Strongholds

October 25, 2019

Mark 3:23-27

So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.

 

Strongholds

 

There are strongholds that each one of us deals with in our lives.  Some may be stronger than others, but all of us have dealt with areas of our flesh where we are weak and more prone to failure and sin.  Most all of us tend to want to keep these in the secret places of our closets so others won’t see, but often very ugly things reside behind the closed doors of our home and our hearts.  These strongholds have fettered us and kept us in a state of bondage even as Christians for far too long.  It is most often a love-hate relationship.  We hate our sin and yet we love it too much to let go of it.  As a result we struggle with our hypocrisy, often justifying it or rationalizing it so we can live with this bondage that is crippling our wholeness in Christ.  Many of us live with much guilt and condemnation because we truly love the Lord and yet in these areas that may differ with each one of us, we are weak and seem unable to break free.

The enemy knows our areas of weakness and vulnerability.  These are his inroads to our soul to hinder us and cripple us in walking in obedience in these areas.  No amount of rules or laws are going to deliver us from these sensual or fleshly indulgences.

Paul says this in Colossians 2:19-13, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”  The truth is that Jesus Christ has bound the strong man, disarming his powers and authority.  We now possess in Christ a greater power and authority than that which has bound us.  Verse 10 says ‘you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head over every power and authority.’

So why are we still enslaved by these strongholds of sin and flesh?  God has placed the Spirit of Christ in us to overcome the flesh.  It is easy when someone does everything for you, but it doesn’t help you to grow or to find the strength you need to live in victory.  God has called us to overcome in Christ Jesus.

We plead, “But I have tried and I still fail. I can’t do it.”

That is exactly right, we can’t do it, but we have a power resident within us by which we can.   Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “Therefore, 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.”  The key words here for us are “By the Spirit”.   We have an identity in Christ that we must put on in every area of our lives.  We are no longer identified with the weakness, fearfulness and the lust of our flesh.  We are identified with what we possess which Colossians 2:10 says is the ‘fullness in Christ’.

Colossians 3:1-11 exhorts us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” We must know who we are and where we now reside in the Spirit.  We are not an earthly people any longer, we are a kingdom people with the King of Kings setting upon the throne our hearts and souls.

Some of us cry out in our souls and say, “I want to be free, but I can’t.”  Can’t is not a statement of faith, but of fear and unbelief.  “We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.”  Our greatest enemy is the deceptiveness of sin.  We hide our sin in the closet because of our shame.  We don’t want people to think of us less than spiritual; when in truth we are all struggling with the same garbage.  It doesn’t matter how wicked or perverse the thing is that you struggle with, God sees it and He knows.  It is not His will that this stronghold possesses you and rules over you.  The greatest tactic of the enemy is to get you alone with your sin, like you are the only one going through this. You are not alone.  We all struggle in areas of our life.  Our greatest strength and victory is going to come when we bring our sin and struggles into the light and we allow the body of Christ to stand with us, pray with us and offer accountability to us.  James 3:16 tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  The reason we confess our sins to one another is to bring them into the light, which renders the devil powerless.   He can only work in darkness.  In the light we unite with the strength and support of fellow believers who can pray with us, stand with us and help us to be accountable in those areas where we are so prone to temptation.

It is time for all of us to come out of our dysfunctional state of sin and failure.  Let us help one another in coming into the full freedom and deliverance from these strongholds that have so long crippled and hindered us in our walk and full devotion to Christ.  You are not alone in your struggle.  Surround yourself with other solid believers that you can trust and confide in.  You may find that you are able to help them as much as they can help you.   Let us walk in the light as He is in the light.  No more strongholds!

Blessings,

#kent

 

I am what it says I am, I can do what it says I can do!

 

 

Joshua 1:6-9

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

The word and promise that the Lord gave Joshua so many years ago is as applicable today for us as it was for Him.  The greatest limitations we have are our failure to see and believe God.  “All things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23).”  If we can see it, it is possible.

