Shadows of Blessing

November 29, 2019

 

Shadows of Blessing

 

Song of Songs 4:6

Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.

 

Shadows are cast by other objects or persons.  They are often not clearly distinct but can give some semblance of the real object they are cast from.  All through the Word of God, God has used types and shadows to signify and represent the reality which was yet to be revealed.  God uses natural things or shadows to show forth the image of the heavenly things which we haven’t been able to fully grasp and lay hold of.  Old Testament types and shadows symbolized in many ways, dimensions and facets the life and salvation through Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is seen in His presence in three facets, what was, what is and what is to come.  The Old Testament represented “what was”, the sin, the law and righteousness of God and the sacrifice and atonement for sin.  As God’s plan of the ages unfolds in the fullness of Christ we see it in these stages.  The New Testament brought us Christ revealed in the flesh, “what is”, the New Covenant sealed in the blood of the Lamb of God. There we met God face to face in a human and natural sense.  There we saw the reality of many of the Old Testament prophesies, types and shadows fulfilled and revealed in the person of Christ and the birth of the Church, His Bride.  But still we are looking for “what is to come”; the final revelation of Christ in all of His majesty and glory.  We are looking for His “parousia”, presence or coming when we are fully caught up into Him and revealed with Him in His glory.  This is the day break when all the shadows will flee away and Christ shall be revealed in all of His fullness, splendor and glory.   2 Peter 1:19 exhorts us, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”  The Word of God and the Holy Spirit are our illumination and understanding in the shadow lands of our spiritual understanding.  It is what is pointing us forward, instilling hope and faith to look unto the fullness of the day when Christ arises as the morning star in our hearts and is manifest in His holy nature within our beings.  It will be as 2 Thessalonians 1:10 puts it, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”  Christ is not only revealed outwardly, but within us… His saints, His holy temple, His bride. 

            Meanwhile, where is this Christ that we await in His glory and splendor?  I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”  The myrrh and frankincense were elements used in the holy anointing oil and in the incense.  They sought to give myrrh to Jesus on the cross and gold, frankincense and myrrh were the gifts the wise men brought Him in His youth.  Here again we see in shadow that Jesus is dwelling in the heavenlies of our spirit man.  He inhabits that place where we are filling up the sufferings of Jesus through a life poured out in living sacrifice to Him.  It is in the place of spiritual praise where we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth and He inhabits the praises of His people.  It is in the place where we operate out of His life and anointing in our daily lives and ministry. 

            Men, in the Old Testament, like Joseph and David, were men destined for rulership and spiritual leadership. They were men of outstanding blessing and anointed of the Lord.  Through much of their lives they lived only in the shadow of that blessing; through faithfulness, obedience and a vision that wouldn’t fail, there came a day when they entered into the fullness of their calling and inheritance as we will enter into ours if we faint not in the shadow of our blessing.

Blessings,

#kent

Romans 8:28-30

And 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.

 

Called According to His Purpose

 

At some point in life we all ask the questions about who we really are, what is our purpose and what is my life really about?  I remember going through this in college.  I had grown up in a wonderful Christian home with parents and grandparents that were godly and had always taught me about Jesus.  I had a relationship with Jesus, but it had always been built on mom and dad’s values.  Now I had to figure out, are my values and purpose the same as theirs’?  I went through my times of worldliness and self.  What I found was that I was going through the actions of having fun, partying and living my life, but at the end of the day it left me feeling empty and without purpose.  Fortunately it didn’t take me too long to realize that the same Lord and Savior I grew up knowing through my parents was the same Lord that brought reason and purpose into my life.  As I began to turn my heart back to Him and seek Him for more, what I discovered was there was so much more to the Christ-filled life than just church, messages about salvation and trying to live a good life.  I began to find relationship with Christ in a dimension that I had not previously known before.  I began to get that sense of His destiny and calling in my life.  Many of you may have had similar experiences in how God has called you into His purpose and eternal destiny. It amazes me as I look back over the years and see how many times the Lord has had His hand upon me, protecting and preserving me, teaching and instructing us, keeping us from massive blunders, because we sought His counsel and asked Him to direct our paths.

I am just speaking from my heart here.  God can be so near and so real at times and seemingly so distant at others.  There are times in your life when you know they are God moments, events and happenings.  Then there are those times of desperation when we call out to God and it doesn’t seem He hears or answers.  Does that mean His calling or His purpose has changed concerning us?  No, He doesn’t change, neither does He repent of the gifts and callings He has placed in our lives.

