Face Your Fears

May 14, 2020

 

Face Your Fears

 

Romans 8:15

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. [ Or adoption] And by him we cry, “Abba, [ Aramaic for Father] Father.”

 

You know there are basically two kinds of fears talked about in the Word of God.  One is the fear of God and the other is our natural fear.  We have dealt with the fear of the Lord before.  What is ironic is that the fear of the one moves us away from the fear of the other.  There are many verses throughout the Word of God that exhort us to fear God, but none that tells us to fear man, only to respect, honor and obey those in the place of authority.  There are none that tell us to fear the devil, only beware of who and what he is.   The fear of the Lord brings us into an awesome respect for who we are in light of the Almighty.  Our scripture says that we have received the Spirit of sonship or adoption.  That makes the Almighty our personal Father.  We stand in the place of His sons and daughters.  Everyone that has had a good father knows that dads can be the greatest; they love you, they bless you, they’re your security and provision, but they can also correct you.  A father’s heart is always to embrace and bless his children, but his love also compels him to act always in their best interest, raising them in the character and nature of what he desires them to be.  If the children forget the other side of the relationship with their father then they begin to show disrespect, dishonor and then disobedience.  “He is a loving father, therefore we can do what ever we want and he’ll still love us and forgive us,” so goes their thinking.  At that point the child has lost the fear of the father, they treat him as common and fail in the area of respect and obedience to honor their father.  This is where the correction of the father comes in.  Hebrews 12:4-11 tells us, “4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,

and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves,

and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  So the fear of the Lord is understanding and operating in the proper relationship with our heavenly Father.  Psalms 25:14 says, “The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them” Psalms 34:4-10 says, “4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”  In the light of this scripture we begin to see the irony of how the fear of the Lord delivers us from the fear of man.  When we fear the Lord our trust is in Him.  It is not in ourselves, it is not in others and it is not living in the fear of what others may do to us.  It puts our eyes on Father God as our whole source, supply and protection.  This is the place we want to be.  In the fear of the Lord is the deliverance from the fear of this world.  In this place we learn that we live out of the Father.  He orders our steps and our lives.  In the eyes of the world we may look weak, of no reputation and of no confidence, but when the life of the Father and the Son lives through us, there are no limitations on what He can do through those that love and fear Him.

When we think about all of our little phobias, which are fears, that cause us anxiety and unrest, we must face our fears.  Is our God the Lord?  Are His authority and His name above every other?  2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, ” For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  We have to overcome our timidity and cowardice, because that insecurity is based on our lack, not His supply.  We must learn to live out of His Supply and not our lack.  We can only do that as we fear and trust the Lord.

1 Peter 3:14 tells us, ” But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear [ Or not fear their threats]; do not be frightened.” [ Isaiah 8:12]” Today is a day to face our fears.  “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1John 4:4)”

Blessings,

#kent

Wisdom Leads to Life

May 13, 2020

Proverbs 15:24

The path of the wise leads upward to life, that he may avoid [the gloom] in the depths of Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead).

 

Wisdom Leads to Life

 

James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”  The Word speaks a great deal to us about getting wisdom, that wisdom which from God above.  That wisdom from above teaches us to fear God and hold Him in awesome reverence and respect.  It teaches us to mirror and follow God’s character, principles and precepts.  The benefit is that this is the wisdom that leads to life, prosperity and fruitfulness concerning spiritual and eternal matters.  Wisdom is a pathway; it is a road that we choose or refuse to travel.  Proverbs is a book that deals with many of the attributes of sound and godly wisdom.  Man’s wisdom doesn’t really comprehend God in a spiritual sense.  James 3:13-16 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”  As we learn to walk the path of the Spirit we are walking the path of the wise, because in all of our ways we acknowledging the Lord as we seek His direction and counsel.  If He orders our steps then we know that we will walk in the path of life and avoid the tragedies and the pitfalls that lead to death.

As a spiritual people we alone are the spiritual man and conscience of our society.  Unfortunately, just as we often shut out and ignore our own conscience, our society will often ignore us and eventually mute us.  Nevertheless, we must never cease to be the voice of godly counsel, reason and righteousness.   Without a conscience a person or a society becomes reprobate and the Spirit of God departs from them.  Wisdom is our teacher and it is our conscience to keep us from the path of the fool that leads to death.

I heard a quote this morning from C. S. Lewis that said, “The last expression of the sinner is the horrible enslavement of the sin that he desired.”  If we give full place for the freedom to sin, that sin we so desired will become our hell.  Wisdom sets its heart and mind on the things above, for it is wisdom that leads to life.

Blessings,

#kent

A Word from the Lord

May 12, 2020

A Word from the Lord

 

Romans 13:12

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armour of light.

 

Leave this day the things of the earthly realm behind you.  Look into the dawn of the New Day for from the East arises your salvation and from the West the sun is setting on the former things and the things of this time and place.   Open your heart to me and I will fill it.  Open your mouth to me and I will fill it.  Open your hands to me and I will fill them.  I will be your supply and your provision.  All of your need is met in me.  Lean not upon the arm of the flesh to feed and provide in your day of want.  I am your Provider and the supplier of every need.  Lean not upon your own understanding, but lean on the counsel of My Word, for it is the light unto your path and a lamp unto your feet.  Take care that you walk in the light of the counsel of my Word.  It is a sword to prove you, to divide and separate soul and spirit.  Far too long my people have been a mixture and double-minded in their ways.  Let your eye be single and your heart true to the calling that I have given you to walk in My ways and obey My commands, if you do this, then do you love Me.  Far too long my people offer up the oblations of praise and worship, but their hearts are far from me.   Outwardly they do their homage, but within their heart and their thoughts they entertain wickedness and impurity.  I do not judge the outward man, but the inward man, the man of the heart.  What value does a beautiful cup or vessel have if it is full of abominations and wickedness?

The fire is sent to purify that which I have sanctified.  It will burn with unquenchable thirst until there is no more left to feed its desire.  Mercy and grace will wet and temper the steel of godliness in my people, lest they be consumed in judgement.  My people shall turn to me from the least to the greatest and those that are mine shall gather beneath My wing.  There I will shelter them from the storm.  It is a time of pruning and separation so that those who would bear fruit may do so more abundantly and those that are dead upon the vine may be cut off and cast into the fire.

What a man has sown and what he is now sowing will bear its fruit and he shall eat the fruit thereof either to life or to death.  Take care how you plant into your life and into the lives of others.

Clay pots hold divine life.  Only as they are emptied, are they perpetually filled.  Stop holding the life till it becomes stagnant and putrified.  Pour out that which I place within each one of you.  It is only in giving that you truly receive.  Release the life.  You are not vessels for storage, you are a vessel of daily use to wash the feet of common people and make their way clean and sure.   Some of you say, what do I have to give?  Give your life, your service, and My love that abides within you.  With Me there is never a lack of supply or increase.  You are shallow, because your deeds are shallow.  Become the vessel that is tipped over and poured out.  If you sow sparingly you will reap sparingly.

Revelation is coming, but it comes with a price.  It must be received with humility and obedience.  The revelation of the Most High is revealed in what you live and not in what you know.  The revelation of Jesus Christ in you is revealed through a crucified life, laid upon the altar of obedience and service.

Today is the day to seek Me and lay all else aside.  I am your refuge, your hiding place, your mighty fortress, but you must truly know me to be hid in me.  It is no longer about outward actions of religion and godliness, it is a day to know intimately my heart and come into the inner sanctuary of relationship and abiding that is only found in intimacy and relationship.  Come quickly, for the days are getting short and times and seasons are at hand.  Rouse you up out of your sleep and slumber and come away with me.  I speak these things to you, because I love you.  Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit is speaking to the Church.  It is the day for the Bride to prepare herself and make ready for her Groom.  Take heed and act quickly.

Blessing,

#kent

1 Corinthians 2:14-16

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ

 

We Have the Mind of Christ

 

What a bold statement that the apostle Paul makes here when he says, “But we have the mind of Christ.”  If you or I were to come out and say something like that, many Christians might consider us heretics.  It is made clear by what is written preceding this that we can’t make this statement if we are walking and reasoning out of the natural man.  It is after we live and walk in the Spirit that we become spiritually minded and put on the mind of Christ.  We can discern that the man who is not centered in the mind of the Spirit is often one that is a mixture of flesh and spirit.  Most of us have seen or heard of someone who thought they were “the Christ” and were caught up in a God complex where they spoke as God.  We all know of Jim Jones and David Karesh, for example, that led many astray and to a tragic end.  Paul is not speaking in this context, because we never see ourselves as “the Christ”, we see that we are in Christ with the Lord Jesus being our head and yet He is bringing us into His likeness in mind and in being.  Many are so afraid of identifying with Christ that they rob and deny the power of what He has called us to be in Him.  Apart from Him we can do nothing, but as a part of Him all things are possible.  Our faith is taking what God’s word says and counting it as so, even when the physical world and natural evidence doesn’t support it.  Faith is what bridges the gap of time and space and the eternal.  In Christ and in the flesh we stand between two dimensions and we are trying to reconcile who we truly are.  In the natural we often see evidence in us that is often contrary to what we know we should be, but our faith renounces the old, repents of the shortcomings, sins and mistakes and then embraces God’s word and promise as to our true identity.  Satan is always trying to convince us of who we are not, through feelings of unworthiness, condemnation, keeping our eyes on the natural man.  Christ is saying to us, “Count that former man of the flesh as dead, as crucified with me upon the cross.   Identify with me in resurrection life, for the power of sin over you is broken.  You are a new and spiritual creation that no longer has to be subject to the law of sin and death.  You have been called to be the children of God who walk after the Spirit and put no confidence in the flesh.   As a part of your faith in identifying with me I am imparting my life to you and through you by My Spirit that dwells in you.”

God’s word provides our pattern of thinking and living.  His Spirit is guiding and leading us into all truth.  He is exploring our inward parts and revealing those areas that still need to line up with His nature and character.  The difference is that the Spirit doesn’t bring conviction in us to condemn us, but to transform and change us.  It is the man of the soul that must come into submission and obedience to this man of the spirit.  As this happens our spiritual mind becomes more and more a way of our daily thinking and reasoning, for the natural gives way to the mind of the Spirit.

We have the mind of Christ, but it is our choice to embrace it and put it on by faith that leads to good works and righteousness.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Value of Heart and Mouth

 

Psalms 19:14

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

 

The Psalmist speaks to the very root of our being in this verse, for our words and what we set our hearts upon are the reins and harness of our soul.  It speaks to the state of our life and the direction in which we are headed.  What are you most often thinking upon?  What occupies your thoughts, attention, your time and desires?  Whatever it is may be directly connected to the words that come out of your mouth and where you conversation is at; for Jesus says, “out of the abundance of the heart a man speaks”, and “where a man’s treasure is, there will his heart be also”.   What we set our hearts, minds and affections upon greatly influences, who we are, as well as the direction and purpose of our lives.

The enemy of our soul is always trying to divert our attention and our affections away from the things of God and onto the things of this world.  It is so often so subtlely and innocently that we are led away a little bit at a time.  It is always those series of little compromises in our judgment and decisions that lead us from our path of life.  This is why it is imperative that we make specific times for the Lord everyday in our lives.  That doesn’t insure that we won’t stray or set our meditations upon the wrong thing, but it keeps us before the Lord and allows that Holy Spirit place to deal with us.  Far too many of us don’t schedule this time into our day, and even if we do, for many of us it can become just routine and religious.  We need both time to speak to the Lord and time to listen.  We need time to meditate upon Him and His Word; carrying those thoughts throughout our day.  We need to truly appreciate, praise and thank Him for His goodness and faithfulness to us.  As the old hymn goes, ‘our hearts are prone to wander and to leave the God we love’.  That is why we must ask the question, “Is the meditation of my heart acceptable unto you oh Lord?”  Am I setting my mind first on the things above rather than the temporal things of this earth?  Our lives as Christians are purpose driven lives.  We exist for a purpose and a reason.  Each one of us will one day stand before the Lord and give account of what we did with our lives and the gifts and callings that the Lord has given to each one of us.  Are we fulfilling God’s destiny and purpose for our lives?  This should be a primary point that we meditate upon and purpose our lives to fulfill.  Ideally it should be our desire to practice the presence of Christ in our lives to where He is the constant meditation of our hearts and focus of our being.

What about the words of my mouth, how important are they?  Proverbs 18:21 tells us,  “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Words are what give expression to the meditation of our hearts.  Words have power and they bring about substance.  They have the power to bring about both death and life.  When we speak only out of the natural man, according to the thinking and logic of men, then we are only going to get natural results.  When we dare to speak the promises and scriptures by faith into a given situation, then we are expecting spiritual results.  The words that please the Lord are the words of faith, hope and love.  They are the words that don’t put their boast in man, but in the Lord.  These words are the seeds of life from which miracles spring.  We often don’t see immediate results when we pray or speak the word of the Lord, but when we have planted seeds of faith and properly watered and nurtured, we will eventually see a harvest.  Likewise, words spoken in harshness, anger, criticism and judgement will bring forth a harvest as well, but it won’t be one of life.

James 3:3-12 says this about the tongue, “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

The Lord wants to bring us to singleness of mind and purpose.  When the mind and the tongue are under the control and influence of the Holy Spirit then we are well on our way to seeing God’s purpose and plan fulfilled through us.  We come into agreement today with the prayer of the Psalmist David as we make His prayer our own, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Blessings,

#kent

James 5:12-16

Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.

13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore 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.

 

Wellness in the Body of Christ

 

Wellness in the body of Christ is maintained as we uphold the integrity of who Christ is in us.  The body of Christ is not unlike our physical bodies.  There are times when sin and disease can gain access to the body.  In the case of the body of Christ we know that the purpose of satan is to kill, steal and destroy the body of Christ.

We all understand that as of yet, in this natural man, none of us is walking in perfection.  It is true that we are to identify with Him who is perfect in us, but we are still in that state of transformation where body and soul are to line up with the Spirit of Christ.  As such we still see many imperfections in one another.  Satan often capitalizes on our weaknesses and imperfection to bring in division, dissention, disease and darkness.  James is calling upon us to act in such a way that we not only maintain individual purity and health, but health as the body of Christ.

The first place he exhorts us here in James is regarding the integrity of our word.  “Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.”  One of the most important areas we must be careful to preserve and guard is our honesty and integrity.  Our whole reputation and character hang on these essentials.  There is stern warning to us here that if we don’t do that, we will be condemned.  I don’t believe it is talking here about our condemnation here just coming from man.

When we compromise our integrity and honesty it is not just man that we offend, but God Himself.  This is especially true regarding His body.  When we don’t allow our yes to be yes and our no be no, especially with regards to our brothers and sisters in Christ, then who are we really lying to, them or the Holy Spirit?   If we dishonor the body, then we dishonor Christ.

Ananias and Sapphira didn’t start out intending to lie to the Holy Spirit.  I think they initially had good intentions and they may have been well regarded within the early church.  Their fault wasn’t even in the fact that they sold their land and didn’t give it all at the apostles feet.  Peter even tells them it was your land to do with what you wanted, but your sin was in your conspiracy to lie about what you gave.  When they lied to the body of Christ, they lied to the Holy Spirit and we know the condemnation that came from that in Acts 5.  The Lord was showing us our body, soul and will are the land that we own.  It is ours.  The Lord gave it to us and he gave us power over it to give to Him or not.  Now if we come and say we have totally sold out to Christ, but conspire to withhold areas of our life from Him is that an Ananias and Sapphira complex?  Would we not be more honest in confessing our sins to one another as it exhorts us to do in James 5:16?  We realize that while it may be our desire to be totally sold out to Christ, there are areas in all of our lives that still need to be reconciled to Him.  It is not the standing in our strength that makes us strong and whole, it is in the strength of the whole body that we can be brought into alignment with wholeness.  It is in recognizing and confessing our weakness to faithful men or women so that they can pray with us and stand with us so that we may be healed.

One of the greatest tools the enemy uses to destroy us is isolation.  Sin can only work in darkness.  When it is brought into the light, it loses its power.  What we should all desire and pursue is transparency and accountability to one another.  That is not to say we judge, control or manipulate one another.  It means that we all understand that in this natural state, sin still is at work among our members trying to bring in disease and destruction of the body.  The way we war against that is by taking off our religious and self-righteous mask and being real with each other.  I never would consider someone that came to me to ask for prayer in an area of weakness, a person of weakness.  I would totally respect them and see that indeed they are spiritually mature in that they recognize their weakness and desire others to stand with them in their battle to overcome.  There is not enough of this happening in the body.  We have learned to be so independent and spiritual in our own right.  As a result many of us are truly sick and afflicted in our sin, but are too proud to confess for fear that we will be viewed as weak or unacceptable.  “A person that is transparent, even with their faults, is more pure than the person who portrays goodness outwardly, yet inwardly harbors darkness and deceit.”

Let’s bring the “real” back to the body.  Let’s come to the place where we are not afraid to be transparent with one another and to pray for one another.  When we do that in His love and with no condemnations or judgements in our hearts then the Holy Spirit can work through us to bring healing, deliverance and victory because we then stand in His strength and not our own.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Life Map

May 6, 2020

 

God’s Life Map

 

Psalms 119:1-16 (Amplified)

BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, to be envied) are the undefiled (the upright, truly sincere, and blameless) in the way [of the revealed will of God], who walk (order their conduct and conversation) in the law of the Lord (the whole of God’s revealed will).

2Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are they who keep His testimonies, and who seek, inquire for and of Him and crave Him with the whole heart.

3Yes, they do no unrighteousness [no willful wandering from His precepts]; they walk in His ways.

4You have commanded us to keep Your precepts, that we should observe them diligently.

5Oh, that my ways were directed and established to observe Your statutes [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them]!

6Then shall I not be put to shame [by failing to inherit Your promises] when I have respect to all Your commandments.

7I will praise and give thanks to You with uprightness of heart when I learn [by sanctified experiences] Your righteous judgments [Your decisions against and punishments for particular lines of thought and conduct].

8I will keep Your statutes; O forsake me not utterly.

9How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed and keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to it].

10With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments.

11Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

12Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.

13With my lips have I declared and recounted all the ordinances of Your mouth.

14I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches.

15I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to Your ways [the paths of life marked out by Your law].

16I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.

 

God has a road map for our lives that will help us maneuver and steer through all the obstacles, trials and confusions of life.  A lot of us are prone to wander.  We read the map for awhile and listen to its instruction.  We think we have the jest of it, so often we tend lay it aside, occasionally listen to the instructions of others and think we can pretty well find our way.  So off we go like a prideful man on a journey.  Things are going well for while, but then we take some wrong turns and suddenly we find ourselves off course.  Not to worry, we can find our way back and we only read instructions, consult maps or ask advice when all else fails.  The more we struggle in our strength and wisdom the more lost we seem to become, but I’m sure we will find the way back up at the next corner or just over the hill.

Does that sound like any of us?  Are any of us off course today and struggling to find our way.  Sometimes we can think we know the Word of God pretty well, we don’t really need to read and study it like we used too, but God’s Word is not just literature, it is food and water to our soul, it is the substance of life.  When we depart from it, we slowly start to drift away from our Lord.  Even as I write these papers and have just tried to listen to the voice of the Lord, He has started to direct me to go back and look into His Word for the inspired word from Him.  God’s Word is a vital part of who He is and what we are.  It is written so that by the Holy Spirit’s understanding we can comprehend it and apply it personally to our lives and circumstances; being transformed by it.

God’s Word is not only our spiritual food and water; it is our cleansing and washing.  It is what renews our mind, our thinking, our vision and our destiny.  It is the compass that keeps us on course with the will and purpose of God for our lives.  Some of you may be faithful to read these writings, other devotionals or books, but never let these become a substitute for your time and meditation in the Word of God.

The Word tells us in the above passage that if we desire true joy and happiness, and I presume that we all do, then delight yourself in the Word and the precepts of the Lord.  It is when we are walking in the will of God that we enjoy the greatest and deepest blessings of God.

Often it is our pride and selfishness that are our greatest enemies.  Most of us know that we, in our soulish and selfish thinking, are our own worst enemies.  It seems I am always praying God deliver me from me.  That deliverance is in accordance with filling my mind, my thinking and my being with God’s Word, ordinances and instructions.  Even in this there is a danger, because often times we want to compartmentalize God in one part of our life and our soulish activities in another part of our lives.  We can become this multiple personality and isn’t that what we have seen a lot of in Christianity.  No wonder the world is confused when they look at us.  They see us in this pious and holy context on one hand and on the other we are breaking our word, lying, cheating and being every bit as bad, if not worse, than the world.  The world is so disillusioned with that kind of Christianity.  They are hungry for the real, the genuine.  They are looking for the God manifested in people who are not just looking down to condemn them and despise them, but those who are willing to humble themselves, get under them and lift them up.  Those who can look past their sin and faults and see their need as God saw ours.   The true knowledge and wisdom of the Word is not a prideful thing.  It is not a head-trip.  It is place of brokenness and humility, of love and devotion, of serving and pouring out for others.  It is conformity to the image and nature of Christ.

As the breast of a baby’s mother and their blanky is the security and life of a baby, so let God’s Word be that to us.  Let us crave it, cling to it, live it, breathe it, eat it and drink it.  Let it be our meditation day and night.  It is our map to the center of God’s love, will and presence.  We are lost without it.

Blessings,

#kent

 

All of our need is met in Jesus

 

Philippians 4:19

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 

 

It is interesting to note that this scripture follows Paul commending the Philippians for their faithfulness in communicating and supporting his needs.  In Philippians 4:15-18 Paul has just remarked to the Philippians, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.”  We can see from these passages that the Philippians weren’t just out seeking the blessings of God, their focus and endeavor was to be a blessing.  So often we take the promises of God out of context to meet our particular needs or desires.  What is as important as the promises are the conditions of the promise and the foundation it is based on.  There are some that have the idea that God exist in order just to bless them.  It is God’s heart that we be blessed and that our needs are met, but our heart should not be that of seeking the gift, but the Giver.  What we find in the economy of the kingdom of God is that in blessing we are blessed, in giving our needs are met.  The Lord increases us for the purpose of being a greater blessing, as well as being blessed.

What we must ask ourselves is what is at the core of our heart when we approach God for our needs or wants.  Is it covetousness, the strong desire for what we don’t have, or is it the desire to be a blessing?  Is our heart just to get or is it to give.  Jesus says in Matthew 6:31-34, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.”  Jesus is telling us here that it isn’t the natural commodities of this world we need to be focused on, it is the kingdom of God.  When we get in the flow of God’s economy we don’t have to worry about the natural, those needs will be met in the course of our living.  Certainly, we must still work, the Word exhorts “let him who will not work, not eat.”  What we fail to see is that even our work can be a spiritual exercise and function of the kingdom.  It is a means for providing not only our needs, but also the needs of others, which is a spiritual principle.  Ephesians 4:28 says, ” Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”  It is in the meeting of needs that our needs are met.

Paul says in this passage, ‘may God supply all of your need, singular, according to His riches in glory.’  What is your need today?  Is it about all of the things in life that we need or is it about knowing that Christ is our greatest need and everything else is worked out as we pursue Him.

May we have the heart of the Father in our giving and being a blessing.  In blessing we will find ourselves blessed and all of our need met according to His riches in glory.

Blessings,

#kent

Pray for One Another

May 4, 2020

 

Pray for One Another

 

James 5:16

Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

One of the most tremendous assets we have as a believer, functioning in the body of Christ, is each other.  Because Christ is in us and His power and grace can flow through us, there is a wealth of blessing, power and grace to be found in one another.  Each of us has different gifts and ministries that can help in different areas and situations in our lives.  Each of us has the power and the access to the throne of God to pray and intercede for others.

Yesterday, it struck me, as I had the privilege of sharing with several of my brothers and sisters, the fellowship and ministry we can have on different levels with others.  What a blessing to have them share with me about how they stand in a place of intercession and prayer for us and how they are standing in a place of faith, believing God not just for themselves, but for us as well.  It was wonderful to share the words of life with a brother over breakfast and talk about the things God is doing in our lives, our families and our careers.  We were able to break the Bread of Life and share in a real and personal way, not just our successes, but also our struggles and our weaknesses.  Through that exchange we could know better how to pray for one another.  We all go through our struggles in life, but sometimes there is just encouragement with others who empathize from a position of like struggles.  You end up building each other up in faith and confidence in God.

Some believers you may relate with on a less spiritual level, but nevertheless you, break bread together, share fellowship, friendship with and are blessed in the communion you have with them.  Still others target you in their prayers, intercede for you and call just to encourage and build you up.

It made me think, do we really tap into the resource we have in each other?  Is each of us ministering and effecting the lives, not only of non-believers, but the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ?  When we have those that we are investing our life, time and prayers into and they are doing the same for us, we mutually garden each others spiritual lives.  We have accountability to one another that helps us not to stray off into sin.  We need others to help balance us and us them.  We have a communion of body life where we are not just looking to one man to feed us and teach us, but we are actively ministering, teaching, exhorting, encouraging and praying for one another.  We are gathering and eating the manna and revelation that God is personally speaking into our lives through our time spent with Him and in turn we feed one another from that same manna.

This is a concept some may practice and experience more than others, but certainly one that we all need to be involved in.  Many or our churches are large and while we might be blessed in corporate worship and teaching, we need those daily interactions with our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us all live more productively and faithfully to Christ.  When we have that love of Christ in our hearts for one another, when there is sensitivity in our spirits to the needs of our brethren, then we can be unique and diversified channels of various blessings into their lives.   Perhaps our greatest downfall is that we tend to like to do our work and then hibernate in our own ceiled houses.  We become guilty of what the prophet Haggai said in Haggai 1:2-5, “2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ ”

3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.””  Don’t we often rob God and His people because we are content to do our own thing while the house of God lies in ruin?  What is worse is that we are robbing ourselves and our very lack may be do to the fact that we aren’t the channels of God’s blessing that we are to be in God’s house.  We know that God’s house is a people and not a building.  1Peter 2:5 says, ” Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” How much stronger could God’s house be and how much greater could it be built up if we are all are faithful to invest in one another’s lives.   Are we fulfilling our calling of ministry to impart our gifts, our lives and prayers into one another?  The body of Christ must be strong and living the standard of God’s righteousness, so that we can be a light in the world and have lives seasoned with salt.  That can start by us having the willingness and the commitment to invest in one another.  This is the way a truely healthy body functions.  Bless somebody’s life today, be their answer to prayer or even pray on their behalf.  We need the Christ in one another.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Out of a Thankful Heart

 

Romans 1:21

 

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

 

Have you ever given and done things for someone to bless them, only to have them either ignore and take for granted what you had made special effort or sacrifice to do for them or even worse, have them complain because it somehow didn’t suit their liking?  Remember the hurt and disappointment you felt, the lack of appreciation and insult it was to you?  How often has this been our attitude towards the Lord?  We may mutter an occasional thank you in prayer or in blessing our meal and often that is more out of habit than a sincere appreciation for what we truly have.  It is important that we take a minute to consider the true importance of thankfulness to the Lord and realize the implications of the lack of it.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  Our giving thanks isn’t something we should do on a whim.  It is the will of God concerning you and me.  Just the words “give thanks” occurs some thirty-nine times throughout the Bible, not to mention all of the other phrases of thankfulness.  Maybe this is something that we have taken rather lightly and we need to take a harder look at.

Is God an egotist that he requires our thankfulness?  It is not about God’s ego.  It is about His worthiness and the tribute of praise, worship and thankfulness due to His name as the Lord, Savior and Creator of all.  But even beyond that there are reasons we need to praise Him for our own sake.  As our key passage points out, there is something that happens to us when we fail to acknowledge all that God is and does and cease to be thankful.  It causes us to become vain in our imaginations, we start to become puffed up and guess who soon becomes the god upon the throne of our hearts?  Our foolish hearts do become darkened because they begin to acknowledge only self and our abilities rather than God’s.

There is a passage from Moses’ exhortation to the Israelites as they were about to come into the promise land that I think is very applicable to the people of God in any generation.  Deuteronomy 8:10-20 says, “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.  Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest [when] thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein];

And [when] thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, [wherein were] fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where [there was] no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;

Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”  God knows our hearts and how full of ourselves we can become.  If for no other reason, it is important that we keep God in perspective in our lives through thankfulness and praise.  We must always remember and acknowledge before Him that He is the source and provision for every good thing.  Not unlike the Israelites of the wilderness, we are much more prone to murmur and complain about all God hasn’t done for us, or how we think He has failed us and what He should have done that He didn’t do for us.  Are we idiots to make such accusations against our God?  What right or business do we, His created, have to tell Him how and what things should be done?  How arrogant and presumptuous on our parts, to correct or rebuke God.  This is truly when our hearts become darkened because we have gotten God out of perspective through our hardened attitude and lack of true thankfulness.

There are not a lot of things we can really give back to God, but thankfulness is one of them.  Let us take the time to really count our blessings, regardless of our circumstances, and truly offer thanksgiving from a grateful heart.  Let us be thankful not only for the things which we see already manifested, but even the more for the things we don’t yet see which we lay hold of by faith.  Thankfulness is truly an expression of faith that opens the doors and brings the answers to our prayers.

” So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations (Psalm 79:18).”

Blessings,
#kent

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