James 4:1-3 says, “1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  What we need is a heart, mind and soul that are in alignment and purpose with Him to whom we belong.  In order for us to have good success we have to come out from under the darkness and lies that rob us of the truth and into all of the richness heaven holds for us.  We are still conformed to the world in many ways of our thinking and reasoning.  Our perspective is not often one of praying from the mind of the Spirit and the Word of God.  Aren’t most of us caught up in our agendas rather than the Father’s?   We are living this life, so we still need things to work our way; that is often the perspective from which we pray.

God is going to take us through battles, trials and testings to possess our land.  We can not do it if our reliance is upon the natural man.  That is why we meditate upon the Word day and night, so that we may have the mind of Christ.  That is why the Word of God must not depart from our mouth, because it is our authority of truth that dispels the lies and darkness of the enemy.  The spoken Word of God in our mouths drives the stakes and establishes the boundaries of our faith.  Satan can not dwell in light, so light must flood our souls to dispel the deceitfulness of sin.  We have the spiritual armory of God’s Word and its application to defeat our foes.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

God has told us, as He told Joshua, that there are great and mighty things that we are to do.  There are enemies to conquer and victories to be won.  There is a land to possess and promises that need fulfillment.  2 Peter 1: 2-4 makes this bold proclamation, “3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”  Our God is calling us to be a people of divine nature.  We are after the image of our Father; we are called to be the sons of God, a royal priesthood and a holy nation.  Yet, we ignorantly and constantly cling to the attributes and thinking of this lower nature.  It isn’t because God hasn’t provided the means for us or that Christ didn’t die to make it a reality.  It is we ourselves, that fail to grasp the vision, the faith and make the commitment to possess the impossible through the power of God that makes all things possible to him that believes.  Everything in my life has to come into alignment with God’s Word so that the higher principles and laws of the Kingdom of God may take affect in this natural realm.  You are what the Word of God says you are and you can do what the Word of God says you can do.  Do we really believe that and will we fully act upon it?

Blessings,

#kent

God has Plans for You

October 23, 2019

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

God has Plans for You

 

Father did not create you and I for our glory, but for His.  He set us each one in the earth with a purpose and destiny.  He also set us here with a free will to create a future and destiny for our purpose or to see the higher purpose of our being in Him.  Whose destiny are we seeking today, our own, or that which He has purposed for us?  In Christ we are blessed even through tribulation and can be rich even in outward poverty.  We are not what the world sees, we are what the Father has envisioned and purposed us to be.  In the process of bringing us into the riches of His glory we are not going to find ourselves always shiny and pretty, but the Father is processing us for some far better thing than what even we can see at this point in our lives.  2 Timothy 2: 20 says, “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”  God has a noble and holy work for each one of us if we choose to turn away from sin and press into His highest.

What is your purpose in Him?  What vessel for His glory does He desire you to be?  Let us not be content to just be earthenware of common use, but to be the gold and silver of His nature and redemption.  Let us be all that He has created us to be in Him unto His glory and for His praise.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Unchangeable Promise

October 22, 2019

Hebrews 6:13-20 (Amplified)

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

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

 

 

God’s Unchangeable Promise

 

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

The “Be” Attitudes

October 18, 2019

Matthew 5:1-11

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:

3″Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11″Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

The “Be” Attitudes

 

” Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Why would I want to be poor in spirit?  When I become rich in my own eyes I become prideful. I am no longer in a place of need, a place of seeking, openness, wanting and searching.  Psalms 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”  Psalms 34:18 says, “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”  The poor in spirit is a condition of heart that is receptive and desiring of the richness of God’s presence and will in their lives.

 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Mourning is a yearning, hurting and grieving of all that is not conformed to the will and the purpose of the Father.  It is the state of a repentant and contrite heart.  It is always crying out for Abba Father.  It is always travailing until Christ be formed and brought to birth in fullness.  It is the mourning of the death that still operates through sin and all that is in our lives that is less than Him.

 

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

The meek shall inherit the earth, because their strength is not outward, it is inward.  It is the strength of Christ under the control of the Holy Spirit.  It is a strength that is not flaunted or boasted of.  It is a strength that is, because He is.  It gives place to others, it submits to authority, it exalts others above itself and it gives honor where honor is due.  It is often not recognized as strength by natural standards but is the greatest strength by divine standards.

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we do not pray for mere physical substance.  We are praying for Christ to fill us, for He is the bread of life and we must partake of His flesh and His blood daily if we are to have His Spirit life living and operating through us.  Jesus told His disciples in John 4:34, “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work.”  That needs to become our place of hunger and the fulfillment of that hunger is operating in the will and purpose of the Father.  Those who hunger and thirst for this righteousness will be filled.

 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Mercy is the heart of God.  James 2:12 exhorts us, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!”  Romans 2:1-4 reminds us, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”  If you desire mercy, show yourself merciful, forgiving others as God through Christ gave mercy unto you.

 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

What makes us pure in heart but the cleansing blood of Jesus?  As all sinful and impure motives are cleansed away our lives we should have no motive or agenda other than the receiving and the expression of His life in us.  His love is pure and when it fully captures our hearts it makes all things pure in us.  1 Peter 1:22 says, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently.”  In His love and purity we see Him.

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

Peacemakers are a restoration people.  They restore breached and broken walls and relationships.  They bring reconciliation where division has been present.  They help restore man back into a right relationship with his God and Savior. The sons of God reconcile a lost creation back to its God.  They walk by the Spirit to accomplish the work of the Spirit.

 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

 

Those who suffer for righteousness sake see a glory and hope beyond this natural man.  The natural man will not suffer long for that which is spiritually discerned, but the spiritual man who knows the hope that is before him is willing to pay the ultimate price even as Christ paid it for him.  Romans 8:17-18 says, “Now 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. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  Jesus says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  In the world we will have suffering and tribulation, but nothing can separate us from the love of God and we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.  No matter what the cost, our life is His

 

These “be” attitudes are the make-up of kingdom people who have the vision of a spiritual kingdom and walk.  They won’t make sense to the natural world, because they are not the attributes of the natural, but of the spiritual man.  These are the foundation stones upon which we must live and build our daily lives as we are being transformed into His image from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).  Let these attitudes so be in us as they were exemplified in Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

Strength out of Weakness

October 17, 2019

 

Strength out of Weakness

 

2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 

Remember when you were a teenager and you knew everything and mom and dad didn’t have a clue about anything?  In your mind they may have seemed pretty dumb and were just a hindrance to the cool lifestyle you were trying to lead.  A few more years down the road, after you had grown up a little and had to experience life more on your own, you may have begun to think those people may have known a little more than I gave them credit for.  Then, after you were married and had kids of your own, you realized what you had put your parents through and may have been thankful that they had the patience and fortitude to allow you to grow into adulthood.  From that perspective of maturity, when you thought you were invincible and you had the world by the tail, you look back and see how weak and foolish you really were.  You took for granted the support system that was in place holding you up and allowing you to try your wings.  It is usually after a few good crashes that reality starts to set in.

We are often not so much different in our Christian perspective.  We like to see ourselves as having great spiritual wisdom and insight, having faith that can raise the dead and heal the sick and have the devil by the tail with our foot on his neck.  Much like when we were teenagers we sometimes forget the foundation of all that we have.  We get this idea that it is because we are something special and God is lucky to have us on His side.  Then, somewhere along the road we run into a reality check or two that make us rethink who and what we are.  A lot of us think maybe there must be something wrong with God.  We have to discover the truth that God isn’t great in us because of our strengths, talents and abilities; He is great in us because we are weak.

Our scripture today is about what the Lord spoke to Paul in his infirmity.  Here is a man to whom God has imparted spiritual wisdom, power, and the gospel too.  He has been placed in the office of an apostle.  He has been entrusted with writing over half of the New Testament and he can’t even heal or deliver himself.  Did he miss God somewhere?  Is he out of His will?  Is it because of his sin?  Why won’t God answer his prayer and allow him to walk in perfect health, prosperity and blessing?  Could it be because only God could be glorified out of weakness and Paul could then never boast or be tempted to boast in his ability?  His strength was when his only ability or power to boast was in Christ.  He had all kinds of credentials and credibility from a religious standpoint.  He was like a doctor of theology and had the genealogy to go with it.  In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul lets us know that he can match credentials and even persecution with the best of those who came as ministers of light only to deceive and lead others away from Christ.  Now if Paul was God’s right hand man why did he have to go through all those beatings, those persecutions, hunger, shipwrecks, stoning, and infirmities?  He says in 2 Corinthians 11: 29-30, “Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not, If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”  Why was Paul focused on his weakness and not on his strength?  It was because his weakness was his strength.  In his weakness he couldn’t identify with his ability, but only the strength and ability of Christ in him.  As he was laid upon the altar then it was only God’s life that issued out of him to raise and bring others up.  In his death in daily living, others found life, encouragement, hope, faith, strength and power.  He was never sitting up on a pedestal telling everyone to look and listen to him, because he was the oracle and God’s man of the hour.  In 2 Corinthians 4:6-12 Paul gives us further insight into this revelation, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.”