It is easy to love and trust someone when they are always there, always doing and providing for you, but what about when they pull away, when they disappoint you and you become disillusioned?  Do you still love them the same?  When you are in the heat of the battle and there are no reinforcements are you still as committed to fighting the good fight or do you just want to give up and quit or die?

There is a vision I heard shared, I believe by Gene Edwards, and the short version went in effect like this.  ‘Jesus came down the road and met three women one day.  The first he embraced, kissed and covered with attention.  His love was so evident to her.  The second He placed His hand on her shoulder  and gave her a reassuring smile.  The third woman He verily glanced at as He walked by her.  When the recipient of this dream or vision questioned the Lord about why He acted differently to the three women.  Why did He seem to love the first one so much and the last one so little?   He was shown that the first woman is like a new Christian.  They need to touch and feel the Lord’s love so they know He is real.  The second woman had known and walked with Jesus.  She knows He is real, but still needs that reassurance of His love.  The third woman knows Jesus so intimately that Her love for Him is not based on His showing outward affection or love.  She just knows that she knows, that she knows.  Rather she sees the evidence of God’s moving or presence, her faith is not shaken, because she simply knows that He is.’  As we mature in Christ that third woman is the place that He is taking us, because she, that was outwardly loved the least was truly loved the most.  She knew her purpose and who she was in Christ.  Outward circumstances could not shake that from her.

In Jeremiah 1:5 what God spoke to His servant Jeremiah He is speaking to all of us that are called according to His purpose.  ” “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  Know that all things are working for the good of those that are called according to His Purpose, even if they don’t seem good at the time.  Know Him, trust Him and don’t allow anything to move you away from your purpose in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Patience in the Midst of Tribulation

 

Romans 5:3-5

And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And patience, experience; and experience, hope And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

 

There is not one of us who has always seen an immediate answer to our prayers and need.  Many of us may have been trusting the Lord for years for certain things, maybe a healing, a loved one’s salvation or a deliverance from some weakness in our lives.  Perhaps we have become discouraged along the way and have wanted to give up.  Maybe we have.  Isaiah 59:1 says, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” In many cases the Lord says it is our iniquities and sin that has made a separation between us and our God, but that is not the only thing that hinders or delays our answers to prayer.

If you had two boys very similar in most ways, but you took one of them and everything he wanted or asked for he received immediately.  There was nothing denied him, nor did he have to wait for that which he asked for.  On the other hand the other boy was taught that not everything is given just because you ask for it or want it.  In some cases the answer was “no”.  While the boy’s needs were met and he didn’t go hungry some things came after a time of patiently waiting.  Some things were gained through diligence and hard work.  While not everything came to him right away, he discovered that through obedience and trust in his benefactor and provider, most things did come to him in due time.  As the boys grew to be adults who do you think grew to be the most responsible, appreciative, humble, patient, related best with others and had the best work ethic?

Some of us may have a concept of God as a celestial Santa Claus.  Whatever we ask or believe for should automatically appear.  God is not a Santa Claus.  He is a loving heavenly Father who loves his children dearly.  Hebrews 12:2-29 is a great account concerning the discipline of the heavenly Father.  Please read it if you can.  It tells us that because our Father loves us He chastens, disciplines and corrects us.  If you are not experiencing this, then maybe it is because you don’t belong to Him and are not His child.  It is this discipline through our trials and tribulations that trains us up in His character and likeness.  It teaches us to trust Him, based not on our sense realm, but on faith in His Word.

Which makes the best stew, one in which all of the ingredients are just added to water, or one in which it is then put upon the stove brought to a boil and then simmered for a good length of time and seasoned just right?

What some of us may have considered God’s unfaithfulness or lack of response, may be the test of our faithfulness to Him.  Job’s response to God when satan took all that he had and counted dear to him, leaving him desolate, childless and in pain and misery was:  “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Job 1; 20-22).”  In Job 5:17 the statement is made, “Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:”

What we learn in our walk with God is that He is God and we are not.  He sets the conditions and the standards according to His Word.  We have to be willing to count Him faithful even when God doesn’t come through on our terms or way of thinking.  He is the Creator and we are the created.  Will the pot say to the potter, “Why did you make me this way?”  We are being fashioned after the image of His likeness.  He showed us the way in the life of Jesus.  Ultimately that way is leading us to the same end through the cross that we may in turn experience the power of His resurrection life.  In Acts 14:22 it says that Paul was “Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God”.

