to her and assault her in different ways.  Naturally she was petrified with fear.  These would take place fairly frequently over the course of about a year and usually happened when you she was in a state of semi –sleep.   These events were very terrifying to her and as she sought the Lord about it and she felt the Lord asking her, “Does this presence ever really harm or physically hurt you?” 

 She said, “no Lord.”

“Then why are you afraid.” 

What the Lord began to teach her was that when these attacks would come she would enter into Christ, she would just crawl up on the lap of the Father and this presence would have no power over her and it would have to leave.  Finally the time came when during one of these attacks she became angry and bold.  She reached out as it were in the spirit and laid hold of this spirit and she said she literally broke its arm until she heard it snap as it was screaming to get away.  Strangely enough a man prophesied that evening in a meeting that we had in our home that ‘the arm of the enemy had been broken this day’.  He knew nothing of what had just taken place.  

This may seem a little extreme and bazaar to some of you.  It is certainly not something we like to share often, but rather we would like to share it or not, there may be some of you wrestling with your own demons.  The truth that we discovered is that there is safety and refuge in the arms of the Father.  You can still run and jump in Daddy’s lap, bury your face in His chest and allow Him to wrap His loving arms of love and safety around you.  He is your refuge and your hiding place.  Remember that you are seated at the right hand of the Father in Christ Jesus.  Nothing can touch you except it goes through Him first.  You are not alone.  The way the enemy perpetuates fear and defeat in you is by separating you from the faith of who you are in Christ.  This why it is so important feed upon the Word because it ministers into you life, faith, and reinforced confidence of who you are in Christ.  My wife often goes to sleep now by putting on CD’s of the Word and just listening to it as she goes to sleep.  

Just remember you have the strongest and toughest Daddy that has ever been or will be.  You are His kid and if you run into His arms you are safe no matter what might be going on around you. Lose your fear and find your peace in the everlasting arms of the Father.

Blessings,

#kent

What Do We Value?

October 24, 2016

Matthew 13:46

When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!

What Do We Value?

Today I was considering values.   What is the value that we place on something or someone.  Often we try to measure value in dollars and cents, but in reality some things  of the greatest value are not about money at all.  Who can put a value on God’s Word or the Holy Spirit that helps reveal God and His Word to us?  Who can put value on the cross of Calvary or the price that Jesus paid for our sins.  Can salvation even have a price? Yes, it was the price that Jesus paid. It was the suffering and sacrifice of God’s very own life for us.  

So much we have in life has great value and yet we may take so much of it for granted.  Often the only thing that gives us the relative value of something is when we can experience and understand what it is to be without it.  What we have in abundance we rarely value.  What we perceive as an entitlement we rarely give due honor.  

Much of what God allows us to go through in life is to teach us to respect and honor godly values, provisions and blessings.  How can we fully understand the value of light without knowing its absence in darkness.  How we fully appreciate warmth, until we have been truly cold and how can we understand the value of being filled, until we have been truly empty.  

Christ Jesus became our high priest making intercession for us, because He came in the weakness and frailty of human flesh and experienced it outside the dimension of heaven and being God.  Now we know that He understands our infirmities, our weaknesses, our temptations and even our failures.  Though He walked through them perfectly as an example for us; He knows and appreciates what they are because He has experienced them.  What Jesus did and gave of Himself was for our sake.  Often what we go through in our life experiences through hardship, pain or suffering is God training us up to intercede and be in a place to minister to others.  What we overcome through our faith and perseverance, God can use to impart that strength to those who follow us.  What we often lose sight of as Christians who have endured trials for many years is that we are overcomers, not because we have been delivered out of our afflictions; we are overcomers because we hold fast our faith even as we await the promise.  How can we even be overcomers unless there is something in our lives to be overcome.  The overcomer holds God’s standard and His Word as being the authority and in that authority he or she submits their life.  It is not based on what they outwardly see or experience, but they abide believing and walking in the promises of God.  

