Proven Faith

December 29, 2017

1 Peter 1:3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

 

Proven Faith

 

Is there any one of us that feels like our faith has been sorely stretched and tested through our trials and tribulations?  Yet even in what we have gone through few of us have been tested in the way many of these early Christians were tested.  Even in our struggles and hardships we are blessed in so many, many ways.  Currently anyway, we still enjoy the freedom to worship without fear of retribution.  Our children may actually experience less freedom of religious expression in their schools than we do.  The important thing for us to realize is that God doesn’t paint a picture here of all blessing, prosperity and no opposition.  For many of us we are only beginning to head into the winds of opposition, trial and testing.  Few of us walk into the fire of our own accord, but it is so relevant in this hour that as we know Him intimately that shields us as we pass through the fire.  Verse 5 says, “who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”  There is a divine promise of God’s great salvation and power towards us, but in order for us to reach that breakthrough we must pass through the fire.  That fire will greatly test the metal of our faith.  It will separate sheep and goats, but, more importantly, it will burn up in our own lives whatsoever is not of God.  Some of us have already been feeling the fire and enduring the testing of our faith for some time now.  You may feel there are days when you don’t know if you can still go on, but I want to encourage you that you are among the firstfruits of God’s delivering power if you will hold fast your faith.  You will be the guide and the mentor to help others come through where you have already walked.  You may feel right now like God’s rejected ones, but you are far more favored than you know.  When we are going through the severe discipline and chastening of the Lord it is hard for us feel or see ourselves in a place of victory.  What we must realize is that we are in a place of victory because of God’s discipline and chastening in our lives.  While many Christians are still walking the superficial Christianity you have been experiencing what it is to be on the front lines of battle as you stand in faith concerning your circumstances and all that has come against you.  What you probably don’t see is the precious value of your faith that is emerging out of this fire with purity and power.

What we all have to learn and are learning even more in this hour is that our reliance and source can no longer be through our human efforts.  We must learn the rest that comes from knowing Father as our source in all circumstances.  You don’t have the resources, but He does.  It occurred to me that it is like a Father that establishes a  business and as he raises up his sons it becomes a family business and he changes the name from father’s business to Father and Sons.  God is preparing us to take over His business and to operate in it.  That is why we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.”  He is establishing His business back in this earth through us.  First we must be fully trained, equipped and tested to know how to operate in this business properly.  We have all seen examples of how it can be improperly operated, but Father is putting integrity back into the business and He is doing it with the fires of purification.

Be encouraged people of God.  What is crucifying our flesh is strengthening us in spirit and in power.  If we hold fast our confidence we will reap its exceeding abundant salvation.  We will not only reap it, we will have the privilege of being the instruments of it.  Be of good cheer and let the inner peace and joy of the Holy Spirit sustain and encourage you through every trial and testing.

Blessings,

#kent

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December 28, 2017

 

Psalms 18:46-50

The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted, 47The God Who avenges me and subdues peoples under me, 48Who delivers me from my enemies; yes, You lift me up above those who rise up against me; You deliver me from the man of violence. 49Therefore will I give thanks and extol You, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to Your name. 50Great deliverances and triumphs gives He to His king; and He shows mercy and steadfast love to His anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

 

God Rules

 

Today’s Word is one that I felt the Lord gave me last night as I was contemplating today’s events.

Some years ago now we decided we would like to build a studio next to our home.  I started by going to my next door neighbor and explaining my idea and why I would like to do it.  Initially he said he didn’t have a problem with it.  So I proceeded and hired a surveyor to establish the boundaries.  My neighbor then brought the covenants up to me since he is the sole person responsible for these covenants.  After studying them.  The covenants stated that you couldn’t have a commercial enterprise, but that you could have a professional office in your home with approval of the Architectural Control Committee, a.k.a. my neighbor.  I explained to him that I felt that we would be in the boundaries of the covenant, plus I had to have a variance approved by the city and go through all of the hoops for that, so it might not happen any way.  I did ask him around this point if that wasn’t a possibility to tell me now before I invested over a thousand dollars on plans and application for a variance.  It seemed he was open for me to proceed so we went forward.  Again when we presented the plans to him he seemed to be personally opposed to me building next to him and preferred another location.  Where the addition would set is at lower elevation and built into a hillside, that and a high hedge makes it all but completely out of his view.  I explained that for a number of reasons I felt this was the best location for it.  When I asked for his approval on it, his approval was as long as we complied with the covenants and his parting words were, “go for it.”

