Wisdom from Above

November 14, 2016

James 3:13-18

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 

17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Wisdom from Above

The wisdom of this world does not fit well in God’s economy.  The wisdom of this world is concerned for what benefits self and to how obtain those benefits.  Its fruit is often that of greed, manipulation, control, jealousy, covetousness and selfish ambition.  It is most often not really concerned with the needs of others unless that somehow benefits the bottom line.  Those who obstruct its path are viewed as the enemy, and are simply its stepping stones to greater power and control.  James teaches us this wisdom doesn’t come from heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual and of the devil. 

God has a much higher order of wisdom for His people.  He teaches us that it is first pure.  With it there are no hidden agendas, no selfish ambitions or objectives, because its objectives are blessing, peace, edification and promotion of others rather than self.  It is contrary to the world’s wisdom in that it promotes and exalts others before itself.  It is submissive, not seeking its own way, power or control.  It is not judgmental, but merciful, looking for how it can help those who are stumbling, struggling or failing in their walk.  It never seeks revenge, but rather healing, reconciliation and restoration.  It is not biased by prejudice either for or against, but it judges all things after the love of God, exhibiting His mercy and forgiveness.  It does not excuse evil, but confronts it with light and truth.  When it judges, it judges in righteousness for the good and not for the evil.  The wisdom from above demonstrates the heart of God toward others.  It is about ending strife and doing what makes for peace and reconciliation. Strife generally comes when we are compelled to promote our agenda of what we think is right and good.  It is the resistance of the will of others.  Jesus, in God’s wisdom, didn’t argue or debate, but in the face of his accusers and tormentors he spoke the truth of God.  The truth brought the judgement and righteous conviction.   We are to stand in the truth even when the lie is exalted all around us.  Wisdom from above is not only seen in how we believe, but in how we live.  When we live and walk in the Spirit, we will produce the fruit of the Spirit and in that is divine wisdom from above. 

Blessings,

#kent

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1 Timothy 6:17-19

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 

Kingdom Value, Kingdom Purpose

In my time of prayer this morning the Lord began to give a greater revelation that all that we possess and that He places in our hands, to be of value, must have Kingdom value and Kingdom purpose.  Many of us have had prosperity and blessing in our past and many, especially in this hour, are experiencing tremendous financial hardship and pressure.  There is a reason for this season in God’s economy.  First it is to bring us to the end of our materialistic and selfish mindset that prosperity and blessing is all about me.  There has to be a realignment of our value system to line up with our purpose.  Our purpose is to set creation free and before we can do that we have to be free of all of our warped values and self priorities.  Many have become arrogant in their prosperity and blessing and they put their hope in their wealth.  Presently, we are all getting a revelation of the uncertainty of riches.  God is getting our attention and our eyes back where they should have been all along, on Him.  In verse 18 it speaks to Kingdom value and Kingdom purpose,  “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”  God is teaching us to lay a firm foundation as we are entering this coming age.  It is the principle of selfless giving and sharing of what God places in our hands.  It can no longer be about us four and no more.  We have to start functioning in the purpose of God for us as one body in Christ filling up the lack in one another.  There has to be a flow of wealth through the body of Christ so that all the needs are met and the purpose of God is carried forth.  

We have grown up under capitalism, but that is no longer the economy we live and work under.  If we are in Christ then we need to realize that we living and operating out of a Kingdom economy.  That economy works for the betterment of others, not just ourselves.  I believe God is going to bring wealth and great blessing into His body again, but this time it will be of Kingdom value and for Kingdom purpose.  Isaiah 60:1-5 declares to us, ““Arise, shine, for your light has come, 

and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you  and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, 

and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. 5 Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.” Here we see great wealth flowing into God’s people, but in verse 15 the Lord says, ” “Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations.”  I believe this speaks to where we are and what we are going through.  This may get rougher before it gets better, but ultimately it will produce a people that are no longer centered upon themselves, but upon the purposes and design of God through them.  

If we want to see these truths operating then they must begin with the elementary way we live our lives and how we purpose to sow into the lives of others with all of the resources that God gives us, financial or otherwise.  It is in emptying our cup, giving drink to another, that our cup will be filled.  Let us set our eyes upon the author and the finisher of our faith, even Jesus and know that He is our resource, “so that we may take hold of the life that is truly life.”  Our prosperity is in His Kingdom value and for His Kingdom purpose!

Blessings,

#kent

Lift up your Eyes

November 10, 2016

Lift up your Eyes

Psalms 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? 

2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 

3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 

5 The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 

6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

A Prophetic Word of Encouragement to God’s People:

You have thought at times that the Lord did not care, that He didn’t see and that He didn’t hear.  

“I have loved you with an everlasting love, a love that can’t be quenched or satisfied.  Mine is a love that continues on, that sees you in the perfection in which I have created you, not in the sin with which you struggle.  You are my holy ones that I am raising up in My Name and for My glory.  You have not been considered lightly, nor have you been tossed aside, but I see every detail that concerns you.  If a sparrow cannot fall without my knowing and if I know each hair upon your head, do you not think that I do not know every thought and intent of your heart?   

This brief time when I am training you up may seem difficult, it may seem unfair, but don’t say that it is because I do not care.   I am working in you an eternal weight of glory, far beyond what you can now see and comprehend.  You have drank from the cup of disappointment and discouragement, but I have never stopped interceding for you and lifting you up before my Father.  It was often a bitter cup that I drank from upon the earth.  I knew rejection and the hurting words and actions of others.  I knew what it was like to be misunderstood and accused falsely.  I experienced all manners of insults and hostilities, but it was in these trials that you have opportunity to express the Father’s love and nature.  

You are hurt and offended at Me, because you look to yourselves.  Don’t you yet understand that you are of Me and I am of you?  If the world would have loved me they would love you, but you are not of the world, you are of Me.  You must learn to live in the world with a heavenly perspective.  You must trust Me concerning all that touches your life.  My ways are not to deliver you out of adversity and trial, but to bring you through.  Your destiny is not to escape evil, but to overcome evil with good.  My life in you overcomes the world and my grace is sufficient to help you to endure the process.  

Never doubt my love for you.  No one could ever or has ever loved you more.  Don’t cling to the natural life; don’t be so concerned for the natural circumstances.  Come unto Me and I will give you rest.  It is in your fellowship and worship time with Me that you will find green pasture and still waters.  I love my own with a passion and burning love that you don’t even know.  I have not passed you over and I have not forsaken you.  You are my treasure and you are a part and portion of My life.  Hold fast to Me.  Don’t let the earthly things shake your faith and confidence.  Have I not said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”?  You are an overcomer, you are a conqueror and your’s is the victory because I live in you and abide with you.  Hold fast that which I have placed within you, what I have spoken into your spirit and performed in your life.  Keep your eyes on the eternal.  Keep your eyes upon Me for I am your help and your salvation and I have not forsaken thee.  Fear not death, for it can not take you from me, neither embrace it for it is not your friend.  My name is Life and it is life that I have placed within you as you have embraced Me by faith.”  

Blessings,

#kent

The Name

November 9, 2016

The Name

John 17:6

I have manifested Your Name [I have revealed Your very Self, Your real Self] to the people whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have obeyed and kept Your word. (Amplified)

Jesus Christ, “Jehovah is salvation” and “Anointed”, this is the Name of God revealed and manifested to man that we may know the face of God and know the Name that is above every other, the only Name that has the power of salvation.  The Name of God is given to God incarnate, Christ Jesus, the revelation of the name, nature and character of the Father.  

In John 17:11-12, Jesus goes on to pray to the Father, “And [now] I am no more in the world, but these are [still] in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep in Your Name [in the knowledge of Yourself] those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We [are one]. 

12While I was with them, I kept and preserved them in Your Name [in the knowledge and worship of You]. Those You have given Me I guarded and protected, and not one of them has perished or is lost except the son of perdition [Judas Iscariot–the one who is now doomed to destruction, destined to be lost], that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”  There is power, protection and salvation in that name unlike any other.  

Acts 2:21 says, “And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” With faith in the name of Jesus comes the promise of His abiding Spirit and presence.  “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38).  Peter again establishes the lordship, salvation, uniqueness, power and authority of the name of Jesus Christ in Acts 4:21, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  Do we want relationship, favor and restoration of fellowship with the Father?  It is in the Name and in the person that bears it.   Do we want the power and authority of God working through our lives?  Again it is in the Name and our identification with it.  

Jesus prayed here in John 17 to bring us who would believe in that Name into unity with Himself and the Father.  In John 17: 20-23 Jesus prays, “20Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching, 21That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me. 22I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: 23I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.” Jesus came not to do His will, but the will of the Father.  All that Jesus spoke of and the acts that He did, He did for the glory and the honor of the Father.  He was a sacrificial earthen vessel yielded to the expression of the mind and will of the Spirit of God.  What does that mean to us in our identification with Him?  It certainly doesn’t mean that we walk around with a God complex declaring ourselves as gods, and yet, ironically, we are.  It is not as though we lift up our ego and think that we are anything, it is only as we lift up Christ and declare Him as everything.  Even as the Son only lived to express the Father and to do His will, so is His Name in us to declare the Christ and His salvation.   There is power in the Name of Jesus, but it is not in just going around and verbally speaking, “in the name of Jesus”.  It is as the power of that Name possesses us and has expression through us by virtue of the power and life that is in us through the Spirit.  We don’t govern the power of that Name; the power of that Name governs us.  We are becoming the dispensation of the government that indwells us.  It is God that exalts and He alone that establishes.  It is this Name of Jesus that He has established above all others.  Philippians 2:9-11 proclaims,  “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

The Word we read tells us we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  Indeed we must, but that might suggest to some of us that it is more an intellectual knowledge rather than a heart-Spirit connection.  Perhaps it would communicate it better if we said that we believe into the Name and person of Christ.  It is an experience, a realm and personal relationship that we should be continually expanding and experiencing the depths of that Name.  When we see the power of the Name of Jesus, it is so much more than an exercise of words, it is exercise of experience and identification with His life.  It is about being the yielded channel of His Life’s flow and expression.  It is not about who we are.  It is about losing us and finding Him in us.  If you are in Christ, you are in His Name and all that His name implies.  Swim out into the depths of all that He is and all that He wants to be in and through your life.  His Name is above any other and He has joined you to His Name.  Allow it to change you, transform and flow through you to His glory and praise.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). 

Blessings,

#kent

1 John 5:6-8

This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

The Spirit, the Water and the Blood

This scripture has always been a little ambiguous to me. I never grasped fully what it meant.  As the Lord dropped this scripture into my spirit this morning and I began to ask Him what He was saying, He took me back to Genesis 1.  He was saying that Jesus Christ didn’t just come in a spiritual mystical sense, but came in the flesh and in the blood.  

Genesis 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”  It is interesting that John uses the analogy of the beginning with the coming of Jesus in John 1 and in 1John 1 as well.  

What God is saying here is that for the longest time the Spirit of God has hovered over this earth of His creation.  For the longest time He has watched it in a state of spiritual darkness, being formless and void of His life and creative hand.  Jesus Christ was the Spirit made flesh.  He came to separate light and the darkness.  He came to give the definition of God in man.  God created and formed in Jesus the likeness of Himself in Spirit.  A foundational part of our faith is that we never deny the deity of God in Jesus Christ who was God in man, thus the Spirit, the Water and the Blood.  The Spirit and the Water define the man of the spirit, but it is the blood the defines the man of the flesh and so it is the blood that must redeem the man of the flesh from sin.  Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul.”  Jesus Christ was the atonement of God’s flesh for our flesh, His blood for our sin.  Without taking upon Himself the form of a man He could have never made the atonement for man.  

Water is the defining factor of life.  When we look at the possibility of life on other planets we look first for the presence of water.  It was out of water that God formed, created and shaped the earth.  We know that we were a spirit before we ever received a physical body.  We were like the water and the earth undefined.  Even when we possess a natural body we are like the earth in its state of infancy.  We are waste and wild and without form.  When we receive Christ into our lives and yield ourselves and will to His Spirit then a New Creation begins to take place.  It is the creation of the Spirit, the water and the blood.  It is the Spirit of God in man.  “Christ in you” is that defining work and creation that sets you apart from any other creature or creation in the universe.  In each of us He works uniquely and specifically to be a part and an expression of Himself.   Joined together we form a body that functions under the headship of our Lord Almighty Jesus.  He gives the order and the direction out of which each of us are to function in our unique gifting and God given ability.   This is the body of Christ made up of Spirit, the water and the blood.  These three testify and these three agree that the Son is in the Father and we are in the Son and the three of us are one.

Blessings,

#kent

Acknowledge Your Guilt

November 7, 2016

Jeremiah 3: 13-18

Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the LORD. 

14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the LORD, “men will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the house of Judah will join the house of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your forefathers as an inheritance. 

Acknowledge Your Guilt

Jeremiah spoke these words to what the Lord called a faithless Israel and faithless Judah because they had forsaken the Lord and committed spiritual adultery through their idol worship and foreign gods.   What God is speaking to us is that we also have become complacent about where we put our affection, our hearts, our eyes and our worship.  Father is speaking to us today to examine our hearts and be honest about all of the things in our lives that take our time and attention away from Him.  The Lord is not here to condemn us, but to awaken us to the urgency of this hour and to the spiritual condition of our heart.  

What are some of our idols today?  Materialism, shopping, fashion, sports, television, eating, computers, cell phones and texting, hobbies, social functions, religious activities, pleasing others, being successful, pornography, work, parties and all of the areas that cater to our flesh, take our attention from the Lord, but are spiritually barren and unproductive.  We most often don’t really acknowledge that a lot of these things in our life are wrong or need to be dealt with.  We have our time slot for God and that should be adequate in our mind.  For those of us who are in that mind-set, how is that working for you in having a close and intimate relationship with your Savior?  Are you hearing His voice?  Are you experiencing His presence?  

Jeremiah wasn’t very popular, because God used him as a mouthpiece to speak some very unpopular messages in his day.  Today He is speaking this message to us.  “Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the LORD.”  This is the scripture the Lord spoke into my spirit as I sat down to write this morning.   He is speaking into the hearts of each one of us to honestly examine and acknowledge the areas of our spiritual adultery and unfaithfulness to the Lord.  He is not putting His finger on our sin to condemn us, for look at His expression of love in the next verse. ““Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”  Father is reconciling us to His heart if we will listen, repent and obey Him.  It is hard for many of us to let go of our past affections and desires, but we are at a fork in the road where we have to choose between the highway to holiness or the low way of judgement and separation.  Choose this day whom you will serve.  Remember when Joshua brought the people of Israel to this point of decision in Joshua 24:15?  “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  

We are being called to step up into a higher place, a heavenly place that is requiring of us a greater degree of holiness, fidelity and commitment to our God.  How can He use us if we are unfaithful and compromised?  ““Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you…”

Blessings,

#kent

Discipline

November 4, 2016

Proverbs 12:1

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, 

but he who hates correction is stupid. 

Discipline

Discipline is not something we often fondly embrace or seek out.  It carries with it the idea of being corrected and doing things we may not particularly like to do.  Thus, discipline often doesn’t carry a real positive image in our minds.  We may even think back to our youth and the punishment and correction we received as children.  The other side of discipline is knowledge, because discipline corrects us out of wrong thinking, wrong motives and wrong action.  In terms of our spiritual walk, a disciple of Christ is a disciplined one; they are ones who learn at the feet of the master through discipline, correction and even chastening.

It is interesting how discipline and knowledge are tied together here in Proverbs 12.  What good is it to know something without the application of the knowledge?  True knowledge is not the mental assent of an idea; it is the induction of its principles into one’s lifestyle and actions.  That is where the discipline comes in.  Discipline is a correction that comes through knowledge.  If we rebel and refuse the correction, the rebuke and the instruction that comes through knowledge, then the Word says we are essentially stupid, not because we can’t understand, but because we refuse to receive knowledge.  God’s knowledge and discipline go hand in hand.

If we want God to teach us His ways and His precepts, then the first thing we must be willing to do is receive discipline.  Only in submission to that discipline through obedience can we be conformed to the knowledge and the instruction of the Lord.  Only then does His laws become written into our hearts and not just comprehended in our brain.  True knowledge is received with the discipline to walk in it and receive the correction when we err from it.  From that type of knowledge do we gain true wisdom and understanding. 

Proverbs 1 starts out telling us the intent and the purpose of the proverbs.  Verses 2 through 7 tell us essentially what this scripture tells us in 12: 1. The purpose of the proverbs is “for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; 3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, 

doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young- 5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance- 6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”  We know and I think would pretty much agree that the Word of God is our instruction manual that leads us, teaches us and directs us in the path of true spiritual life.  God says it is the fool and the person who shows stupidity if they reject and refuse to embrace these words of life and the discipline that comes with its instruction. 

Discipline often involves chastening which none of us look forward too but Hebrews 12: 4-12 tells us why it is a necessary part of our spiritual walk and journey.  “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”  It is important that we know that with the knowledge of the Lord comes discipline and the discipline comes so that God’s knowledge might be worked into right behavior and character.  It is His character being worked in us.  When you seek to get knowledge also be willing to embrace the discipline that must go with it. 

Blessings,

#kent

Building up the Temple

November 3, 2016

Acts 20:32

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Building up the Temple

This past weekend we had the privilege of having a few of our grandchildren stay with us.  Now each on of them has professed their faith in Christ, but I observed that their faith had been weakened, by disappointments, challenges and just the world that they live in.  Through the weekend Sharon and I just shared testimonies of God’s faithfulness and stories of the things He has done in our lives and the lives of others.  It was like watering a wilted flower.  I saw their faith begin to rise up as they were encouraged in the Word and by the stories of God’s personal faithfulness.  I observed the cynicism begin to depart from their attitudes and their hearts become tender toward the Lord again.  This is why we have church.  It is not just about an organized service on Sunday morning, but about when two or more are gathered in His name.  We need more of that kind of church, especially in these trying times.  We all need to be focused on building up the temple, because when we build up and edify one another that is what we are doing.  ” Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)”

Romans 14: 19 exhorts us, ” Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”  This is especially true when we are with other believers that may not hold your same point of view on some doctrinal issues.  In the past we have often spent more time debating and arguing our differences rather than edifying one another in the love of Christ, thus we maintain our walls of difference and division.  That is not the work of the Holy Spirit.  His work is to unify us and bring us into one Spirit.  1 Corinthians 6:17 says, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”  Paul says in Ephesians 4:2-6, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”  How important it is that we have that unity of love and mutual edification where we are not only focused upon our needs, but upon the needs of others.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 encourages us, “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”  

It is so important that we speak into one another’s lives the faith and encouragement that we all need to hear and be mindful of.  In so doing we water one another’s faith and keep it strong and focused on God’s kingdom rather than the kingdom of this world.  

When there may be those times and seasons that we are alone and without any real fellowship or encouragement I am reminded of David as he was fleeing for his life from Saul.  In the Psalms he is constantly encouraging his soul through the Word and reminding himself of all of God’s goodness and benefits.  Praise encourages his faith and causes him to rise above his circumstances.  It was a time when the Spirit of God within him ministered encouragement and faith back into his soul.  He didn’t live by the way he felt or the way he perceived things were going, but he committed all to God and placed his trust fully in Him.  After all, Romans 10:17 reminds us, “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  God’s Word is that source of faith and encouragement that needs to be verbalized to ourselves and to others.  Let us be mindful at every opportunity to be building up the temple.

Blessings,

#kent

Hope Deferred

November 2, 2016

Hope Deferred

Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but [when] the desire cometh, [it is] a tree of life.

Have you ever hoped and prayed for something that seemed like it would never come to pass?  I think we all have hoped in such a way and we probably still are.  It is hope that compels us in life.  The Word says we were birthed in hope.  Psalms 22:9 says, “But thou [art] he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope [when I was] upon my mother’s breasts.”  God instilled a hope within us.   It is in the knowledge of God and His Word that we have hope.  We stand upon the promises of God, faith being the substance of our hope.  It is faith and hope that bond us to our God.  Psalms 33:18 expresses, “Behold, the eye of the LORD [is] upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.”  

If we were all honest we would probably admit that there are times when our hope and our faith run thin.  There are times when all of the odds seem to be against us and there is no hope in sight.  We begin to question and then to doubt.  The heartbeat of our hope becomes shallow and weak. We faint because it seems we have endured so long without beholding the substance and if the substance of faith fails to stand in the gap of that which we believe for then hope begins to fail us.  In these times we must encourage our souls even as King David did on more than one occasion.  Several times He speaks this scripture including Psalms 42:11, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, [who is] the health of my countenance, and my God.”  He often encouraged his own soul not to lose hope by such words as Psalms 71:5 and 14, “For thou [art] my hope, O Lord GOD: [thou art] my trust from my youth.” “But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.”  It was the encouragement of praise that He used to encourage his waning soul back into the position of faith and hope.  

Romans 5 teaches us that hope isn’t something we often realize right away it, but it is something that we believe so strongly in that we won’t give up.  Verses 1-5 teach us, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  Everything around us and the circumstances in the natural can testify against our hope in God’s Word, but we know that ‘God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent.  Has he said and shall He not do it or has He spoken and shall He not make it good (Numbers 23:19)?’ Against all odds never lose your hope and confidence in God.  We may not understand His hand or His ways, but we can trust His heart and His Word will not fail.  Our hope isn’t in this life and the linear matter of time, it is in the eternal and the everlasting God, Lord and Savior that has called us to salvation and eternal hope.  Paul makes this statement about this present time and age in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”  Things are quite likely to be very rough at times in this life, but it is not in this life that we hope, it is in the life of Christ that transcends time and space.  Philippians 1:20 also states, “According to my earnest expectation and [my] hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but [that] with all boldness, as always, [so] now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether [it be] by life, or by death.”  

Don’t attach your hopes to this life, but put it in the one who is life.  Hope that is prolonged does make our heart sick and it is often hard to hold on too, but when the desire and the fulfillment of it comes, it is a tree of life; even the very life of Christ made manifest. 

Blessings,

#kent

Face Your Fears

November 1, 2016

Face Your Fears

Romans 8:15

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. [ Or adoption] And by him we cry, “Abba, [ Aramaic for Father] Father.” 

You know there are basically two kinds of fears talked about in the Word of God.  One is the fear of God and the other is our natural fear.  We have dealt with the fear of the Lord before.  What is ironic is that the fear of the one moves us away from the fear of the other.  There are many verses throughout the Word of God that exhort us to fear God, but none that tells us to fear man, only to respect, honor and obey those in the place of authority.  There are none that tell us to fear the devil, only beware of who and what he is.   The fear of the Lord brings us into an awesome respect for who we are in light of the Almighty.  Our scripture says that we have received the Spirit of sonship or adoption.  That makes the Almighty our personal Father.  We stand in the place of His sons and daughters.  Everyone that has had a good father knows that dad’s can be the greatest; they love you, they bless you, they’re your security and provision, but they can also correct you.  A father’s heart is always to embrace and bless his children, but his love also compels him to act always in their best interest, raising them in the character and nature of what he desires them to be.  If the children forget the other side of the relationship with their father then they begin to show disrespect, dishonor and then disobedience.  “He is a loving father, therefore we can do what ever we want and he’ll still love us and forgive us,” so goes their thinking.  At that point the child has lost the fear of the father, they treat him as common and fail in the area of respect and obedience to honor their father.  This is where the correction of the father comes in.  Hebrews 12:4-11 tells us, “4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, 

and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, 

and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”[a] 

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  So the fear of the Lord is understanding and operating in the proper relationship with our heavenly Father.  Psalms 25:14 says, “The LORD confides in those who fearhim; he makes his covenant known to them” Psalms 34:4-10 says, “4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”  In the light of this scripture we begin to see the irony of how the fear of the Lord delivers us from the fear of man.  When we fear the Lord our trust is in Him.  It is not in ourselves, it is not in others and it is not living in the fear of what others may do to us.  It puts our eyes on Father God as our whole source, supply and protection.  This is the place we want to be.  In the fear of the Lord is the deliverance from the fear of this world.  In this place we learn that we live out of the Father.  He orders our steps and our lives.  In the eyes of the world we may look weak, of no reputation and of no confidence, but when the life of the Father and the Son lives through us, there are no limitations on what He can do through those that love and fear Him.  

When we think about all of our little phobias, which are fears, that cause us anxiety and unrest, we must face our fears.  Is our God the Lord?  Are His authority and His name above every other?  2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  We have to overcome our timidity and cowardice, because that insecurity is based on our lack, not His supply.  We must learn to live out of His Supply and not our lack.  We can only do that as we fear and trust the Lord.  

1 Peter 3:14 tells us, “ But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear [ Or not fear their threats]; do not be frightened.” [ Isaiah 8:12]” Today is a day to face our fears. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1John 4:4)” 

Blessings,

#kent

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