When we pay a price for something we value it far more highly than that which we get for free.  God’s salvation is a free gift, but it is in the walking out of that salvation that we truly learn its value. When we truly acknowledge and recognize what God has delivered us from, then we most value what He is bringing us into.  If we only value our salvation for the sake of getting to heaven and missing hell, then we don’t really have a revelation of what our salvation is about.  Ultimately God saved us to be saviors.  I don’t mean that  in the sense of usurping the position of Jesus, but rather being the completion and instrumentation of what was began in Jesus and is completed through the many-membered body of Christ with Jesus as its head.  

It is God’s identity that He has given us in Christ that speaks to the nature and character of who we now are.  It is our position in Christ, seated at the right hand of the throne of God, that speaks to our authority, royalty and heavenly administration.  It is our purpose for which God created us that we, in Christ, should fulfill His purpose in destroying the works of the devil and setting creation free.  We are the instruments not to take His glory, but to be the expression of His glory.  

How can you put a value on that?  There is no monetary means of purchasing so great a gift and calling, but do we truly honor and value what our Papa has given us?  Do we fully realize  and appreciate that which we carry in these temples?  One day His train will fill the temple and “on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (2 Thessalonians 1:10)”

Let us truly value, honor and walk into what we have been given.

Blessings,

#kent

Oracles of Soberness

October 21, 2016

Oracles of Soberness

Luke 19:26-27

“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 27But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.”

The Son came to seek and save that which was lost, but many that were lost would not be found.  Their rejection was their rebellion and their rebellion was their loss.  Unto the faithful is more given and unto the faithless; even that which he was given will be taken away and given to another. 

Fear of the Lord is the mark of wisdom, but a foolish man rails against his master.  The foolish man exalts himself to be more than he ought, but the wise man humbles himself to be less than he is.  

All will answer to the King, whether they accepted his dominion and lordship or not.  All of us must answer for what we were given and what we have done with it.  The faithful will be exalted, but the faithless will be cast out.  The Lord is no respecter of persons, but He deserves and is worthy of everyone’s respect.  

The God of Love is also a just and exacting God.  In the spiritual realm, there are only two kingdoms.  One is the kingdom of darkness and one is the kingdom of light.  There is no kingdom of middle gray and compromise.  The grays are an extension of darkness masquerading as light, but their deceitfulness draws men into darkness.  The Lord does not compromise His own and His own cannot compromise His light with darkness.   

Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom, but those that do the will of the Father.  Our love for God is marked in our obedience and not in our words.  Words can be deceitful and our appearances can be vain, but a heart that is given to Christ will bear the marks of His handiwork.  It cannot go on unchanged, but each one must give account for the grace that was given.  It is not given for a man to earn his salvation, but to work it out with fear and trembling.  The garments of righteousness have been given, but it is up to each one whom receives them to put them on and wear them in faithfulness.  There are no other garments acceptable before the Father than those that have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.  

As in the times before many that accept God in word, reject Him in heart.  “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)”  “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  (Psalm 139:23-24)” Humble yourself before the Lord, examine your heart before Him and set your life to honor Him.

Blessings,

#kent

The Streams of our Hopes and Dreams

Psalms 127:3

Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward. 

Springs bubble up from the melted winter snow

Pure little streams trickle down to larger ones below.

How precious the resource of these little bubbling springs

They are like the wellsprings of all our hopes and dreams.

They bubble to the surface birthed into their little stream.

They are so rich in hope as they start off pure and clean.

Hopes and dreams cascade over the rocks smoothing them to stone,

They cascade over waterfalls showing a splendor all their own.

Sometimes they are muddied as they flow to rivers below,

Sometimes they are unappreciated among the river’s flow.

Still they exist in the heart of the spring from which they came.

Even when they become muddied they are cherished just the same.

Our children are often the seed of so many of our hopes and dreams.

We hope and desire they are not just milk, but rise to be the cream.

Even when life doesn’t bring to pass all that we had dreamed for,

Forever we cherish our dream in them and for them pray the more.

They are our legacy to carry on the resource of our life,

Sometimes they turn from us and it cuts us like a knife,

But we look beyond what we see as we hold on to our dream,

We hope, as long as there is life, that our waters again become clean.

