Products of His Grace

June 15, 2018

 

Products of His Grace

 

1 Timothy 1:15

This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

 

 

The Apostle Paul makes this statement in 1Timothy.  Paul says that one of the reasons God chose him was not because of his goodness, his strength or abilities.  God chose Paul to show forth His mercy and grace.  God has shown us that there is no one beyond the reaches of God’s love and mercy.  Previous to this scripture Paul states, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did [it] ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”  God has not called us out of darkness into His marvelous light because we were exceptionally good people.  Many of us know that God found us and rescued us when we were in utter depravity and sin.  He chose us little mud babies and loved us in spite of the stench of sin that covered us.  We are each one the products of God’s awesome grace and mercy.  In remembering where we came from God does not desire that we feel defeated or unworthy because of our past.  He would simply desire that it would be a reminder to us of how great and undeserving His grace toward us has been.  Which of us could boast and say that God has chosen us because of how righteous and how good we are.  If we did then indeed God’s grace has saved us in our self-righteousness.

Jesus told Simon the Pharisee a parable in Luke 7:47. He is speaking of the woman who has just anointed His feet and bathed them with her tears, for she was a sinful woman.  Jesus says to Simon, “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little.”  I would venture to say that many of us examining our own hearts today would find that in all that God has forgiven us we should be great lovers of God.  Ironically, many of us, in our religious spirit, are quick to express the faults and failings of others.  We are as quick to condemn as we are to forget what a mighty grace of God has been operating in our lives and forgiving our sins.

Through the marvelous grace of God that abounds toward us in Christ Jesus, may our first thoughts when seeing others sin, be to pray for them.  If it is in our power, we ought to exhort them toward repentance in a spirit of love and humility; taking heed lest we fall.  None of us are above the wiles of the evil one deceiving our hearts, so we need to watch out one for another.  We need to be accountable to one another, confessing our faults to one another so that we find the power of forgiveness as we unite in prayer.  We are the recipients of the grace of God and we are the administrators of that same grace that works in us.  Let us be faithful to extend that grace to all with whom the Lord allows us to share it.  His grace goes way beyond where our love would stop, so don’t limit the grace of God and its power to work even in the chiefest of sinners.  Let us live lives that are worthy of the wonderful grace that He has given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-10

Blessings,

#kent

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More than Enough

June 14, 2018

 

More than Enough

Malachi 3:10

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it].

 

Faith needs an avenue of expression to produce substance.  One of my greatest faults is always looking at my need and my lack, rather than my supply and provision.  That is a fault of being naturally minded.  When I set my eyes on the Word of God, what I see is Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Is this always going to happen according to your natural understanding?  Quite often it doesn’t happen in the way we think.  But God has given us spiritual principles that promise us prosperity, provision and blessing.  The first of these precepts and principles is not having any other gods before Him.  He wants us sold out to Him.  He wants our obedience and He wants our trust.  When we were kids, we didn’t get everything that we ever wanted, when we wanted and as much as we wanted.  If we did, we probably were pretty self-centered, spoiled brats.  While God has everything and every resource at His disposal, He loves us enough to train us and mature us in what He has to give us.  He is teaching us to operate out of principles of faith that count Him faithful before we ever see the manifestation of His faithfulness.   We tend to have a very short memory.  So many times and even now in the blessing and prosperity so many of us enjoy, we forget where all that we have even came from and why we enjoy the freedom and the blessings that we have.  We soon begin to think that somehow we are the ones responsible for our blessings. Generally we fail to really appreciate all of the blessings that we already have because we are so focused on what we don’t have.

In the above scripture God is teaching us a principle that reaping a harvest of blessing requires the planting of a seed of faithfulness.  In this case it is the tithe, which was considered the ten- percent of one’s earnings.  While a farmer may eat or sell a majority of his crop, if he doesn’t set aside seed to plant, His harvests will cease and his food supply will dry up.  The same principle holds true spiritually.   We plant our substance back into the kingdom of God, which produces for us not only a spiritual harvest, but a natural harvest as well.  When we fail to tithe in this way we not only rob God, we rob ourselves of His blessing and provision that comes through this act of obedience.  A lot of people get very protective and defensive about tithing.  The truth is, tithing is first a condition of the heart, before it is a condition of the pocketbook.  God doesn’t want what is not in our hearts to give.  Giving to Him is a physical act of spiritual worship.  Would we give to Him that which cost us nothing?  When we give, it is in effect an act of thanksgiving and acknowledgement for that which He has supplied us with.  We are all just stewards and servants.  God places things in our hands, rather it be talents, gifts, abilities, or finances.  As faithful stewards to Him we have the responsibility of giving a portion of those blessings back to Him and investing them in the Kingdom that they may produce an increase to the glory of God and the increase of His Kingdom.

What we have is not always seen in what we outwardly possess.  What we possess is a God that is more than enough for all our needs.  There may well be times that the world around us seems to prosper much more than we are.  Read Psalms 73 to see David’s perspective when he envied the foolish and the wicked that prospered.  The Word speaks to us in Psalms 9:10, “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”  God is faithfully loving us and dealing with us as sons and daughter according to the conditions of our heart.  While everything around you in the natural may be testifying contrary to what the Word of God is speaking to you, Trust God.  Stay obedient and faithful to the precepts and principles of His Word.  It is not about what we see, taste, touch or feel; it is about the truth and faithfullness of God as we stand on the promises of His Word.  He is our portion and our blessing and He is more than enough.

Blessings,

#kent

Submit One to Another

June 13, 2018

 

Submit One to Another

 

Ephesians 5:21

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

 

We are all about our rights and life is so much about us, but this simple scripture should put it all in perspective from God’s point of view.  It is all about lives in service to the King of Kings and consequently in service to one another.  The members of my body aren’t concerned about which gets the most attention or is most favored, but they are concerned about which one is suffering the most.  The members of my body exist to work together in unity for the good of the whole and not the individual part.  Doesn’t God want us to work together the same way in our marriages, families and relationships with the body of Christ?  We have one Head and none of us are it, so we need to be about the cause of Christ for the unity and wholeness of His body and not our individual agendas and dogmas.  God has an order of authority and all authority under Him should have His will and purpose foremost in mind.  The exercise of submission is an exercise of love.  His Love, expressing itself through us in righteousness, is what we live for.

Blessings,

#kent

Single Eye, Single Mind

June 12, 2018

 

Single Eye, Single Mind

 

Luke 11:34-35

The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when [thine eye] is evil, thy body also [is] full of darkness.

Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

 

We hear it said, “the eye is the window of the soul.”  Jesus is saying something similar to this in this passage.  The soul is made up of the mind, will and emotions.  The eye really represents the input to what we are feeding into our soul.  Someone could be physically blind and actually have more light in their body than someone who has all of their faculties.  In John 9:39-41 Jesus has a conversation with the Pharisees after healing a blind man and remarks to them,”…For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And [some] of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” Our spiritual sight comes by way of the Spirit of God.  The Holy Spirit is what quickens the Word of the Lord to us and makes it light and life.  We become accountable for the knowledge and light that we have. With what Jesus is saying to the Pharisees it is plain to see that just because they had the knowledge of the Word of God they didn’t necessarily have enlightenment and understanding.  How many are deceived today because they think if they know something about God that saves them or puts them in right position spiritually?  Jesus is saying to the Pharisees, if you were ignorant of the Word of God that would be one thing, but because you think you know the truth and because of your knowledge, your sin remains.  Knowing the truth is not necessarily living in the truth.

If there is one thing that I’ve seen through the years, “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies (1Corinthians 8:1).”  We can have a great command of the Bible and great revelation knowledge, but it is not in what we know, it is in what we are walking in and putting into practice in our lives.  Faith in action according to knowledge and working through love is what produces life and light.

Jesus is speaking to His disciples concerning spiritual sight in Matthew 13:10-17, “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them].”

In order for us to have light it must come to us through the eyes of spiritual insight.  That brings with it not just knowledge and legalism, which is the state we see the people of Jesus’ day in, but it comes through the Word that is quickened by the Holy Spirit who gives life and understanding to our knowledge.  Rather than a head thing, it becomes a heart thing.  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” The law simply written on pages and administered by men simply becomes legalism, condemnation and death.  The law written upon our hearts by a life changing Spirit becomes to us and those around us, life, liberty and light.

Jesus likens our light as unto a candle set upon a lampstand.  If we have a candle alone, like the Word without the Spirit, we have no light.  If we have a flame with no candle we may well have a fire out of control.  But if we have a candle lit with a flame we have a union that creates balance and produces light.  We are the lampstands that are to carry that light with singleness of purpose.  Our purpose is to be the outshining of His light and the truth of His Word through lives that are lived in the luminance of the light which He brings to us who are of a single eye and a single mind.

Blessings,

#kent

Birthing the Promise

June 11, 2018

Birthing the Promise

 

Ecclesiastes 3:10

I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

 

Many of us have been believing and pressing into God for different needs and areas in our lives where we are trusting for a miracle or a breakthrough from the Lord.  Perhaps we have grown weary and have wanted to give up.  It may have seemed everything has been against us.  Though we have sought the Lord we may not have received any distinct word other than “just trust Him”.  Though we have been faithful to try and trust Him it doesn’t mean fear, doubt and unbelief haven’t tried to creep in to unsettle us, discourage us and defeat us.  Perhaps we have tried to do everything right.  We’ve even prayed about anything that may be hindering our answer to prayer.  Still it may seem nothing is coming together, there is no immediate answer in sight and when we do get a hopeful prospect to our answer it falls through and we are left empty and disappointed.  Still we encourage ourselves in the Lord.  We continue to praise Him in our adversity and trust Him in our need.  In the natural you wonder if this dream you have, this vision, this need for God’s touch will ever come to pass.

When a woman carries the promise of baby in her womb she has joy, not because she has seen the face of her promised seed, but she knows that life is growing inside her and in due season it will come forth.  God’s promises to us are often like that fetus in the womb of our soul.  All we have is the promise, the expectation, and the anticipation of what God has promised and quickened in us, that it will come to pass.  Every woman that has born a child naturally will testify that there comes a day when it is time to birth, but in between the promise and the fulfillment is this little thing called ‘labor or travail’.  In that place there is often extreme and intense pain to bring forth this promise that has grown in her womb.  At the time she may feel like there is no way she can handle the pain or that she will make it through the process.  It will often bring her to the end of herself.  This same principle is true for us who are trying to give birth to a vision, a dream or a need that we have in us.  In the process of trying to birth it, everything in the natural is telling us we are going to die and fail in the process.  We are pressed to the extremes of our faith and trust in God, as we are desperately trying to hold fast to His Word and our hope in Him.  The Lord wants to encourage us today to not give up, to continue to hold fast because you are in the stages of travail and our faith is being exercised and stretched like it never has before.  The Holy Spirit and the Word of God are our labor coaches encouraging us that we can make it, that God is faithful, don’t fear only believe.

When we look back through the Word of God we can see so many examples of the trying of men’s faith and the travail they had to pass through.  We see Abraham willing in obedience to sacrifice his only Isaac, Jacob wrestling with the angel, Joseph enduring betrayal, slavery, imprisonment and hardship to finally realize the fulfillment of his dream.  We see David running for his life from Saul and the enemies that sought his destruction.  We see Daniel in the Lion’s den; the three Hebrew children facing the fiery furnace and Jeremiah left in the miry pit.  The examples are many and numerous, but most pronounced we see Jesus enduring the travail of His Passion that He might give birth to the Church and the salvation promised to men.  We are no different in our personal lives than they.  We with patience and steadfast faith we’ll also inherit the promises if we faint not.

Ephesians 6:13 tells us, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”  Our God is raising His people not to be wimps that roll over in the face of adversity and look for the way of escape, but warriors who will stand in the day of battle and travail.  Perhaps you are in that day today with your circumstances.  2 Corinthians 2:14 exhorts and encourages us by saying, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”  Romans 8:37 reminds us, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Endure the day of travail for your joy comes in the morning.

Blessings,

#kent

The Perfect Storm

June 8, 2018

 

The Perfect Storm

 

Nahum 1:3

The LORD [is] slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit [the wicked]: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds [are] the dust of his feet.

 

Most all of us are familiar with storms in our lives. They often come at the most inopportune time and places.  In the natural, over the course of the last few years we have seen numerous and devastating storms strike places all over the earth.  When our perfect storm comes, that storm of storms or even the smaller ones that we face, how are we prepared to face our storm?  Obviously if you see a tornado is approaching your home, you are not going to go out and shake your fist or beat it back or turn its course with any natural means.  You know that in your natural self you are no match for such forces of nature.  In the natural you would be a fool to try.  You know that your greatest chance for survival is to seek shelter in a safe place.  When the storms of life come we are going to seek our refuge and fortress from the storm not in natural places, but in the God we know and trust.

Psalms 91 is such a place of refuge for the believer.  “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge- 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands,

so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”  Unfortunately, for many the Lord is like that lifeboat on a ship, the only time it gets used is when the ship is sinking.  We don’t want our God to be our lifeboat; we want Him to be our life ship, the place where we continually abide.  We have seen great storms come upon the earth, but they are but a shadow of what the last days hold and what will be unleashed upon the earth.   The Lord tells us that earth is in travail and the natural is just a precursor to the spiritual.  Our storms up to this time have been to prepare us and to teach us who our refuge and shelter is, but when that perfect storm comes who will abide the day of His wrath?  Our peace, our refuge, our safety and our assurance is in knowing our God intimately and personally.

What did Jesus tell His disciples in the storm of Mark 4:37-41? “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”  “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”, but faith is also developed through exercise and experience.  These same disciples that feared for their lives in the storm with Jesus in the boat are the same ones that bore testimony of Him resulting in their martyrdom and death.  The preservation of our natural lives is not always our greatest concern.  What we want to protect and preserve at all cost is our relationship and trust in Christ.  Eventually, the natural man will perish in most every man, but the man of the Spirit, is the one that must be preserved.  Our faith must stay in tact at all cost!

What is important is that when the perfect storm comes we know, not just with our head, but with our heart and every fiber of our being, who our Redeemer and Refuge is.  No matter what happens outwardly, on Jesus Christ, the solid rock we stand!

Blessings,

#kent

The Way of the Cross Leads Home

 

2 Corinthians 4:7-12

 

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  So then death worketh in us, but life in you”.

 

We, who are in Christ, are like the alabaster box that contains the precious ointment and perfume of the Life of Christ in us.  We may look pretty sitting on the shelf, but our value is not in the outward container, it is in the contents within.  We are like the man in Matthew 13:45-46: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”  When we have found the treasure of heaven, the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, then next to Him, all else becomes worthless and of little value.  We are willing to forsake all to follow Him, to know Him and to possess His divine Life.  How wonderful!  We are all these earthen vessels that contain this treasure within them, but how does that make a difference to the world around us?  Like Mary with the alabaster box, she broke the box to release the treasure of the fragrance within.

Paul is explaining much of the same principle that was at work in their lives.  There is no strength or power in the vessel itself.  The power and life is only released in weakness, brokenness and total God reliance.  Our world and circumstances, life in general, often has a way of crushing and breaking us.  1Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” This is common and to be expected, especially among believers.  The true fragrance and essence of our life within is released most often in the place of suffering.  The fact is, it is the treasure within that sustains us, not with natural strength, but with divine and supernatural strength.  The enemy of our souls would crush us and destroy us, but in doing so he is only releasing the fragrance of the Christ in us.

Perhaps this sheds some insight into why we must suffer in life.  In those places of weakness and utter helplessness we find a strength and life not our own.  We are driven out of our self-reliance into trust and faith in our God.  He becomes then our life, our health, our supply, and our comfort.  As death works in our mortal bodies, it is only to give place to the life of Christ.

The even greater truth of this is that it works to a multiplication of His life in others through us.  Even as Jesus, being one man, through His death on the cross brought a multiplication of His Life to the world.  The harvest isn’t in the seed, it is in the seed dying to the outer shell and releasing the life within that grows up to produce multiple seed.  It is the principle of  John 12:24-25: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” The experiences that we go through in life are serving to develop us in faith, character and maturity in our walk with the Lord.  This, in turn, translates into our being poured out for others to minister life, encouragement and builds the faith of others to walk through their trials and testings in life.  The death of the cross works in us so that it might work for Life in others.

Don’t be discouraged if your vessel is being broken and you are being poured out on the altar of sacrifice.  You are becoming the sweet fragrance of Life to others.  It is the way of the cross that leads Home.

Blessings,

#kent

You Say You Love Me

June 6, 2018

 

You Say You Love Me

 

Matthew 15:8

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.

 

            You say you love Me, but your heart is so far from Me.  Your mind and heart is upon Me in passing, but your thoughts, affections and attentions quickly distract you; so quickly I am set aside.  You say you are My friend, but conversation is a hodge-podge of interruptions as the world presses in around you and again you speak to Me in passing.  You say that I am your God and yet you are constantly scheming and planning how to accomplish your goals and pleasures.  You ask for My direction and leading, but never really take the time to seek and listen for it.  You go to church to worship and listen to My Word and even there your mind is wandering.  Even on the day you proclaim to be mine you pursue your own pleasures and desires.

            Intimacy is cultivated through time spent and direct attention given to object of your affection and relationship. You lack intimacy and relationship because it is not your priority.  Intimacy is developed through a quality of exchange between two parties.  It is searching one another’s hearts and becoming one with them emotionally, physically and spiritually.  If you really love Me come into the bed chambers of My presence through worship.  Discard the clothing of worldly cares and distraction, the weights and sins that so easily beset you.  Have times when I alone am the sole purpose of your life, time and commitment, then you will know Me as your friend, your love and your life. 

            Do not continue to try and fool yourself into believing you have a relationship with Me if I am not the primary object of your affection, the purpose of your life and your reason for being.  So many are missing Me in this hour through the mere pretense of religion and relationship.  It is the same reason that your marriages fail and your children turn away from you. The temporal things have possessed your soul while the eternal things fall by the wayside.  Reevaluate your priorities and live according to those things that are most important, for soon this life will pass and all that is left is what you have built on an eternal foundation.  The house will be tested in the fire and only the eternal things will remain.  Be wise; build your house upon the rock so that it may stand the test of time and storm.  Don’t rob yourself through the deceitful gains of this world of the eternal riches that are yours in Christ.  Search your heart, be true to yourself; am I what you truly love most in this life?  You know My love does not waiver for you, that it is not conditional upon your performance or good deeds, but don’t treat it as common and take for granted all that I have done to express that love for you. Honor and fear Me, for I have humbled Myself that I might exalt you.  Do not despise through your neglect and complacency the calling and purpose that I have for you.  Return your heart and true affections and commitment to Me, so that I may have fellowship with you and reveal myself to you.  You are the object of My love, but I must truly be the object of yours.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Discouraged but not Forsaken

 

Deuteronomy 1:21

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

 

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

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

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

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

Blessings,
#kent

The Kingdom Given

June 4, 2018

 

Luke 12:32

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”

 

The Kingdom Given

 

In Christ Jesus believers have been given the kingdom of God.  In Luke 17:20-21 Jesus says,  “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”  The kingdom of God is much like receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, faith is the hand that reaches out and receives it.  Just as a gift given is not really received until it is accepted, unwrapped and possessed by the recipient.  The kingdom of God is much the same way.  It is ours in Christ, but we have perceived it to be just a realm reserved for us when we die and go to heaven.  If that is the case, why did Jesus tell us in the prior verses to seek first the kingdom and all these things shall be added unto you?  Jesus made it apparent that there is a “now” kingdom for us to possess and live into.  We so often get it backwards.  We put the kingdom secondary to our lives, our pursuits, our desires and our goals of becoming successful by worldly means and standards.  Yet , Jesus tells us to seek FIRST the kingdom and all these things shall be added unto you.

Abraham was taken up and God showed him the nation that he was to inherit.  He received it then by promise, but it was some hundreds of years later that the Israelites, as a nation entered in and possessed their inheritance.   What was always the hindering factor to their possessing their kingdom?  They were always getting their eyes off of God and on to other things. Their unbelief robbed them of their possession.  The same thing we do today.

I believe God is looking for a people in us that are so passionate about His kingdom that nothing less will do.  He is not looking for people with an appearance of spirituality, that are religious or that are good at playing church.  He is looking for a Church who is passionate about possessing His kingdom and all that is contained therein, but they have to have the heart to always seek that first. It is not God that is keeping the kingdom from us.  It is His good pleasure to give it to us, but is it in our hearts to enter in and fully possess it?  Just as church is not some building we have to go to several times a week, it is who we are.  If we never have the revelation or faith to believe what we are, how can we ever have the faith to become who we are?

We are are God’s kingdom in Christ Jesus, but “in” means we are into Him and not ourselves. It means that life is first and always about “Him” and not just about me. Kingdom is a place where you live and most of us are content just to visit occasionally.  Kingdom is a state of mind, a state faith and a state of being.  It is the paradigm and the mindset we live in as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus, into kingdom thinking and living.  We begin to grasp who we are as Sons and come to realize all that we have been trying to be good enough to attain is already ours.  God has already given it to us in Christ and now we are to simply live out of what He has already put inside of us.  What has He put inside of us?  Is not His own Spirit!   What does He tell us in Romans 8:13-17?  “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”  What is the kingdom of God?  Romans 17:18-19 tells us, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.”  It is not about the external things, it is about the inward relationship of our lives hidden in Christ and lived out as Christ lives.

The kingdom of God is ours, but are we really willing to possess it?  Jesus said in Matthew 11:12, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. “Are we the forceful men and women who in this hour will forcefully take hold of by faith what Father has already given us?  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”  It is up to us to believe that and enter in.

Blessings,

#kent

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