It is evident, that with some, Paul seemed to receive little respect because they were so quickly drawn away to those who wanted to put them again under bondage.  Paul’s greatness was in the One he allowed to live through him.  When Paul wasn’t anything, then Christ could be everything.

Hebrews 11:34 talks about the men and women of faith when it says, “Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”  We have to get a revelation that if we are really going to do anything and be anything for God, it is not going to come out of us, it is going to come out of Christ in us.

Grapes have to be crushed for sweet wine to be made. Gethsemane means “olive press” and until the skin is broken and the pressure applied the oil won’t come forth.  Often this is true of the anointing we have in Christ.   A diamond is a chunk of coal under great pressure.  Pure Gold is excavated and crushed ore that is then refined in the fire and shaped by the goldsmith’s hammer.

If you are that person that may think of themselves as passed over by God because you seem to only reap suffering, pain and hardship; you may be the real gems of God’s garden.  The ones that He wants to perfect His strength in, through your weakness.  You have already come to the place where you know that God’s grace alone is sufficient in your weakness, but through your weakness we will see the manifestation of His strength.  Be encouraged and be strong, God hasn’t begun a good work in you that He cannot perfect or finish.  Hold fast in your faithfulness and He will prove Himself faithful and mighty through you.

Blessings,

#kent

Damage Control

October 16, 2019

 

Damage Control

 

1 John 3:18

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

 

Have you ever experienced those times either in yourself or in others where your words didn’t always follow through in your actions?  How often in our relationships do we offend one another and maybe we are willing to say, “I’m sorry”. Things are okay for a little while and then we slip back into the same old offenses.  Maybe the guys are spending too much time watching sports or playing golf and the wife gets fed up and then blows up.  In the obviously rational discussion that follows the husband sees the error of his ways, apologizes and promises to do better.  Finally, the wife calms down, accepts the apology and life goes back to normal.  Being the creatures of habit that we are, usually sooner than later the husband has slipped back into his old ways and round 2 and 3 and so on continues.  It could be the other way with a wife that likes to shop or go over budget on her spending, for example.  The husband hits the roof and the same type of scenario follows with the wife apologizing to the husband and promising to change.  This same type of thing can play out at work, or in other relationships, where we continue in a behavior until there is a breaking point. Then we do damage control to try to patch the immediate damage, but we never really repent and turn from the behavior that is causing the real problem.  This, no doubt, has much to do with why our divorce rate is at about fifty percent.  If we do that with one another, how much more do we do it with God and His will for our lives?  When we feel the conviction about something wrong in our lives, we so often are prone to cover it with a quick, “I’m sorry, please forgive me,” and then go on our merry way with no real attitude or heart change.  I’m preaching to myself today, because its too easy for us to get caught up in what we are doing and what is important to us that we fail to see and react to the big picture.  Life isn’t all about us.  It is about family, friends, relationships and a balance in our lives that helps us to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of others; the Lord being the first on that list.  Life has many demands upon us.  Most of us are running full tilt boogie just trying to keep up.  We feel the weight and the pressures of all these demands, and it is hard for us to be everything to everybody.  Many of us have become workaholics because there is so much to do and so little time.  As a result, our relationships suffer.  Could this be why the Lord created a Sabbath?  We all need to take that time when we close the work door and say, “this time is set apart just for relationships with God and family.”  We need to do that regularly and purposefully.

