Neglect

June 28, 2019

 

Neglect

 

Ephesians 5:21

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

 

Does your mind every wander back over the years of your life and you wonder, in retrospect, what you might have done differently to make them even, better, more productive and more loving.

It occurs to me that I will never regret not yelling or being angry with my wife more, but I may well regret the time and attention I neglected to give her.  I’ll never regret the times I spent playing with my kids or grandkids and the special memories they created, but I may well regret all of the times I was to busy or involved to take the time with them.  Neglect is often something we are not even aware of when it is happening.  Usually we have sufficient other priorities to justify it when it is taking place.

In life the most beautiful and productive gardens are those that are constantly tended with a loving hand.  Hours are spent watering, fertilizing, planting, pruning, pulling weeds, spraying for insects and all the things that make for a beautiful garden.  Will you and I regret that we didn’t spend more time in our gardens nurturing the human relationships that God has allowed in our lives?  Will we even remember, what it was, that was so important that we didn’t make the time for those most important in our lives?

Perhaps our gardens aren’t so pretty today, because they have been neglected.  Our time and our love can do wonders to restore life and relationship if it comes from our heart.  People are no doubt the most important thing on God’s heart.  If I am becoming more like Him they should be more important to my heart as well.  Especially the ones God has given me responsibility for or accountability too.

Maybe today is a good day to go out and work in the garden of relationship.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Today is the Day to Hear His Voice

 

Hebrews 3:7-11

7So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, 9where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. 10That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

 

Perhaps the greatest purpose God has for what is written here is to stir us to pursue His highest and to know that we are on the threshold of His hour of visitation.  A situation and event like 9/11 might have been prevented had certain people not have become complacent or more worried about being politically correct than about responding to the warnings and indications of this impending attack.  Today the Lord is giving us warnings to prepare our hearts as never before.

Satan is ever at work to dull down our spiritual nerve center.  We, like our Jewish predecessors have become hardened of heart and dull of spiritual hearing.  Our minds tell us that things will go on as they have been.  Tomorrow we will buy and sell, marry and give in marriage and life will go on as it always has.  Doesn’t Jesus warn us that He will come as a thief in the night?  The people that fell in the wilderness and failed to enter in are the same ones that Moses led out of Egypt with mighty deliverance.  Many of us have experienced salvation, but our hearts have become hardened and we are testing God through our rebellion and disobedience.

“ THE HOLY SPIRIT SAYS, “TODAY, IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS…”  The Holy Spirit is blowing a trumpet in our ear, but some of us have become too deaf to hear it.  If this were our last week to live before you died, how would you live it?  Would your priorities change?  Would things suddenly become important that you typically took for granted?  How would our life and outlook change?  Would we be preparing and getting in a state of readiness in the areas of both our spiritual and natural relationships?

The Lord is continually warning us and exhorting us to move our lives into the place of faith and obedience.  He wants us to move into the place of His rest.  That is a place is where we cease with the activities of the flesh and our efforts and we begin to rest our lives in who He is, what He is and what we are in Him.  We all tend to identify and define ourselves by who we are and what we do in this world, but Christ wants us identified with who we are in Him.  The deceitfulness of sin will harden our hearts and prevent us from entering into the rest that God has for us.  Perhaps today is the day you and I need to bow before the Almighty with a heart of repentance and brokenness for where and how we have strayed from Him.  Today is the day to open up our spiritual ears and hear what the Spirit would say to the churches.  The “rest” of God is found in our faithfulness, trust and obedience to Him.  God is calling forth and preparing His overcomers to inherit and possess the riches of His glory, but they have to have ears to hear and a heart that is tender and compliant to obey.

We have entered a new day in the Spirit.  It is a Sabbath day, a Holy day, and a day for the people of God to come and bow before their Maker.  Today is the DAY to begin to hear the voice of the Spirit of God and harden not your hearts.