We are a blessed people.  We serve a great and wonderful Lord.  We have all, no doubt, tasted of the richness of His goodness and mercy.  While we hear much ministry today about prosperity and blessings which is certainly a part of our inheritance, we must remember also James 1:2-4 which exhorts us, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

It may be that we are looking for the prosperity and blessings, instead are finding ourselves in the midst of tribulation and trials.  There are seasons for all things, but know this: Romans 8:28-31 encourages us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.   Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?”  Have Patience…

Blessings,

#kent

Life in the Spirit

November 25, 2019

 

Life in the Spirit

 

John 6:63

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.”

 

We know all about that life in the Spirit.  We have heard it all before.  Then why do we spend so much time still in the flesh, operating out of fleshly mindsets, thinking and behavior?  What we have heard with our ears and received with our minds has it become revelation and truth to our hearts?  Are we going through the motions, but not experiencing and living out the reality of Spirit Life.  John 6:63 says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.” The Word of the Lord must become a quickening fire within us.  It must burn up the chaff and refuse, while at the same time replacing it with Kingdom principles for divine living.  Life change is brought about within us not just by a written word, but by a quickening word, one that brings about change of mind, thinking and doing.

“God, speak into our hearts change from the mundane, the ordinary, the routine and the way we have always done it.”  We need the fire of the Holy Spirit within our bellies; we need joy in our hearts and purpose in our walk.   We need God’s Word for our life and His Spirit power at work in us to bring it to pass.  We are like little ships floating about in the ocean. They need a captain, they need direction and they need purpose.  Some of us feel rather aimless in our lives because we are lacking some of these elements.  We may have prayed about them, but we may feel we are rather clueless as far as where God wants to take us and what He wants to do with us.  Don’t feel bad, that ship doesn’t know where it is going either, but if it has a good Captain, then He knows the destination.  The ship merely has to respond to the Captain’s direction and course.  Our functions and focus in life might change, but our purpose is always to be whatever and wherever our Captain directs for our use.  Where our ship gets in trouble is when mutiny or rebellion arises in our heart and we decide we want to determine our direction and purpose.  Because we have a will and the right to exercise it, we can do that, but then we go off course from where our Captain would take us and how He would use us.  He is the Captain for a reason, because His wisdom and purpose and abilities far exceed our own.

The only way that we can know the direction of the Captain is by being sensitive when He turns the wheel and redirects the rudder or when He increases or decreases our speed.  We have to be in tune with the Spirit, because that is where those directions come from.  God’s Word must be continually before us and the meditation of our hearts, because that is often the medium He uses to put His finger on certain areas He wants to refine or where He wants to increase our understanding or bring new direction into our lives.

Romans 8:10 says, “And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness” Our ship has lost if it’s former purpose which was only self-serving.  It now sails in the fleet of the Almighty, under the flag of righteousness and the blood of the Lamb.  The one thing we do know is our purpose is about Him and no longer about us.  “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)”

If we don’t fully know where we are going today, that is okay.  The important thing is that we have the right Captain running the ship.  He tells us in Proverbs 3:5-14, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son [in whom] he delighteth. Happy [is] the man [that] findeth wisdom, and the man [that] getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it [is] better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.”  The vessels of the Lord are destined to carry His merchandise and experience His gain.  Keep the vessel clean, keep it seaworthy and keep it yielded to the Captain of our salvation.

Blessings,

#kent

The River of God

November 22, 2019

 

The River of God

 

Psalms 65:9

You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.

 

Water is an essential element to life as we know it.  Without it this planet would be another dry desolate planet like most others that we are currently aware of.  In God’s kingdom that water is like Spirit Life.  As necessary as water is to us in our human state to live and produce life not just in us, but in plants, animals and other organisms, so the Spirit is the essential to the production of Spirit Life.  We find a description of this river of Life in Revelations 22:1-4, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.”

Ephesians 1:11-14 tells us, “In 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.”  Here is the thing that God wants us to know as His people.  There is a river from the throne of God that is waiting till the fullness of time to be channeled through the earth.  As the scripture says the seal, the earnest, the foretaste of this has been given to us as believers to speak to us of whose we are, of what we have and to give us insight into the abundant flow of God’s Spirit that He is waiting to release in the earth. 

Guess who He has chosen to be the channel of this river of His grace and Spirit life?  Yes, it is His saints He is waiting to channel His divine Life and blessing through.  Romans 8:18-25 tells us, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

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.”  Many of us have known this inward groaning within us.  We have cried out in the midst of our pain and sufferings, “how long oh God?”  The Spirit of the Lord is saying “soon”.  Soon the Spirit of the Lord will no longer be just trickles and streams, but will be poured out so that no one vessel can contain it.  It will be the vessels of His people that will be filled to overflowing and spill out upon the nations so that the Spirit life of God will fill the earth. We have an anointing and an anointed One that lives within us.  It is a time to prepare our hearts and our lives for the release of His glory.  He is coming to be glorified in the earth in an unprecedented way and He desires holy and sanctified vessels to have expression through.  As John came saying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord”, this is the day when message is coming forth, “Prepare ye for the glory of the Lord.”  Many of who have suffered much affliction and discouragement will be fully refreshed and delivered.  They will be like the lame man who leaps like a deer.  Prepare your hearts, set your lives in order for the River of God is soon to flow through the earth and carry with it healing for the nations. You are called to be His conduit and channel.          

Blessings,

#kent

 

Green Pastures

November 21, 2019

 

Green Pastures

 

Psalms 23:2

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 

There is a place in the Lord where He is leading us and causing us to rest.  It is the green pastures of His rest.  There He causes us to lie down as we feed upon His life and truth.  There He keeps us safely under His watchful eye.

Some of us are still searching for this green pasture.  It seems all we have known is the wilderness, living from blade of grass to blade of grass, thirsting for the waters of life.   Our outlook and attitude is usually dim and pessimistic as we trudge on, one foot in front of the other.

It is interesting that the children of Israel were not so unlike a great flock of sheep whom the Lord brought out of Egypt.  Often they were so taken by their circumstances and what they saw as their lack that they failed to recognize, acknowledge and reverence the hand of the Great Shepherd that was over them.  When God does not meet our need in the way and time frame of our thinking our first inclination is to begin to murmur and complain.  Our minds become filled with the thoughts that God is not faithful.  ‘He has led us out here to let us die.  We should have never trusted Him.  We should have stayed where we were; at least there in Egypt or the world, we knew what we had.’  Perhaps God has you and I in that place today where, like the children of Israel, He is proving what is in our hearts.   In Exodus 15, after a mighty deliverance, God led the people of Israel to the waters of Marah.  The waters were bitter and the people could not drink.  Have we ever tried to trust God through a situation and it seemed that He had led us to a place where we worse off than before and everything seemed to be against us?  Instead of His blessing, it may have seemed we had been cursed.  Perhaps these are our waters of Marah or bitterness where He is proving what is in our hearts.  Exodus 15:25, says, “And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, [which] when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.” Can we find the rest of His green pastures even in those times of trial and testing?  Can we find the pools of still water in the midst of the turbulent rapids that are swirling around our lives?  Do we get anxious and panic?   Do we get angry, frustrated and murmur against God, because it appears He has forsaken us and failed us in our time of need.  Those are the places where He wants us to find the green pastures of His rest.   Calvary provides the only tree that can make the waters sweet again.  Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”  Those green pastures speak of His life.  That is the substance of what we must feed from? Isn’t it His Word and His Truth?

When we go out to buy a used car won’t we walk around it, look it over real good, kick the tires and test drive it?  We are testing it for integrity and service.  We want to know that it is reliable and won’t fail us in our time of need and dependency.  God often proves our faith the same way.  He is not just looking at the paint job and the high gloss wax; He is proving the inward parts.  He wants to know the overall integrity and faithfulness of our hearts.  Not only does He want to know, but also more importantly we need to know who we are in Him.  It is through our travels of faith in Him, He often leads us to these waters of Marah or bitterness, where we are tested, but oh how sweet it is when we finally pass the test.  When we hold fast to His Word and His promise through the time of testing and trial and then we see His deliverance and provision.  It is in those times that we experience the green pastures of our rest where we have just laid down in Him, where we have snuggled up in His faithful arms and just declared God, you are God in my circumstances.  No matter what happens, You change not, You are no less God and You are no less faithful.

Perhaps the green pastures of His rest are there, but with our natural eyes all we are seeing is desolation and wilderness.  Faith is what leads us into those green pastures where we lie down beside the still waters, because our rest and our completion are in Him and not in us or the world around us.   Psalm 23:3-6 goes on to say, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Our security and our rest are not in this world or in our circumstances, but only in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

 

More than all Burnt Offerings and Sacrifices

 

Mark 12:33-34

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

 

While we no longer literally offer burnt offerings and sacrifices we still do it in type.  Many times, I might rather love my neighbor, whoever that might be, from a distance rather than up close and personal.  Just allow me to donate some money for their cause, or pray for them, anything, but don’t make me become personally involved in their lives.  Most of us like our own space and some of us like to be around friends and family, but even that has its limitations.  How much time do I have for my neighbor, those people that I encounter in my daily life, business or work?  Many times, we might think to ourselves, “You know, I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need to get involved with someone else’s.”  If we love ourselves enough to care about our problems, our needs, our wants, desires and goals in life, then aren’t we mandated to care about the similar needs of others as well?

Most of us would agree that in a world where every time you turn around someone wants to sell you something or ask you to contribute something we begin to become rather cold and callused.  We build these walls to try and keep these people out.  It is true, we can’t be everything to everybody and we do only have so many resources, still, are we loving our neighbor as ourselves?  All of the things that I do for me, am I willing to do them for someone else?  Personally, I am not a real people person and the majority of the time I am quite content and comfortable to be by myself, doing my own thing, but can I really love my neighbor as myself from that position.  Loving others is always stretching us.  It causes us to move out of our comfort zone.  It causes us to come out of the place of just making the token efforts of the burnt offerings and sacrifices and requires me to get involved.  Jesus was involved with those around him and not just with the upper crust, the easy to get along with, the likeable or the ones that could benefit Him.  He was relating to humanity at all levels, classes, sexes and races.  He would relate with children and adults alike, to the whole and the broken, rich and the poor and to the sinner and the righteous.   Jesus was not a respecter of persons and He was sensitive to the heart cry of people.  There are a lot of people out there that just want to take advantage and use others.  This tends to make us wary and cynical, but the Lord wants us to tune into the heart cry of others.  Listen, by the Spirit to the real need in people.  It often isn’t what we see being portrayed on the outside or in their actions.  We need a spirit of sensitivity, not to be duped by everyone that comes along, but to see into the heart need of others.

As the ambassadors and representatives of Christ in this earth we are the channels of God’s blessing, healing, restoration and reconciliation.  If we don’t take the time and make the time for the needs of others, then who will.  If I want someone to love me, be sensitive to my needs and to just care, then that is the love I need to be extending to others in whatever capacity I have to give it.  It isn’t the religious gestures that I make and the token giving that the Lord is looking for.  He is looking for my heart to be one with His heart in me.  He desires me to love Him through the way I love others, through a heart that is really caring and concerned for the needs of others.   So often we are like the Scribe, the Pharisee, “the Christian”, who walks to the other side of the road when we see our neighbor in need.  We don’t want the inconvenience and the investment of our time and resources to get involved.  If my neighbor is important to the Lord, then they have to become my priority also.  We have to remember that our mission in the earth is not about us, it is about Him through the way that we serve others.  Loving God and loving our neighbor are all part of the same pie.

“Lord, give us sensitive hearts and eyes to see into the real needs of others and to make ourselves available and willing to minister to those needs in what ever way we can.  Give us your heart to really love others as we would love ourselves, not from a distance, but up close and personal.  Help us to truly be the extension of your compassion, love and grace.  May the world truly know us by our love and not just by our name and religion.  Allow us to be willing to pay the price of the personal sacrifice required in the giving of ourselves and that which cost us personally to love You with all of our hearts; to love our neighbors as ourselves, no matter who they may be.”

Blessings,

#kent

Taking Up an Offense

November 19, 2019

Proverbs 18:19

An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.

 

Taking Up an Offense

 

How many of us today are carrying offenses in our heart towards another.  They said something to us, they did something to us, they wronged us in some way and now they are on the black list of our heart to stay.  We have all been offended, hurt, disappointed, emotionally wounded and wronged in some way.  I guess that is pretty normal behavior in the world, but what about in the identity that God has given us in Christ.  In our identity with Him, are we still justified in holding on to these offenses, no matter how justified we reason within ourselves to do so?

