The Person of Wisdom

April 30, 2019

Ecclesiates 4:13–16 (Amplified)

Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive counsel (friendly reproof and warning)–  14Even though [the youth] comes out of prison to reign, while the other, born a king, becomes needy.

15I saw all the living who walk under the sun with the youth who was to stand up in the king’s stead.

16There was no end to all the people; he was over all of them. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity (emptiness, falsity, vainglory) and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it.

 

The Person of Wisdom

Character and wisdom in a person are more noble than age and position.  What benefit is age and position if you have not benefited in character to know how to rule and lead.   Wisdom is in knowing that you don’t have all of the answers, or always have a proper perspective and you are a fool if you can’t listen to any of the wise counsel around you.  Wisdom is in recognizing the right answer and responding to it.  Foolishness will brush aside the wisdom of others to indulge its own arrogance.

Wisdom can come from many non-conventional places.  It can come from youth, or those in poverty or prison.  Proverbs 14:33 says, “Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding, but it makes itself known even in the midst of fools.”  A person’s wisdom makes place for them and brings them into the place of honor.  Proverbs 18:16 says, “A man’s gift makes room for him And brings him before great men.”  While those who observe the wisdom and see how it exalts the one in possession of it, those who follow may not appreciate the path wisdom has taken a person or honor the position they hold.  Wisdom is honored by those who discern and observe its presence.  What is honored as wisdom by one generation may be despised and rejected by a following one.

We see the wisdom of those who started and founded this nation and yet many in this day despise and reject the wisdom that has stood the test of time.  The wisdom of that day saw the need and the value of trusting in God; many in this day do not.  Perhaps that is why the preacher says, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity”, because all of the wisdom of men will come to naught, but only the righteous wisdom of God will prevail.

Blessings,

#kent

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A Little can do a Lot

April 29, 2019

John 6:5-12

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9″Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

 

A Little can do a Lot

 

Most all of us, I am sure, are familiar with this story of the little boy whose five loaves and two fishes, fed over five thousand people.  What would have been a staggering task, logistically and monetarily, was taken care of by a little boy’s willingness and a mighty God’s faithfulness.  The message I hear pressing on my heart today in this message is that if we are willing to unselfishly give the little that we have, God is willing to increase it to give back the abundance of what we need.

How many times are we robbed because our vision of faith isn’t great enough to see past the fear of not having enough?  What if the little boy would have refused to give up his meal for fear that he would go hungry, after all, his mom had made it for him, not for everyone else.  Are we willing to put in the Master’s hands what is just provision enough for us?  Are we willing to not only trust Him for our own needs, but the needs of others met through us?  Those are questions we might all like to answer yes, but in reality, when it comes down to it, we are reluctant to let go of what is in our hand.

Five is the number of grace and the bread represents Christ, who is the bread of life.  It is His grace that is sufficient for all of our needs according to His riches in glory.   Two is the number of witness and fish are those which carry provision.  The great fish carried Jonah to Nineveh  and the fish had in its mouth the money to pay the tax for Peter and Jesus.  The fish bear witness that Christ is our provision to do impossible things in impossible ways.  Our eyes have to be opened and our faith vision increased to see what God can do through our apparent little if we are faithful to give it to Him.

This is where we will learn kingdom economy and kingdom living as we are the supply for one another’s needs.  As we meet the needs in others we will see our needs met.  Let us have the faith of this little boy to trust God with our five little loaves and two little fishes.  It is not in seeking the miracles, it is in the relationship that we have with the Person of miracles.  Let us have the faith to put our lunch in His hands.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Forgiveness begins with Yourself

 

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

The Word speaks often to the area of forgiveness and the necessity of forgiving others that we in turn may be forgiven.  That it is imperative that we release and forgive others, but for some the most difficult area of forgiveness is with one’s self.  There may be things in your past that you feel such condemnation and guilt about that you can’t even believe that God could or would or should forgive you.  Constantly it may eat at you and feed upon your self-worth until you may have convinced yourself that God could never love someone like you.

What you are believing is a lie of the devil to enslave you to condemnation.  Every time you have tried to reach out to God that sin or sins have come up in your face to make you feel ashamed and unworthy.  It is time for you to recognize the lie for what it is.  It is not God who is condemning you, it is the Lord that wants to heal you, release you and forgive you.

We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, but the blood sacrifice of Jesus upon that cross was so powerful and so great and so righteous that it is powerful enough to forgive even the vilest of sin.  God came in Christ to deliver you and me out of that stronghold of death and to offer us life in its place.

Jesus dealt with several situations in which sinful people were brought to Him.  The law demanded condemnation, but what did Jesus say His purpose was in coming to earth?  John 3:17-18 says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  The one thing that can keep us from being forgiven is a lack of faith and trust that Jesus has and will forgive you.  It is the condemnation of the accuser that seeks to rob us of our faith and reliance in Christ to forgive us our sins if we are faithful to confess them and ask for His forgiveness.  When we fail to accept and believe that we are forgiven we are in affect calling the Lord a liar.  We are grieving the Holy Spirit.  If then Christ has forgiven our sins and they are under His blood, then we must accept that we are washed from it and forgive ourselves as He has forgiven us.  We all live with regrets and we all have things we would do differently if we had them to do over, but we don’t.  We all need the love and grace of God, because without His love and forgiveness we would have no hope.  It is our faith in the finished work of Christ that gives us the confidence to embrace salvation, forgiveness and release from all our past sins and failures.

A sinful woman once came into the house of Simon the Pharisee and wept as she washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.  She anointed Him with the most precious and fragrant ointment that money could buy.  She, through her actions, communicated to Jesus her deepest love, thanks and appreciation for what He had done in her life.  The account in Luke 7:39-48 goes on to say, “39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41″Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The fact that Jesus has forgiven us of much should only make us love Him more.

Jesus loves you more than words can describe.  He has seen your broken heart and the torment you have experienced over your mistakes.  Take these offences and release them to Him right now in faith believing that His blood has washed them from you and you are forgiven.  Now tell Him that you accept His forgiveness and you release yourself from this condemnation and sin, even as He has released you.  What did he say to the woman caught in adultery after all of her accusers had left?  “Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11″No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10-11)

Jesus doesn’t condone or justify our sin, but His mercy and grace will forgive us.  Receive the richness of His love and forgiveness today.  Most importantly, forgive yourself.

Blessings,

#kent

1 Samuel 3:1-14

The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

6 Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD : The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11 And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ ”

 

Hearing, Listening and Responding

 

Today, as in the days of Samuel, the Lord is teaching His anointed to once again hear and discern the voice of the Lord.   The Lord is here to reveal Himself to us and through us in word and in power.  Often we can miss the voice of God to us because the intents of our flesh are so loud that they make us dull in our hearing.  Our hearing is increased as we listen and obey.  Our quick obedience and responsiveness to God’s word to us increases our sensitivity to hear Him and to know His ways.  The Lord is not someone we rush.  He doesn’t operate on our timetable; He operates upon His.  It is not for God to wait upon us; it is for us to wait upon Him.  If we are too busy and occupied to wait, then it is likely we won’t hear a lot from the Lord.

One of the first principles that Samuel learned when he discerned from Eli that He was hearing the voice of God was to make Himself available.    When Samuel finally discerned the Lord’s voice Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  Do we know God’s voice when He is trying to speak to us?   Do we make ourselves available to listen and obey?   Sometimes the word that God gives us is a weighty word.  It can have serious implications toward the ones that it is directed toward.

We are not responsible for the words, other than to accurately communicate them the way that God gives them to us, but we are responsible to be available and obedient to what He does speak and direct us to do.  Samuel was reluctant to speak the word of judgement to Eli and his household that the Lord had given him, but he was obligated to do so.  When we become God’s mouth piece and His instrument, then it is not about what we say, or what we think, it is about being true to the sound that God is blowing through your instrument in whatever capacity that is.  The soul must step down and give place to the spirit man to release and obey the Spirit within Him.

Most all of us that have been in the church world for sometime have often seen a mixture of flesh and Spirit in operation.  What we have observed, to a great extent, has been a polluted anointing.  Whenever our flesh is mixed with Spirit it taints it.

God wants to do something, in this hour, through each one of us.  He is looking for holy vessels that will be true to His Spirit.  He is looking for a people that have His interest at heart and not their own.  Before God can release through us the fullness of His power and anointing there must be first developed within us the character that is in the likeness of His own.  If our character isn’t true to the Lord then what He would attempt to produce through us will fall to the earth.  There are small things in our integrity and character that God wants us to start paying attention too.  We have all justified a lot of things.  We all have our little indiscretion, little lies or dishonesties, but God is calling us now to integrity and accountability to Him.  He has a holy calling before us and it will take a holy character to walk in that calling.  Begin to be extremely sensitive to the voice of the Spirit and conscience in your daily lives.  Become much more disciplined in your listening and responsiveness to the Holy Spirit.  He can lead us into all truth, but only we can be willing to partake of it.

The Lord will begin speaking to us more and more in that still small voice of His Spirit.   We, like Samuel, must learn to discern that voice and respond in obedience to it in every area of our lives.  God is purposing great things through His people, but He is looking for a church without spot or wrinkle.  That means that He must wash us and with His fuller’s soap and press us with His refiner’s fire till we come forth purified for His purpose and His calling.  Listen for Him, trust Him and obey Him.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Love People Where They Are At.

 

1 John 4:11

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

 

Thumbing back through the files of our life we will probably remember at least a few instances where we treated others with contempt, disdain, dislike or felt we were in some way a bit superior or above them.  There are always those who don’t live within the standards of our values or have characteristics we find annoying and irritating.  Then we can jump over into the memory files of the times when we were treated in this manner.  Maybe we still remember the emotional pain and humiliation we suffered at the comments or treatment we received from those who judged us and treated us in an unbecoming and hurtful manor.  Most of us have been on both sides of the coin at some point in our lives.  What we have experienced or what we have conveyed was a lack of God’s love.  It takes God bringing us beyond ourselves to experience a love that is higher than soulish emotion or feeling.  When we survey the wondrous cross and all of the humanity God’s love reached out too, including our wretched selves, we begin to see an unprejudiced love.  It is a love for the imperfect, the undesirable, the sinner, and even that, which is repulsive to us.  What compels us to love deeper than this shallow human level of love?  It is when we observe God’s unfailing and constant love for us, even when we were at our ugliest, most vile and undesirable state, how He still loved us.  When everyone else may have turned his or her back on us, God’s love was there.  The Word then tells us, ” Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”  God’s love is so much higher, so much deeper, and so much wider than our own.  But then we are not our own anymore, are we?  We have made an exchange of our life for His and everyday God wants to work that transaction into the reality of our everyday lives.  Often, at the most inconvenient times and places undesirable people and situations approach us.  It may be the salesman, using up our cell time to persuade us to buy something from him.  It may be the beggar asking for a handout and we’re thinking, “You just need to get a job.”  It may be that critical and demeaning boss, co-worker or even our spouse reminding us how worthless and what a failure we are.  Constantly it is something, that makes us want to act in number of different ways, but love isn’t real high on that list.   In order for us to have God’s love, we have to have God’s mind and His heart for people.  I sometimes think of how many undesirable people came across the path of Jesus.  He was like a magnet for undesirable people, from fault finding religious leaders who sought after His life, to lepers, to sinners and public outcast, to demon possessed.  You name it; Jesus lived anything but a sheltered life.  He was exposed to the darkest and ugliest mankind had to offer.  In each one Jesus didn’t see just a sinner or just the ugly characteristics.  In each person, he saw a spiritual candle that needed to be lit.  His love compelled Him to look past all of the faults and see the tremendous need.  Jesus came as the great light of God’s love to light the light of men’s spirits with truth and salvation.  We have become His light bearers, lifting up the light of God’s unconditional love before men.  Do they see that in us?  Have we shed our prejudices and our superficial “Christian” love for God’s real love?  Why do you think little Mother Teresa made such a powerful statement to the world?  Because she lived God’s true love before men, before the most undesirable of people and she loved them to the laying down of her own life and comforts.  Even unbelievers had to acknowledge something supernatural in the love she displayed.  We need spiritual eyes that see past the outward man, we need ears that hear the inner cry of a person deepest need.  We need understanding of how to effectively minister the true love of Christ to each one.  Sometimes that can take unconventional and unreligous ways.  Most of all it takes us living out of the heart of God and demonstrating a love not our own, but that which was freely and unconditionally bestowed upon us.

Blessings,

#kent

Who’s Your Daddy?

April 23, 2019

 

Who’s Your Daddy?

 

John 8:42-47

42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

 

 

The question we ask today is “who is your real Father?”  In this passage from the discourse that Jesus was having with the Jews they were quite convinced that they were of the seed of Abraham and that therefore God was their Father.  Jesus was telling them it is not a matter of natural descent.  Many people in this country and even in others think they are Christians by virtue of fact they grew up in a Christian heritage and that is their general belief even though it may have no effectual working in their lives.  Many even call themselves Christians and claim God as their Father because they go to church, or they are involved in church activities or they have a religion.  Muslims believe that God, or Allah, is their Father, so much so that many are willing to sacrifice their lives and yours too for what they believe is His cause.  What Jesus was telling many of these same types of people are that God isn’t your Father, you only think that He is.  If God were your Father, then it would stand to reason you would know His Son.  The reason you would know His Son is because the Son is just like the Father in nature, in character and in purpose.  The true children of God are able to hear the Father.  They are able to receive spiritual instruction, exhortation and even rebuke.  The true children of God embrace the Son of God, for they recognize and acknowledge that it is only by His life we have access to the Father and are adopted into sonship.  The difference is seen in the fact that we have a new nature and what is more, we have put off the former nature with the sins and lusts that it carried.  God’s children no longer pursue the flesh, but walk after the Spirit.  We are as Romans 8:12-17 puts it, “12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For 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.”  We live and operate our lives under the influence of who our Father is.  We have to ask ourselves what is the fruit of my life, what am I producing and is it in likeness of God’s character and nature?

The Bible and Jesus himself warns us that in the judgement day, “21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23).”  This tells us that it is not even the outward miracles and demonstration of the Spirit that are true evidence of who one’s Father is, it is the faith and the fruit produced by one’s life.  It is seen in whom we listen too, whom we obey and whom we follow.   We, like the Jews, can profess that God is our Father, but how much do we look like the Son; are we like it says in 2 Timothy 3:5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”  It is not our outward appearance and demeanor that always reveals our true nature and descent.  It is our heart for God, our love and faith in His Son and our obedience to His Word as the Spirit that speaks to His Fatherhood in us, leads and directs our lives.  Who’s your daddy?

Blessings,

#kent

 

Kingdom Principles (Part 5)

Not the Outward, but the Inward

 

Romans 14:17

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

 

The church is not so unlike the Jewish nation before us.  We have taken the principles of the kingdom of heaven and have fashioned them into laws and burdens that are placed on the backs of men.   So many of our denominations have taken a revelation and a truth, dug their foundations and built their denominations and that is where they have staid.  God is not stagnant.  He is an ever-moving river of truth.  He is continually unfolding and unveiling His plan before us.  His truth is all there in His Word, but the revelation of that truth has not been fully manifested.  It is a progressive thing.  One of the chief kingdom principles is never think that you have it all and never be content to build your faith and religion on present day truth.  That is not to say it isn’t truth, but it may be only a facet and part of the whole.

From the early days of Christianity men have done what the religious leaders of old did with Judaism.  They try and make our faith a mandate of rules and regulations.  Men still try and dictate and control by taste not, touch not and eat not.  If Christ taught us anything He taught us that in order to change the outward there must be a change inwardly.  Jesus once told the Pharisees, “It is not what goes into a man’s belly that defiles him, it is what comes out.”  Jesus knew that unless the condition of the heart is changed no amount of rules and regulations will really change men.  They may try to act correctly outwardly, but inwardly they are still the same.  The kingdom of heaven in us begins with a heart change.  It must change from the desire for earthly enrichment and expression to the desire for the Spirit of God to have expression through us.  No longer my will, but Your will be done.  What we find is that when we really get in step and in sync with God’s heart and the Holy Spirit, we have set out on a God adventure and there is no telling where it may take us.  It is exciting and it is ever fresh and new. The neat thing is we are not struggling to control it, but we have relinquished control to the Holy Spirit.  Now our chief desire and ambition is to flow in harmony and obedience to Him.  It is no longer about religion telling us we have to do this and we can’t do that.  The law that governs us lives within our hearts and we know that our obedience to Him leads to heightened relationship and fellowship.  We have found that our faith is not of the ceremonial outward protocol, it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.  Instead of ceremony we celebrate who and what we are in Christ and all that He is becoming in us.  Perhaps that would explain why there is such a large movement away from traditional religion and more of a move toward non-denominationalism.  The kingdom of heaven is not about the organization it is about the organism in which the Holy Spirit is released and free to move in and through His body according to His will and purpose and not the dictates of men and their programs.  Where the Holy Spirit is free to move is where you will find that it will be as the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God [is] not in word, but in power.”  Isn’t that what we desire and seek today?  We have heard countless words, but God we want to behold your power.  We want to see the kingdom manifested in the lives and affairs of men.  This is what we press into as we seek the deeper experience of the kingdom of heaven.  We want to find the lover of our soul, our King.  We want to find the place of intimacy and relationship with Him where we have true communion and dialog with His presence.

May our hearts become inflamed with an everlasting passion for our Christ and His coming as well as His manifest kingdom.  When we are consumed in our love for Him, the things of this world become strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.  Righteousness then becomes a state of who we are by association and relationship with Him who is righteous rather than something we seek to achieve through outward efforts and works.  The kingdom of heaven in you is allowing and giving place to Christ being all that He desires to be in you.  Allow the kingdom to flood into every part and fiber of your being and your life.  As He is in you, so will you be in this world.

Blessings,

#kent

Feet?

April 19, 2019

 

Feet?

 

Isaiah 52: 7

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace,

who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

 

What do we think of when we think of feet?  Do you think of the often smelly, dirty, corned and callused little members at the bottom of your body that carries you through life?  It has been very enlightening, as I’ve taken some time to go through all of the scriptures in the Word about feet.  These little, often neglected, members of the body are spoken of quite frequently.  They are definitely members of spiritual, as well as, natural significance.  Our feet, so often neglected and taken for granted, carry us through our whole life.  They have to support the weight and burden of the whole body.  If they don’t work or they slip or stumble, they take the whole body down with them.  Spiritually speaking this is significant as well, because the feet represent our spiritual walk.  There are many aspects to the feet, but let’s look at this one first.

We have often heard the term, “to sit at one’s feet”.  Throughout the Word of God it is shown that, at the one’s feet that you sit at, is often the one who determines the direction and the way you walk.  The authority that we submit too, the ones we learn from and how that translates into our lives is our definition of “sitting at one’s feet”.  There are many instances where people would fall at another’s feet.  By that act they were showing submission, obedience, asking for mercy, humbling themselves beneath that one’s authority.

In Deuteronomy 33:3, Moses speaks of God, “Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction.”  As a people of God we have at least mentally assented to the authority of God to order our ways.  Deuteronomy 11:22- 25 tells us the significance of walking in His ways. “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him- 23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea.  25 No man will be able to stand against you. The LORD your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.”  We begin to see a principle unfold that our authority and dominion is dependent upon the way we walk and who we follow.  God is saying, ‘if you follow after me and sit at my feet these are the results you can expect to see.’   In Joshua 10 there is an account of a miraculous battle when five Amorite kings moved into position and attacked Israel.  You may remember that this was the battle in which there was such great victory for the Israelites that Joshua prayed that the Sun might stay still in the sky so that he could finish the battle.  In verse 24-26 the kings have been captured and it says,” When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks. 25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 26 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening. “This is a type of what the Word of God is instructing us to do with our spiritual enemies and the strongholds of our lives.  We could even see it as being our five senses and living after our natural man.  For it is our flesh that wars against our spirit, but our spirit man must prevail and put to death the flesh.  Through the example of putting their feet upon the necks of these kings we are seeing that our enemies are put under our feet. The condition is that we have to exercise our authority and if we let the flesh live, we will have to come back to fight it another day and it will always plague us and be a stumbling block to us as we see it was for Israel.

Joshua is such a strong type of our spiritual authority because he learned it at the feet of Moses and by seeing first hand the faithfulness of God.  In Joshua 14:7-9 he briefly shares a testimony of earlier days and its lesson.  “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.”  What is the lesson?  Faith, that is steadfast, has the reward of an inheritance.  That faith is demonstrated through a walk that follows after God wholeheartedly.  Fear on the other hand is the contradiction and arch–nemesis of Faith.  If we follow it, then it will be our undoing and our defeat.

Another case for this truth is seen in 1 Samuel 2:6-10, “”The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. 7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. 8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them he has set the world. 9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.

“It is not by strength that one prevails; 10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king

and exalt the horn of his anointed.” If we will believe in the Lord and walk in His ways He will guard our steps and bring us to good success and it isn’t dependent upon our might or ability.

We see the spiritual reality of our enemies being put under our feet in Christ.  While satan may have been deluded in that day to think that he had defeated Christ when he nailed Him to the cross, he simply sealed the Lord’s victory and dominion.  When the Lord was resurrected, He ascended into heaven, He led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men.  He took the keys of dominion and authority back from satan and gave them to the church.  He gave gifts unto men.  He gave spiritual gifts and offices to His church for what reason?  Ephesians 4:12-13 says, “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  Christ gave us the power to crush the head of the serpent under our feet.  He did the hard part, He gave His life to redeem us back to God and take those keys of authority.  Now He has sat down as it says in Hebrew 10:12-14, “12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”  Christ, the head has done His part, now it is up to the body to complete and walk out what He started.  We are His body and as such, we are also His feet.  It is not finished until satan is our foot rest and he has been put under the least and lowest member of the body.  1 Corinthians 15:26-26 says, “25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”  The body must experience and lay hold of the fullness that is in the head.  For it is Christ through His body that must exercise full dominion and power to put all things under His feet.  Ephesians 1: 22-23 tells us, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”  It has to be completed in us. God, in Christ, shared our humanity with us, so that we might share His glory with Him.  Hebrews 12:5-13 says it so well, “5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8and put everything under his feet?   In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers;

in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.”  13And again, “I will put my trust in him.”   And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”  We are the feet of the Lord, dominion and authority is coming from the head through the body till the feet of Christ are rested fully upon the neck of satan as they were on those Amorite kings in the book of Joshua.  He that makes us holy and we that are made holy by him are of one family and one body.  It is the Lord and trust in Him that gives us strength to walk the path of faith and trust even in perilous and trying times.  It is the Lord who strengthens us and gives us help in the battle to overcome the adversary. David expresses these very thoughts in Psalms 18:31-40, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God besides the LORD ? And who is the Rock except our God? 32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. 33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. 34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You give me your shield of victory,

and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. 36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn. 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 39 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.”

Blessings,

#kent

Change

April 18, 2019

Mark 6:12

And they went out, preaching the need for a change of heart in men.

 

Change

 

When you think about it a great deal of life is about change.  One thing that is certain in life is that nothing will stay the same.  While that is true in this realm.  It is not true of God.  Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.”  There is no need to change that which is already perfect.  Our God, who does not change or waiver in His ways and character gives us the stability and confidence to know that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.  His ways are right, good and perfect.  It is in this character, exemplified through the life of the Lord Jesus, that we desire to be changed.  As believers the goal of our change is to be transformed into the likeness, image and character of Christ.  We have come to realize through the Word and through personal experience that the ability to make this change or transformation does not rely solely in our ability to do so.  Thus, we were given the Holy Spirit to indwell us, teach us, correct us and empower us to walk in the direction of change and transformation that is bringing us more and more into the likeness and image of Christ as we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

Now, it should go without saying, that not all change is good.  We can change for the worse as well as the better and we can be as Paul describes in Ephesians 4:14, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”

Our change began with a heart of repentance, when we came to knowledge that our ways were wicked and out of alignment with the will and purpose of God.  We came to understand that the “wages of sin is death” and the only way to change that is by our repentance from our former life of sin and acknowledgement by faith that Jesus paid the price to redeem us out of that sentence of death and judgement.  We came to understand that by aligning ourselves with Him and the Word of God we could begin to affect change in our life that would bring us more and more into His image and likeness; aligning us with His purpose and design for our lives.  We changed our thinking.  We changed the law and the principles that we live under from the law of sin and death to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

One of the hardest things for us as humans, is to change our old habits and ways.  We so often operate out of that definition of insanity that says, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”  We get in these ruts in our lives that are hard for us to break out of.  One preacher said, “A rut is like a grave with both ends knocked out.”  It keeps you in a place of inability to change out of your circumstance.  These ruts or graves, so to speak, are the areas we all contend with and struggle to break free from.  What holds us there are mind sets and dynamics that we may not even fully comprehend or understand.  We may need to go back and seek to discover what it is that inhibits us from moving out of this place.  Sometimes it is a poverty spirit or a spirit passed down from previous generations or any area the needs to be recognized, renounced, repented of and deliverance appropriated through the power and the blood of Christ.  Then we need to begin walking in these right changes by recognizing any time that “old mind set” wants to manifest that it is no longer a part of us and no longer has power over us.  We are free in Christ, we count it as dead and walk in the other direction from how it formerly influenced us.  It goes beyond just our thoughts and regrets to positive action that appropriates that power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and the authority we have in Christ that we have been given over every spirit and stronghold that is not of God.  We begin to walk out of these ruts, graves and bondage, affecting change by our actions, choices, confessions, faith and appropriation of who we are in Christ, because of who He is in us.

Paul says this in Philippians 3:12-14 and 20-21, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”  As we fix our eyes upon our Lord and Savior, we walk each day out in the transforming power of His Spirit within us and we know that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” and is able to change us into His glorious likeness.

Blessings,

#kent

Labels are for Cans

April 17, 2019

John 8:31

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

 

Labels are for Cans

 

Do you ever notice how our culture always likes to put labels on people, as if by a label we can accurately judge the content.  We label people by race, color, creed, religion, denomination, by what your job or career is and by who you hang out with.  Maybe it is just in our nature to categorize people by labels, then we can generically place them where they fit best in our thinking and even our prejudice.

I always hated labels, because every individual is different and while we may share certain commonalties that doesn’t make me a this or a that.  Even in the religious world everyone feels more comfortable if they categorize you by faith, church or denomination.  Immediately, that somehow qualifies us to judge rather this person is on my side or the other side.

Multitudes of people wear the label of “Christian”.  What does that mean, that they were raised to believe in a God or that they really follow Christ?

Jesus didn’t come to gather Christians, He came to make disciples.  A disciple is someone who has more than a casual belief in something; it is a person that follows a certain discipline.  What was the discipline of Christ?  According to John 8:31 it is abiding in His Word, then are you truly a disciple.  It is a lifestyle, not just a belief.  It is the fabric of what you live out of.

In John 13:35 Jesus gives us another qualification and evidence of being His disciple.  “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  Wow, we don’t always see that working among a lot of the so-called body of Christ.  Do your really love your brothers and sisters or just the ones that fit under your label and even there, there is further divisions and discord.

Here is another qualification that Jesus gives us as a disciple in Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continuously.””  Again in Luke 14:27 He says, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”  We have to be willing to go where Jesus went and to suffer what Jesus suffered.  It means, as Paul said in Galations 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

How are we doing so far?  Are we just “Christians” by label or disciples by action and lifestyle?

Luke 14:26 gives us another hard one, “”If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.”  That means that in comparison to our love and commitment to Jesus, not even the ones we treasure and love most in the earth can compare, not even our own selves.  Our service, love, allegiance and commitment is first and foremost to Him.  In comparison to that love, we hate all else.

It is easy for us to get comfortable under the label of Christianity, but that is not what Jesus called us to and that is not what He called us to do.  In Matthew 28:19 Jesus gives us this commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  He didn’t tell us to make Christians or even believers or sell everyone on this ideology.  He told us to go make disciples and how can we do that if we aren’t one?

This should convict all of us of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus and the cost of what He asks us to pay.  Do we just embrace it with our minds or are we walking it out in our lifestyle as we abide in Him?  True Christianity is so much more than just labels it is the content of who we are in Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

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