We had to make a posting for 10 days so that anyone in the neighborhood could provide input.  I had already gone to the surrounding neighbors, explained what we were doing, the reason for the variance and had them sign if they were not opposed to it.

We were somewhat blindsided when the city planner called with a three page letter from this neighbor and objections from a number of the other neighbors.  The city looked at it strongly and asked that we first obtain a Home Occupation Permit that allows you to do business from your home under fairly strict guidelines.  We complied with all of their request and were granted the variance and the Home Occupation Permit.

My neighbor has filed an appeal and stirred up a good portion of the neighborhood in opposition to us. That brings us to today, when we have the appeal hearing.

Throughout this process I have asked the Lord’s will and asked that he close and open the doors according to His purpose and plan.  Really it is all in the Lord’s hands and He is the only one that could really open the door.  Even if I was still approved today they could appeal again or oppose me in civil a case.  What is amazing is that we find ourselves among neighbors who we have helped and blessed, standing alone.  I believe this is where God brings us sometimes so that He can show us that it is not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit.  I know that the Lord stands with us rather we build or not and that it is all in His hands.

I am reminded of Paul when he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:16-17, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge.  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”  When our back is against the wall and none seem to be for us, we know that God is for us, who can be against us.  Our faith and hope are set upon His will and purpose.  I have seen before how God is able to vindicate his own if they will set their hope and trust in Him, but we may be tried in the fire before we see it come to pass.

When you are faced with your own personal situations, when things all around you seem to oppose you, make sure that your security and faith rest in the Lord and not in your might and ability.  He goes before us to fights our battles and show us His mighty deliverance.

Blessings,

#kent

 

What the Lord has Cleansed, Don’t Call Common

 

Acts 10:9-16

On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat

But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice [spake] unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.  This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

 

Many of us today in our Christian walk don’t consider ourselves to have prejudice or be judgmental.  We really feel like we have the love of God toward all men until God begins to bring us into the presence of something or someone that flies in the face of all that we consider holy, right, just and good.  How do we respond when God places us in the midst of drunks or drug addicts, gothic peoples with colored or spiked hair, tattoos and piercings?  How about ministering to people that are slow, poor of speech and dress, lacking in cleanliness, etiquette and manors? What about old people, incapacitated and lacking in faculties and social skills?  Can we really love those extremists, god-haters, abortionist, gays, idol worshippers and those of false religions?  You might be thinking, “well, wait a minute, God hates sin and a lot of these that you are mentioning are sinners and anti-god.”  Yes God hates sin, and what were we before He saved us and washed away our sin?  The truth is that, like Peter, we all have prejudices; rather we acknowledge them or not.  All of us can be put in situations with certain people groups that we would feel uncomfortable to say the least.  The fact is that consciously or subconsciously we avoid or condemn what we don’t feel comfortable or accepting of.  There are times in life when God will put us right where we don’t want to be.   What we would often protest to God about as being unclean, common and should be rejected, is exactly what He suffered and died to redeem and sanctify.  Not unlike Peter, we don’t want to be the ones to defile our hands and dirty our righteous garments.  We are faced with a crossroads at certain times in our lives.  Will I live out of a pious religious attitude that says to me, “I am better than these people, I will just cross the street and walk on the other side and ignore their existence?”  Is the Holy Spirit convicting us in these times that, “you are not your own, you were bought with a price, it was the same price that Christ paid for these you deem undesirable and rejects.”  “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

Don’t think it strange when God begins to move in what we might consider some unholy arenas and areas of humanity.  Jesus loved that demoniac that no one else would dare to go near.  We have to be willing as the priests and ministers of God to operate out of a love that requires that we die to personal prejudices and feelings.  These are still a part of our natural man and not a part of the Spirit and love of Christ within us.  Jesus was never afraid to roll up His holy sleeves and get his hands dirty with tax collectors, sinners, adulteresses, people demon possessed, sick, diseased, criminals, enemies of Judah, crippled and lepers.  Those that no one else wanted anything to with, Jesus loved and ministered life, health and deliverance.  Quite honestly, most all of us have lived in our comfort zone where nothing we consider common or unholy enters in.  In that place we can live piously, comfortably and enjoy our little religious, well-groomed lifestyles.  The truth is that Jesus went to hell to redeem the most defiled and ungodly of sinners.  Dare we turn our backs on those He so loved and died for? Will these not stand up to testify against us on judgement day?  The Love and nature of Christ in us will take us outside of our comfort zone if we will really listen to the Spirit within us.  His love reaches out to the depths of humanity. When He cast out His net of salvation He draws in the clean and unclean alike.

We, like Peter, have to have a revelation of our prejudices and God’s incomprehensible love.  We have to be willing to lay down our lives, our pride, our dignity, so that Christ might reach through us to love and save the lowliest of men.  Are we willing to get our hands dirty?  Even the priest of the Levitical order had to get bloody, stinky and dirty as they prepared the sacrifices for the altar.  It went with the job.  Whatever it takes we must be willing to do, wherever He leads us we must be willing to go.  We have been called to be Christ to the Nations.  Are you truly willing?

Blessings,

#kent

When People Let You Down

December 26, 2017

 

When People Let You Down

 

2 Timothy 4:14-18

Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Without a doubt, most of us can think back in our lives when someone or some group let us down, has judged us, cast us out or otherwise hurt us.  There is a pretty good chance that in a lot of those cases these people may have been fellow believers, people we thought were our friends and people we trusted and put our confidence in.  There are many walking wounded out there who are still carrying the scares, the hurts and perhaps the unforgiveness for those times when we were hurt or forsaken.

There is a truth that we must always keep in mind; people will always disappoint you and let you down, but Jesus will never leave you or forsake you.  The evidence of this truth is in the scripture today where Paul stood alone against accusations, judgements and insults.  Those around him left him standing alone; none stood in his defense except Christ.  That’s hard when you’ve had friends that you have been close too, brothers and sister that you’ve loved and fellowshipped with and something comes up where your character is brought into question. Maybe it is something from your past and suddenly you’re standing alone.  You are on the outside of fellowship looking in.  For some reason others won’t believe you, but they will take without question, the words of your accusers.  How many precious brothers and sisters have had their faith shipwrecked because of so called believers who have stood in the place of judgement and condemnation?  Didn’t the same thing happen to Jesus?  Where were his disciples when He was falsely judged and condemned?   “And they all forsook him, and fled” (Mark 14:50).

There are times in life when all we have is Jesus and the Word of God.  While it is very hurtful, our hearts will be tested as to whom we really put our faith and reliance in.    God wants us to retain that spirit of love and forgiveness in those times of hurt and disappointment.  Our natural man wants to lash out, defending and justifying its self.  We want to share with everyone the great injustice that is being done to us.  I have seen times in our lives when we kept thinking a situation couldn’t get any worse and it would get worse and worse and worse.  It was quite obvious that we were under great spiritual attack.  Often that is the time when God asks us to do the hardest thing,  “Shut up and be still.”  We can miss the great salvation that Christ wants to work in our lives, because we are too caught up in trying to save and justify ourselves.  What He wants us to do instead is, “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)” The love of Christ alone, in us, is our only ability to be able to turn the other cheek, to render blessing for their cursing, to love our enemies and pray for them that despitefully use us and accuse us.  One of the most difficult things for us to do is to act out of the spirit of Christ, rather than to react out or our flesh and render evil for evil.  God has a higher way for us, but to experience the higher we must be willing to die to the lesser.

Through life we are going to encounter injustices and inequities.  How are we going to respond to these?  How are we responding to these now?  In these times, as painful as they are, hide yourself in Christ.  Put Him on as a garment and shield against the personal hurt and pain.  He is our vindicator and He will render righteous judgement in due time.  That may not be in our time, but we need to place it in God’s hands and trust ourselves to Him alone.

Today, if you have passed through this place, or you are in it now, or perhaps it is ahead of you, find your refuge, strength and peace in Christ.  Remember it is not about how you feel, it is about how you obey and respond out of faith and love according to God’s word and not your emotions.  Your feelings will probably be in total contradiction to what God is prompting us to do, but as we respond out of faith, obedience and prayer, he will help our feelings to line up with His will for us, but it may take some time.  People will always let you down, but the Lord will never leave you or forsake you.   “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.  (Colossians 3:13)”

Blessings,

#kent

Matthew 14:6-12

On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much 7that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10and had John beheaded in the prison. 11His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.

 

Jazabel and the Spirit of Elijah

 

Herodias represents a spirit that is often found around men of power and influence.  It is a spirit of Jezebel.  It controls, manipulates, seduces and influences for personal gain and promotion of wickedness.  It is interesting that it was Jazebel that lived and controlled in the time of Elijah.  She had such influence over Ahab the king, that she slew God’s prophets, implemented baal worship and sought the life of Elijah.  She was unable to kill Elijah, but here this same spirit manages to have John the Baptist, who represented the spirit of Elijah, beheaded.  Malachi 4:5 says, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.”  In Matthew 17:10-12 it tells us who this modern day Elijah was. ” The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

11Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.”  Herodias manifests this same spirit that was seen that was seen in Jezebel and her intent was the same; to destroy the servants of the Spirit of God that called this spirit of Jazabel into accountability, that proclaimed and exposed her wickedness.

Here it would seem that Herodias has accomplished what Jazabel didn’t, to kill this spirit of Elijah.  John the Baptist was the forerunner and the preparation for the Messiah.  He tells his disciple concerning Jesus in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I [must] decrease.”  We are like that John the Baptist ministry and that spirit of Elijah ministry in this day declaring what he declared, “He said, I [am] the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. (John 1:23)” It is like what was, what is and what is to come.   We are that declaration of Christ’s coming and presence in this hour and there will be that Jazabel spirit that will arise to again slay and behead the prophet(s) of the Lord.

What happens when we lose our head?  Then we exchange it for the headship of Christ.  When this spirit of Jazabel thinks she is destroying the prophet and the Word of the Lord she is in reality opening the door for it to be fulfilled.  ‘He (Jesus, the Christ) must increase, we must decrease.’

Whatever satan does to destroy God’s people and to annul His Word, will simply bring into being and give place for God’s Word to be fulfilled.  Don’t fear or cower before this religious and manipulative spirit, because it is a spirit of antichrist.  It must manifest itself so that it might be destroyed.  Maintain your calling and proclaim the Word God has put in your mouth, for you are to be that voice in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias (Elijah).”   The King is coming and his kingdom, in earth as it is in heaven.  Let us each one prepare our hearts before Him and encourage others to do so.  John’s ministry just prepared and then gave way for Christ to come forth.  Don’t let us fear losing our head, because when we lose it, Christ simply becomes our head and we his body.

blessings,

#kent

In Your Anger, do not Sin

December 21, 2017

Ephesians 4:26-27

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.

 

 

In Your Anger, do not Sin

 

Anger is an emotion that we all experience from time to time.  It is not sinful to be angry and sometimes anger can stir us to take action rather than be complacent, but anger can be a dangerous emotion if left to its own devices.  The Word of God warns us that it is not an emotion that you want to hold on too.  The Word exhorts us not to hold on to it for more than a day.  The warning that follows is an indicator of what anger can give place too.  It can be a foothold for the devil.  Anger can give place to rash behavior, offenses and unforgiveness; all of which the enemy can work through to bring division, strife and discord.  Remember the purpose of the devil; Jesus says he comes to kill, steal and destroy.  Any time the devil gets a foothold then that is his ultimate purpose.

Anger is often the expression of wounds, hurts or disappointment we receive through others.  It is like when you hit your thumb with a hammer.  The pain may cause you to go into a rant of expletives that are the venting of the pain you are feeling.  The expletives were the outward expression of the inward pain.  If that pain needs expression, couldn’t it as well be vented through an outburst of praise to God.  It would seem that an outburst of prayer and praise to God would yield more positive results than outburst of profanity.  So sometimes it is how we train ourselves to react to anger or pain that channels what it produces from us.

The last thing that we want to do is to give the devil a foothold to work in our lives.  Satan is a serpent who feeds off of dust.  Dust is what we have been made from and when we are in the flesh he has permission and opportunity to feed off of the flesh.  That is why Jesus made the statement in John 14:30, “I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me.”  The enemy has no power over us as we walk in the Spirit, but when we get into the flesh, now he has access to get a foothold.  Anger can easily get us into our flesh and provide that foothold.

Are we going to get angry at times?  Of course we are, but we don’t have to allow it get us into the flesh and into a place where hurt, disappointment and offenses begin to rule in our heart.  Just like when we hit our thumb with a hammer we have a choice to curse or praise.  We can have those same kind of choices in how we channel our anger, so be angry and sin not.  Give it to the Lord and get over it quickly.

Blessings,

#kent

Taking Love to the Next Level

December 20, 2017

Luke 6:32

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.

 

Taking Love to the Next Level

 

Most of us can get along with most people, most of the time, but there never fails to be those “irregular” people in your life that just rub you the wrong way.  Their attributes and characteristics may be many and varied, but bottom line, “its hard to really love them”.  In most cases we steer away from them in as much as it is possible, but like it or not, they are going to be there.  I think  Jesus was addressing our love for some of these irregular people when He spoke these words in Luke 6.  Let’s take a closer look at the context of what Jesus is saying here in Luke 6:27-36.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Jesus is calling us to a level of love that few have really walked in and put into daily practice.  We would like to think we are there, but how many of us truly love unconditionally?  When we love, it is human nature to want to have that love or goodness reciprocated.  How do we feel and react when it isn’t?  Looking at the divorce rate in our marriages, it obviously shows up there and just about as much in believers as non-believers.  That’s not to condemn anyone, because the point is very few of us are truly walking and responding in this level of love.  This is “agape” or God love.  It is this kind of love that is a decision, not just a feeling.  It is the kind of love that caused Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners and still His enemy.  It is the kind of love that gave us life, when we deserved death and saw past our faults to meet our need.  Is that the kind of love we are extending to the irregular people in our life?  Nothing has the power to change them like that kind of undeserved and unwarranted love.  What we often forget is that love is our greatest weapon against our enemies.  read how Romans 12:9-21 exhorts us to live and walk in love.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Isn’t interesting that this starts out with the phrase, “Love must be sincere” ?  A lot of us extend a pretense or token of love, but when it is pushed or tested it shows itself false or insincere.  I believe God wants to give us the grace of His nature to love the unlovely and to embrace the “irregular”.  Let’s learn to implement the weaponry of love.  Who is that irregular person or persons in your life.  Remember, we are not being asked just to extend our love, but God’s love through us.  Isn’t it time we take our love to the next level?  Supernatural love responds in supernatural ways.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Unchangeable Promise

December 19, 2017

Hebrews 6:13-20 (Amplified)

For when God made [His] promise to Abraham, He swore by Himself, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, 14Saying, Blessing I certainly will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.

15And so it was that he [Abraham], having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained [in the birth of Isaac as a pledge of what was to come] what God had promised him. 16Men indeed swear by a greater [than themselves], and with them in all disputes the oath taken for confirmation is final [ending strife]. 17Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath. 18This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us]. 19[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil, 20Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.

 

 

God’s Unchangeable Promise

 

Perhaps few passages in the Word speak more powerfully of God’s faithfulness and commitment to keeping His Word and promises than does this passage.  Here we are given the example of the father of our faith, Abraham, and how God promised that in his seed all of the nations of the earth would be blessed.  All of God’s promises have their season of fulfillment and in our terms that may be a short time or it could be a very long time.  God’s promises are sure, but in between the promise and the fulfillment faith must stand in the gap.  Hebrews 11:1-2 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.”  God says that Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness because it believed and stood upon what it could not see and what may have seemed incomprehensible to the natural man.  It wasn’t until way past that time of natural fulfillment that God gave Abraham His promised seed Issac; “the pledge of what was to come.”

In the fullness of time God brought forth another promised seed in Christ Jesus who brought forth the promise of God’s great salvation.  He was a type of Issac in that He was the seed of promise and the beginning of the blessing that should follow.  What we have seen in Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people and to mankind of His love, salvation and ultimate restoration of all things back to the Father.  Just as Issac was not the completion of the promise, but the beginning of it, so the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus was not the completion of God’s plan of salvation, but only the beginning, the firstfruits and forerunner.  “Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.”  Now if Jesus isn’t the only runner, but the forerunner or front runner, then it is evident that others must follow.  God gave us, as believers in Christ, His full assurance in that He gave unto us the Holy Spirit as the earnest and down payment on that inheritance that stands before us.  1 Corinthians 1: 21-22 states, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” Again in Ephesians 1:13-14 we are told, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” God has sealed His promise in us, not only with His Word which cannot fail, but with His own Holy Spirit He establishes us as His own and the partakers of the divine nature through the great and precious promises He has given us (2 Peter 1:3-4).

What an assurance to our faith that Jesus never fails, that God’s Word is established in eternity and can not be moved.  In Hebrews 1:1-3 it says of Jesus, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

Because all of creation and the universe is held in place by the power of God’s Word, which is Christ, then it reasonable to conclude that it is as likely that all of creation will come apart as it is to conclude that God will not keep His word and promises.  “This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us.”   What a powerful statement that should place unshakable faith and confidence in every believer that they can count on the God that they serve and worship.  Now we can understand why the rock of our foundation is Christ Jesus which can not be moved and against whom the gates of hell cannot prevail.

Colossians 3:1-3 reminds us of where we are in the midst of these great and wondrous promises, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”  So great is God’s faithfulness, so unchangeable His ways and promises.  We are a people who are clothed in the great and precious promises of God.  As we hold fast in our faith we, like Abraham, will reap if we faint not and our faith will be accounted unto us as righteousness.  Christ is the forerunner who is bringing many sons into glory, into His likeness and into an everlasting priesthood to the praise of His glory and the fulfillment of His unchangeable promises.

Blessings,

#kent

Every Day

December 18, 2017

 

Every Day

 

Revelations 20:12

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

 

It occurs to me as I sit and write that all of us are composing and writing our lives upon God’s books.  Each of us has a life’s novel that tells the story of our lives and what we did with them.  Though the memories of us may fade and we are forgotten in the earth, there is a record that stands, a book that we wrote.

What are we writing in our book?  How will it read back to us as we stand before God and give an account for our lives and what we did with them?  If we feel we have nothing else, our life is our talent, to use for God’s glory and purpose or for our own.  The sad part is, none of us can ever go back and erase what we did the day before or the years before.  The ink is already dry upon the page.  The good news is that today is still to be written and our tomorrows after that.  What are we writing upon the pages of our life?  Will it be a story that pleases the Father or one in which we stand ashamed at a life wasted and that brought forth no lasting value in its life’s pursuits?

All of us have our regrets, our failures and our pages we wish that we could write over.  The important thing for us not to forget is that we are still writing this book.  Ecclesiastes says that as long as there is life there is hope.  Will your book be a story of transformation from death to life?  Will it be a story of how your life was a blessing; not only to God, but also to the lives you touched?  What are we going to write in our book today and through the coming weeks and years?

Psalms 118: 4 says, “This [is] the day [which] the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  There is a Latin phrase, “Carpe diem”, simply, “seize the day”, make the most of every moment that we have breath and life.

Solomon was a man that had and could have all that his heart desired. He set out to find the meaning and purpose of life.  At the end, this is what he had to say and we will conclude with his words of wisdom in Ecclesiastes 12.  “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”- 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; 3 when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; 4 when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; 5 when men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets. 6 Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, 7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. 8 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!”

The Conclusion of the Matter

13 Now all has been heard;

here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

May we consider carefully every day how we write each page of our book.

Blessings,

#kent

Kindness

December 15, 2017

 

Kindness

 

Colosians 3:12-13

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

 

Kindness, an obvious word with an obvious application, it is often descriptive of one of the attributes of the fruit of the Spirit.  Kindness is so obvious and so simple and yet so missing among so many of us.  It is simply goodness and favor toward another person.  Many families and relationships are missing this little social grace from their words and actions.  Even in our everyday encounters with strangers and people that we interact with, we fail at this little thing called kindness.  Oh yes, we feign kindness through superficial words and platitudes, but is it an issue of our heart?  True kindness pities, it empathizes, sympathizes and identifies with another’s need.  Kindness puts itself in the place of its neighbor and then responds appropriately according to how it would want to be treated.   Kindness isn’t a social mask that we put on to give the illusion of our graciousness; it is something that issues out of the foundation of who we are in Christ.  Kindness genuinely cares for another and will not hesitate to go out of its way to minister or help another.  Kindness overlooks the opportunity to be right when it is at the expense of another.  It complements the rest of the attributes of the Spirit and it chooses the high road even at its own expense.  Kindness is what covers another with grace and favor even when they may not deserve it.  Kindness is slow to be offended and it returns good for evil.  True kindness is often the brunt of abuse and is commonly taken for granted.  Yet, it is the kindness working in us that causes our Father to smile and reminds Him of Himself.

Today and each day of your life, develop the habit of random acts of kindness, not just on the deserving but on the undeserving as well.  Practice that kindness on the ones you say you love and yet always rub you the wrong way.  While others may not always appreciate it and it may be abused by some, you will never regret the warmth it leaves inside and the smile it puts on the face of God.

Blessings,

#kent

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