God’s Purpose in You

March 29, 2019

Ephesians 3:10-12

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

 

God’s Purpose in You

 

As I venture out here on this scripture, I do it fully in faith of what God wants to unfold to us about our heavenly destiny and purpose.  As I read the scripture prior to this I find that Paul came to know that his purpose was to unveil the mystery.  Ephesians 3:6 says this is that mystery, “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

God also has a design and purpose for the ages. Paul expresses here that the purpose He is unfolding is accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, but the fullness of the mystery is not revealed in Christ singular.  It is revealed in Christ in the plurality of His church.  Amazingly enough this scripture declares that it is through the church that the manifold or multi-faceted and expressive wisdom of God should be made known to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.  It is not like they already know the mind, the will and the full intent of God’s plan.  That plan is unfolding in Christ, through us, His many-membered body.

That tells us something about ourselves as the church and the body of Christ.  We are the divine expression of God’s purpose in Christ Jesus our Lord. What God is unfolding in His wisdom is being revealed in you and I.  We should quickly realize that church is not a building I attend, it is who I am.  We are the habitation and the indwelling of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our lives are for the purpose of His expression and unveiling through us the wisdom and the purpose of the Father.  We are not here to just warm the pews on a Sunday morning.  We are here to reveal Him.  That is God’s purpose and His purpose becomes our purpose.  So, know this, you are here to instruct the rulers and authorities in heavenly realms.

How in the world can I do that?

Simply by fulfilling our purpose in God, through Christ.  That purpose is to be the divine expression of what He has uniquely put in you and formed you for.  Knowing and fulfilling your purpose in Christ is part of the larger picture of fulfilling God’s purpose.  You and I are a piece of the puzzle.  Without us it can’t be fully complete.  God doesn’t want us to take for granted who we are.

First of all, we know that who we are is now one in our identity with Christ .

Remember what Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23?  “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  What Jesus is praying here is saying that we are a part of the picture.  In Christ, we have been incorporated into the Godhead.  We are there with Him.  Remember Ephesians 2:4-7?  “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Where is our position today in Christ as believers in Him?  Christ’s resurrection was also our resurrection, when we died to sin and were raised anew in Him.  In that resurrection was also our ascension so that where Christ is, there are we also, in Him. Your bodily location might be earth, but your spirit location is in heavenly realms.

Now you have to ask yourself this question, “Do I live out of the flesh or do I live out of the Spirit?  Where you live from is where your true position is.

If indeed, you are living out of the Spirit as Romans 8 says we should be, then our identity is in Christ and our position is in the heavenly realms.  When you have the right identity and the right position then you are in the right place to fulfill the purpose of God for which He created you.  The identity, resources, the authority, the position, everything you need, He has provided you.  Now all we need is the faith, grace and understanding to carry out in this world who we are and what we were meant to be in Him.

This is why we abide in the Vine and snuggle up close to the good Shepherd.  In the place of right relationship He will reveal Himself through us to fulfill His purpose.  It is not given to us ahead of time. It is given to us moment by moment as we abide, trust and obey Him.

You are the divine purpose of God created for good works to reveal God’s wisdom to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.

Blessings,

#Kent

Advertisements

Still the Wind

March 28, 2019

 

 

Still the Wind

 

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?

 

This picture of the disciples caught out in the rough seas with all the forces of nature railing against them and filling their boat with water can so typify our lives at times.  Most all of us have had, will have or are having those times in our lives when all the natural elements of heaven and earth are railing against us.  We are rowing for all we are worth, but our boat just seems to keep on sinking.  We can’t bail out the water and the problems faster than they are coming in.  We are using every resource available for our survival and it looks like the end is sure.  Where is Jesus?  Before, we were saying, “Jesus you might want to give a hand up here, it’s pretty rough.”  Then it was “Jesus, this doesn’t look good, You really need to help us out.”  But Jesus is in a deep sleep in the back of the boat and this entire calamity of life and our desperation hasn’t awakened Him.  Finally, we are really desperate.  We are literally fasting and praying as we shake Jesus and cry out, “Master don’t you care that we are about to perish.”  Things have gotten desperate, they’re out of control, there is nothing more we can do and we’re about to go down for the third time.  Then Jesus arises, speaks the word and rebukes the wind and everything goes calm.  All of a sudden that impossible situation isn’t impossible anymore; it just dissipated.  We stand there in utter amazement at the miracle that has just happened.  We knew all along that we had Jesus in the boat, but things got out of control and Jesus was asleep, so we started to panic when it appeared like all was lost.

Was Jesus ever out of control?  Even while He slept could the storms of life have prevailed over Him and took His life before the Father’s time?  Many of us think we have a pretty strong faith until it is put to the test like it was for the disciples this day.  How many of us could have remained calm and continued to rest in the fact that Christ was still in the boat and if we perished, He perished.

I remember a remarkable man of God telling me a testimony of a time when he and some other pastors were flying in a plane over I believe it was over a jungle area of Mexico.  As they were flying, for some reason they had ran out of gas and all of the circumstances pointed to them crashing and dying.  As the plane started to descend many of the pastor were crying out in fear and desperation.  This brother said, “I just prayed and said Jesus if I die, you die, because you are the life within me.”  Just after He spoke that he said the plane leveled out, the engines were restored and they were able to make it to a safe landing miraculously.  What was the difference between this man and the others?  They were all men of God and in God’s service.  The difference is having the revelation of who you are in Christ and knowing that all of your life is in His hands.  The difference is that we learn and possess this truth as we release our affections from everything that is dear to us in this life, even our families and we commit, without reservation, everything to God.  Will that be tested?  Yes, we will have our Isaac’s that we may have to lay upon the altar.

Great faith is rested in total God confidence.  Like the Roman centurion of Luke 7 that came to Jesus in need of healing for his servant.  While Jesus was willing to walk the distance the centurion believed that if Jesus simply spoke the word, it would be done.  He understood the dynamics of authority.  He knew that when one in authority spoke the word everything under that authority was compelled to obey.  He knew that Jesus had authority over sickness and death, therefore if He would speak the word, it was accomplished.  God wants us to come and know the authority of His Word and rest that He is able to accomplish it.  He is still our Christ who rebukes the winds and calms the sea and storms of our lives.  He is still our Peace that passes understanding.  He is ever the Christ that is in us, that is our life and our authority.

Blessings,

#kent

Even Jesus was Slandered

March 27, 2019

John 8:48

The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”

 

Even Jesus was Slandered

 

Some of us have gotten quite offended because we have been misunderstood or others have taken up an offense against us because we didn’t fit in their belief box.  Here is the truth!  It doesn’t matter what you or I believe if it doesn’t line up with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.  If the religious crowd of that day, who supposedly knew and taught God’s ways, were so willing to slander Jesus, The Way, The Truth and The Life, then should it be any surprise if you are misunderstood or you are slandered for teaching truth.  Truth is only evident in the light of the understanding and belief system that we currently have.  How many of us may now embrace what we once thought was in error, because we have come into a greater understanding and revelation of Truth.  Many were blind to the truth of Jesus in His day, even many of His disciples walked away from Him in John 6:66, because of the truth that He spoke to them.   There are things we are going to hear that will go against traditional teaching and paradigms, but they are substantiated by their alignment with the Word of God and the fruit of righteousness that they should produce.

Should we believe and receive every teaching that comes down the pipe?  Of course not.

1 John 4:1-3 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”  If we are walking in the Spirit then the truth will bear witness with the Word and the Spirit, even if it doesn’t fit in our box of current understanding.  Jesus is taking us from glory to glory as we are being transformed into His image.  In each realm of glory is a deeper dimension and revelation of truth.  If we are not sure about something, we put it on the shelf and pray for the Holy Spirit to give us understanding and discernment concerning it.

Men of God can be mentors, lights and examples to follow in the way of truth, but they are never the foundation upon which you build your house.  They can give you guidance and direction, as well help you to grow into your potential in Christ, but they never take the place of Christ.  Even good men are subject to falling or getting into error, so trust first the Word of God and the Spirit of God whom you must come to know for yourself.  Then if good or great men fall before you it won’t shake or move you in your faith.

As you come into deeper truth and understanding it will be a joy and illumination to your spirit, but don’t be surprised if others don’t embrace it with you and may even turn against you.  Be faithful to what God shows you.  We are accountable for what we know.  Love and pray for those that may slander or malign you.  John 15:24 says, “If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.”  The truth should produce and manifest kingdom results as it did in the life of Jesus.  That is the witness that this is the truth.  Jesus told the believers in John 8:31, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Blessings,

#kent

Dead Man Walking

March 26, 2019

 

Dead Man Walking

 

Colossians 3:3

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

 

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

The Brokenhearted

March 25, 2019

 

The Brokenhearted

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;

 

Luke 4 says that Jesus read this passage in the synagogue one day and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”  Jesus came to fix, heal and bind up the broken man and woman, spiritually, emotionally and physically.  He cares as much about our state of being today as He did then and His ministry is still the same.  The difference is that now He uses His many-membered body, gifted and anointed of the Holy Spirit to administer these graces.  Now what Jesus came to fulfill in this passage is being fulfilled in us.  We can only minister these gifts because we have been the recipients of them.  We have experienced God’s love and grace shed abroad in our hearts.  We have experienced His comfort and His help in our time of need or brokenness.  We have experienced His deliverance in our lives from the sin and strongholds that have bound us.  Paul says in Romans 15:8, “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed.”  Paul didn’t just minister words; He ministered from His life experiences.

There are times in each of our lives when we are brokenhearted.  It could be through the loss of a loved one or because a loved one betrayed us or disappointed us.  It could be because of any number of disappointments or hurts we experience in life.  When these times come upon us we are crushed emotionally; our insides literally hurt and agonize in the emotional pain we feel.  It is not unlike a severe physical injury in that, initially it is an open wound and sore that causes us great pain.  Just as we are very protective of an area of body that has been wounded, we are often very protective of the emotional areas of our lives where we have been wounded and hurt as well.  This is where time is often our friend, because wounds, emotional or physical, take time to heal.  Unless God does something out of the ordinary, our healing is usually a process of time that restores us to health.  The important thing to remember is that in that process the Lord is at work binding up and ministering to our need.  It can often be in so many unseen ways, little signs that He gives us, special blessings, words of love and encouragement from others, the special memories we cherish and cling too.  The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.   Sometimes it is our broken heart that leads us to repentance in areas and causes us to return to the Lord.  The Lord is in the business of healing and fixing broken people.  As His people that should be our purpose as well.  As this prophecy in Isaiah was fulfilled in Jesus, so it must be fulfilled in us who are His expression and members in this earth.  We are the vessels through whom He often flows in His ministry to humanity.  More times than not, the reason we are able to minister is because we have had to walk that road ourselves.  We have had to personally experience the Lord’s presence in our own situations.  As we have experienced the Lord’s grace to us we are then able to empathize and share that grace with others.  Many times, what we experience even in our pain and suffering is not so much for us as it is for others.  Jesus suffered much to bring us so great a salvation.  We, in turn, well may share in those sufferings if we are to be the instruments of His grace and mercy.   The Lord makes us walk the walk, before we can talk the talk.  But our ministry is so much more powerful when we are ministering out of personal experience and not just theological ideas.

If you are experiencing brokenness in your life this day be encouraged that God can take your pain and use it for someone else’s healing.  The precious part is that it heals us as well, it makes us stronger and better equipped in our spiritual lives because of what we have had to walk through.  Be encouraged, the Lord is there in your pain working a deeper work of His grace and mercy.

Blessings,

#kent

Pattern Son

March 22, 2019

 

Pattern Son

 

Hebrews 8:5

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, [that] thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

 

When you look around you today what do you see, but never really think about?  Do you ever think about how we live in a world of patterns?  The tile, the carpet, the wall paper, the china, the cars, the houses, the appliances and on and on it goes.  Most of the things that surround our world are made from an original pattern and template.  What started as an original design is then reproduced in the same image as its original many times over.

When God took Moses up on the mount it says that He gave Moses a plan, a blueprint, a template and a pattern of exactly what the tabernacle was to contain and how it was to be built down to the intricate details.  God then exhorted Moses to make it according to the pattern that He showed Him.  He wasn’t to deviate from that pattern at all.  Most all of us now know and have seen how this earthly tabernacle was a parallel to the spiritual tabernacle and how in every detail it spoke of Christ in some way.

God has an original Son who is His pattern for us today.  What the pattern of the tabernacle foreshadowed, Christ came to fulfill.  In doing so He exemplified the pattern and template to which we all, as believers in Him, are to be conformed.  Christ walked out a life in this earth that demonstrated before us the divine expression and personality of God in fleshly form.  Jesus was someone we could touch, feel, see and wrap our natural as well as our spiritual minds around.  We could see how He responded to the daily pressures and demands of life.  We could see the relationship He had and maintained with the Father.  We could see how His life was a channel and conduit from heaven through which the power and love of God could flow into His humanity.  Again, God has given us a pattern after which to build our spiritual house and tabernacle.  Why do we want to spend so much time in God’s Word? Isn’t it because it contains all the details of how our spiritual house is to be built and how it is to function in this world?

A pattern repeats itself.  When the ladies or men make a garment they are using a pattern or template to repeat and replicate the original design.  As we grow and follow Christ, in effect, our lives become a pattern which, other younger and less experienced ones are looking too in order to comprehend and help them be like the original.  How do children grow up and learn how to be adults and function in an adult world?  Their parents serve as the patterns for them to follow, mirror and learn the ways of adulthood.  They can only teach and bring their children to level they are at and then they must look to another more mature and experienced to take them further.  The apostle Paul acted as a spiritual parent to the early churches and to us to be an ensample of the life of Christ.  He says in 1 Timothy 1:16, “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”  In Titus 2:7 Paul exhorts Titus, who he describes as like his own son in the common faith, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine [shewing] uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”  Discipleship is about reproducing the life and example of Christ in others in order that they may grow up being conformed to Christ likeness.  In Luke 6:40 Jesus tells his disciples, “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.”  The word perfect in this passage carries the connotation of being mature.  We will never be above Christ, but it is God’s will and desire that we are conformed to be like Him.  We are without excuse in that we have the Word of God for a pattern; we have the lives of Christ and the apostles to see how a Christ life is to be lived out.  We have godly men, whom the Spirit has raised up to be examples to us in our Christian living and to whom He has placed in them His anointing and ministry to help the body of Christ to grow up in the unity of the faith.  Ephesians 4:11 tells us, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” May it be our purpose in life and daily living to become conformed to Father’s Pattern Son, Christ Jesus.   Our purpose is that, in all of our ways, we might ‘come in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:13).

Blessings,

#kent

To Love a Woman

March 21, 2019

 

Ephesians 5:25-29

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body.

 

To Love a Woman

 

As I was thinking upon my love and relationship with my wife this scripture was really pressed home to me.  We spend the better part of our lives investing ourselves into the one that we have committed our hearts too.  Aside from the Lord, they are the one that we live with and that we live for.  Most of us aren’t neglectful when it comes to feeding ourselves, clothing and caring for our own needs.  This body of ours is our home and so we spare no expense or investment in making it the best it can be.  Just as we care for and bless our own body, we should care for and bless our wife and our companion.  Her needs, her wants and her dreams may differ from ours, but they should be of no less value or importance than those that we have for ourselves.  She is flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone and we love and care for her as we do our own body.  When I love her appropriately, then I love myself and if I fail her, then I fail myself.

If we, as married couples, could always maintain the mindset that everything we do is to fulfill the need in the other, then we would know no lack.  If I live to fulfill and minister to her needs and she has that same mind then isn’t that how marriage ought to work?  Unfortunately, so many of our marriages fail or get into trouble because we treat our spouse like we treat often treat our Lord.  They become secondary to our ambitions, desires and pleasures.  We treat them as separate from us and not one with us.  Selfishness is a cruel taskmaster.  “I” demands one thing, “Me First!”  One-sided love affairs never work very well.  When self becomes secondary to the pleasing of our spouse and serving the Lord then we find a formula that really serves in the best interest of our well being, because in becoming the blessing we will reap the blessing.  In marriage, our goal is to bless the other and help them to become the best that they can be.  What we do for them, we are doing for ourselves because they are one with us.  There is no greater illustration in the natural world of what our relationship is to be with Christ than marriage in the right context. We, as husbands, really have the responsibility of bringing love into the home and being the example of Christ to our wives.

Today, as we outwardly proclaim our love to our spouse, let us recommit to the unity of oneness, service and living to please and meet one another’s needs.  If success is important to us then let us not fail to succeed in the areas that we often take most for granted.  Husbands, let us love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

Blessings,

#kent

Time to Get Back to Work

March 20, 2019

 

 

Time to Get Back to Work

 

1 Kings 19:9-18

And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”

 

The scripture today is an account of where Elijah’s state of being is at after his showdown with the prophets of Baal and the great victory that was won when the Lord showed up and manifested Himself to be God.  The wicked queen Jezebel has threatened to take Elijah’s life and suddenly he has turned from being this mighty representative of the power of God to a scared and fleeing man.  Even though fear has gripped him the Lord has not forsaken him and continues to sustain him as he flees the retribution of Jezebel.  This is where we find Elijah.  Elijah has so despaired and become discouraged that He has even ask the Lord to take his life.  The Lord gives him food and water by the hand of His angel, which sustains him for forty days and forty nights while he travels and comes to the mountain of God on Mount Horeb.  This is where we find him now as the Lord begins to speak and deal with him.  Here we find Elijah having a bit of a pity party as he tells God how he is the only one left that is serving God and now they are trying to kill him also.   At this point God is about to teach Elijah a lesson as He tells Elijah to go and stand on the mountain for the Lord is about to pass by.  We then read the account of how three powerful manifestations of wind, earthquake and fire come, but the Lord is not in any of these powerful demonstrations and after these came a gentle whisper, a still small voice.  What did the voice say to Elijah?  “What are you doing here Elijah?”  Of course, Elijah proceeds to tell the Lord how he is the only good guy left and how now they are trying to kill him too.

The Lord doesn’t even address Elijah’s concerns at first, instead He gives him his next three job assignments and then He lets Elijah know that there are still seven thousand that have not bowed to Baal.

There are a number of lessons to be gleaned from this. The one that I think is closest to all of us is that no matter how close we are walking with God and experiencing His power and presence sometimes we fall back into the trap of identifying with our natural man rather than who we are in Christ.  In Galatians 2:20 the apostle Paul reminds us of who we now are, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  This is who Elijah was, but fear entered in and faith left him because he lost sight of who he was and his identity in God.  We can easily look at Elijah’s life in hindsight and see that no one was going to take Elijah’s life unless God allowed them too.  We can see that for Elijah, but we struggle with believing that for ourselves.  We get so caught up with all of our woes that we get off track with our purpose and destiny.

I believe what God was showing Elijah through those powerful manifestations is, that these are not the essence of who He is.  We may see great and mighty miracles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that God is in them.  Where was God?  He was in the still small voice in Elijah’s spirit.  That is where He is in us.  It wasn’t Elijah’s concern, nor is it ours, to question the power that God demonstrates through us, or His provision or His protection.  Our primary concern is, are we walking in who we are in Christ?  Are we identified with Him rather than this old man?  Are we carrying out the tasks that He has given each one of us to do?  We don’t need to worry about us being the only one, because God will always preserve a remnant for Himself, no matter how outwardly bad things get.

Fear had driven Elijah to the mountain, but by God giving Elijah his assignments He was saying to Elijah, “don’t fear what man can do to you, you are not through until I say that you are through.”  God has a purpose for each one of us in Christ and I don’t believe we are through until God says we are through.

Now it is time to get back to work with the Father’s business and don’t forget who you are.  “You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus”.  ‘You can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth you,’ “because as he is, so are we in this world.”   “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Way of Your Ancestors

 

Job 22:15-22

Will you keep to the old path that evil men have trod? 16 They were carried off before their time,

their foundations washed away by a flood. 17 They said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’ 18 Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things, so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked. 19 “The righteous see their ruin and rejoice; the innocent mock them, saying, 20 ‘Surely our foes are destroyed, and fire devours their wealth.’ 21 “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. 22 Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart.

 

Some cultures, especially eastern ones, put a great deal of emphasis upon their ancestors; our culture does not have that emphasis.  We come from many different backgrounds and heritages.  I tend to believe that just as physical traits and characteristics are passed down from generation, there are spiritual influences that may be passed on as well.  These can be both good and bad.

Perhaps I come from a long line of ancestors who were preachers and men of God.  Many of them no doubt prayed and asked God’s anointing and blessing upon their heritage and the generations to follow them.  In that case I was born into a blessing and the Lord might be answering their prayer through me as I respond in obedience to the call of God upon my life, whatever that may be.  I have a spiritual influence that moves me towards righteousness and sensitivity toward the Lord.  While it is an influence it is still subject to my will and choice.  We can see in the lineage of David how that the Lord promised that his seed would not fail to inherit the throne, as long as they walked in the ways of the Lord.  As we follow history, we can readily see that his seed didn’t always choose the way of their father but departed from the Lord and chose wickedness.

If we look at the flip side of this and now, we will say that I came from a long line of criminals or of wicked and perverse ancestors.  Does that mean I must follow that same pattern?  It is true that there may be spiritual influences and the same spirits that influenced my ancestors may seek a home in me.  Again, that cycle can be broken by my choice.  If God, in His mercy, reveals the way of life to me and I respond to that, then He has also made a way for me to be free from the evil spiritual influences of my past.  It is important that when I come from this background that I renounce every spirit of darkness that has attached itself to me, that I acknowledge Jesus Christ as my only Lord and Savior and that I ask for His blood to cover and cleanse me from both past and present sins and influences.

This does not mean that these spirits will not test you and they will try and convince you that you are the same old sinner and person that you were or that your ancestors were.  This is where we dig our heels into the promises and the declarations of God’s Word, for we walk by faith and not by sight.

Perhaps someone reading this is struggling with their past and they are feeling the condemnation and accusation of the enemy upon their lives.  This word is for you, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:16).  Hold fast the confidence of your faith, for the Lord is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him and He will see you through.  He knows you struggle and has given you the Holy Spirit to help you and encourage you.  Perhaps you have stumbled and fallen into those past ways.  Now, perhaps you feel the Lord will forsake you, because you have failed.  No, God is there for you.  You have an advocate; one who pleads your cause and His name is Jesus.  When you cried out for forgiveness the first time, the Lord heard you and forgave you, now you must forgive yourself and as Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “…neither do I condemn you. Go your way and sin no more.”  Often when we sin in a great way we want to continue to punish ourselves by not receiving the Lord’s forgiveness and we begin to grieve the Holy Spirit, because we won’t receive what He has already given us.  Forgive yourself now, come out from under the condemnation that you have felt and receive what Jesus died to give you.  Look to Him for His strength to make good choices and be set free, regardless of your background and ancestry.

Blessings,

#kent

Still Waters

March 18, 2019

Psalms 23:2

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters…

 

Still Waters

 

Isn’t God good to show us that He is a place of peace and rest, safety and provision, direction and purpose.  We don’t often find those still waters in the world around us.  It is always full of activity, striving, trying, taking, wanting, worry and anxiety, but when we get in Jesus, our good Shepherd, He brings us into the place of His rest.  He causes us to lie down in green pastures of His Word and promises.  He leads us beside the still waters of His Spirit and life.

What a contrast with the world at large.  Isaiah 57:20-21 describes it, “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

The wicked are always contending with God and so they never find the place of rest, of green pastures and still waters.  Where they will observe them is in you.  It is because you are in relationship with Jesus and have His peace, provision and safety for your life that you become the reality and picture of what they have strove so hard for, but have never found.

Still waters run deep.  It is often those that are of a meek and contrite heart that carry the well-springs of living waters.  I spoke a while back about how the woman at the well in John 4 came to know Jesus as the source of “Living Water”, but after she had drank of Him then she went into her village and she became that wellspring of living water as she gave out the message of Jesus and all the village came out to see Him.  Still waters is that place of walking in the rest of God by the Spirit and no longer striving after the flesh.  It is still and quiet so that it can hear His voice and it is deep because it carries His presence and Spirit.  It doesn’t gain dominion by striving with man, but by simply being the expression of God through what has been experienced in Him as we have laid down in the those green pastures of His life and pleasure and we have drank of the still waters of His Spirit life.  It is an amazing concept that sheep could lead wolves, but the sheep have no fear because they are secure in their Shepherd.  Even if they must give up their life they do so with the assurance of who they are in Him.

Psalms 46:10 exhorts us, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The still waters speak to the calmness and the serenity of our spirit as we know that God is God.  I don’t have to understand everything that He is doing.  I don’t have to know how He is going to do it.  I don’t even have to know when He is going to do it.  All I need to know is that He has led me to lie down in His green pastures and leads me beside the still waters where I don’t have to be afraid, fearful or anxious.  I can simply rest in Him because I know that His banner over me is Love.

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: