Advice to Live By

August 31, 2020

Colossians 3:17

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Advice to Live By

              If we are to take a short and concise statement as to how we should walk and live each day, this scripture might well be it.  If we filter all of our thoughts, words, intentions and actions through the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to meet the criteria of this command it will check us in a lot of areas.  It will also keep us in a state of constant communion and fellowship with the Holy Spirit.  It is only as we walk by the Spirit that we can fulfill this requirement. 

              Name is represented in nature, character and authority, so that as we do all in the name of Jesus, we operate out of His character and nature in all the aspects of our life.  It is the authority of that name that gives us victory and dominion over sin.   I can tell you that what we do in the name of Jesus will not always align with how we feel about a person or a situation.  Most often our feelings will have to be brought into conformity with God’s love.  True Agape love is most often a choice and not a feeling. 

              Contrary to our popular feelings and beliefs life is not about our rights, it is the relinquishment of all that we are so that He is lifted up and glorified through us.  Our life is all about what is pleasing and honoring to Him.  In Him we live and move and have our being.  By the Spirit of Christ in us let us live and operate our lives in the love, power, authority and the nature of the name that He has given us.  Let all things be to His glory, honor and praise as we ever give thanks to God by Him. 

Blessings,

#kent

Strongholds

August 28, 2020

Mark 3:23-27

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

Strongholds

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

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

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

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

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

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

              That is exactly right, we can’t do it, but we have a power resident within us by which we can.   Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  The key words here for us are “By the Spirit”.   We have an identity in Christ that we must put on in every area of our lives.  We are no longer identified with the weakness, fearfulness and the lust of our flesh.  We are identified with what we possess which Colossians 2:10 says is the ‘fullness in Christ’.  

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Lust

August 27, 2020

Lust

Psalms 81:12

So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: [and] they walked in their own counsels.

              Lust is an area where we all struggle.  Many of us automatically associate lust with sexual lust and while that is one arena that it greatly works in, it is by no means that only one.  Lust, is much the same as covetousness.  It is the strong desire, passion and delight in a desirable thing or object.  Typically, what do we have a strong passion and desire for?  Usually it is for the things that we can’t have or that we ought not to have.  This is what we commonly phrase, “lusting after the flesh”.  It is our flesh that is at enmity with God or at war with Him.  It is a battle that we fight in our souls, but finds expression through our flesh.  Now, lust could have a good connotation, in that “I lust after the Spirit”, or have a strong passion and desire for God.  Certainly this is the direction we would want our lust to take us, but more times than not it is taking us in another direction, the way of the flesh.  

              In our scripture today the context of what is being talked about is when God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and was leading them through the wilderness.  Lust was a condition of their hearts that led them away from God and the higher purposes that He had for them.  It continues on after our theme verse to say in Psalms 81:13-16, “Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, [and] Israel had walked in my ways I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” If we want to be fed with the finest wheat (the bread of Life) and the honey out of the rock (the truth and revelation of Christ), then we have to hearken unto the Spirit and not unto our flesh when the lust of our desires and want to’s conflict with the Spirit within us. 

              What is the first thing we want to do when our desires or lust conflict with our spirit?  Typically, we begin to reason, justify and compromise.  Let’s put the old mind to work on it, he’ll come up with a way to make it all right.  Isn’t that how we generally try and find peace with ourselves, by rationalizing something in our mind?  Or we compartmentalize it and justify it by saying to ourselves, “this is okay in this area of our lives, but not okay over here.”  We develop different standards depending on whether we are dealing with family, or business, or social engagements, or spiritual activities.  The truth is, God has one standard that applies to every area of our lives.   Daniel, in the Old Testament, didn’t cease to pray routinely, just because it wasn’t the politically correct thing to do.  He was consistent in every area of his life.  We must be no different.

               What happens when we start shutting the voice and the conviction of the Holy Spirit out and continue on in the way our flesh wants to go?  For one thing, we grow hard of hearing and hard of heart.  We have a free will and God will let us go our own way, but the more we go our way the more estranged we become with Him and the less clearly we hear His Spirit’s leading and direction. 

              Temptation is merely the incitement of my passion, desire or lust for something.  James, deals with this issue in a very straight forward way when he says in James 1:12 -16, “

Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.”  He lays out the progression of lust from beginning to end and then exhorts us, “don’t fall for it precious saints.” 

              Again, James deals with lust in James 4:1-5, “From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”  It is the lust of our hearts that entices us away from God to pursue our own passions that are in opposition to His will for us; thus we become His enemy rather than his friend.  Our desires become our idol and God is saying, “Don’t you know how jealous I am over you?”   God is envious and desirous of us, of our hearts, our affections and our faithfulness to Him.  We become like the adulterer that forsakes his relationship to pursue another lover.   We grieve the Holy Spirit in doing this. 

              The apostle John gives us this exhortation in 1 John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”  Peter makes the remark that the corruption that is in the world is the result of lust and the whole reason that God has given us such wonderful and divine promises is to help us escape out of that snare and stronghold that is taking the world to judgement.  He says in 1Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  God desires that our desire be first for Him. He loves us with a jealous love and desires that we are faithful.  He wants to give us a divine nature that has escaped the corruption that lust brings to our hearts and lives.  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free so that we would no longer be in bondage to our lust and former desires.   We need the Holy Spirit’s power to help us break the strongholds of lust off our lives.  The more our eyes are fixed on Jesus, the more our hearts are set upon Him and the more we are walking after the Spirit, the easier it will become to overcome these areas in our lives.  The Holy Spirit will help us, but He will not act against our will.  Only we can submit our will to His. 

Blessings,

#kent

Tenderhearted

August 26, 2020

Tenderhearted

2 Kings 2:19

Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard [thee], saith the LORD.

              What is the condition and state of my heart today?  As you and I ask that question of ourselves today, what is the true answer?   Through our life experiences, choices and decisions, we can find our heart in many different states.  It can become hardened because of sin and willful living.  It can become broken from abuse, disappointment and hurt.  It can be elated with life and living or it can become cold and unfeeling.  Life and experiences can have a lot to do with shaping the condition of our hearts, but so can the choices we make with what comes to us in life.  It would be safe to say that no matter what befalls us in life our safe place is a place of a tender heart before the Lord.  That is the condition of the heart that touches His heart. 

              Sometimes life can be so devastating that we feel like we are like a tree that has been cut down and all hope of life is lost.  Yet even Job, in his state of abject suffering and loss makes this statement in Job 14:7-9, “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; [Yet] through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.”  I believe a tender heart toward God is our hope in every circumstance of life.  Only the Lord can take that which is bad and turn it for good.  Only He can bring life out of death.  Only He can take the crushed grapes of our life’s sufferings and trials and make sweet wine.  James 5:11 makes the observation about the condition of God’s heart toward us when we continue in a place of obedience and tenderness before Him. “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” 

              Jesus is the Rock and it says that with Him one of two things can happen, either we are broken upon the rock through a tender and repentant heart or we become broken by the Rock through a rebellious and hardened heart.  What is the state of our heart today? 

              Isaiah 66:1-2 says, “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest? For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”  The Lord is looking and desires above all our sacrifices and the works of our hands that our hearts are right and tender before Him.  If He is ever going to manifest His presence and perform His works through a people, it is going to be a people who have a tender and contrite heart before Him.  2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him…  “No matter what life has dealt us let our hearts become tender, broken, pure and right before the Lord.  This is the condition of heart we need to have in order to experience His visitation and presence.  This is the place where we find the rest and the true fast of God.  This is the ground that is broken up and is ready to yield the fruit of His divine life.

Blessings,

#kent

August 25, 2020

Faithfulness

1 Corinthians 4:1-5

1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

              When we received Christ as our savior and embraced the cross, we embraced and committed ourselves to a trust.   Through our faith in Christ we promised to be faithful.  Even as couples, at the altar of marriage, enter into a covenant with one another, part of that covenant is the commitment to faithfulness and fidelity.  Likewise we are in covenant with Christ and one of the primary attributes God desires in His people is faithfulness, unswerving, unconditional and continued commitment to their faith.  God is looking for faithful servants that He can commit His kingdom, his power and authority unto.  If they do not prove faithful, they will abuse, misuse or fail to use what He would entrust to their care.  Each one of us in Christ has been given the Holy Spirit.  The Word teaches us that He gives us gifts and callings and talents.  We may not see ourselves as being anything or having anything, but God has placed something unique and special within each one of us.  He wants us to be faithful in whatever it is that He has given to us.  Some of us are still learning and searching out what our unique talents and giftings are.  They have a way of coming to the surface if you will look for them, because they are all resident in you, because Christ is in you.  God is not asking all of us to be a great missionary, evangelist, preacher or teacher.  It is not the prominence of what we do; it is the faithfulness that God is looking upon and that we will give account for.  It is faithfulness that causes the body of Christ to function and operate in a healthy manner.  What is unhealthy is when someone tries to make us be, or we try to be, something that God didn’t intend that we were.  We can get out of God’s placement and we will most likely experience a great deal of frustration and failure if we are.  We don’t always get man’s approval or even the approval of our brethren for what God has called us too, but it is important that we please God and not men.  Often, we can look at others and make judgements about them and their place with God that we have no business making.  We can even misjudge ourselves.  God is the final judge and before Him we stand justified or condemned.  Far too often we try and judge a fruit before it is ripe.  God is working in and processing each one of us to be what He has created us to be.  Our job and responsibility is to remain faithful to Him through the process. 

              Faithfulness is often a submission to others who are in authority and even submission as an act of love.  There will be times you may be far more qualified than one who is over you and you may find that to be a source of trial and irritation but remember ‘humility is strength under control’.   Faithfulness is lifting others up and not putting them down. 

              A faithful man is a reliable man.  One story of faithfulness that impresses me in the Old Testament is the story about Uriah the Hittite.  He was the husband of Bathsheba whom David became involved with and impregnated.  David, in his effort to cover up his sin brings Uriah back from the battle so that he can get him to have relations again with his wife and then the child can be attributed to him.  Uriah, the Hittite, is actually named among David’s mighty men, which were like the elite force of David made up of thirty some men.  Uriah wasn’t the most prominent of men, but there is an attribute we begin to see in Uriah that we could aspire to be like.   He was faithful to David to a fault.  Normally this would be a very desirable quality in a soldier, but unfortunately faithfulness was not quite the attribute David was hoping for when he brought Uriah home to his wife.  Uriah was more committed to David than he was to his own wife and because of his faithfulness to David and his men he wouldn’t allow himself to even sleep with his wife.  He viewed that as a betrayal of his trust while he was still committed to the battle and the other men had to abstain and be separated from their wives.  Uriah was such a faithful man that David ended up ordering him into a suicide mission that would take him out of the picture.  One cannot help but admire the dedication that Uriah had to David.  That is the kind of faithfulness we want to have toward Christ. 

              So many of us are morally and spiritually loose in our faith.  We are tossed to and fro. We are double-minded, trying to be spiritual and yet operating so much out of the flesh.  That is not to condemn us; it is to draw attention and awareness to the state of our own faithfulness.  How trustworthy and faithful are we to the Lord’s work and the mission we have to live for Him? 

              The one thing I think we all want to hear when we get to heaven is the Lord saying, “Well done thou good and faithful servant; enter ye into the joy of the Lord.”  Are we His faithful servants?  Are we responding, as we ought to the high calling of faithfulness that the Lord has placed upon each one of us?  It is not for others to judge, but one day God will judge it and what will He find in us?

Blessings,

#kent

The Obligation and the Reward

Luke 17:7-10

7Will any man of you who has a servant plowing or tending sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, Come at once and take your place at the table? 8Will he not instead tell him, Get my supper ready and gird yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; then afterward you yourself shall eat and drink?

9Is he grateful and does he praise the servant because he did what he was ordered to do? 10Even so on your part, when you have done everything that was assigned and commanded you, say, We are unworthy servants [possessing no merit, for we have not gone beyond our obligation]; we have [merely] done what was our duty to do.

Many of us think that if we keep God’s Word, give our ten percent tithe, go to church and are good people great is our reward in heaven.  In reality we are only fulfilling our obligation and duty to keep God’s Word and live in obedience to the Lord.  A lot of us try to do what is expected of us as Christians, but then that is where we stop, because now it’s my turn to take care of my needs, my wants and my desires.  So much of our Christian lives are committed to just doing our duty to God. This is a good thing and certainly something we should be faithful in fulfilling, but will we receive the praise of God and be rewarded for simply doing what is expected of us as His servants and children? 

Often we have a mentality that as long as we make heaven that’s all I care about.  That isn’t the mentality of the Lord.  The nature of God goes beyond was expected and what is required.  The rewards that Jesus brings with Him at His coming aren’t to those who just met the requirements, but to those who went beyond their duty and obligation.  What are we living, doing and giving beyond what the Lord has required of us?  

Listen to Paul’s revelation of this concept for his life in 1 Corinthians 9:13-19.  “13Do you not know that those men who are employed in the services of the temple get their food from the temple? And that those who tend the altar share with the altar [in the offerings brought]? 14[On the same principle] the Lord directed that those who publish the good news (the Gospel) should live (get their maintenance) by the Gospel. 15But I have not made use of any of these privileges, nor am I writing this [to suggest] that any such provision be made for me [now]. For it would be better for me to die than to have anyone make void and deprive me of my [ground for] glorifying [in this matter]. 16For if I [merely] preach the Gospel, that gives me no reason to boast, for I feel compelled of necessity to do it. Woe is me if I do not preach the glad tidings (the Gospel)! 17For if I do this work of my own free will, then I have my pay (my reward); but if it is not of my own will, but is done reluctantly and under compulsion, I am [still] entrusted with a [sacred] trusteeship and commission. 18What then is the [actual] reward that I get? Just this: that in my preaching the good news (the Gospel), I may offer it [absolutely] free of expense [to anybody], not taking advantage of my rights and privileges [as a preacher] of the Gospel. 19For although I am free in every way from anyone’s control, I have made myself a bond servant to everyone, so that I might gain the more [for Christ].”

The Lord has required of us certain things, but the reward of the Lord and that, which endures into eternity, is that which we give beyond our obligation and requirement.  Listen once more to what Jesus tells us about what is required and how we would exceed that as servants of Christ.  Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

39But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too. 40And if anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt (tunic), let him have your coat also. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two [miles]. 42Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and do not turn away from him who would borrow [at interest] from you. 43You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; 44But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike]. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47And if you greet only your brethren, what more than others are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles (the heathen) do that? 48You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

              The reward of the Lord is to those who go beyond their obligation and exceed expectations.  It is in the sacrifice and the going beyond what is required.  Are we living in obligation or are we living unto our reward?

Blessings,
#kent

Dead Man Walking

August 21, 2020

Dead Man Walking

Colossians 3:3

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

              Please take just a minute and try and absorb the impact and implication of this one verse.  Sometimes I think I comprehend this truth mentally, but do I possess a real revelation of what it should mean in my life?  This truth should continually revolutionize my world-view and perception of reality.  The spiritual reality and implication to this is that this self-life is dead.  That could seem pretty dreary and boring if it were not for what I traded it for.  If I am dead to myself, that means that I am free to be fully alive in Christ.  That means that God’s life inhabits me, fills me, expands and promotes beyond human limitation what I have the possibility of being “in Him”.   Say your name and put Christ behind it.  You are now that expression, uniquely and divinely His. 

              Now someone will be thinking, “what are you saying, that we should now have this god-complex?”  If we are indeed dead to the flesh and alive unto Christ, the God in us is in reality Him and not us.  We understand that whatever God does through us, great or small, it is by the power of in His in-working grace and Holy Spirit.  We are simply the living organism of His expression, unified with Him and in full corporation with His intent and purpose. 

              Perhaps one of the most staggering handicaps in Christianity today is, “we don’t really know who we are” and if we do get a hold of that, we so quickly forget it as we are quickly caught up in the life and economy of the world that we walk in.  The reality is that we are ‘dead men walking’ with regards to the flesh and our former soulish life, but we are resurrected people of the spirit who should be walking in the newness of life and hope in Christ Jesus.  If you are dead to the world then you have nothing to fear from the world.  The most the world could do is take your temporary existence in this world, but “your life is hid with Christ in God.”  That means that for anything to truly touch your life, it has to go through God to do it.  Will God allow things to touch you?  God will allow what will make you stronger and continually work a greater measure of His grace and perfecting work in you.  You are His family.  When He corrects you, it is for your good, because of His exceeding great love for you.  He wants kids that hold the family resemblance of holiness and purity and love.  He wants kids after His nature and likeness.  That is who you are!  Every time we look in that mirror we should see no longer just an outward man that represents our soul, we should see an outward man that possesses and is the habitation of the Christ.  Because that is who we are, we are focused not on the temporal and earthly life; we are focused on the things above.   We are as it says in Hebrews 11:13, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.”  Peter picks up on this same thought in 1Peter 2:11, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”

              The greatest victory for the enemy and the saddest defeat for the Christian is for the devil to steal your identity.  You talk about identity theft; there is no greater case and point than when you go around believing the lie about who you really are and who you really are not.  God’s Word tells us who we are.  It is the mirror we must continually look into until it becomes so ingrained in us that we are no longer this former person in the world, we are a new creation in Christ Jesus.   Romans 12:2 exhorts us in the light of this reality, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  We can never be the overcomers that God intended we should be while we still identify with these weak sin-laden bodies.  Quit focusing on what you don’t think you are and start focusing on what God says you are.  Because we experience some mistakes and setbacks, that doesn’t make us failures, it should only make us more determined to allow God to be our all in all.   1 John 4:17 tells us, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”

Blessings,

#kent

Psalms 118:17-18

I will not die but live and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.

You shall not Die, but Live

              “Has fear and doubt come against your mind?  Has your faith been sorely tried?   Reach out your hand from whence cometh your help.  It is Jesus, for you He has died.  Rise and be healed in the name of Jesus.  Let faith arise in your heart.  Reach out your hand from whence cometh your help.  It is Jesus, for you He has died.” 

              I was just impressed that the Lord was bringing this song up in my heart as I began this writing.  There are those of you who need this word this morning, because it is the Word of the Lord for you.  If you need it, take hold of it with all faith and don’t let go.

              Oh, the Spirit of the Lord has heard your cry as you have faithfully cleaved to Him.  He knows your every need and He is your healing and your answer today.  Take hold of Him, nothing wavering.  Set your face as flint upon the promises of His Word and refuse to be moved, ‘for has the Lord spoken and will He not make it good?’  “God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent.”   Ephesians 5:30 says, ” For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”  “The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you. (Romans 8)” 

You are no longer identified with this man of the flesh, even though you can be touched by its infirmities and weaknesses.  “You are more than a conqueror through Christ who loved you and gave Himself for you. (Romans 8)”  1 Peter 2:24 declares to us, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”  We, who are in Christ, already possess our healing, it has already been done for us in Christ.  The fact that we are afflicted doesn’t negate the truth that we are healed.  Healing is not something we have to get.  It is what we already have.  When the circumstances of this natural realm presume to rob that from us then we have to stand in truth and declare the truth of God’s Word over our circumstance and affliction.  We are not of this world, even though our natural man is still subject to it.  We are kingdom people “who worship God in the spirit and put no confidence in the flesh.”  As God’s children who set at the right hand of the father in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6), we have been raised up to declare and to live out God’s kingdom on earth.  “His kingdom come and His will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.”  We live our lives not out of the life of this natural man, but out of the Spirit of God.  We are identified and one with a risen Savior, Christ and Lord; bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.  God has declared life into us by the power of His Son and the manifestation of His Spirit. 

              We declare the Word of the Lord today over all sickness and death that is at work in God’s people.  Declare this scripture in Psalms 118:17, “I will not die but live and will proclaim what the LORD has done.”  Do it out loud and with all authority.  The Lord is touching you even as you read this, believe and declare His Word.  You shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.  Remember Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Align your heart, your faith and your declaration with the Word of God. Stand believing and proclaiming what He has said.  Don’t look at your symptoms as the proof of your healing, keep your eyes only upon His Word.  Truth is greater than all the facts of the world.  They that stand in it, will be vindicated by it.  Rise and be healed in the name of Jesus! 

              This is the Word of the Lord to you who are sick or enduring the trials of affliction today.