Damage control only works for so long.  If a ship were in battle and sustained injury, the crew would do what they had to do to get the ship back up and operational, but that wouldn’t be the permanent fix, it would only be temporary till permanent repairs could be made.  If they continued to operate the ship on “damage control” it would probably eventually sink.  That is where many of us are.  Many of us need to do some permanent fixing starting with our heavenly relationship, then our family and then others.  Our words and apologies must be followed with actions of change.  We tend to neglect the more important people in our lives that love us, thinking they will understand.  Occasionally they will, but we have to change our behavior and place our relationships as the first priority on our list instead of the last.  As I’m talking to myself today, I know I’m speaking to a lot of you.  God’s priorities are people and not things.  A lot of us need real repentance in these areas where we offend and neglect.  Instead of “damage control”, let’s work on some permanent changes that will heal our relationships with our God, our family and others.  We need to make commitments to specific times we set apart just for relationships and then follow through with consistent actions.

” …Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

Blessings,

#kent

Suffer the Little Children

October 15, 2019

 

Suffer the Little Children

 

Mark 10:13-16

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and [his] disciples rebuked those that brought [them.  But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  And he took them up in his arms, put [his] hands upon them, and blessed them.

 

Our children are so often ignored and neglected in spiritual things.  We are faithful to feed them, cloth them and provide them with all manner of toys and devices of entertainment, but in a world that is rampant with perversity and sin are we providing what they need most?  I believe Jesus has time for no others like He does for children.  Their simplicity, their trusting innocence, their complete confidence in us as parents to provide and care for them is exactly what the Lord is looking for in all of us that come to Him.  These are basic Kingdom principles.  The wonder years of our children are the fertile ground in which the love and relationship with the heavenly Father needs to be nurtured and grown.  If we are not planting Life in them, then something else is replacing it and the fruit of it will be death.

Sometimes our children grow up and even though we were faithful to plant the Word of God in their hearts and teach them the ways of the Lord they seem to walk away and turn their backs on the Life we labored to give them.  That is when we stand upon the promise of Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.”  I don’t believe God’s Word comes back void, especially when it is combined with prayer and faith.  So if you have children that have walked away from God, take encouragement from God’s Word and never give up praying and believing.

Let’s be vigilant to nurture and feed the most precious treasure you and your child posses, their soul.  I am so thankful for a mother that nurtured that in me, that taught me about Jesus from an early age and prayed with me every night as a small child.  Through the years of my life there have been times I have walked away and been unfaithful, but the roots of God’s Word and Love have grown deep in my soul and His Love continues to draw me back to Him.  Be faithful in this area with your children and grandchildren.  There is not a more precious investment you can make, than in bringing them constantly to Jesus.  He wants to sit them upon His lap and bless them.  Let us not error as the disciples and hinder them from that place of relationship and time in His presence, but let us be diligent to nurture and develop them to really know their Savior.

Blessings,

#kent

Feelings of Unworthiness

October 14, 2019

 

Feelings of Unworthiness

 

Luke 15:21-24

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put [it] on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on [his] feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill [it]; and let us eat, and be merry:  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

 

I think there are times when we all struggle with thoughts of unworthiness and condemnation as we approach and acknowledge the Lord.  Certainly there is no worth in our efforts or abilities to please God or appease Him for our sins.  Outside of the blood of Christ we could have no right standing and reconciliation with the Father.  Yet the heart of the Father stands at the window day after day and watches for His prodigal son to come home.  When the son came home the reconciliation that took place between the two of them was possible, because of the attitude of both of their hearts.  On the part of the Father there was the attitude of love, mercy, forgiveness and the strong desire for restored relationship.  On the part of the son, his attitude had changed from the arrogant, self-reliant, self-serving and the selfish son that had left the Father, to one who was broken through a revelation of his utter worthlessness and unworthiness that he possessed outside of the Father.  When we get a true revelation of what we are outside of the Father and the utter hopelessness and unworthiness apart from Him, we then have come to a condition and attitude that is right to approach Him.  This time we return in total humility, fearing and respecting our Father.  This time our heart is fully aware of its unworthiness of ever again being called a son.  This time we come with a heart that is broken by the awareness of our sin and repentant with the willingness to fully turn from it.  Both heart conditions were present for the full reunion and reconciliation of the Father and son to take place.

Even as believers, we come to the times in our lives when we have rebelled, been self-willed or let sin enter in.  One day, we wake-up spiritually and realize how bankrupt we have become because we have forsaken the relationship we had with the Father.  We have turned our back on our sonship for selfish pursuits.  Eventually we return to the realization that without the life and the blessing of the Father, we are spiritually blind, poor, wretched and naked.  We have become spiritually bankrupt and void of self-worth.  For a time we are willing to work in the pig pens and the filth of the world we have again partaken of.  Eventually, through the leanness and the spiritual hungering of our soul, we decide that we would like to return to the Father.  We find ourselves living under the cruel taskmaster of guilt, condemnation and unworthiness that is telling us you are totally unworthy and disqualified from ever having a relationship with the Father again.  Maybe you even felt like you had committed the unpardonable sin.  “How could Father ever again love and receive back a wretch and failure like me?”

Our Father is a God of love, forgiveness and reconciliation.  1 Timothy 1:15 says, “This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”  While we may still have to face the consequences of our sin and rebellion the Lord has not shut us out into the cold.  He says, “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psalms 34:19)” If we are willing to return to the Lord with the attitude of brokenness and repentance; then the Lord is willing to receive us and deliver from that taskmaster of condemnation and guilt.  John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Don’t allow the feelings of unworthiness and condemnation rob you from a restored relationship.  All who are in Christ Jesus have come to know that none of us have any standing or worth in God of ourselves.  Jesus paid the price for our sin.  He alone was righteous and worthy.  When we become identified with Him and the cross, He makes us worthy through His righteous blood.  We must simply appropriate what He has already done by faith and obedience to the name of Jesus and the blood of the Lamb.  “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)”

If you are struggling with feelings of unworthiness or if you have strayed or perhaps have yet to find your way to the Father’s house.  Jesus is still the way.  He is the Restorer and the Redeemer of your soul.  With a right attitude of heart and true repentance, return to Him and He will receive you again to Himself.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Enter In, the First Dimension

Jeremiah 7:2

Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all [ye of] Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.

 

When Moses was given instruction by God to build the tabernacle, there were three dimensions to its construction.  There was the outer court where only the Jewish people could come in, those who were the circumcised Jews.  Strangers and uncircumcised could not enter in.  Ezekiel 44:9  says, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that [is] among the children of Israel”

The tabernacle is a very in depth study as God reveals through its structure and protocol an outline of spiritual worship, communion and relationship with God.  We could not begin to touch on all these in this brief discourse.  What the Lord has impressed is to just look briefly at the entrance to each one.  As we come into Christ, the first thing we come to understand is that God is God and that our sin has made a separation whereby we are outside of Him.  In that place of the world, ruled by sin and death we come to understand that all that is outside of Him is subject to the judgement of God because it stands in opposition to Him. The good news is that “God so loved the world, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”  Jesus was the perfect lamb, offered upon the altar of the Cross to make atonement for our sins, to bring us into “at-one-ment” with the Heavenly Father.  By His blood and faith in Him we now, as strangers, uncircumcised outsiders, could find entrance into the outer court experience of salvation and relationship with God.  With that, our relationship with God went from an impersonal, fearful, understanding clouded in ignorance to one where, when we received Him into our hearts by faith, He became a personal, loving, Abba (Daddy) God.  One where we reverence Him with all awe and respect, but one where we know He is a God who is personally interested in every aspect of our lives and existence.

The first thing one encountered when entering the entrance to the outer court of the tabernacle was the Brazen Altar.  This is where the sin offerings were made for the people and the blood of animals was shed as symbol of the life that must be sacrificed for sin and it’s consequences.  Jesus became that for us.  His blood is essential to every dimension that we come into in our spiritual walk with Him.  His blood is our righteousness, it is our covering, protection and sanctification.  Without the blood of Christ we have no place in Him.  There is wonder working power in the Blood and we can never offer enough praise and thankfulness to our Lord who has provided that for us.  Romans 9:10-12 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.”  We have found access and entrance into the outer court whether we are Jew or Gentile through the blood of Jesus and by faith, confessing His name as the Lord of our lives.  This is our salvation entrance.

Blessings,

#kent

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