Colossians 3:13 says, ” Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”  That is not a request, but a command.  Have we never offended or hurt anyone?  Are we so unwilling to forgive what we ourselves have been guilty of?

One revelation we all need to get is that we are not of this world and yet we keep thinking like it and acting like it.  That is not a renewed mind in Christ, it is being conformed to the world which is an offense to God.  When we are unwilling to forgive then we spit in the face of Him who forgave us.  That is strong and it should be, because that is how the Lord takes it.  He forgave us so much, shouldn’t we be willing to forgive little.  Jesus spoke parables about forgiveness and He taught a word concerning it that very few of us are walking in.

Now someone might be thinking, “Will you don’t know what they did to me, I can’t ever forgive them for that.”

Jesus said, ” “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

Jesus said,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:43-46)

Somehow we can all become self-righteous about things.  We can see all of the faults in others.  We may be carrying an offense against someone that isn’t even our own.  We have taken it up for someone else because they were wronged.  We tend to somehow feel that we have been given the right to judge others for their wrongs and are justified in condemning them and holding it against them.

Jesus said, ” “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Romans 2:1-4  also addressed this issue, “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. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”  It goes on to say that because of this stubbornness we store up wrath for ourselves, because we are going to be judged by the same standards that we judged others and if we showed no mercy, then we can’t expect to receive mercy.

How can we fully walk in who we are in Christ when we hold offense against a brother or another.  God is love.  His love and forgiveness has been shed abroad in our hearts as believers.  Are we now going to annul what He died for?  Listen to what 1 John 2:9-11 has to say about this.  “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”

Are people, and even brothers and sisters, going to hurt, disappoint and offend us?  You can count on it, but what you do with that offense speaks volumes to how real your identity is in Christ.  If you really know Him, you will keep His commands.  If you really love Him, you will allow His love to dominate and guide your heart.  Your mercy will triumph over judgement and you will be the hot coals of love poured over the offenders head.

I would just like to end this with the exhortation given from Roman12:9-21 about how we are to walk in love toward one another.  May the Holy Spirit help us acknowledge, to release and forgive any and all offenses that we have been carrying.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Blessings,

#kent

The Power of Forgiveness

November 18, 2019

 

The Power of Forgiveness

 

Matthew 6:12-15 (Amplified)

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.

13And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

15But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.

 

 

The Lord began to show and make real today the power and the strongholds over our lives that we give to satan because of our unwillingness to forgive.  We have all experienced things in our lives that have hurt us and maybe even devastated us.  Some of us are still carrying the trauma and the wounds from past relationships or encounters with someone that has broken our trust, who may have deeply hurt or victimized us, either emotionally, spiritually or physically.  While we may think we have moved on in our life, we still carry those things in our heart.  Somehow, we can’t seem too or really don’t want to let them go.  The reality is that many that are carrying these past wounds and hurts have not forgiven their offenders.  In fact, they don’t want to forgive them.  What we fail to realize is that our unwillingness to forgive is the cause of issues that are causing us to fail in our relationships with God and man.  Some blame God for letting things happen in their lives that caused this trauma.  As a result they have trouble with having a relationship with Him because they haven’t forgiven God for not intervening on their behalf.

We live in a world that is still under the darkness of the god of this world.  Jesus Christ provided for us the way of light and truth whereby we could come out of the darkness and abide in His marvelous light.  That doesn’t mean that the darkness of this world won’t and doesn’t touch our natural lives, it does.  Our natural man still abides in a world of sin and death.  Jesus even told us through the words that He spoke to His disciples that we would experience unpleasant things.   In John 16:33 he speaks to his disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  God hasn’t yet delivered us out of the effects of the world and the consequences of sin, but He has given His holy presence to us through the Holy Spirit.  He overcame the world through His love and that is the spirit of overcoming that must dwell in us.  The only thing that can set us free from the bondage of our hurts and the fears that they have created is the love of God.  When we carry an offense then it becomes a fear in us that someone else is going to hurt us again.  It hinders and breaks our ability to have good and healthy relationships in certain aspects of our lives because of the fear brought about by that hurt.  We may not want it to be that way, but it is a cycle that keeps repeating itself and may result in us being the one that is hurting others when secretly, we are trying to protect ourselves.

Forgiveness is key to our being able to be healed and the restoration of right relationship with both God and man.  Jesus walked out the example before us; he forgave and released the very ones that inflicted such unfathomable pain and suffering and death upon HIm.  The fact is, that everyone one of us was guilty of driving those spikes into His hands and feet.  We were simply represented by the ones who actually did it.  It was the sin in all of us that nailed the Lamb of God to the cross that He might forgive our sins.  We didn’t deserve it.  We could never be good enough to earn it and yet He did it out of love.  The love of God has to be the power in you to let go of your offenses and release your offender(s).  More than we realize, the offenders and perpetrators of hurt and sin may hate themselves, even as much as they have been hated because they are ruled by the power of sin in their own lives and are themselves victims to it.  We all need to forgive even as we have been forgiven.

Jesus says that if we are unwilling to forgive, then we have hindered and blocked our own forgiveness from God.  There are times when we feel we can’t forgive, the hurt is too deep and the offenses to great.  You may be right, we can’t, but the Christ in us can.  His love is great enough, deep enough and high enough.  Forgiveness most often doesn’t begin as an emotion that we feel, but as an action of our will, a choice that we make.  1 John 2:9-11 says, “Whoever says he is in the Light and [yet] hates his brother [Christian, born-again child of God his Father] is in darkness even until now.

10Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin.

11But he who hates (detests, despises) his brother in Christ] is in darkness and walking (living) in the dark; he is straying and does not perceive or know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”  You see hate and unwillingness to forgive are the gateways to darkness and the roadblocks to God’s love and right relationship with him.  It can end up hurting us much more than the person we are unwilling to forgive.  It can give place to mental, emotional and physical problems in our lives because we are holding on to offenses.  In order to close that door of satan’s access to our lives we have to release forgiveness.  It is not in our natural might or love to forgive, but in the power of the mighty One of love within us.  Receive your healing and deliverance today as you release forgiveness to those that have offended and hurt you.  God wants you to be whole.  Unwillingness to forgive will always make you a broken person.

What if they hurt me again?  The same love that continues to forgive your offenses can continue to forgive theirs.  As Christians you possess it, but only you can release it. Complete the cycle of love and forgiveness through your life and the choices you make today and set yourself free as well as the one you forgive.

Blessings,

#kent

Not About me, All About Him

November 15, 2019

Matthew 23:5-12

“Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’

8“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

 

Not About me, All About Him

 

Which of us doesn’t like to be noticed, admired, complimented, liked and appreciated by others?  When a person goes into business, it is all about attention, being noticed and marketing your business to the public.  Most of our paradigm in this earth has focused around us and our persona.  How do others see us and receive us?  Are they impressed by us?  Do we have eye appeal?  Do we have a great personality?

Even in our religious and Christian circles how many of us want others to know we are something?   Being egotistical often masks itself as being spiritual.

Jesus comes along and just blows all of that out of the water.  We see the Pharisees for their religious arrogance and hypocrisy, but do we always see the Pharisee in us?  Do we consider what our true motives are when we are seen by others.  If we are seeking after position and titles then we are missing what it is to be the greatest in the kingdom of God.  When we get to heaven I’m kind of thinking we are going to be shocked by who is sitting in the front row, because most of them we will have never heard of or recognize.  They are the ones that got and understood the memo that it’s not about me, it’s all about Him.

When we become secure in our identity with who we are in Christ then it is no longer important what men think or say about us.  If we have our security in Papa then that is all that we need and that is all that is important.  When you are the servant nobody notices until they see and taste the fruit of your tree, then they know that they found the real deal.  That is how we want to live our lives, so that Christ is seen and not us.  When you humble yourself before the Lord, it is He that will exalt you.  It won’t be your education, your titles or your list of accomplishments. It will be because when men see you, they recognize Jesus.  They see a servant who doesn’t look down in judgement upon others, but gets under them to bear them up to heaven.  You don’t care if anybody sees the hours you spent in your prayer closet interceding for others or how you gave out of your need to meet a need in another.

James 1:27 says this, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

It is time we take our eyes off of us. Only then can we see the needs of others and how we can be a part of that solution.  Matthew 22:28 says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  1 John 2:5-6 says, “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”  If Jesus came as a servant to seek and save that which is lost then don’t we have the same mandate?  It’s not about me, it’s all about Him.

Blessings,

#kent

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