Discipline

March 31, 2017

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

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The Insignificant Ones

March 30, 2017

1 Samuel 16:8-13

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 9Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit downa until he arrives.”

12So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.”

13So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.

The Insignificant Ones

Have your ever felt like one of the insignificant.  Maybe one that no one seems to pay much attention too and not one of  much worldly significance or notoriety  You may love God with all of your heart and have wonderful times of fellowship with Him, but socially, you may remain rather lonely and distant from close human relationships.  You may have thought of yourself as really nothing special or significant, even in God’s eyes, but God is watching your life.  He sees where your heart is, what you set your mind upon and what matters to you the most.  

I rather think that is how David felt growing up as boy.  Probably, being the youngest, he was just someone underfoot and considered more of annoyance than a help.  When he was old enough he became like the hired servant sent out to tend and take care of the sheep.  In his family’s world he was probably more like, “out of sight, out of mind.”  From the passage we read here in 1 Samuel it would appear like he might not have even been considered a significant member of the family.   Has anyone of you ever felt like that?

Aren’t we glad that God doesn’t see us as man sees?  His eyes are always searching our heart, our motives and intent.  You may feel in your life that you have been more or less passed over by others that were, more intellectual, charismatic, talented or better looking.  That was David, forgotten in the hill country near Bethlehem.  I want to encourage you today that what you are in the sight of men, might be quite different from what you are in the sight of God.  Even though God may not have done anything earthshaking through you yet, it doesn’t mean that He doesn’t have His eye on you, as He is quietly grooming your heart and spirit for His service.

I remember as a younger Christians, my aunt sharing a scripture with my wife and I that was of great encouragement to us from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

God wants to encourage you today if you have ever been discouraged that you weren’t anything and that God couldn’t use you, you were wrong.  If you are not anything from a worldly perspective then you may be exactly whom God is looking to use.  Why, because in our weakness He is made strong and in our foolishness, He is shown wise.  He uses the things that “are not” to nullify the things that are.  

He took this young ruddy teenager that was forgotten back in the hills of Bethlehem and anointed him to be king.  God set him in the palace to minister to the king and then he used this little nobody boy to slay the giant that was the stronghold and tyrant over Israel.  

2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…”  What God is looking for is not in your outward man, it is in your heart.   Even if no one else notices you, pursue the Father with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength.  This is the one He is searching for and He will exalt you in due season.  Be faithful where you are.

blessings,

#kent

The Finger of God

March 29, 2017

The Finger of God

Luke 11:20

But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

What is God personally touching and dealing with in your life?  Is He meddling in areas you would rather that He leave alone?   Is the Holy Spirit revealing and stirring up things that you have wanted to keep tucked away?  In the Old Testament it was the finger of God that wrote the Ten Commandment upon the stone tablets, but in the New Testament it is the same finger of God that is writing His laws upon our hearts.  The Apostle Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 3:3, “[Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” If we are the Lord’s and we truly want His highest in our lives then He is going to start dealing with our lowest.  He will deal with those base things in us that cause us to still walk after the flesh and not after the Spirit.  If we are stubborn then He may deal with us in stronger measures.  What ever it takes, we need that purification that only He can bring into our lives.  Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” God’s Word in the hand of the Holy Spirit is bringing conviction and dealings in our lives.  He is bringing out things in us that we may not even have known were there, or attitudes and behaviors that have been quite contrary to His nature.  This is often a very painful process.

We used to go to a chiropractor that was quite good, but you would dread going to him.  He knew all the places to push where lactic acid and knots would form in your muscles.  He would put his finger in those knots to work them out and you would literally be trying to crawl off of the table.  He would keep pulling you back up there and working in all of those painful areas till they would let down and submit; only then would he be able to adjust you and bring you back into proper alignment.  That is what the finger of God is doing in our lives.  He is touching those sore spots, those tender areas where we don’t want to be touched and dealt with.  We know it is necessary, but we cringe from it and really it is our flesh that is cringing.  Our spirit man really longs for the spiritual health and well- being that comes from a properly aligned spirit and heart, but we are like the living sacrifice we are called to be in Romans 12:1, we keep wanting to crawl off of the altar.  We all want spiritual health, but are we willing to pay the price to get there?  

