Acting Upon His Word

April 28, 2017

Matthew 14:22-30

22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance[a] from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28″Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29″Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Acting Upon His Word

Part of coming to know Jesus is learning His voice and then acting in obedience to it.  There are a lot of times in our Christian walk that we may think we hear the voice of God or others may tell us what they hear from God for us, but is that really God speaking to us?   Such was the case this dark and stormy night when this figure, like a ghost appeared walking on the water.  Jesus never comes to give us fear, but fear often accompanies what is foreign and unnatural to us.  Certainly someone walking across the water is not something they saw on a daily basis.  When we walk with Jesus He sometimes takes us into unfamiliar places.  They are places that can be frightening to us, because we have no precedent on how to act or respond to those places.  Maybe the only reason we are there in the first place is because He told to go there.   Now that we are there the wind is blowing and we are being buffeted by waves.  Trials and tribulation may face us at every turn.  In the back of our mind we may be thinking, “Where is Jesus?  Why did He send me out in this mess and then abandon me?” 

Part of the training of our discipleship walk is learning to exercise faith and trust even when we see no evidence of Jesus.  Just because the disciples didn’t see Jesus doesn’t mean that He didn’t see them and wasn’t aware of there apprehension and fears.  Often we may be out there on a wing and a prayer, but we can be certain that even if we don’t see Jesus He sees us. 

How did Peter know this ghostly person was really Jesus?  He sounded like Jesus and He said He was Jesus.  What we see in Peter is one who is willing to step out in faith and confirm the Word of the Lord.  Most of us would just as soon take His word for it and stay in the safety of our boat.  You have to commend Peter for His faith and boldness.  When the Lord said “Come”, Peter didn’t hesitate to jump out of the boat and onto the water.  Because he heard Jesus, he tested the Word and then he acted upon it, he suddenly finds himself walking in a supernatural place.  As long as he keeps his eyes upon Jesus he is doing just fine, but when the natural mind suddenly kicks in, he feels the wind and water of the waves is slapping against his face.  Suddenly reason supersedes his faith and he sinks down in the water.  How many times does our natural reasoning and logic rob us of divine appointments and supernatural happenings? 

This is where many of us are at with our identification with Christ.  It is easy for us to say we are identified with Him until we are really tested in it.  It is in the testing that we are going to either regard and give heed to our circumstances or we are going to launch out in obedience to His Word , despite the circumstances, keeping our eyes upon Jesus.  It is our faith that stands as His reality to us.  We don’t have a physical form to look or hold on too, but Jesus is no less real and present for us than He was to His disciples. 

It is as 2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us, ” So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  In our identification with Christ our hearts and faith are fixed on the eternal.  We know who we are because we know to whom we belong.  We are willing to jump out of the boat of natural protection and safety if the Lord so commands us to come.  We know that His arms are there to catch us and lift us up even if we waiver in our faith and we falter in our walk.  Jesus is stretching our faith and He is wanting us to trust Him in the unknown places.  He is leading us from ordinary faith to extreme faith.  Are you willing to allow Him to stretch you?  Are you willing to jump out of the safety of your boat?  What is He speaking into your heart today?  Dare to be like Peter and go where no man had gone before.  Dare to confirm His Word through extreme faith. 

blessings,

#kent

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Dead Man Walking

April 27, 2017

 

Colossians 3:3

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Please take just a minute and try and absorb the impact and implication of this one verse.  Sometimes I think I comprehend this truth mentally, but do I possess a real revelation of what it should mean in my life?  This truth should continually revolutionize my world-view and perception of reality.  The spiritual reality and implication to this is that this self-life is dead.  That could seem pretty dreary and boring if it were not for what I traded it for.  If I am dead to myself, that means that I am free to be fully alive in Christ.  That means that God’s life inhabits me, fills me, expands and promotes beyond human limitation what I have the possibility of being “in Him”.   Say your name and put Christ behind it.  You are now that expression, uniquely and divinely His. 

Now someone will be thinking, “what are you saying, that we should now have this god-complex?”  If we are indeed dead to the flesh and alive unto Christ, the God in us is in reality Him and not us.  We understand that whatever God does through us, great or small, it is by the power of in His in-working grace and Holy Spirit.  We are simply the living organism of His expression, unified with Him and in full corporation with His intent and purpose. 

Perhaps one of the most staggering handicaps in Christianity today is, “we don’t really know who we are” and if we do get a hold of that, we so quickly forget it as we are quickly caught up in the life and economy of the world that we walk in.  The reality is that we are ‘dead men walking’ with regards to the flesh and our former soulish life, but we are resurrected people of the spirit who should be walking in the newness of life and hope in Christ Jesus.  If you are dead to the world then you have nothing to fear from the world.  The most the world could do is take your temporary existence in this world, but “your life is hid with Christ in God.”  That means that for anything to truly touch your life, it has to go through God to do it.  Will God allow things to touch you?  God will allow what will make you stronger and continually work a greater measure of His grace and perfecting work in you.  You are His family.  When He corrects you, it is for your good, because of His exceeding great love for you.  He wants kids that hold the family resemblance of holiness and purity and love.  He wants kids after His nature and likeness.  That is who you are!  Every time we look in that mirror we should see no longer just an outward man that represents our soul, we should see an outward man that possesses and is the habitation of the Christ.  Because that is who we are, we are focused not on the temporal and earthly life; we are focused on the things above.   We are as it says in Hebrews 11:13, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.”  Peter picks up on this same thought in 1Peter 2:11, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”

The greatest victory for the enemy and the saddest defeat for the Christian is for the devil to steal your identity.  You talk about identity theft; there is no greater case and point than when you go around believing the lie about who you really are and who you really are not.  God’s Word tells us who we are.  It is the mirror we must continually look into until it becomes so ingrained in us that we are no longer this former person in the world, we are a new creation in Christ Jesus.   Romans 12:2 exhorts us in the light of this reality, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  We can never be the overcomers that God intended we should be while we still identify with these weak sin-laden bodies.  Quit focusing on what you don’t think you are and start focusing on what God says you are.  Because we experience some mistakes and setbacks, that doesn’t make us failures, it should only make us more determined to allow God to be our all in all.   1 John 4:17 tells us, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”

Blessings,

#kent

Weapons of Our Warfare

April 25, 2017

Weapons of Our Warfare

1 Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

How many of us are still trying to combat and fight flesh with flesh.  Is just a positive mental attitude, or using a right formula or trying to be good enough or religious enough going to win our battles over our flesh?  What we are experiencing in our lives is frustration, defeat and condemnation.  We want to do right, but we are still experiencing that law of sin working on our flesh. Our flesh and even soul are not very good at overcoming the weaknesses in themselves.  The Word says that the weapons that God has provided for us are mighty to the tearing down of strongholds.  There are many of us that haven’t experienced a lot of victory in tearing down these strongholds.  We continue to allow these stronghold to be a part of our thinking, behavior and being.  We are still identifying with them and in so doing we continue to give them life and power over us.  Our greatest weapons are not our earthly thinking.  That is the source of our greatest defeat.  We think as the world thinks and not as the Spirit of God thinks.  When the Word exhorts us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, it is telling us to put on the mind of Christ and renew our thinking according to the Word and not according to our natural reasoning.   It is telling us to put our identification on who we are in Christ and not on whom we have been in the flesh.

The first place we must come too is a place of total surrender to the Lord and the Holy Spirit that indwells us.  We are like a country taken over by the Lord, but the flesh still maintains its pockets of resistance, it’s guerilla fighters that provide avenues for the flesh to have access and regain position and power.  Most of us don’t want to admit to these, but they’re there.  We know they are there because we are struggling with these fleshly strongholds in areas of our lives.  Romans 12 starts out by telling us the first position we need to take, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. “ The first thing we need to do is offer our lives a living sacrifice which means that we are willing to lay the flesh upon the altar and allow it to be consumed.  It means that we are turning our mind and thinking from a worldview to a kingdom view.  Our thinking, goals and attitudes are no longer geared towards this earth; they are geared towards heaven and the spiritual calling we have in Christ Jesus.  Here, in this earth, we have no abiding place, but our eyes must be set upon the city whose builder and maker is God.  It is in this mindset that we begin to fashion our lives and our thinking after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh.  As we begin to walk in the Spirit then all that flows through our senses begins to flow through Him.  He is the Discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  If we are sensitizing ourselves to Him then He begins to put His finger on the wrong motives, thoughts and attitudes that are working in our lives.  If we indeed want the weapons of the Spirit to operate in our lives, we must first be in agreement and submission to the Holy Spirit.  While the Holy Spirit indwells us to help us in living a godly life, He by no means usurps our will to decide and choose to whom we obey and to whom we give our mind and our flesh over too.  If we want to choose the fleshly things, then the Holy Spirit will back off.  We may still have a conviction that what we are doing isn’t right, but if we desensitize ourselves to the Holy Spirit through following after our self-will then we will be less and less sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  When God says draw near to Me and I will draw near to you, He is saying as you become more sensitive and obedient to Me then you will begin to sense more of My presence and dealings in your life.  The thing we learn about walking in the Spirit is that it is a continual conscious act to live in that place.  When we walk after the Spirit long enough it may become more natural to us, but our spirit man must always be a guarded city.  As soon as our defenses go down the enemy is ready to come in. 

Indeed the weapons of our warfare are mighty, but they do demand diligence and full surrender of our hearts and minds to Christ.  Our over coming is by allowing the Holy Spirit to over come every thought and temptation that is contrary to the will of God.  We will no doubt loose some battles along the way, but that must not discourage or detour us from our mission of being conformed to the image and likeness of Christ.  In this life, the warfare is continual and ongoing, but we do have the weapons to defeat our foe.  We must indeed to do as Ephesians 6 exhorts us too and put on the whole armor of God that we might stand against the whiles and schemes of the devil.  It is up to us to appropriate our spiritual weapons and armor through fully and unceasingly yielding ourselves as living sacrifices in obedience and submission to the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,

#kent

Christian Behavior

April 24, 2017

Romans 12:9-21

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore“ If your enemy is hungry, feed him;If he is thirsty, give him a drink;

For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Christian Behavior

This passage is a basic guideline and checklist for the behavior and attitude that we should be living out of in Christ.  You will notice that all of its tenants are based on walking in love toward your fellow man and the saints of God.  Its first point is to let your love be without hypocrisy.  How often do we mask our true feelings with a smile and outward show of love and piety?  It is important that we be honest and transparent with one another even when our feelings or attitudes aren’t right.  Love doesn’t mean that we hide them or ignore them, but that we deal with them.  If our heart or our attitude is wrong then we must be willing to confess that and address it in order to correct it.  If someone else’s heart and attitude are wrong then we, in humility and love are honest with them about what we see.  Our function as the body of Christ is not to sit in judgement on one another, but to help each other.  There are things you see about me that I may be totally blind too, if you don’t help me in love then how am I suppose to know?  We all need the capacity and openness to receive correction as well as give it.  None of us are yet perfect or have all of the answers.  That is the reason that we function as a body and not as individuals.  Our end purpose is to fulfill what this passage in Romans 12 is exhorting us to do, basically walk in love toward all men.  Allow God to deal with those who abuse us with evil.  We are exhorted to walk as much in love toward our enemies as we do our brethren, but it does tells us to prefer one another.

We also notice that our Christian walk is not just a passive living.  It has purpose and direction.   It tells us to not be lacking in diligence, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfast in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints and given to hospitality.  We are processing and distribution centers for God’s love to flow through.  We have a relationship with the Lord and receive of His love and blessing so that we can process that through our lives and distribute it to the lives of those around us.  As we are each faithful to do this we meet the needs in one another and in our fellow man.  It is in this healthy relationship with God and man that others will see the love of God flowing through our lives and we will be fulfilling our purpose and calling in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

Eyes upon the Lord

April 21, 2017

Psalms 121

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.

What a privilege we have when we are in Christ.  Yes, the sun still shines on the just and the unjust alike, just like we all experience the storms of life as well.  When we are brought face to face with mortality and death looks back at us in the mirror, what a hopeless and empty feeling must be in those who do not have a relationship with Christ and know not where their help and their life comes from.  The loving arms of the Father are so awesome as He envelopes His own and draws them near to His heart.  When we can read scriptures like Psalms 121 and know in our hearts that our mighty God loves and cares for us so much, what a feeling of security and comfort that brings us.  We all have our bumps, spills and hurts in life.  It is inherent in the world we live in.  We live in a world that is still reaping the consequences of sin, but within us beats a resurrection, new creation, heart.  A heart that longs after God and has the assurance that nothing that we go through in life we must go through alone.  He is our Comforter, our Abba Father.  He feels and knows our heart.  He recognizes the frailty of frame, that we are dust.  In these few brief moments that we tread this earth, we have found the joy of a life with purpose and fulfillment in Christ.  What we have found in Christ, even physical death can not take that away from us, but simply releases our spirit from this earthen vessel so that we may come fully into His presence. 

We have come to know that physical death is not our greatest fear, but spiritual death, a life devoid of God’s Spirit and relationship with Him; that is the greatest tragedy of all.  Without Him what do we have but emptiness of soul, of purpose and a life that can only be lived for the present?  Without Him we only have the vain philosophies, religions and the devices of men.   What a sad and empty place to find ourselves in and then we die to face what?

It should never cease to astound us nor should we ever fail to appreciate the Lord and give Him praise for what a blessed and rich people we are who have come to know Christ.  We are not any better than the rest of the world in our own right, but God’s grace and salvation has and is taking us to levels of richness and blessing that we can not even fully comprehend. 

When we face adversity, trials and even death in our lives, we have a hope that is so precious to us.  It is our Lord we can cling too, depend upon and hope in.  He is not just a crutch for weak-minded Christians as the world may mockingly say; He is the substance of our life.  All that we now are is rooted and grounded in Him.  Whether we live or die we are the Lord’s.  The assurance we have in Christ is the Peace that Jesus spoke of that the world can not give. 

As you lift your eyes today, remember where your help comes from.  The Father loves you with a deep and unconditional love.  Your life is hid with Christ in God.  The world can never know the hope, the assurance and the security that we have because we are His own.  You are the apple of your Father’s eye.  He loves you.  He is proud of you and He sees the righteousness of His Son in you.  We are a very blessed and privileged people.  Never forget or lose sight of who you are and all that is yours in Christ. 

Thank You Father!  Thank You Jesus!

Blessings,

#kent

Joy comes in the Morning

April 20, 2017

Psalms 30:5

For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning. 

Joy comes in the Morning

You know the more hopeless the world becomes the richer our hope in Christ remains.  It would not be difficult at all to fall into despair and worry at the condition of our world and the direction it is going.  In the world’s view and those who wield the power of this age, we are but minor pawns in the game to be manipulated and used to whatever suits their purpose and fits their fancy.  What they don’t see is that we are God’s hidden ones.  What God has deposited in us in this age is something they can only try to control and destroy, but they can not pluck that which is God’s out of His hand.  There is still only One that remains sovereign and supreme over all.  There is only One who is unchangeable and moveable.  He is the rock of our salvation and the one that gives us our blessed hope in this perverse generation.  He will correct us and we will know the rod of His displeasure, but the Lord will forgive our transgressions when we repent and turn to Him.  There will be weeping and sorrow through the night, but our God doesn’t leave us without hope and redemption.  After we have endured the Lord’s indignation and have repented, the Lord brings us joy in the morning and hope because He still loves us and whom He loves He chastens.  

I watched a documentary film the other night about all the different ones that control us as a people.  It started by denouncing religion as one of them and how the same events that distinguished Jesus, such as the time of His birth, His death and resurrection, His miracles and virgin birth, were a product of the same myth that had been found in the histories of many great past societies and civilizations who worshipped god’s with very similar attributes.  If we know some of our biblical history we know that those myths began to be perpetrated with Nimrod back the time of Babel.  Satan always has his counterfeits, but the world often has difficulty discerning between the counterfeit and the real.  Our confidence we have today in Christ doesn’t stand so much in what we know in our heads; it stands on the knowing we have in our hearts.  It is the relationship I have with Christ that fully convinces me of His reality, not just what I read and hear.  It is much like that old song chorus that goes, “You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.”  The world doesn’t know Him and as a result they don’t know us.  1 John 3:1-3 tells us, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”  There are men that rule by an antichrist spirit that controls and manipulates the affairs of this world and are bring it to its destined course.  What is happening is what has already been laid and out revealed in the Word of God.  There is nothing of the affairs of this world that catches our God by surprise.  He already knows the end from the beginning.  We are a part of His divine plan if we hold fast to His truth and refused to be moved and dissuaded by those who would rob you of your life and faith.  

Here is the warning that 1 John 4:1-6 gives to us, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 

4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”  The anti-Christ spirit has been at work even from the foundation of the true church.  John teaches us how to recognize it and not be deceived by it.  Know with confidence who you are in Christ and then live accordingly.  Don’t allow the despair and despondency of this world to rock your boat, because you carry the precious life giving cargo of  “Christ in You, the hope of glory”.  Rejoice as you see the time growing near.  This is God’s greatest hour for those whose lives are hid in Him.  

Blessings,

#kent

Agenda for Today

April 19, 2017

Colosians 3:17

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 

Agenda for Today

Lord, what is on Your agenda today?

Other thoughts invade my mind as I take time to pray.

I try to focus in on what Your will is for me,

But my mind is cluttered by all the mental imagery.

I find my thoughts on these rabbit trails,

Then I catch myself only to feel like I‘ve failed.

Help me Lord, get my soul quiet before Your throne.

Help me give myself, that I may be all Your own.

Lord, what is Your agenda today?

Give me spiritual ears to hear what You have to say.

Order my steps and help me with the choices I make.

Help me lose myself in You and do all for Jesus sake.

Fill my thoughts and be in all I do,

Let my former distracting thoughts, now be thoughts of You.

Focus me in Your will and plan for me.

In all I do, let it be done as unto Thee.  

You are the ark and the safety for my heart,

Help me find in You my every portion and needed part.

Be my everything, as You are meeting every need,

Let me live in Christ and humbly follow as You lead.

Kent Stuck

Blessings~

Resurrection Life

April 18, 2017

 

Resurrection Life

 

John 11:25

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

 

               Resurrection means a rising up as from a seat.  In this scripture Jesus communicates to Martha that the resurrection isn’t just an event for a future date in history.  Resurrection is the Spirit of Life and it is resident in the person of Jesus Christ.  Romans 8:1-2 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  Those who are in Christ Jesus walking according to the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, are walking also in the principle of resurrection life.  The other part of that is that we are no longer walking in the principles and laws of sin and death.   As faith is the inverse of fear and unbelief, so resurrection life is the inverse of death.  It is that which rises up and unseats death.  We see this truth in Romans 8:10-11,

“And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

                Even now are we experiencing resurrection life in us as we are being transformed from death to life in Christ Jesus.   There is a spiritual principle of life at work in us that is powerful and life giving.  It is greater than death itself.  Death obviously is still having it’s time and place even among the most spiritual of men, but under the direction of the Almighty even the powerful enemy of death must bow to the resurrection life of Christ.  Even death could not hold Him in the grave.  The destiny of our walk is to know death to that man of sin in our former nature.  That death to self is bringing us into the resurrection life of Christ Jesus.  Hebrews 2:14 says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”  We see then that power of death is held in the devil’s hands.  Jesus dealt satan a deathblow at the cross through His death.   What we must grasp is through that principle of death to sin and self there arises the Spirit of Life.  The crushed grapes yield the wine.  The seed that is planted and dies, gives way to the life within in it.  What Christ has done as the head, He will accomplish through the body.  In Philippians 3:10-11 the apostle Paul declares, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead (or more literally, “out of the dead”).” Christ is at work in us today to deliver us out of the power of sin and death that still is at work in our mortal bodies.  He is the Life Force within us.  The fellowship with His sufferings and the identification with His death are made more and more real to us the closer we walk with Him.  But the death that works in us is giving place to life, His resurrection life that is also at work in us.  It has the power to quicken and give life even to our mortal bodies.   We see it in a measure now, but soon without measure in those who are the partakers of the first resurrection.  In that first resurrection are those who rule and reign in Christ.  Revelations 20:6 says, “Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” As Paul goes on to say in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”                Pursue and lay hold of His Resurrection Life.

Blessings,

#kent 

The Peace of God

April 17, 2017

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The Peace of God

We can’t say that just because we are Christians we don’t have problems and struggles.  The Lord promises to always be with us, but He doesn’t promise that we won’t have many trials and hardships on our journey.  What we truly need we already have in Christ Jesus.  That is hard for us to reason when perhaps our physical circumstances are so dire.  

We have often used the analogy that gold ore is not gold in its purest state.  It is mixed with much dross and impurities.  It is the crushing, the fire and the smith that smelts the gold, brings it into purity, then shapes it into vessels of honor.  What suffers in the process is our flesh and too often we identify our flesh with our life when it no longer is.  

Such a key part of our faith is the confidence and the knowing of who we are in Christ Jesus.  If we don’t have a revelation of that we are always going to be panicking in the storm.  We can so quickly lose sight of who is in the boat with us, because of the raging torrents that surround us.  The peace of God comes in the security of knowing that your life is hid in Him.  It positions us as Ephesians 2:6-7 says, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”  You see, we are in Christ in heavenly realms.  What we possess and will experience in Christ Jesus is beyond compare to anything this world can offer.  Paul says in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  The peace we possess is the rest that God is in charge of our lives if we have surrendered and relinquished our will to Him.  

What is the first thing the Word tells us to do when we have a need?  “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”  Joy over and over and over again in your God and all that He is and that He has provided for you in Christ Jesus.  Your salvation is your peace, because it is the presence and manifestation of God in all aspects of your life.  One definition of the peace from the Greek word “eirene” says, “of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.”  What God has given in us in times of unbearable hardship is His grace.  He is what we cannot be.  Our peace is in knowing that He is, whatever our need.  Whatever our circumstance our peace is in His will and purpose.  He says to make our needs known to Him through supplication and prayer.  Don’t become anxious or distraught about anything.  God is at work in ways that we can not see.  “Cast all of your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”  When you have prayed and made your request known, then begin to worship and thank Him for His answer.  It doesn’t matter that you haven’t seen it yet.  Faith is the evidence of things not seen.  Rest in that you know that God is working in your behalf.  Allow His peace to give tranquility to your soul.  Don’t allow your heart to be troubled about many things, but rather choose to sit at the feet of Jesus.  He will give you rest. 

Blessings,

#kent

Discouraged but not Forsaken

Deuteronomy 1:21

Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up [and] possess [it], as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged

How are you doing today as you run the race of faith?  Are you running with the wind in your sails or are you just floating like a sailboat without a breeze?  Are you encouraged and built up in your faith or are you tired, weary and feeling defeated?  Where are you at in your relationship with Christ today?   Perhaps you are where you want to be and growing daily in your faith and obedience to Christ.  That is where we would all like to be, but in reality you may be floundering, experiencing some failures and defeats or dealing with issues that you don’t have the answers for.  

Hopefully, what we have learned so far is that our relationship with the Father, along with His love and desire towards us, doesn’t ride on the coattails of our emotional ups and downs.  It isn’t our feelings that dictate our walk and relationship with the Father; it is our faith and confidence in His Word.  The Father is constant in His love for us, even when we fall flat on our face or back into sin.  The wonderful thing about the Lord is even though he loves us the way we are; He loves us too much to leave us that away.   There are times we hate ourselves; all we can see is the failure, the weakness, the sin and how helpless we feel to change it.  What we do know is that all of our self-pity and defeatism will never allow our life to change.  The enemy has us right where he wants us, in the throes of defeat.   Perhaps you have been experiencing the dealings of the Lord in your life and His discipline has been upon you.  That should be an encouragement to you, because you know He is dealing with you as His son or His daughter.  Don’t allow discouragement to come in and cause you to give up.  There will be times of discouragement where you are tempted to want to give up. 

God loves us, even in the mess we are in.  God has great things for us and great things He wants to accomplish through us.  Hebrews 12:12-15 says, “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.”  Our greatest failure is not that we have messed up it is when we give up.  Life is a series of battles and we aren’t going to win them all, but our victory is in keeping our eyes upon Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith.  We have to keep coming back on our knees and pouring out our heart and soul to Him.  He is what we can’t be in ourselves.  Lest we forget who we are and what we are, we are a new creation that bears the name of Christ.  Let us quit looking at what we have been and where we have come from and start looking at what we are going to be and where we are headed too.  Our identification, our purpose and our reason for living must always be centered in Christ.  When we allow that to be robbed from us, we become the whipping boy for the devil and he will flat beat you up until you feel like a worthless nothing.  Let faith arise in our hearts. Let us believe what the Lord and His Word says about us, “that we are the righteousness of Christ”, that we are, “more than conquers through Christ that loved us” and that “He has raised us up together and made us to sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.”  

If the enemy has you in the dungeon of despair and discouragement today, sucking rocks and the putrid filth of his accusations and condemnations, then it is time to lift up your head and look to where your salvation comes from.  It is time to get up and walk out of that prison cell.  Those bars can’t hold you.  Jesus has already unlocked the door.  He has never stopped loving you and all He is waiting for and desiring is for you to come back to Him.  Make the Lord your refuge, your mighty fortress and your strong deliverer.  He is and always will be your salvation, your hope and your strong tower.   “…for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5).

Blessings,

#kent

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