Blessings, #kent

Beyond the Veil

June 26, 2019

 

Beyond the Veil

 

Hebrews 10:19-21

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

 

 

The term veil is only used about seven times throughout the Word of God.  The first and only time it is used in the Old Testament is in the Song of Solomon.  “I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, [and] was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.  The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I [am] sick of love. (Song of Songs 5:6-8).”  In Middle East culture we know that the veil for the woman is a sign of modesty and that she would normally only unveil herself before her husband or intimate lover.  The Song of Songs or the Song of Solomon is a book that most consider being a symbolism of Christ and the Bride.  Viewing it in this light we see in this passage that the maiden or bride is in pursuit of her beloved who has withdrawn himself.  The watchmen of the city find her.  Now the watchmen might be viewed as the religious ones that had charge of watching over the spiritual affairs of the city, perhaps not so unlike the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day.  Not so unlike Jesus, we find that this maiden is not commended for her pursuit of her beloved, but smitten and wounded.  In addition, the keepers of the walls, those that uphold the religious institution, take away her veil.  Her modesty has been removed and she is exposed and shamed by the watchmen and the keepers of the wall.  It is not uncommon that when one gets passionate and is in desperate pursuit of relationship with God that they encounter persecution.  Quite often, it is religious persecution.  When you deviate from the mainstream of religious thinking it often leads to paying the price for not conforming to traditional thinking.  Perhaps the greatest fear of the religious people is that someone who is laying hold of the anointing and the presence of God in a way that they are not able to do, exposes how shallow their relationship really is.  There is a jealousy and a fear of the loss of control and honor.

However, all of this does not deter the maiden as she pursues her beloved even among the mainstream of Jerusalem or Christianity.  What motivates this maiden to such extreme action and determination?  She is sick with love.  She is so love struck with her beloved that nothing can separate her from His love and her love for Him.  She will pay any price and go to any lengths to lay hold of Him.

Have we ever had those times in our lives when we felt that strong love and desire for Christ, but He had withdrawn Himself?  We sought Him in prayer, worship, in church, but we couldn’t find His presence.  Sometimes our Lord withdraws Himself, not out of displeasure with us, but to prove our love and desire for Him.

Why knock yourself out?  Can’t you just be content being one of the daughters of Jerusalem, just one of the redeemed of the Lord, one the virgins without number or the concubines of the King?  This woman was in pursuit of the most intimate place with her beloved.  She was so love sick that she would settle for nothing less than all of Him.  She desired marriage.  She desired oneness and unity that she could find nowhere else.  She desired a level of relationship that exceeded the normal.  She desired to enter into that place within the veil, in the presence of the Almighty, where her life was consumed in Him.

The passage here in Hebrews tells us that we can have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.”  Jesus has made a way for all of us to enjoy and experience His salvation, presence and access to the Father.  There has been a way made for all of us to enter in through the full assurance of faith.  How much do we desire not just an encounter, not just an experience, not just a general acceptance, but an intimate relationship with our Beloved?  How lovesick are we for His manifest presence in our lives and that place where we walk with Him and talk with Him and hear His voice? There has to be a full unveiling of our hearts to Him, before we will fully see and experience His fullness toward us.  What we have formerly seen in a foretaste and in a measure, do we fervently desire in fullness?

Blessings,

#kent

 

Matthew 6:11

Give us this day our daily bread.

 

Our Daily Bread

 

Bread has long been viewed as a basic staple of life.  Bread speaks to nutrition and the sustenance that sustains our lives.  As Christians we know bread both on a natural and a spiritual plane.  The first mention we have of bread is in Genesis 3:18, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”  Natural bread is a type of the natural nutrients and foods we must eat to sustain our natural lives.  Our own sweat and efforts produce natural bread, while it sustains our physical life for a time; it gives place to death.