Blessings,

#kent

You are an Angel

August 19, 2020

Revelations 14:6-7

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

You are an Angel

              The Greek word for angel is “aggello”.  It is the word for one who is a messenger or sent with a message.  We most often think of angels as being heavenly beings and while they are that, they can be spirits that have expression through earthly instruments.  I don’t know that very many of us in our lifetime have ever heard angels in the heavens trumpeting and sounding out their message to our literal hearing and understanding.  In the sense that they are spiritual messengers sent to convey the Word of God, we, as God’s instruments often partner with them to bring forth the message brought to us from the messengers or angels of God.  We who share the gospel and speak that which the Spirit impresses us to speak are in a sense human angels or messengers commissioned with the Word from God.  If we grasp this concept that we are the embodiment of these angels sent from God to convey His message then we see where they are flying.  This angel is in midair, in other words in a realm between heaven and earth.  This is where we abide in the spirit.  We are no longer a part of this earthly realm and yet we have not fully come into heaven.  We might say that we are in the high places of the earth even though our body might reside in its lowest places.  Out of this place we are the proclamation of God’s Word to mankind and the spirit of this angel’s message embodies us to have expression. 

              This angel is proclaiming this message in our hearing today.  The eternal gospel is being proclaimed and must be proclaimed to every nation, tribe, language and people.  It is our commission to carry out this message in all of the ways that God enables us to do so; through our personal witness and testimony, through our financial support of saints who are doing so and through our prayers for this message and its messengers to be received by those who have been ignorant of the gospel.  The message is not just of the gospel, but also of the judgement that is pending upon the earth in this hour.  Our heart should be to spare every soul possible from that judgement.  This is a message and call to ‘worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.’  It is our worship that brings us into intimacy with the Father.  All of the earth will see and acknowledge God, but it is God’s desire that they know Him in the gospel and good tidings of His grace rather than His judgement.  In this mandate that we have to share and promote the gospel, know that there are ministering spirits of angels that work with us in the spirit realm to promote and accomplish this end.  We are not alone, but there are angels all around.  Together, with them, we are that angel in this scripture that is proclaiming this eternal gospel.  Keep in mind that today and each day, you are a messenger of the Most High; an angel as it were, sent with the eternal gospel of the kingdom and God’s salvation for all who will believe.  Just as the angels must be obedient and faithful to their assignment, so must we.  The good news is that we are not alone in our endeavor, but we are reinforced by the host of heaven and empowered by the Spirit of God Himself.

Blessings,

#kent

Let’s stretch Ourselves

August 18, 2020

Let’s stretch Ourselves

Luke 6:27-36

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

              Jesus tells us to do some things here that are pretty contrary to a lot of our human nature.  I would venture to say, that in all of us, we probably aren’t fully walking in what Jesus is telling us to do in this passage.  Let’s arm our selves with these instructions that the Lord has given us and as we go out each day let’s endeavor to stretch ourselves, step out of our comfort zone and the way that we have always done it.  Let’s step out of our character and into His.  Let’s do something radically kind and generous.  Let’s endeavor to be a blessing to all that we meet, especially those that are irregular people in our lives that we struggle to even tolerate, let alone like them.  Put on the mind of Christ today as you look out and see your world.  See it through His eyes and His love.  What would Jesus do?  How can I get out of my thinking and into His?  Bless someone in a spontaneous and unexpected way.  Forgive that person who has offended and hurt you.  Refuse to retaliate when others abuse you, treat you wrongly or speak unkindly to you.  Return blessing for evil, love for hate and kindness for unkindness. 

              Let’s dare to be different today.  Let’s dare to let the Lord stretch us and use us in new and uncommon ways.  That means we have to step out of the character of who we have been and into the character of who Christ is and wants to be within us and through us.  Go out and assault your world with random acts of kindness.   Take the time to tell others how special they are and what a difference their life makes to you.  Edify those around you.  Be thankful that you get to go to work and that you have a job.  Let everyday be another great day, because Christ is living in you and through you.  

              Dare to let go of the things that you hold onto so tightly.  Rest in the Lord that he is your provision and your supply.  As 2 Corinthians 8:15 says, “As it is written, He that [had gathered] much had nothing over; and he that [had gathered] little had no lack.”  There are untapped resources within us waiting to be released, as we are willing to stretch into the Lord’s principles and commandments.  How many times have we read this passage and others like it, but how much of it is actively working in our lives and everyday behavior.  What Jesus speaks here is not often seen in natural behavior.  Jesus wants to stretch us out of what we have been that is like everyone else and stretch into what He is.  If He has commanded us to do these things then He has provided the resources for us to do it. Are you willing to stretch today?

Blessings,

#kent

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