The holy scripture declares in Hebrews 10:12-17 concerning Jesus, “12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16″This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, 

and I will write them on their minds.” 17Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”  If Jesus has sat down till His enemies are made his footstool and we comprise the feet of Christ in the earth, then we also must see our enemies of sin and flesh be made our footstool.  We must gain the same dominion, authority and dominance over everything that is negatively affecting our lives.  The Holy Spirit through the Word of God and through His personal dealings in our lives is dealing and touching our areas of unrepented sin.  We all have those areas in our lives that we struggle with, but we must pray that the Lord will do whatever it takes in us to gain the victory and dominion over our giants.  A lot of times we would be content to coexist with them, but the Lord has given the commandment to purge the land and not compromise, for He knows that our compromise will bring defilement and defilement will again bring us under bondage.  Our flesh will do anything it takes if we will just let it live, but when we do it comes back to bite us.  Our only recourse is the cross, painful though it is.  It is death that gives place to life and death to self gives place to the life of the Spirit.  

The finger of God is writing His laws upon our hearts of flesh.  He is placing the mind and nature of Christ within us, but where the Lord is, His finger is being put upon the areas of our lives that need to come into conformity with His will and righteousness.  I would leave us with 1 Peter 5:6-11, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Blessings,

#kent

Psalms 48:1-3,14

Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon  is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress. 

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Our God Forever and Forever

You know there are times that I look at myself probably like many of you.  I see all of my weaknesses, my frailties, failures, sins and faults.  If I only had eyes to see myself, I could become very discouraged and depressed.   Sometimes it is not only hard for others to live with us, it is hard for us to live with ourselves and still keep our hope.  We can become very discouraged with life and want to give up.  We can easily reason how the world would be so much better off without us.  Maybe we feel all we ever do is screw up, make mistakes and fall so short of what we hoped we would be.  There are times in our lives we can feel pretty beat up, battered and condemned.  So why do we continue on?  Why should we still have hope?

When I read passages like this one in Psalms it helps me realize that I am not an island, but I am part of a much greater plan.  That faith I have in God and Jesus Christ rises up to show me that there is a mighty God that is so great and wonderful beyond my comprehension and that this God really loves me, even the way I am.  He created me.  He knows my heart, my thoughts and my intentions.  He has not left me alone, but He has brought me into Himself to be a part of something so magnificent and glorious. He made me a part of His City and His Presence and Being indwells me.  ‘This God is my God who is with me for ever and for ever and He will guide me even to the end.’

I realize that maybe He allowed me to have so many weaknesses and flaws for a reason.  Maybe it was so that I could never boast in myself, but I could only boast in Him, in His grace and sufficiency for my life.  What gives me courage and hope is that I know that my God is for me, that nothing can ever separate me from His love and that the reason that I am a conqueror and an overcomer is because of the Christ that indwells me.  

I know that the purpose of the enemy and of satan is to destroy that life which you and I possess.  Jesus tells us that in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”  While the enemies’ purpose is to destroy us, Christ’s purpose is3 to build us up and to give us life abundantly.  No, we may not feel worthy or deserving of that life, but He has given it to us just the same.  Through Christ we can have eyes to see into Him and what we are in Him.   We no longer have to focus on the mess that we have been and the inadequacies that we feel.  I know that we are still struggling through so many of these issues.  Our faith takes us where our present experiences have not yet been.  It takes us to what God has to say about us, what His Word declares over us and promises to us.  In these things we find hope, we find life and reason for being.  

I love the scripture that Paul gives to us in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”  Maybe that is why He chose me and that is why He chose you.  In our weakness He is made strong and when people observe the marvelous things that can come forth from your life they will recognize that it is not you, but Christ in you.  God knows how to take cracked pots and use them for His glory and praise.  So before you and I give up and succumb to our discouragement, let us draw courage from the God of strength and life.  I thank God for who I am because it makes me keep my eyes upon Him and my praise toward Him.  I have to trust Him for every aspect of my life.  

Yes, I see my faults, my failures and my weakness, but more importantly I see His life, His promises and His strength.  These are what we are going to lay hold of. These are what will pull us out of the pit and set us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  HE IS OUR STRENGTH, OUR LIFE AND OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. HE IS OUR FAITH, OUR FORTRESS AND OUR SALVATION.  HE IS THE ONE THAT GIVES ME HOPE IN THE NIGHT AND JOY IN THE MORNING.  HE IS OUR GOD FOREVER AND FOREVER, HALLELUJAH AND AMEN.  

Blessings,

#kent

Stand and Speak

March 27, 2017

Acts 5:20

Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 

Stand and Speak

As the angel of God spoke these words to Peter, does not the Spirit of the Lord speak this command to us today?  Wherever your temple or the platform God may provide for us is, let us speak forth the words of this Life.  We know that this Life is Christ and His word does not return unto Him void, but is able to accomplish that for which it was sent.  First, it has to be spoken.  Even as Jesus was the mouthpiece of God the Father, so we are His mouthpiece to speak the words of this Life to those in our place and in our world.  

Let the richness of God’s word indwell you, but don’t be a sealed well or a fountain shut up.  Go stand and speak in the temple to the people all of the words of this life.  As we set our eyes upon Jesus, our faith and trust resting in Him, He will be the expression of Life through us to draw men to Him.   Let the words that you speak today be saturated with the honey of God’s love and His word.  Be a source of encouragement and blessing to the other brothers and sisters that are among you.  Let us be bold to be His witness and proclaim His Good News in word and in deed.

Blessings,

#kent

As a Man Thinks

March 24, 2017

As a Man Thinks

Proverbs 23:6-7a

Eat thou not the bread of [him that hath] an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he…

Often we don’t give much thought to the power of suggestion and the input from various sources that we take into our minds.   Most of us have a belief and value system in place.  Somehow we think that value system stands as a wall to defend us from wrong thinking and consequently wrong actions.   Termites are just like little ants.  They don’t eat that much individually, but given enough time and numbers they can bring down an entire house.  The same is true with our values and beliefs.  They are not impermeable to wrong thinking and influence.  Paul makes this clear when he exhorts the Corinthians in 2 Corinthian 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”  As we live and walk among the world we are constantly exposed to the values and the mindset of the world which is most often contradictory to the Word and the will of the Father.  We can’t always avoid all that we are exposed to in the world, but we take in much of it by our own choice or by not actively turning from it.  Paul goes on to share at the end of this chapter in 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  

Initially when we see or hear something that is wrong or offensive our reaction may be one of shock, disdain and turning away.  If we are exposed to these types of things enough times, soon our conscience becomes numbed, our spiritual senses dulled and more or less we begin to dismiss it as common place, in other words, it becomes acceptable.  

How do we react to common television shows today that twenty or thirty years ago would have caused a public outcry?   Over time, not only have we as Christian become desensitized to the moral depravity, but also so has our society as a whole.  I was reading about a study this morning where they estimated an 18% increase in teenage intercourse, simply due to the influence of television.  It wasn’t just in what they saw on the programs, but what they heard regarding sexual attitudes.  We generally perceive reality based on what are mainstream values around us.  We who are believers should know better, because our reality should be based on the standard of the Word of God.  Let us not think for a minute that a constant diet of worldly views and influences doesn’t have an effect on our relationship with God and our purity with Him.  When God brought the children of Israel into the Promise Land He commanded them to totally annihilate and destroy the societies that previously existed there.  That wasn’t because He was a mean and vindictive God.  It was because these nations had filled up the cup of His wrath by years of gross perversity and sin.  For them to be integrated into Israel’s society would bring pollution and draw their hearts away from God into the idolatry and perversity that God abhorred.  As we can see in the Word of God, this is exactly what happened causing the judgement of God to come upon the children of Israel many times over their history.  

There is tremendous power in the words we hear and take into our minds, either for life or for death.  As Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  It not only has power in what we speak, but in what we hear.  We become the products of our input.  Colossians 3:1-4 says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”  Again in Philippians 4:8 we are exhorted, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”  We are in a day of preparation for the Lord’s appearing.  The Word warns us in Matthew 24:12 that in the last day, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Our love is waxing cold because we are allowing the spirit of this world to take hold of us through all of the things we partake of in the world.  This is not about throwing stones or do’s and don’ts, because we are all guilty to varying degrees.  This is about the mind and the will of God for our lives to be a separate and consecrated people unto Him.  It is a narrow way and few there be that find it.  It is His way, His Word and His Spirit.  We must each one judge ourselves, lest we be judged.  We must be eating a pure manna if we want to produce purity.  We must guard our hearts from the tremendous spirit of corruption and defilement that is all around us.  Let’s seek His grace and entreat the Lord’s help that our eye might be single and uncompromised before Him as we make right choices concerning what we take into our lives.

Blessings,

#kent

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28 

Tragedy Comes Knocking

      My oldest son just lost his wife.  She was still fairly young and what appeared to be in good health, when she died suddenly of a heart attack.  His wife was the love of his life and best friend. They had grown incredibly close over the past 6 months. Now, suddenly, with no warning, she’s gone.  

None of us are immune to the tragedies in life, but how we handle them and grow from them is tremendously important.  Usually, the first thing we try to do is blame ourselves for something we should or could have done to change the outcome.  Then many us want to blame God.  After all, He is sovereign.  Why did He let this happen.  Sometimes we are angry with God and we want to abandon whatever faith we had, because in our ignorance we believe it is His fault.  None of us have the wisdom or insight to always know and see how God moves and why things happen, but faith is really the definition of trusting what you don’t fully understand. 

When I arrived at my son’s the next morning he was totally broken, devastated and in shock. His heart was broken and his pain was deep.  As the day and time progressed on, he would go to his room, fall on his knees and say, “ God, I just need your strength.  Help me!”

        He would get up and every time after He leaned into God, God would meet him with a person or answer that met his need.  He would just shake his head and say, “Really God, did You just do that?”

God’s finger prints were all over this tragic time in the way He ministered personally to the needs. Healing and restoration of relationships that had been broken for years began to take place and in the midst of our darkness we saw God’s light, HIs love, His comfort and faithfulness. 

Later, in the week, we had a meeting with His pastor and my son shared his testimony of how God had prepared and given them time together before this tragic event.  It was truly powerful and moving.   Finally, the pastor leaned into Sean and asked him if he could pray for him.  I was amused by son’s answer.  He said, “You might want me to pray for you.  God and I are pretty tight right now.”  

Nothing can take away the pain, when we lose a loved one or tragedy strikes, but what a testimony to the power of leaning into God when these times and events touch our lives.  He is there to comfort and strengthen those who call upon Him, lean on Him and trust in His name. 

        God truly can work and bring good things out of bad situations, if we have the faith to continue to trust Him. 

Blessings,

#Kent

Blessing and a Curse

March 22, 2017

Deuteronomy 11:1,26-28

Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse- 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

Blessing and a Curse

Love is obedience to those things we might not other wise choose.  Love is, yes Lord, not my will, but thine be done.  The Lord set before us two laws and principles, blessing and cursing.  The Word reveals here that blessing is the fruit of obedience and the curse is the fruit of disobedience and unfaithfulness to God.   What are we pursuing and what are we incurring today?  

The prophet Haggai speaks this from the Lord in Haggai 1:2-11, “This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ ” 

3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” 

5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” 

7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.””  Does our blessing not come because we are too busy in pursuit of building our own house, success, dreams and ambitions while the Lord’s house lies in ruins within us.  The Lord says, “Take a look, how’s that working out for you as you pursue your things and neglect mine?  Doesn’t seem to be much blessing in it does there?”

The Word of the Lord comes again through Haggai in Haggai 2:15-19, “” ‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on —consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. 

” ‘From this day on I will bless you.’ ”  The Lord is giving the call to our hearts and lives because the foundation of the apostles and the prophets has been laid and Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone, has been set.  Now is the time to come build His temple both corporately and individually.  Now is the time for us to turn from our ways to His.  In our own ways, pursuing our own interest we have only experienced lack and coming up short.  If we will set our hearts to His work in obedience and faithfulness, we will experience His blessing.  Let us prove 

Blessings,

#kent

Galatians 4:19

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

Spiritual Birth and Beyond

Paul is addressing the church at Galatia here.  Through persecution, prayer and sacrifice he had no doubt labored to bring this church to birth.  He poured out his life to establish them in the faith and in the principles of Christ.  Now he writes them as he hears that they have forsaken their faith in exchange for legalism and the law.  Once again he is travailing to bring them back to foundational principles of salvation through faith and who they are in Christ who died to set them free from the law and its condemnation.

Paul knows that if you lose that revelation of whom you are in Christ you will only be led again back into bondage.  “Christ in you,” is what sets you free.  It is what brings you into heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  It transcends earthly laws, limitations and dynamics.  Christ in you is what allows you to walk and live in the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  When our salvation ceases to be about what Christ did and is still working in us and becomes about us and what we can do to please God or earn His favor, then we’ve lost our way.  We’ve lost the revelation that only as Christ lives in us and through us can we even hope to live pleasing to Him, for it is the faith in His accomplished work that will complete ours.  

Most of us can look at our lives and see where even now or in our past we have lost or never really laid hold of this revelation of “Christ in us”.  Perhaps that is key to so many of our defeats in our Christianity.  We still see ourselves as trying to do for God when our doing has to be through His life expressing itself through us.  So often we fail to discern the difference.  We may be going and doing good things all of the time, but if it is still us trying please God then it is just works of the flesh.  Works of the Spirit issue out of a Christ committed life that isn’t just intent on trying to do what they think is good.  They are first tuned into what the Holy Spirit’s guidance and will is for them.  They are always exercising their listening to hear His voice and direction.  ‘Good intentions do not a Spirit led life make’.  We have to keep our spiritual ear pressed to the Holy of Holies, to listen and act out of the unction of Christ in us according to His Word and purpose that He desires to work through us.  

Galatians 5:13-17 reminds us, “13My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love. 14All that the Law says can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself. 15But if you keep attacking each other like wild animals, you had better watch out or you will destroy yourselves. 

16If you are guided by the Spirit, you won’t obey your selfish desires. 17The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. 18But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you.”  Paul goes on to distinguish the difference between the works of the flesh and the works of the Spirit.  

Spiritual birth brought a holy seed inside you.  Christ is that seed and accordingly you must grow in light of the fruit that He is producing in you as you see consistently, your life in His and His life in yours, till there is no more two, but One.   Let no person, organization or religion, rob you of who you are in Christ.  The power and victory of a Spirit led life is, knowing yourself in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

2 Timothy 3:12-17

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Continue in What You have Learned

If you want an easy road to travel then being a true disciple of Christ is not one you would probably choose.  We like to focus on the blessings, but the reality is that this is also a road of suffering and persecutions.  Many like to wear the label of Christian when it benefits them, but if they really have to start enduring the cross, then they are out of here.  In this day and age we are moving into that time when evil will become more forward and perverse, from bad to worse, just as the scripture says.  We need to be aware and have come to the commitment, that though it cost us everything, we have decided to follow Jesus.  When the Lord winnows and thrashes the wheat in His judgement.  He is separating wheat from chaff and is judging who is really His and who is not.  If our faith is just about God’s blessings then we might want to exit now.  Romans 8 tells us “if we suffer with Him then will we be glorified with Him.”  Jesus is the pattern Son; the prototype of what He is conforming us into.  Certainly His life was not without suffering and persecution.  He even told us that if we were of the world the world would love us, but because we are not of the world the world will hate you.  This is why it is so incredibly important that you have a revelation of who you are in Christ.  When the fire comes it will reveal what the house is made of.  All that is wood, hay and stubble will be consumed and only that which of gold (God’s nature), silver (His redemption) and precious stones (His glorious truth) will remain.  If our house is not built upon the rock it will perish.  So it doesn’t matter how much we know or how often or long we have been going to church.  If you don’t have the inward relationship of obedience and trust, you will not stand.  Jesus didn’t tell us that if we love Him we would hear what He had to say, He said if we love Him we would keep His commandments.  If Christianity is just churchianity and knowing of the truth, but not living the truth, then that will not preserve you when persecution comes.  The baptism of fire is purification; it brings to the surface the dross so that it can be purified.  God is judging His own house today to allow us to see the dross in our own lives and deal with it, before we must truly be judged for it.  

If you want to live “godly” in Christ Jesus then expect persecution and don’t be surprised when it comes upon you.  Let us be as Paul exhorted Timothy, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”  The Lord has imparted Himself into us through His Word and through the Holy Spirit. We have all that we need to endure and make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.   We know that Christ is synonymous and one with the Word of God, because, “ in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1-2)” Paul testifies of this truth as he states, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  We are the Lord’s army in training, preparing for the day of battle.  Our battle is not with flesh and blood, although it will most likely be manifested through them, it is with principalities, powers, rulers and dominions of darkness.  But Revelations 12:11 reminds us, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”  One of the things that is very difficult for us, especially in this western culture, is our love and affection for self and the flesh.  For us everything is about survival and preservation of the natural man.  God has simply given you this natural body as a cocoon and preparation to carry you into your eternal being.  When and if we are ever faced with the choice of our faith or preserving our natural man, what could be more glorious and a greater opportunity than to offer ourselves up as a sweet –smelling sacrifice to our Lord.  Walk with Him, obey Him, honor Him and “KNOW HIM” without doubt or reservation in your inter-most being. 

Blessings,

#kent

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