In Exodus 16:4 God takes bread to another level with the children of Israel in the wilderness.  “Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”  Here we see in type, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  God faithfully gave them daily what they needed to sustain them.  He taught them that their security wasn’t in gathering too much and hoarding it to themselves, then taking their ease.  They could only gather as much as they needed for the day or it would go rotten on them and be filled with worms and corruption.  This is where I find a lesson of faith for my own life.  I, like many of you, start to worry about whether there will be enough latter on when I am currently in the days of plenty.  I don’t think that saving and preparation are bad principles, but often it is more a condition of the heart.  I find that the less I have the tighter I hold on to it.  My trust becomes more in what I possess and me, rather than in my Father and what He is able to daily provide for me.  God shows me this principle.  My wife and I each have our own businesses that we help each other in.  I find that as I try to hold back and not spend too much, I consequently seem to never have enough.  My wife on the other hand, doesn’t worry about it so much.  She is not an excessive spender, but on the other hand if she sees something she wants or needs she just gets it and doesn’t worry about.   She seems to always have enough not only for herself, but to bless others as well.  Her resources never seem to run dry.  I believe God has been trying to teach me this spiritual principal, that He is our daily bread, physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially.  Our faith and obedience are demonstrated, as we are not so worried about tomorrow, but faithful in that which He has given us for today.

The fulfillment of the type of the bread of heaven is seen fully in Jesus Christ.  Jesus says in John 6:51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:58 goes on to say, “This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” There is a daily bread that Jesus tells us to pray for every day.  It is not just for natural sustenance, but it is for our eternal and spiritual life.  I believe this daily bread extends to the daily needs of our physical man, but it is by no means limited to that realm.  It is the supplication for the supply of Life that is only resident in us through Christ Jesus.  As our eyes and hearts are set upon Him, our reliance for our daily needs, both physical and spiritual are met in Him who is our daily Manna from heaven.  Each day we must trust, gather Him in and partake of Him afresh.  Otherwise our manna will become old, stale and rancid.  We need fresh manna, fresh bread and that only comes as we personally approach the throne of grace and make our request for more of Him, be made known.

Maybe you are physically and spiritually malnutritioned because you are not coming to the Bread of Life on a daily basis and eating from His bakery.  Our daily bread comes with our daily relationship with Him.  Come and sit as His table, give thanks and partake of your daily Bread.

Blessings,

#kent

Who are You?

June 24, 2019

 

Who are You?

 

Ephesians 1:3-14

 

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

 

 

The emphasis of so much of what is written in these papers deals with who we are in Christ.  Why is that so important and such a big deal?  If you never fully comprehend and lay hold of the revelation of who you are “in Christ”, how then will you ever have the faith to lay hold of your destiny, calling and predestination?  How will you ever be what Christ has chosen for your life?  Brethren, we have such a high and holy calling that it is difficult for the finite natural mind to fully comprehend it.  Yet by the mind and revelation of the Holy Spirit we can.  Let us put on the mind of Christ as we look at this passage in Ephesians.  Comprehend with me that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.  You and I have been created with a destiny.  We have been predestined to be God’s sons and daughters through Jesus Christ.  Not only have we been freely given redemption through His blood and forgiveness of our sins in accordance with the riches of God’s grace, but He has also given us wisdom and understanding.  With that wisdom and understanding He has made known to us the mystery of His will, which He purposed in Christ to be put into effect when the times have reached their fulfillment, to bring all things in heaven and earth together under one head, even Christ.

Stop and meditate for a moment on what the scripture has just told us.  Destiny is fulfilled in a person who is purposed in that in which they have been called.  Without purpose and without vision how will you fulfill your destiny?  Our natural mind isn’t going to grasp and lay hold of what God has called us too, it is only by the mind and wisdom of the Spirit of God that we will see it, seize it and realize it.

We don’t often hear a lot of preaching about our destiny and calling in Christ.  We hear a lot about getting saved, living a good life and going to heaven and I would take nothing away from that, but there is more.  Peter speaks of it in Acts 3:19-21, “19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.”  We, who are in Christ, groan within ourselves because we long to fully put off this body of sin that we may put on Christ in His fullness.  As we have quoted many times in Romans 8:22-25, “22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  Verses 28-30 go on to say, “28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Presently, the Word tells us we have the foretaste and the earnest or the down payment on that which is to come. It is a done deal, but it has its time to be revealed.  Meanwhile we have two ways to view our destiny, either count it as off in the future and just live for the present or by faith seize the promise and calling before us and set our faces to press into the destiny God has given us.  This destiny is not determined by whether we are physically alive at the day of its arrival, but by how we laid hold of the vision and pressed into it by faith in our generation.  Even as Paul proclaims in Philippians 3:12-16, “12Not 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.

15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”  God has marked your life for great things, but you must know and act upon who you are in Him.  Be faithful where you are at, but constantly realizing that your destiny and calling is about who you are in Christ and how you are living that out now.

Blessings,

#kent

Savor the Laver

June 21, 2019

 

Savor the Laver

 

Exodus 38:8

And he made the laver [of] brass, and the foot of it [of] brass, of the lookingglasses of [the women] assembling, which assembled [at] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

 

The brass laver was a piece in the tabernacle of Moses between the holy place and the brazen altar that the priests would come to wash themselves before their service.  Exodus 40:30-32 tells us, “And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash [withal And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the LORD commanded Moses.” The laver provided the facility for washing both when ministering to the people and when ministering to the Lord.  The fact that it was made of the highly polished looking glasses of women spoke of its ability to reflect back to the one washing, their image and likeness.  God’s Word is like a laver in that it gives us a standard of God’s character and righteousness and helps us to examine ourselves for who we are in the light of that standard.  God’s Word can provide the introspection we so desperately need to see and wash the areas of sin and blemishes from our lives.  This practice of washing was obviously a routine event that took place quite frequently as the priest would minister and serve.  It is one we should practice in ministering within our own household.

Ephesians 5:25-27 gives us some insight into the spiritual application of this piece of the tabernacle furniture.  It says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  The Lord gives us the Word to wash us and the Holy Spirit to be the polished brass that reflects our image so that we might see ourselves as He sees us.  The Word of God has that power to transform our lives and wash away our uncleanness as we apply it to our minds, our thinking, our actions and our words.  It is what translates to us the mind and purpose of God for us, as well as helping us to see where we are in light of that.

Please understand that God doesn’t give us the Word to condemn us, but to convict us.  We were already under condemnation before we came to Christ, so the Word acts as introspection that reveals our sin so that we may repent, be washed and delivered out of our sin through the blood of Jesus.  The Word speaks in several places about the need for us to judge ourselves, so that God doesn’t need to judge us.  Whenever the Lord’s Supper or Communion was administered the partakers were exhorted to examine their own hearts and motives so that they didn’t partake of the Communion with sin still active and present in their lives.  1 Corinthians 11:27-32 says, “27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.”  It is important for all of us to perform this self-examination in the light of God’s Word continually and respond to the evidence of sin in our lives by ridding ourselves of it.  If we judge ourselves in this manner then we avoid the need for the Lord’s discipline to come upon us and deal with us in a more severe manner.  This is true for all of us, but the ministers and the leadership of God’s house has even a greater responsibility in this cleansing, because they are the ones who help to wash the rest of the saints by giving forth the Word of God.  This is a time when we are seeing God beginning to reveal and judge the sin in His house.  It will start with the ministry of greater accountability and will follow down from there.  1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

James 1:21-25 sums up the spiritual aspect of the laver quite well, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”  We need to savor the laver, judging our own selves in the light of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s conviction.  The laver was not just to look into, but to wash in, through this washing we can be the instruments and ministers who can effectively serve both the Lord and man.  It is essential that we are clean and right before the Lord.

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn [yourselves] from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. (Ezekiel 18:30)”

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Heavens of Desolation

 

Habakkuk 3:17-19

17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD , I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

 

What becomes of our faith and confidence in God in the midst of our trials, testings, and perhaps desolation, even when we have sought to put our faith in God?  Has He failed us, is His arm short that He cannot save us?  Has He forgotten us, forsaken us or cast us aside?  As I read this passage in Habakkuk this morning I was moved by the attitude of the prophet in the midst of his desolation.  Here He is saying if all else collapses, if everything around me fails to produce and if I lose all that I have; “yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”  One of the biggest hurdles we have, to get over, is that natural circumstances really have nothing to do with God and His faithfulness.  We most often want to use our circumstances as a barometer and thermometer of how close we are to God, by how much we are blessed and how well things are going.  What do we do then with those desolate times, when circumstances would indicate that God has forsaken us?  All the natural indicators around us would tell us God isn’t with you in your desolation.  Was God in Job’s desolation?  Was He in Joseph’s desolation in Egypt?  Was He in David’s desolation as Saul sought and hunted him like an animal to take his life?  Was God in Christ Jesus’ desolation at Gethsemane and the Cross?  Even Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

We have no problem thanking God and recognizing Him in our blessings and when life is good.  What do we do when the times come that try our souls, test our faith and our head is filled with voices of God’s unfaithfulness?  It is the winepress and the crushing of the grapes that determines the true nature of the wine.  These are the times and the places we must, like the prophet Habakkuk, know how to walk upon the high places and in the heavenlies when calamities befall us.  We must come to know heaven even in the times of desolation and despair.  Much of the Psalms were written in this very place.   In them we can hear each one of our own cries to God, as at the same time we are reminding ourselves of God’s great salvation.  In them we can see the encouragement that can be derived and the faith that can be stirred up, by remembering our God and His mighty acts.  We remember that He said He would never leave us or forsake us.  Psalm 73:23 says,” Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”  Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19-20, “19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We must not ever let the circumstances around us dictate the presence of God in our lives.  Our feelings are not the best indicators of our spirituality.   Our spirit man within us, that in-Christed-One within us, is the anchor of our souls.  It is from the wells of His life within us that we draw forth the living waters in the days of drought. It is the living Word and manna that we eat in the days of our wilderness and hunger.  Matthew 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”  This is why Habakkuk could sing, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation The LORD God [is] my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ [feet], and he will make me to walk upon mine high places…” Only the people of God can truly know the place of heaven in such times.  Only they can know the joy of their God and rejoice in His salvation when calamity fills the earth around them.  Our circumstances are not our God.  Our God is the Lord of our circumstances no matter what they may proclaim to the contrary.

If your circumstances and desolation are bringing you down today, come rejoice in the Lord, come up into the heavenlies with the spirit of praise, worship and remembrance of His wonderful acts.  Let faith arise in your hearts.  The Lord is your strength and He will cause you to stand.

Blessings,

#kent

A Matter of the Heart

June 19, 2019

A Matter of the Heart

 

Mathew 13:19

While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside.

 

“Our mind must bring our mortal man into agreement with who we are as a spiritual being.”  Jesus likens the gospel of the kingdom unto a seed planted in the ground.  The type of soil that it falls into has everything to do with its success in taking root, growing up and bearing fruit.  This has to do with the condition of our hearts.  In this parable from Mathew 13 Jesus describes a number of conditions in which the seed doesn’t take root or if it does, why it doesn’t remain and become fruitful.

Our hearts, spiritually speaking, are made up of our soul and spirit.  We have already discussed how Christ came to reside in our spirits when we asked him into our hearts.  Our souls are made up or our mind, will and emotions.  These constitute how we relate to the Lord both initially and throughout our relationship with Christ.  It is the realm of the soul wherein lies the battle for the kingdom of heaven.  A person who has received Christ and given themselves to God, has the desire to press in with their soul and possess what they already possess in the spirit.  This is what the Bible terms walking in the Spirit.  What was not possible before, is now made possible because of the power of Christ in us.  Romans 8:2-5 puts it in this perspective, “2For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], 4So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]. 5For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and  seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.”  Self has been dethroned and Christ has been enthroned in our hearts.  We now operate under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  What we could not do in ourselves, Christ has done for us, so it is now a matter of bringing the soul into alignment with the law that has been written upon our hearts.  It is the law of the kingdom and the Holy Spirit is its administrator.

In this lower realm of heaven where the souls of natural men abide we find that there is still a war going on for our souls.  In this realm we find principalities, powers and rulers of darkness still in operation and launching assaults first to keep us from coming into the kingdom of God, but then once we have, there is still the assaults to rob it from us.  It is our soul that is caught between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.  The difference is that now that we are in Christ, we are equipped with spiritual armor, the Word of God and the power of God to do battle with this enemy of our soul.  Still there is a responsibility that lies with each of God’s children to utilize what God has provided us.  There is the need for continual vigilance to align our minds and our thinking with the mind of Christ and the Word of God.  If satan can deceive or get a hold of our minds then he can pull us down from our relationship and intimacy with Christ.  He can pervert and pollute our walk and put us again under the bondage of the flesh.  He desires to bring us back again under the mindset of the law of sin and death.  On one hand he seeks to corrupt us and on the other he seeks to condemn us when we step in his corruption.  The more condemnation we feel and give place too the less faith we have to lay hold of God’s promises and His Word.  There is a war in the heavenlies of our soul.  In this realm of the kingdom of heaven the battle is still going on.  We are in it and we must be mindful of it.  Ephesians 6:10-18 exhorts us, “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. 14Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, 15And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace, 16Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. 17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. 18Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).”  Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.”

The soul is the spiritual battleground where the war must be won and the kingdom of God established.  Christ has given us the victory and He has sat down at the right hand of the Father till His enemies be made His footstool.  We are the feet and the body that must carry out the victory and establish the kingdom of heaven in this earth through the power of Christ within.

Blessings,
#kenta

 

The Footsteps of Service

 

John 13:1-17

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Delight in the Lord

June 17, 2019

 

Delight in the Lord

 

Psalms 37:4

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

 

What is it that we find our greatest joy and delight in?  We love doing and partaking of what we enjoy in life.  What gives us true pleasure and fulfillment?  While we would all like to be spiritual and say, “my delight and pleasure is in the Lord”.  The truth is, for many of us, while we love the Lord and believe in Him, he isn’t our first delight.  The Lord may be on our agenda, but He may not be the One we are completely focused upon and take the greatest pleasure in.  Whether we acknowledge it or not we have a list of the things we most delight in and they have to do with where our heart is.  Many times we won’t even acknowledge where our heart, desire and delights are because we are in denial of it.  If you ask yourself where do you spend the most of your time when you have a choice about it, what would your answer honestly be?  The Lord isn’t beating us up because we have other interests or things that we enjoy, but His pleasure is in those who delight in Him and have Him at the top of their agenda as the one they delight in the most.

The truth be known, it is hard for us to give even one day to really focus and delight ourselves in the Lord.  Sunday comes and we may go to church or have some sort of worship service, but then we go about our day and we do our own pleasure.  We feel satisfied because we have given God His due.  Now it is our turn to delight ourselves in the things we enjoy.  Listen to something the Lord speaks in Isaiah 58:13-14, “If you turn away your foot from [traveling unduly on] the Sabbath, from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a [spiritual] delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor Him and it, not going your own way or seeking or finding your own pleasure or speaking with your own [idle] words, 14Then will you delight yourself in the Lord, and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed you with the heritage [promised for you] of Jacob your father; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.”  As much as we all hate to admit it, so much of what we do for the Lord is token gestures of obligation, obedience or religious habit, but they are not because we truly delight in the Lord.  If we wonder why God doesn’t seem to hear our prayers and why we are not connecting with Him we need to read Isaiah 58.  Our superficial religious actions are no substitute for delighting ourselves in His ways.  The Father is looking for a love, a joy and delight for Him and His ways that comes from our heart, not our sacrifice.

Jesus teaches us that ‘where our heart is there will our treasure be also’ and ‘to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.’  He is not trying to condemn us or beat us up because our delight is in other things.  The truth is, it is not always easy to delight yourself fully in the Lord because it is often a death to self.  Our flesh doesn’t want to stay still in His presence very long.  Like a restless child, tt wants to get up and go do what it delights in doing.  Truly delighting in the Lord is an acquired taste.  It comes about through a longing, desiring love toward Him as the lover of our soul.  It comes through an intimate relationship where Christ truly becomes our heart’s desire, our manna and our focus of life and living.  Like any relationship, it must to be cared for and maintained.  Some of us have had that and we’ve allowed other things to come in that have slowly disrupted our flow and delight in the Lord.  We still love Him, but we find that we are not delighting in Him as we once did.  Perhaps the cares of this world and the demands of life have shifted our focus.  The wonderful thing about the Lord is that He is always standing with open arms to welcome us back into His presence.  He is not mad at us, but He does long for that relationship where we can truly delight in Him and in His presence.  Make the time for your intimacy with Him.  Come fall so deeply in Love with Him again that He is the delight of your heart and soul.  “Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Our chief desire should be Him.

Blessings,

#kent

 

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