Never lose your hopes and dreams though they become clouded along the way,

Bath them in prayer and faith as you look to a brighter day.

Look to the promise of the seed that you planted within their precious hearts,

Believe that when they are old, from God’s grace and love, they will not remain apart.

Blessings,

#kent

Celebrate Life

October 19, 2016

Celebrate Life

Psalms 5:11

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

If ever a people had reason to celebrate and be joyful, it is the people of God.  Who is blessed like us in all of the earth?  Who else are the recipients of such great promises as given in 2 Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  Who else has been called to be joint-heirs with Christ and to be seated with Him in heavenly places at the right hand of the Father?  Who else has had the Lord of the universe come and give His life a ransom for our sins that we might be partakers of His life and kingdom, that we might have fellowship and unity with the Creator of all.  All that we have is by the goodness of His Hand and all that we are is by His grace and sufficiency that works in us.    

This morning as I was reading 1Chronicles 29 about how the house of God was a labor of love for David.  He laid up tremendous wealth in materials to build the house of God.  It says in verses 2 and 3, “Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for [things to be made] of gold, and the silver for [things] of silver, and the brass for [things] of brass, the iron for [things] of iron, and wood for [things] of wood; onyx stones, and [stones] to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, [which] I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house.”  David has made it his joy and purpose to bless the Lord back with the abundance that the Lord has blessed Him with.  This joy in giving and in blessing God through the preparation of building His temple is contagious even among the people.  Verses 6-9 shows us how this became also the heart of the people, “Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly, And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And they with whom [precious] stones were found gave [them] to the treasure of the house of the LORD, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.”  These people had laid hold of the joy of giving unto the Lord and they were making a celebration out of it.  And why did they want to give so much to the Lord?  They gave, because they acknowledged and appreciated how much the Lord had given unto them.  

Listen and read how David then blesses the Lord at this time, “Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed [be] thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, [is] the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all [that is] in the heaven and in the earth [is thine]; thine [is] the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who [am] I, and what [is] my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things [come] of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we [are] strangers before thee, and sojourners, as [were] all our fathers: our days on the earth [are] as a shadow, and [there is] none abiding. O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name [cometh] of thine hand, and [is] all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee.”

This was also the time of  Solomon’s coronation when David handed over the kingdom to him and the great task of building the temple.  Isn’t it interesting to note that in this great giving from a right heart and attitude of the people that Israel never prospered more greatly in its history than it did at this time?  Wasn’t it because the leadership and the congregation of the people all had a heart of thanksgiving and appreciation for all that God had done?  It says of Solomon in verse 25, “And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him [such] royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.”  We know that we can never out-give God, but isn’t it wonderful that we can give something back to a God that has blesses us so.

The Lord has committed the task of building the house of God into the hands of the church.  We should know that we only labor in vain if we are building after the flesh and not after the Spirit.  For we are the workmen and the instruments of God for the building up of His house to the glory and honor of His great name.  What a privilege and honor to know and serve Christ.  We have great reason today to celebrate.  May we always have the heart to bless Him as He has blessed us through uprightness of heart and willingness to give.

Blessings,

#kent

Harvest

October 18, 2016

Harvest

John 4:35-37

Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

The word of God has been planted throughout many people‘s lives throughout their lifetimes.  The day is at hand that as we speak the Word and as we testify of Christ, souls will receive.  The day of His visitation is at hand and we are coming into a time of great harvest.  Prepare yourselves with the Word so that you may labor among the fields of souls that will be placed in your paths.  Simply be the light, live the life and speak the Word of Life and it will yield a harvest to the glory of God.  This not our doing or our ability, it is the drawing and conviction of the Holy Spirit.   He is calling us to be there and to be ready in season and out to give account of our salvation and the hope that is within us.  Be faithful to reap as He puts you in the midst of the harvest.  Then we are to nurture and disciple.  These must be established in their faith so that they will not turn away in the day of the evil one.  We must prepare others and prepare our own hearts to love Him even unto death. Be the vessel through which Christ may be glorified.

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: