In the Beginning

April 13, 2017

In the Beginning

Genesis 1:1-4

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

“In the beginning, God…” Think back to that day when God started a new beginning in you.  Do you remember the day when God said “let their be light in the midst of your soul” and you agreed and said yes.  Do you remember how He took you when you were formless, void and dwelling in darkness and He caused the light of Jesus Christ to dawn upon your soul?  The Lord began a new day in you that separated light and darkness.  

John picks up on this theme in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  Christ is the express Word of God, the expression of all of creation, the breath of God’s own life, the light of His glory and countenance.  Christ is that light of the world and the author of life to all of its inhabitance.  The light is never a part of the darkness, but rather it always dispels darkness relative to the intensity with which it is present.  Darkness cannot comprehend light because it is contrary and opposite in nature to light.  Isn’t it only God’s grace and the opening of our understanding by His Spirit that we begin to comprehend the Light of the World?  Every candle has a wick, but until it is lit, it remains an object of darkness.  Hearing the Word of God, coupled with a quickening of understanding by the Holy Spirit gave us the empowerment to light the candle of faith that burns within our hearts.  This light of faith, that flickers and burns within us is of the same nature and characteristic as that which burns in the Light of the World.  He has placed His light in us.  He has called us to a new day and to walk in the light of the knowledge and revelation of God that He has imparted to us in the Word and through His manifest presence.  When lights gather together they grow in intensity, greater dispelling the darkness and lighting the place with His glory.  What’s more, is that now, as we walk and dwell in this light, we have fellowship with the author of light and life.  

1 John 1:1, John carries on this theme of the beginning, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”  Because we have embraced this life, John 1:12 – 13 tells us that now we have a right to become the sons of God, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  When you are born of God you are given the right to fellowship and commune with God.  You are given the privilege and the mandate to live to the praise and glory of Him who now indwells you.  You are given entrance and fellowship into His presence with others of like faith.  From this beginning we become children of the day who walk in the light, as He is in the light.  We become the living signposts, the neon lights that show and direct others to the author of light and life, so that they also might experience a new beginning.  We have the fellowship and relationship with the Lord that it speaks of in 1John 1:5-10, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”  When we embrace the day and choose to walk in the light, as He is in the light, then we live and dwell in the power and love of God’s forgiveness and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our darkness and sin.  We know that we have all had darkness and sin in our lives and in fact we are still struggling with its temptations, but as we continually turn our faces into the light and away from darkness, the power of the blood dispels the darkness with its light and life.  

Christ is the beginning and the end, the first and the last and He wants to be that to us throughout all of our existence, both in this life and that which is to come.  Continue on in the light of the good work that God began in you from your beginning.  Bathe yourself continually in the light of His countenance and glory and that light wherewith He has lit our souls, let is so shine to be a light and a beginning for others.

Blessings,

#kent

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The Crown of the Curse

April 12, 2017

The Crown of the Curse

Matthew 29:27-28

27Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.

Let’s talk briefly about the crown of thorns that Jesus wore to the cross.  We can readily understand through the Word the significance of the crucifixion of Christ and how our redemption was bought and our sins paid for through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.  We also can grasp the truth that, “ by His stripes we were healed.”  It was another aspect of suffering on the part of Jesus that brought healing to our mortal man.  Sin, sickness, disease are all aspects of the curse Adam brought upon mankind, along with the thistles and thorns that come up to choke out the precious life giving seed.  Genesis 3:17 –18 tells us, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life; 

 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.” 

The crown of thorns represented another aspect of our salvation and redemption through Christ and what He suffered.  Jesus died to free us from that Adamic curse and so He dealt with all of the aspects of that curse.  Galatians 3:13-14 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit”.  We can readily see through the Word how that Christ came to be the anti-type of Adam.  What Adam accomplished in his disobedience to bring the curse upon man and sin into the world, Jesus Christ came to redeem man from that curse through His act of obedience to God.  Romans5: 14 –18 explains it, “14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. 15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”  Jesus Christ’s act of obedience through His Passion deals with every aspect of the curse under which man has lived and is the way of salvation from it all.  Our salvation isn’t just for our soul, it goes far beyond even that, to ultimately redeem and transform the whole man, spirit, soul and body.  

We see thorns coming up in the waste place and in places where they can choke out the good seed.  It must be like the unregenerate mind that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. It is seen in the religion and vain philosophies of men, the cares of life and the world, the imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.  They are all of the things in life that divert our thinking and meditation from God and His Word.  Isaiah 7:23-24 says, “23 In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. 24 Men will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns.”  The thorns are what come in to choke out life and blessing.  It is so like our minds that are the fields and the seed is what we plant in them to bring forth a fruitful harvest.  Left unattended or given over to the natural order, thorns and thistle will come in to choke out the good seed.  Jesus used this illustration in Matthew 13 when he gave the parable about the sower who went out scattering his seed. He explains about the conditions of the soil, or if you will, the state of men’s minds and attitudes. “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.” When the disciples later questioned Jesus about what this meant, he told them in Matthew 13:22-23.  “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Thorns are something we hate because we know that if they get into our skin they cause great discomfort and continually distract and divert our attention until they are dealt with and removed.  That is the way satan is.  He is that thorn continually diverting our attention from the Word and the life that it produces.  The thorns continually want to choke out that life in us with all of the cares and worries of life.   The crown of thorns represent the curse that robs our mind of the precious seed of God, thorns want to spring up and choke out the life in people.  Ironically, we often mistake our crown of thorns for our crown of glory, because we are so diverted in our own accomplishments that we are missing the crown of righteousness.   In truth, Christ bore our crown of shame that we might wear His crown of righteousness that He has for those that love Him.  In 2 Timothy 4:8 the apostle Paul tells us, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 

Christ wore the crown of shame, the symbol of our curse, beaten down on His head with the rod of man’s religion and authority.  He wore it that, in return, He might give us a renewed mind through which we might experience and lay hold of the transforming power of His mighty Word through in-working of His Spirit.  

Some of us are still allowing the thorns to reign in our lives when Christ wants to impart to us the crown of His righteousness.  We have been redeemed from the curse.  By faith we must appropriate what Christ has so graciously and mercifully provided, but as in any garden, we must remove the weeds, the thistles and the thorns that still want to come in to rob and choke out the precious seed of Life.

Blessings,

#kent

The Sincere Milk of the Word

1 Peter 2:2

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 

Today, those that read this will be at many different places of maturity in their walk with the Lord.  Some may be young in the Lord and some may be Fathers in the faith.  The Lord would take us back to our roots for a moment and remember that we were nurtured and nursed with the sincere milk of the Word in our beginnings.  That “sincere” means guileless, such as in things unmixed, unadulterated and pure.  Hopefully our faith has been built on a foundation of pure, unadulterated doctrine where we have the unshakable truths that are the basis for our growing into maturity.  These are the moorings that anchor our souls to the Rock.  They keep us through the storms of life and they are the cornerstones upon which everything else is built.  Holding on to these truths is like returning to our first love in Christ.  We had best not forget them and move away from them even though we don’t want to remain in that state of milk fed babies of the Word.  Such is the state of many in the church world today who are content with their bottle once or twice a week of regurgitated Word from ministers that never move beyond a salvation type message.  The majority of their congregation know little to nothing about feeding themselves in the Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach and lead them into a deeper understanding and revelation of His truth.   1 John 2:27 says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”   God never wants us to lose those moorings of the first principles of His Words, but He doesn’t want us to be content just to stay there either.  God is an ever-dynamic river of truth moving and revealing Himself in ever greater truth and dimension.  It doesn’t mean His truth changes, but it does expand and the Holy Spirit is what is imparting that expanding truth to us.  Church history is lined with denominations who got a hold of a truth of God then built a doctrine, church and school around it and remained camped there as the river of God’s truth moved on to reveal more of His unfolding Kingdom.    

I have set under teaching where the man talked about having personal revelation of the Spirit that was not always consistent with the Word of God.  That is false teaching.  God will never give revelation that is in contradiction to His written Word.  He gave us that Word so that we wouldn’t be moved by every wind of doctrine.  Just as a flower grows from a bulb by means of a sprout, then it adds a bud and the bud finally blossom into a beautiful flower unfolding the potential that was in that bulb.  God’s word is growing up in us constantly unfolding new dimensions of truth that are challenging us and taking us to greater depths in our walk and experience with Him.  

The Lord has given us the sincere milk of the Word; the principle tenants of our faith to become rooted and established Him.  Hebrews 5:12 speaks of the balance when it says, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”  It also says the reason we are still on milk is that we are dull of hearing.  Prayer, meditation and study of the Word will allow the Holy Spirit opportunity to begin to speak into our hearts more of the meat and substance of His Word.  We will develop a spiritual ear to hear as we are attentive and obedient to what He is showing us.  God is not just running a nursery school for children that never want to grow up.  He is maturing us into His sons, his royal priesthood to set creation free in its due season.

Romans 8:19 says that, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”  Jesus is the prototype and firstfuits of what God is bringing His people into.  He is not doing that with infants, but with mature saints of God.  Let us grow up continually in the grace and knowledge of Him. 

Blessings, 

#kent

Proverbs 8:13

The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. 

The Stumbling Block of Pride

Pride has been the foundation stone and building block of every rebellion against the Almighty.  From the rebellion of satan forward it has been the seed that has exalted itself against God and boasted in its own self.  The fear of the Lord is to hate evil and much of evil derives its strength, power and presence from the pride and arrogance of self.  One of the dangers of being gifted and blessed with special attributes and abilities is how easy it is to get caught in this ugly snare of pride.  

I wonder how many men have approached God, but have heard nothing and received nothing because of the unrepented pride that was in their hearts.  If we think that we can approach God on our terms and expect Him to respond to us then we are not only prideful, but foolish as well’ we may be in for a disappointment .  How many of us have had children or seen children who approached their parents in this manner?  Instead of humbling themselves in obedience and respect to their parents they came with the attitude of usurping their authority and leadership in the home.  A wise parent wouldn’t give place to this kind of arrogance and manipulation on the part of child and certainly God won’t meet with us on those terms.  We are to come to God on His terms, not our own.  His terms are humility, a broken, contrite and repentant heart.  This is the attitude of heart that God will respond too.  When we are willing to take off this garment of selfishness and lay it down at the altar, then we are in a place where He can meet with us and clothe us with Himself and His vesture of righteousness.   Pride is a major stumbling block to those who would desire to know God.  Pride focuses our attention away from the Lord and onto us.  Thus it robs us of His resources while making us dependent upon the weakness of our own strength and ability.  Many feel they are sufficient within themselves and indeed, in this world, may do well for themselves, but their faith and hope are built upon sand.  Sand is a shifting and unstable foundation that will eventually give way to failure.  We see Jesus as the rock of our foundation, steadfast and unmovable.  He is what anchors us to the Almighty and brings us through every adversity and trial.  

Sometimes we are tempted to envy the wicked, because it may seem they are enjoying the entire blessing of this life while we have inherited all of the struggles.  Psalms 73 addresses these very feelings and perceptions.  “1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure.2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone .3 For I envied the proud

when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong.  5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.  6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty.  7 These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!  8 They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others.  9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth.  10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words.  11 “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” 12 Look at these wicked people—enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. 13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?  Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?  14 I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain. 15 If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.  But what a difficult task it is! 17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. 18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.  19 In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. 20 When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning. 21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.22 I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.  24 You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.  25 Whom have I in heaven but you?  I desire you more than anything on earth.  26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. 27 Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.  28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.”

Even when God blesses us and gives good success, we must be very mindful of this crafty evil called pride.  It can as easily wear a spiritual face, as it can a natural one.  Pride builds us up in a false sense of security.  It makes us believe we are something rather than giving the glory and the honor to the Lord who has blessed us.  God is the author of every good and perfect gift, be sure that the honor and praise always returns to Him.  Pride is the balloon that lifts you to ruin.  Humility is branch that hangs low, laden with the fruit of God’s Spirit and life.  The mountains will be brought low, but the valleys will be lifted up and the meek shall inherit the earth.   If you want to find Him, lose yourself and lay down your pride.  

Blessings,

#kent

The Footsteps of Service

John 13:1-17

1It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love, 2The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8″No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9″Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13″You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Imagine the CEO of the most powerful company in the world taking off his jacket, tucking back his tie, rolling up his sleeves and washing the feet of his board of directors.  Imagine the president of the United States doing the same with his cabinet.  One by one he removes their shoes and socks, washes their feet and dries them.  We would think that was pretty odd and out of place for a person of their stature, power and authority to do such a thing.  That isn’t in the job description, is it?  For Jesus it was and He was far greater than even the men I have just described.  

Through this servant act of foot washing Jesus was demonstrating the mission statement of the Kingdom, “Service out of love.”  

Jesus gave us the bath when we accepted Him as our Savior.  We were washed by the blood of the Lamb and baptized into Him.  While His righteousness covers us, our feet still get dirty as we trod this earth.  We don’t live and walk through this world without getting tainted from it.  Sometimes our feet can get down right dirty and muddy.  They have to be washed.  Spiritually speaking, we need those feet of our spiritual walk cleansed as it says in Ephesians 5:26, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”  

The principle of the natural world and natural man is to live for self.  Selfishness, in the person of God, defiles their walk and yet most all of us have that in us.  That is why Jesus gave us an example of washing one another’s feet with selfless acts of kindness and mercy.  That is why the Word tells us we are not to judge our brother, but seek to restore them in humility and love, taking heed that we don’t fall into disobedience.  

We have talked about how our feet carry us through life and in the path that we choose to follow.  Our feet govern our walk in the natural and the spirit.  The only way the man of God knows how to walk is by the light of the Word of God.  Psalms 119:101 says, “I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.” And verse 105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  What Jesus taught His disciple on this last night before His death is a key principle of the kingdom.  It is like what He told his disciples when they were fussing over who would be the greatest in the kingdom.  In Mark 9:35 it tells us, “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all.” That is what our walk is all about and that is the economy of the kingdom, “service out of love.”  Our vision has to be, not to be served, but to serve.”  We have all been called into the ministry.  It is the ministry of service.”  I would expect to see a great many women promoted in heaven, because more of them have learned what it is to serve out of love.  

There will be those who abuse your service.  There will be those whom you will wash their feet and they will turn and betray you, as Judas did Jesus.   Your greatness is not in your authority or riches or power or giftings; it is in your humility, your love and your service to others.  Humility is simply strength under control.  

Listen to Paul’s philosophy of his ministry in 1 Corinthians 10:31-33, “31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”  You see, many of us are walking in a wrong way of thinking; it is about us and what we can accomplish.  We may have the pretense and delusion that it is for the Lord’s glory, when really it is for ours.  

Will you wash someone’s feet today?  Will you serve them, love them, minister the Word of God to them, not in condemnation and judgement, but in love.  Will you help someone find their way and set their feet on the path of the kingdom of heaven?  Your greatness is in your love and your ability to serve others.  Everyday we can wash someone’s feet.  How great are we?

Blessings,

#kent

Extravagant Giving

April 6, 2017

Mark 14:3-9

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 

4Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 

6″Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” 

Extravagant Giving

The story presents us with an example of a woman that gave extravagantly to express to the lover of her soul the depth of her love, appreciation and commitment to Him.  Some saw this as a waste.  Some thought it should be sold and given to the poor.  Some were offended that such a woman as this woman used to be would even dare to approach Jesus in such a forward and unconventional way.  

Should she have sold this extravagant perfume and given it to the poor?  Sure that would have been a noble and worthy gesture.  Should we give to the poor?  Of course the Lord honors that and cares deeply for the needy, the widow and orphans.  But this woman brought a higher level of giving than even that.  This was an expression of physically anointing Jesus with the precious incense of His presence and love that filled her heart.  It was the deepest expression of praise and worship she knew how to give as she anointed Him and wiped His feet with her hair and tears.  It was an anointing of the King of Kings, the High Priest of our confession to enter into the Holy of Holies for us, ever renting the veil of separation for us to enter in.  It was the sacrifice most acceptable to the Lord, that of a broken and contrite heart.  He did not despise such an offering, but highly favored, honored and defended the woman.  What she had done was unique and significant above all other offerings.  She had demonstrated extravagant giving by giving her richest possession to express the treasure of life and relationship that Christ had placed within her heart.

Many of us give the Lord our due diligence, tithes and offering.  Many of us are very lax about doing even that. How can we have the heart of this woman?  How can we be extravagant givers that can some how express the gratitude we should feel for the eternal life and hope Jesus has placed within our hearts through the sacrifice of His mortal life for our sin and separation from the Father?  All that we have, all that we are and all that we are ever destined to be, we owe to our Jesus.  How can we find it in our lives to be extravagant givers?

Blessings,

#kent

Seasonings and Spices

April 5, 2017

Seasonings and Spices

Matthew 5:13

You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

Do you think that perhaps God, when He looks down upon His earth, sees it somewhat like a master chef sees the preparation of a fine meal?  He seasons with different herbs and spices to bring out a particular flavor and taste.  We are His seasonings and He has prepared each one of us to bring something to the table of life that expresses, enhances and brings forth the flavor of His life.  There is much ugliness and tasteless wickedness that prevails upon men, but oh how unsavory life would be if God did not provide His seasonings and spices to flavor life with Himself.  We are all so different and yet so necessary and essential to God’s economy and the expression of the many facets of His nature and being.  God uses many different flavorings to adorn His table with good things.  He is not simple or bland, but diverse and flavorful, combining His many unique creations to blend, come together and flavor this world with Himself.  

What flavor are you?  What unique characteristics, abilities, talents and gifts has God placed in your life to season His table?  Are we that salt and seasoning that He has created us to be, or have we grown bland, neglecting what God, Himself, has put in us?  God wants us to each flavor our part of the earth with the special seasoning He has created us to be.  Each of us has the capacity to express the Lord, because He lives in us and will live through us as we become less and He becomes more.  The enrichment of our spice is experienced as we submit our will to His and look to Him to help us be all that He has created us to be.  You are special and unique.  You are a special flavoring of God.  Be what He has created you to be.  Don’t try and be like another seasoning or spice, that’s not who God created you to be.  Be God’s expression through your life and personality.  Never let us cease from allowing Him to conform us to Himself so that we might become richer in the flavor of all that He is, but season and spice up the lives of those around you by being all that God has created you to be.

Blessings,

#kent

2 Timothy 4:1-2 (New Life Version)

These words are from my heart to you. I say this before God and Jesus Christ. Some day He will judge those who are living and those who are dead. It will be when Christ comes to bring His holy nation. 2 Preach the Word of God. Preach it when it is easy and people want to listen and when it is hard and people do not want to listen. Preach it all the time. Use the Word of God to show people they are wrong. Use the Word of God to help them do right. You must be willing to wait for people to understand what you teach as you teach them. 

Be Ready and Speak the Word

We have a fairly extensive yard that we use a lot in our business.  We have a gardener that comes in and plants certain flowers, grasses and plants.  After she plants these she is always telling us that we need to water them every day for a least ten days.  The water helps them to become established and rooted so they can begin to sustain themselves more on their own.  The Lord was reminding me of the spiritual application of this.   So many times, when we do witness and win people to Christ, we stop there and that is really where we need to begin.  It is one thing to plant, but it is another to establish that which has been planted.  How many people have fallen away from the faith because they made a commitment to Christ, but no one took the time to disciple and establish them in their faith?  

We find that we have to hand water a lot in our yard.  Just the regular watering isn’t enough.  Young Christians are like that, they need to be hand watered and established in their faith.  We need to actually water one another with the Word and with spiritual encouragement.  We all need to be challenged, corrected and built up in our faith and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  We need it and we need to do be doing it for others.  The body of Christ is not a building, but a living organism in which each part serves the other and works together for the good of the whole.  Disease happens when something is destroying healthy cells or when cells go out of control and start reproducing themselves outside the order and proper function of the body.  We help to maintain health in the body of Christ by first, maintaining our proper role and obedience to Christ, but by also taking care of those in our sphere of influence.  Always be ready, be instant in season and out to speak the Word of life and faith.  Encourage others in Christ and especially care for those who are new in their walk with Lord.  The life that we live and the words that we speak are often the most a lot of people will know about Christ.  It is the water of life.  Be ready to speak the Word.

Blessings,

#kent

Colossians 1:27

To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of  the glory of  this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The Experience of a Saint

This was forwarded to me by a dear one in Christ and my spirit bears such witness with it that I wanted to share it with you.  It is somewhat lengthy, but very rich in its wisdom and content.

Reading this ( below ) not only blessed the socks off of me , but brought my focus right back where it belongs, on the Altogether Lovely One . It isn’t about me  or ministry or revelations or experiences. It is all about HIMSELF.

And when at last I got my eyes off my sanctification, and my experience of it, and just placed them on the Christ in me, I found, instead of an experience, the Christ larger than the moment’s need, the Christ that had all that I should ever need who was given to me at once, and for ever! And when I thus saw Him, it was such rest; it was all right, and right for ever. For I had not only what I could hold that little hour, but also in Him, all that I should need the next and the next and so on, until sometimes I get a glimpse of what it will be a million years afterwards, when we shall “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of our Father” (Matt. 13: 43), and have “all the fullness of God.”

And so I thought the healing would be an end to it, that the Lord would take me like the old run-down clock, wind me up, and set me going like a machine.

It is not thus at all. I found it was Himself coming in instead and giving me what I needed at the moment. I wanted to have a great stock, so that I could feel rich; a great store laid up for many years, so that I would not be dependent upon Him the next day; but He never gave me such a store. I never had more holiness or healing at one time than I needed for that hour. He said: “My child, you must come to Me for the next breath because I love you so dearly I want you to come all the time. If I gave you a great supply, you would do without Me and would not come to Me so often; now you have to come to Me every second, and lie on My breast every moment.”

He gave me a great fortune, placed thousands and millions at credit, but He gave a cheque-book with this one condition, “You never can draw more than you need at the time.” Every time a cheque was wanted, however, there was the name of Jesus upon it, and so it brought more glory to Him, kept His name before the heavenly world and God was glorified in His Son.

I had to learn to take from Him my spiritual life every second, to breathe Himself in as I breathed, and breathe myself out. So, moment by moment for the spirit, and moment by moment for the body, we must receive.

You say, “Is not that a terrible bondage, to be always on the strain ?” What, on the strain with one you love, your dearest Friend ? Oh, no! It comes so naturally, so spontaneously, so like a fountain, without consciousness, without effort, for true life is always easy, and overflowing.

And now, thank God, I have Him, not only what I have room for, but that which I have not room for, but for which I shall have room, moment by moment, as I go on into the eternity before me. I am like the little bottle in the sea, as full as it will hold. The bottle is in the sea, and the sea is in the bottle; so I am in Christ, and Christ is in me. But, besides that bottleful in the sea, there is a whole ocean beyond; the difference is, that the bottle has to be filled over again, every day, evermore.

Now the question for each of us is not “What think you of Bethshan, and what think you of divine healing?” but “What think you of Christ?”

There came a time when there was a little thing between me and Christ. I express it by a little conversation with a friend who said, “You were healed by faith.” “Oh, no,” I said, “I was healed by Christ.”

What is the difference? There is a great difference. There came a time when even faith seemed to come between me and Jesus. I thought I should have to work up the faith, so I labored to get the faith. At last I thought I had it; that if I put my whole weight upon it, it would hold. I said, when I thought I had got the faith, “Heal me.” I was trusting in myself, in my own heart, in my own faith. I was asking the Lord to do something for me because of something in me, not because of something in Him.

So the Lord allowed the devil to try my faith, and the devil devoured it like a roaring lion, and I found myself so broken down that I did not think I had any faith. God allowed it to be taken away until I felt I had none. And then God seemed to speak to me so sweetly, saying, “Never mind, my child, you have nothing. But I am perfect Power, I am perfect Love, I am Faith, I am your Life, I am the preparation for the blessing, and then I am the Blessing, too. I am all within and all without, and all for ever.”

It is just having “Faith in God” (Mark 11: 22). “And the life I now live in the flesh, I live,” not by faith on the Son of God, but “by the faith of the Son of God” (Gal. 2 20). That is it. It is not your faith. You have no faith in you, any more than you have life or anything else in you. You have nothing but emptiness and vacuity, and you must be just openness and readiness to take Him to do all. You have to take His faith as well as His life and healing, and have simply to say, “I live by the faith of the Son of God.” My faith is not worth anything. If I had to pray for anyone, I would not depend upon my faith at all. I would say, “Here, Lord, am I. If you want me to be the channel of blessing to this one just breathe into me all that I need.” It is simply Christ, Christ alone.

Now, is your body yielded to Christ for Him thus to dwell and work in you? The Lord Jesus Christ has a body as well as you only it is perfect; it is the body, not of a man, but of the Son of man. Have you considered why He is called the Son of man? The Son of man means that Jesus Christ is the one typical, comprehensive, universal, all-inclusive Man. Jesus is the one man that contains in Himself all that man ought to be all that man needs to have. It is all in Christ. All the fullness of the Godhead and the fullness of a perfect manhood has been embodied in Christ, and He stands now as the summing-up of all that man needs. His spirit is all that your spirit needs, and He just gives us Himself. His body possesses all that your body needs. He has a heart beating with the strength that your heart needs. He has organs and functions redundant with life, not for Himself, but for humanity. He does not need strength for Himself. The energy which enabled Him to rise and ascend from the tomb, above all the forces of nature, was not for Himself. That marvellous body belongs to your body. You are a member of His body. Your heart has a right to draw from His heart all that it needs. Your physical life has a right to draw from His physical life its support and strength, and so it is not you, but it is just the precious life of the Son of God. Will you take Him thus today, and then you will not be merely healed, but you will have a new life for all you need, a flood of life that will sweep disease away, and then remain a fountain of life for all your future need. Oh, take Him in His fullness.

It seems to me as if I might just bring you a little talisman today, as if God had given me a little secret for every one here and said to me, “Go and tell them, if they will take it, it will be a talisman of power wherever they go, and it will carry them through difficulty, danger, fear, life, death, eternity.” If I could stand on this platform and say, “I have received from heaven a secret of wealth and success which God will give freely, through my hand, to everybody who will take it,” I am sure you would need a larger hall for the people who would come. But, dear friends, I show you in His Word a truth which is more precious. The Apostle Paul tells us that there is a secret, a great secret which was hidden from ages and from generations (Col. 1: 26), which the world was seeking after in vain, which wise men from the East hoped they might find, and God says it “is now made manifest to his saints”; and Paul went through the world just to tell it to those that were able to receive it; and that simple secret is just this “Christ in you the hope of glory.”

The word “mystery” means secret; this is the great secret. And I tell you today, nay, I can give you, if you will take it from Him, not from me-I can give you a secret which has been to me, oh, so wonderful! Years ago I came to Him burdened with guilt and fear; I tried that simple secret, and it took away all my fear and sin. Years passed on, and I found sin overcoming me and my temptations too strong for me. I came to Him a second time, and He whispered to me, “Christ in you,” and I had victory, rest and blessing.

Then the body broke away in every sort of way. I had always worked hard, and from the age of fourteen I studied and labored and spared no strength. I took charge of a large congregation at the age of twenty-one; I broke down utterly half a dozen times and at my last constitution was worn out. Many times I feared I should drop dead in my pulpit. I could not ascend any height without a sense of suffocation, because of a broken-down heart and exhausted nervous system. I heard of the Lord’s healing, but I struggled against it. I was afraid of it. I had been taught in theological seminaries that the age of the supernatural was past, and I could not go back from my early training. My head was in my way, but at last when I was brought to attend “the funeral of my dogmatics,” as Mr. Schrenck says, “the Lord whispered to me the little secret, ‘Christ in you’; and from that hour I received Him for my body as I had done for my soul. I was made so strong and well that work has been a perfect delight. For years I have spent my summer holiday in the hot city of New York, preaching and working amongst the masses, as I never did before; besides the work of our Home and College and an immense mass of library work and much besides. But the Lord did not merely remove my sufferings. It was more than simple healing. He so gave me Himself that I lost the painful consciousness of physical organs. That is the best of the health He gives. I thank the Lord that He keeps me from all morbid, physical consciousness and a body that is the object of anxious care, and gives a simple life that is a delight and a service for the Master, that is a rest and joy.

Then, again, I had a poor sort of a mind, heavy and cumbrous, that did not think or work quickly. I wanted to write and speak for Christ and to have a ready memory, so as to have the little knowledge I had gained always under command. I went to Christ about it, and asked if He had anything for me in this way. He replied, “Yes, my child, I am made unto you Wisdom.” I was always making mistakes, which I regretted, and then thinking I would not make them again; but when He said that He would be my wisdom, that we may have the mind of Christ, that He could cast down imaginations and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, that He could make the brain and head right, then I took Him for all that. And since then I have been kept free from this mental disability, and work has been rest. I used to write two sermons a week, and it took me three days to complete one. But now, in connection with my literary work, I have numberless pages of matter to write constantly besides the conduct of very many meetings a week, and all is delightfully easy to me. The Lord has helped me mentally, and I know He is the Saviour of our mind as well as our spirit.

Well, then, I had an irresolute will. I asked, ‘ Cannot you be a will to me?” He said, “Yes, my child, it is God who worketh in you to will and to do.” Then He made me to learn how and when to be firm, and how and when to yield. Many people have a decided will, but they do not know how to hold on just at the proper moment. So, too, I came to Him for power for His work and all the resources for His service, and He has not failed me.

And so I would say, if this precious little secret of “Christ in you,” will help you, you may have it. May you make better use of it than I! I feel I have only begun to learn how well it works. Take it and go on working it out, through time and eternity-Christ for all, grace for grace, from strength to strength, from glory to glory, from this time forth and even for evermore.

HIMSELF

by A. B. Simpson

Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord;

Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.

Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own;

Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.

Once ’twas painful trying, Now ’tis perfect trust;

Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost.

Once ’twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast;

Once ’twas constant drifting, Now my anchor’s cast.

Once ’twas busy planning, Now ’tis trustful prayer;

Once ’twas anxious caring, Now He has the care.

Once ’twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says;

Once ’twas constant asking, Now ’tis ceaseless praise.

Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;

Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me.

Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One;

Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.

Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine;

Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.

Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;

And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the veil.

Unless Holy Spirit nudges me , I probably won’t be sending out “little letters” for a while and only to those who have responded in some way . I know there are those whose mailboxes are already clogged with unwanted stuff.

I’m always glad to receive a word from any of my brothers and sisters and shall try to give a personal reply ASAP.

Loving Him because He first loved me ,

 and loving you in Him ,

Pat

Gussie

Blessings,

#kent

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