Birthing the Promise

November 30, 2020

Birthing the Promise

Ecclesiastes 3:10

I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

                Many of us have been believing and pressing into God for different needs and areas in our lives where we are trusting for a miracle or a breakthrough from the Lord.  Perhaps we have grown weary and have wanted to give up.  It may have seemed everything has been against us.  Though we have sought the Lord we may not have received any distinct word other than “just trust Him”.  Though we have been faithful to try and trust Him it doesn’t mean fear, doubt and unbelief haven’t tried to creep in to unsettle us, discourage us and defeat us.  Perhaps we have tried to do everything right.  We’ve even prayed about anything that may be hindering our answer to prayer.  Still it may seem nothing is coming together, there is no immediate answer in sight and when we do get a hopeful prospect to our answer it falls through and we are left empty and disappointed.  Still we encourage ourselves in the Lord.  We continue to praise Him in our adversity and trust Him in our need.  In the natural you wonder if this dream you have, this vision, this need for God’s touch will ever come to pass. 

                When a woman carries the promise of baby in her womb she has joy, not because she has seen the face of her promised seed, but she knows that life is growing inside her and in due season it will come forth.  God’s promises to us are often like that fetus in the womb of our soul.  All we have is the promise, the expectation, and the anticipation of what God has promised and quickened in us, that it will come to pass.  Every woman that has born a child naturally will testify that there comes a day when it is time to birth, but in between the promise and the fulfillment is this little thing called ‘labor or travail’.  In that place there is often extreme and intense pain to bring forth this promise that has grown in her womb.  At the time she may feel like there is no way she can handle the pain or that she will make it through the process.  It will often bring her to the end of herself.  This same principle is true for us who are trying to give birth to a vision, a dream or a need that we have in us.  In the process of trying to birth it, everything in the natural is telling us we are going to die and fail in the process.  We are pressed to the extremes of our faith and trust in God, as we are desperately trying to hold fast to His Word and our hope in Him.  The Lord wants to encourage us today to not give up, to continue to hold fast because you are in the stages of travail and our faith is being exercised and stretched like it never has before.  The Holy Spirit and the Word of God are our labor coaches encouraging us that we can make it, that God is faithful, don’t fear, only believe.

                When we look back through the Word of God we can see so many examples of the trying of men’s faith and the travail they had to pass through.  We see Abraham willing in obedience to sacrifice his only Isaac, Jacob wrestling with the angel, Joseph enduring betrayal, slavery, imprisonment and hardship to finally realize the fulfillment of his dream.  We see David running for his life from Saul and the enemies that sought his destruction.  We see Daniel in the Lion’s den; the three Hebrew children facing the fiery furnace and Jeremiah left in the miry pit.  The examples are many and numerous, but most pronounced we see Jesus enduring the travail of His Passion that He might give birth to the Church and the salvation promised to men.  We are no different in our personal lives than they.  We with patience and steadfast faith we’ll also inherit the promises if we faint not. 

                Ephesians 6:13 tells us, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”  Our God is raising His people not to be wimps that roll over in the face of adversity and look for the way of escape, but warriors who will stand in the day of battle and travail.  Perhaps you are in that day today with your circumstances.  2 Corinthians 2:14 exhorts and encourages us by saying, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”  Romans 8:37 reminds us, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” 

                Endure the day of travail for your joy comes in the morning.

Blessings,

#kent

The Value of Service

November 27, 2020

The Value of Service

Isaiah 55:6-7

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

                God’s people that walk after His heart are a service-oriented people.  They live to serve.  First, they serve their God through obedience, humility and worship.  They serve Him with lives that are yielded to the accomplishment of His will and purpose.  Each is equipped to fulfill this calling in different ways; nevertheless, each one is called to service.  This service is not a function of the will of the flesh or the will of man, it a response of love and fear of the Lord to the Holy Spirit’s direction and opportunity in our lives to serve Him.   We are servants because it is the heart of God in us.  Though He is God and King, He serves His creation.  None of us can deny that every good and perfect gift comes from above.  We ask for His service when we petition Him for our needs and the concerns of our lives.  Jesus came and died to serve us with all the promises contained in His great salvation.  Likewise, we may well be God’s answer to prayers prayed by others, as they may be answers to ours.  When I have an itch, I have a hand that is willing to scratch it.  Whatever my body needs, it has members that address those needs.  If my hand should get all caught up in itself and its importance and now it thinks that it should be the center of attention and ministry.  If pride enters into that member it will cease to function in a way that benefits and flows with the needs and ministry of the rest of the body.  Often, we can see such hindrances at work in the body of Christ and perhaps we have even become one.  When it becomes about me first and others second, am I functioning with the heart of a servant? 

                The Lord has blessed each one of us with the ability to be a blessing in some area of our lives.  Too often we are so busy seeking the blessing, that we fail to be the blessing.  Lord teaches us the truth that in our blessing and meeting the needs of others, our needs are met.  

                Today is our day to seek the Lord while He may be found.  Where He will be found is in that place of true heartfelt humility and repentance.  This is the day for us to forsake our wicked ways and our unclean thoughts.  The mercy of the Lord is there to pardon.  As we move to draw near to God with all of our hearts and our willingness to repent and change, He will begin to put us in position where we belong in the body of Christ and the service of the Lord.  Serving the Lord is not just about a lot of doing, or programs or committees; it is about fulfilling our calling and function in the body of Christ.  It is already in you to do it as you yield yourself to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to serve through you.  If we are to be somebody’s answer to prayer we need to be in the place of our service.  We need to be operating out of the gifts and abilities the Holy Spirit has given to us to furnish and complete the body of Christ and the Lord’s ministry to a lost and dying world.  Do you really know the value of your service today?  What might seem insignificant to you may mean the world to someone who needs what you can give.

Blessings,

#kent

Skating on Thin Ice

November 25, 2020

Matthew 25:10-13

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

29-30

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

41-46

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

            Our texts from Matthew 25 presents us with three parables given by Jesus that illustrate wise and faithful servants with subsequent rewards and foolish and slothful servants who reap the closed door to God’s presence and His judgement of displeasure. There are many that loosely wear the name of Christian.  There are many who attend church and acknowledge the name of Christ, but if we all stood before Him in judgement today how many of us would truly be considered His?  The passage in Matthew 7:13-23 instructs us, “13″Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “The scriptures speaks something very specific to us that many tend to ignore.  Many of us have a philosophy that we can have religion, that we can have works and that we can generally believe upon the name of Jesus and that insures us of heaven.  I fail to see that premise supported in these scriptures.  There is a connection necessary for us to be “in Christ”.  The connection we have in Christ is not just one made in a moment of repentance when we came to the altar; that should have been the beginning of a continuing, ongoing and deepening relationship that leads us into the heart of God and establishes us as part of the vine, yielding the fruit of the Spirit.  Our salvation is not contingent upon how religious we are, what church we go too, what denomination we do or don’t belong too or how good our works are.  Salvation is union with the One who hung upon that cross for you and I. He gave His life so that we might have eternal life.  For many, the definition of salvation has become very loose and general, but in these scriptures and many like them we find an exacting Lord, who expects faithfulness, obedience, commitment and fruitfulness.  That fruit has no value or worth if it is produced outside of the vine; it is the fruit of the vine that produces life and lasting value. 

                Jesus says specifically in Matthew 7:13, “”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Religion is a wide road that may lead us in pursuit of God, but does not lead us into life and relationship with Him.  That small gate and narrow road is not the one traveled by the masses or even the church in general; it is traveled by those in pursuit of Him.  Where are we at on life’s road?  Do we just possess religion, a belief system or even spiritual gifts?  None of those in themselves make us His.  He is looking for the ones who bear the fruit of His life within them, who are faithful with what He entrusts them with, who are watching and preparing for Him and those who are ministering that life to others that they themselves possess.  Do we really know Him and are we in relationship with Him or are we skating on the thin ice of a mindset that just says, “sure I believe in Christ” but aren’t really living what we think we believe.  Our beliefs must become our realities.

Blessings,

#kent

The Choice of Forgiveness

November 24, 2020

The Choice of Forgiveness

Mat 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

Mat 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

The spirit of love and unity is like the wall of a fortress.  When relationships are in harmony and working through their differences in love and unselfishness, there is a strength and peace of God that abides in that place.  When offence comes through someone, and it will, how we deal with it is critical to maintaining that wall that keeps out the enemy and helps maintain the peace and community we have in right relationships.  Obviously if the enemy can tear down the walls of love and unity he can storm the fortress and destroy the community.  Therefore forgiveness is so critical.  Perhaps no one thing separates us more from one another and our relationship with the Father as unforgiveness.  It is a cancer, that if left untreated, will undermine and destroy not only our natural relationships but our spiritual life as well. 

Jesus taught, ” Mar 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mar 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. The Father has forgiven us more than we could ever hope for or expect if we have but come to Him, confessed our sins and ask for His forgiveness.  If He is willing to forgive us of so great a debt, then He expects no less of us, His children, in our forgiveness of others.  When Jesus tells us if a man takes your coat, give him your cloak also or if he strike you on the one cheek turn to him the other.  Are not these the principles of forgiveness that go far beyond the world’s standards.  They are principles that say love is greater than another man’s offense and forgiveness can have no limitations whenever there is true repentance.  When there is an offense between us and another it places a barrier in our fellowship and relationship with the Father.  That is why Jesus exhorts us, “Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.  Luk 17:4 And ifhe trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. ” 

Is it any wonder the fruit of the Spirit, manifest themselves in our selfless giving and dealings with others.  Life is going to contain many offenses.  What will we do with them?  Will we let them destroy our relationships and bring division with God and man or will we learn the higher way of love and forgiveness to maintain a fortress of unity?

Blessings,

#kent

Live unto Life

November 23, 2020

Live unto Life

1 Samuel 25:29

Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the LORD has done for my master every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel,

              There are basically two types of life, natural or soul life and spiritual life.  We know that the clock is ticking on the natural life and much sooner than we might like to think the sand will run out and this natural or soul life will expire.  For those of us who have had God’s grace shed abroad in our hearts and have come into a relationship with the ever-living Father and His son Christ Jesus, we live for the spirit life that is eternal.  What we often struggle to keep focused on is that when we have come into this spirit life, we are living to higher principles and purpose.  We have grasped the concept that this present natural life is our stepping stone into the eternal.  What we accomplish and the decisions we make in this natural man, chart our course for eternity and the spirit life that we are stepping into.  But it is difficult to always keep our focus on the things above when we live and walk in the things beneath.

              Our scripture today is from the story of when David was being pursued by Saul.  He was highly insulted by a man named Nabal and was on his way with a band of men to slay every male in Nabal’s household when he is intercepted by an intercessor.  Now the name Nabal means fool and this man lived up to his name, but he had a beautiful wife named Abigail who was also very wise.  She gathers up large quantities of food and wine and goes out to meet David and his men before they arrive.  When she meets him and in the discourse of the conversation she makes the statement out of 1 Samuel 25:29 and basically prophesies to him of who he is in relationship to the Lord and what God will do for him.  She reminds him that his life is’ bound securely in the bundle of the living.’  She reminds him that none can prevail against him because that is so with God’s anointing upon him, and she reminds him that even his enemies will be slung away from him as a rock in a sling.  You see, David, in his anger and in the heat of passion had determined to avenge himself against this man Nabal and all the innocent men that may have been associated with his household.  He has lost his focus and is acting out of his flesh.  How often has that happen to us?  In the course of life an event or an occurrence will totally grab our attention away from who we are in Christ and we pursue it out of the flesh.  Even as God allowed or sent Abigail to check David and warn him, how often has God sent someone, or in some way tried to check our wrong actions by warning us, turning us away and trying to remind of us of who we are in Christ.  Sometimes God will even close doors or allow circumstances to try and turn our wrong course.  If we are wise we come to our senses and discern the warning and correct our wrong course of action.  Unfortunately, we are often prone to be headstrong and determined to go our own way or do our own thing.  Think about all the men and women in prison.  At some point in their life they probably had warnings and indications that they were headed in a wrong way and to continue would result in consequences, but they chose to ignore those warnings and continued in a path that led to the consequences of their incarceration.  How have their wrong decisions and choices negatively impacted many people’s lives?  We hope that we can all learn to be quick to recognize and repent when we start down these dark trails.  We must always return to our focus, which is not this life, but the spirit life.  It is not just the life to come, it is the life we are entering into now as we live by faith and walk by the Spirit.  We want our lives to count every day toward eternity.  We want our lives, like David’s, to be ‘bound securely in the bundle of the living.’  We want to be bound unto the Lord in the fulfilling of His purpose and calling in our lives.  Are we walking and living in His higher purpose for us today?  The Lord did not create us simply to live unto ourselves.  We have a divine destiny and it can only be realized as we walk and pursue that spiritual life.  Even if we have made a mess of it up to this point, it is not too late for us to change our course.  God still wants to make something good, meaningful and beautiful out of our lives if we will let Him.  If we set our eyes and hearts upon the eternal, upon His Spirit life, then we will begin to walk in the dimension of the spirit even while we are living in the natural. 

              Let us summarize with 2 Peter 2:1-3, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 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.”

Blessings,

#kent

A Call to the Scattered

November 20, 2020

Jeremiah 23:1-7

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. 2  Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. 3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

 5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,

       “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,

       a King who will reign wisely

       and do what is just and right in the land.

 6 In his days Judah will be saved

       and Israel will live in safety.

       This is the name by which he will be called:

       The LORD Our Righteousness.

 7 “So then, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 8 but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”

A Call to the Scattered

              What we are reading in Jeremiah is a prophetic word that is coming to pass in this day.  Many of us may see this applying to natural Israel, but as things are seen in the natural so are they in the spirit.  Spiritual Israel and her descendants are being gathered are being gathered out of captivity and displacement and put back into their place in Christ Jesus. 

              Roman 2:28-29 says, ” A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”  Just as God speaks to the natural Jew, He speaks to the spiritual Jew.  Many of God’s Jews of the Spirit have been displaced by wicked and unscrupulous men who have sought their own gain at the expense of the God’s precious flock.  As a result these shepherds have destroyed and scattered God’s people throughout the land.  They have driven them away from the Lord because they have represented the Righteous One in their wickedness and selfishness.  Many are out in the fields of the world, wandering, lost, separated, wounded and hurt.  They have become fearful and avoid fellowship with the people of God because of the wounds and hurts that they bare. 

              This is what the Lord would say to this people; these lost, wounded and scattered ones.  “I am raising up a Righteous Branch out of Zion who will rule and gather my people and my flock.  I have never cast you off, nor have I abandoned you.  You are still the precious apple of my eye.  I send forth My love to capture your heart again, to dress your wounds and apply My healing salve.  You have been rejected, but not of Me.  You have been wounded, but only that I may bring forth your healing.  Now I would gather you and bring you back to My heart and My throne.  Be not fearful, but listen to the Spirit of My voice within you.  You are still My beloved and My redeemed.  My heart is for you and not against you.  Return unto me for I am bringing you back to the true Israel over which the King of Righteousness rules.  Come unto me and I will give you rest.  I will lead you beside the still waters and make you to lie down in green pastures.”

              As surely as the Lord is bringing natural Israelites back to their land, so He is bringing the spiritual Israelites back to their place in Christ Jesus.    This is a day of restoration and healing for the people of God who have been wounded and hurt by those in the church.  Your true Shepherd is calling you back home.  He will heal you and restore you in righteousness and love for His namesake.  Come back now and dwell in the land of the righteous.

Blessings,
#kent

How Desperate are You?

November 19, 2020

Matthew 15:21-28

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 27″Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

How Desperate are You?

              If the testing of our faith is much more precious than gold, then should we be discouraged when it seems the Lord is ignoring us and refuses to hear us.  This story of the Cannanite woman teaches us a valuable lesson about “great faith”.  All of us move in a measure of faith, but it is interesting that in the New Testament Jesus saw great faith coming not from the Jews, but from the gentiles.  Those that grasped who He was had an unshakable faith in what He could do.

              In Matthew 8:8-13 Jesus speaks again of great faith concerning the Roman centurion.  “The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.”  One of the things that we observe here in both the woman and the centurion is that they are not looking for proof of who Jesus is or if He can perform a miracle of even that He be physically present to perform a miracle.  All they need is a word.  If Jesus will speak the word then they know they have that which they have petitioned Him for. 

              These stories should be somewhat sobering to us as Christians, because I think we now are where the Jews were then.  We are God’s chosen and the blessings and promises are first to us, but we, like the Israelites then often fail to have a great faith to lay hold of and sieze what the Lord has already provided for us.  These gentiles, even though they knew that promises were not directly or first to them, didn’t allow that to dissuade them in their quest for Jesus to meet their need.  What is even more unusual is that neither one of these gentiles were seeking a miracle for themselves, but for someone else.  Their faith was standing in the place of that other person who was too sick to stand for himself or herself.  There are those that are outside of Christ today that may be actually exercising and demonstrating a greater faith than we who have trusted in Christ, but we have become lax concerning our faith.  Jesus honored these gentiles’ faith because they seized the kingdom of heaven by force.  They refused to be denied and they pressed in until the Lord acknowledged their plea.  They don’t presume to be anything or deserve anything, but they obviously had a revelation of the nature of God in Christ.  They knew first that He was able and they knew that He went about doing good.  They prevailed upon His goodness.  They knew that even the leftovers of God’s goodness and grace were sufficient to meet their needs. 

              If the Lord is willing to do this for the gentiles, what is He willing to do for us if we will exercise this great faith?  If we are so desperate for God that we refuse to be denied, will He do any less for us?  We have the wealth and the riches of the kingdom at our fingertips.  Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.”  The promise is there, but what is our motive?  Is our motive to make ourselves rich or to be the instrument to bring the riches of Christ’s love and promises to others?  Great faith was seen in Abraham when he was willing to offer Isaac in obedience to God and He knew God would supply and make a way.  Great faith was seen in Moses when he stood as an intercessor for the Israelites.  Great faith was seen in Christ when He offered Himself up for the sins of the whole world.  How will we operate in great faith?  What are we willing to believe God for and act upon in behalf of others?  Often our personal needs are met when we see past them and put others first.  Be desperate for God.  Seize the kingdom with violence and with the determination of Jacob when he wrestled with the angel.  Don’t give up, PREVAIL!

Blessings,

#kent

My Destiny is the Pits

November 18, 2020

Genesis 37:13-24

[One day] Israel said to Joseph, Do not your brothers shepherd my flock at Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them. And he said, Here I am. 14And [Jacob] said to him, Go, I pray you, see whether everything is all right with your brothers and with the flock; then come back and bring me word. So he sent him out of the Hebron Valley, and he came to Shechem. 15And a certain man found him, and behold, he had lost his way and was wandering in the open country. The man asked him, What are you trying to find? 16And he said, I am looking for my brothers. Tell me, I pray you, where they are pasturing our flocks.

17But the man said, [They were here, but] they have gone. I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. 18And when they saw him far off, even before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. 19And they said one to another, See, here comes this dreamer and master of dreams. 20So come on now, let us kill him and throw his body into some pit; then we will say [to our father], Some wild and ferocious animal has devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams! 21Now Reuben heard it and he delivered him out of their hands by saying, Let us not kill him. 22And Reuben said to them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit or well that is out here in the wilderness and lay no hand on him. He was trying to get Joseph out of their hands in order to rescue him and deliver him again to his father. 23When Joseph had come to his brothers, they stripped him of his [distinctive] long garment which he was wearing; 24Then they took him and cast him into the [well-like] pit which was empty; there was no water in it.

My Destiny is the Pits

              Most of us know the story of Joseph who was the favored son of Jacob, but despised by his brothers.  God had his hand on Joseph in a special way and even gave Joseph some dreams that were glimpses into his destiny and calling.

              Remember how great it was when we first came to know Christ and experienced the joy of salvation.  Then, as we grew we learned of His exceeding great and precious promises to us in Christ Jesus.  What perhaps wasn’t so real to us at the time was the truth that “if we suffer with Him we shall also be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17)”.  Many of us walking this journey of faith and trust in Christ have found and are still finding ourselves in some very difficult places.  Maybe we have even pondered whether God really loves or cares about us.  I believe, like Joseph, the pit we often find ourselves in was really an appointment with destiny.  It may be satan’s attempt to destroy us, but then that was his attempt when he succeeded in crucifying Jesus.  The paradox of our faith is that often the way up is the way down and we often walk through hell in our journey to heaven. 

              Joseph, just happened to run into a man that was in the fields where his brothers were suppose to be as he was searching for them and this man just happened to have overheard his brothers saying where they were going.  Joseph’s whole journey that day was the road that would lead him to rule and reign, but between here and there existed a dark and hard path to follow.  It was the road of preparation, the trying of his faith.  When Joseph did come to where his brother’s were camped they plotted against him and even planned to kill him.  Remember the scripture that says, ‘your enemies will be those of your own household?’  Many of us have experienced betrayal, hurt, rebellion and have been forsaken by those of our own family.  They seized Joseph and threw him into a dry well or pit.  Have we ever found ourselves in dry and waterless places, faced with adversity, trials and tribulations and it seems as if God and the Holy Spirit are no where around?  We may not think that we are even going to make it.  Surely this is the end of us; what hope is left? 

              Imagine how Joseph felt and the thoughts that went through his head as his brothers spoke of killing him and refused to take him out of the pit?  The fear, the sorrow, the betrayal and the separation he felt not only from his brothers, but more importantly from his father who he may never see again.  His bright future is suddenly turned to darkness and despair. 

              If you are finding yourself in the pit today, don’t be discouraged and don’t despair, you may just be finding your destiny.  If we learn one thing from Joseph’s life it is that matter how dark it gets and how far away from God it seems, don’t give up, don’t give in and don’t forsake your faith and trust in God.  God has not forsaken you, but He is there with you every step of the way.  James 1:3-4 exhorts us, “Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

              Patiently trust God even in the pits of your life because He is active in you performing the will and do of His good pleasure to bring you into your inheritance.  1 Peter 1:3-9 sums all of this up quite well, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Greatest Gift

November 17, 2020

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God’s Greatest Gift

              I pray that all of us share the most wonderful and profound gift that God has ever given to man, the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.  There is still no greater miracle than that of a person being birthed into the kingdom of God.  Truly, God’s love is amazing that He would love a sinful and rebellious creation so much that He would lay down the very life of His holy sinless Son that through His death we might experience eternal life in His presence.  There is no more joyous and wondrous place in all of the earth than to share fellowship and relationship in His holy presence.  When we really begin to have church the way it is supposed to be, we will no longer go out of obligation, we will go with anxious expectation and anticipation at being in His presence.  We will experience His Spirit operating to us, in us and through us.  Needs will be met, hearts mended, physical needs met, spiritual growth and maturity taking place.  We come together not just to get and receive, but to give out of the storehouse of God’s abundant grace within us.  We are each one His treasures and God loves to share His treasures with one another and with the rest of the world.  In order for us to be a treasure shared, we must become an open chest.  We can no longer be closed and hidden but open and vulnerable.  As we identify the needs in others God will show us which treasure He wants us to impart. 

              As we come into this season of giving may we always remember that the greatest gifts are not what we receive outwardly.  Those outward gifts are only indicative of a much greater gift that desires to always be expressed and that is the gift of love.  I pray that everyone who reads this knows how much God truly loves and cares for them.  Sometimes in our tribulations and struggles we can lose sight of that.  We must always remember that our character is developed as we go through the storms of life, not as we are rescued out of them.  The Lord remains with us each step of the way. 

              If by some chance you haven’t yet asked Jesus, the gift of God, to come into your heart, to forgive your sins and to be your Lord and Savior, He invites you to do so right now in the quietness of this moment.  If we know that Jesus is God’s gift of salvation to us, but we never open the present, then we can’t receive the contents.  Many have knowledge about Jesus, but that is like having a present addressed to you, that you never open or partaken of its contents.  Jesus isn’t yours until you open God’s gift and ask Him into you heart.  He ever stands ready to give Himself to you; He only awaits your invitation.  Please contact me if you need someone to pray with you.

              Jesus Christ is God’s greatest gift to us.  It is one that we can never earn, deserve or be good enough to receive.  Receiving Jesus is simply the willingness to accept God’s invitation to come into His kingdom and be partakers of His divine life.  He is yours for the asking and believing. 

              May all of us share together in God’s greatest gift of all. 

Blessings,

#kent

The Power of Our Words

November 16, 2020

The Power of Our Words

Matthew 12:30-37

30“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

33“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

              Words are powerful utterances that have the power to work not only in the seen realm but in the unseen as well.  This scripture here tells us that words are pretty important, because by them we are judged and must give account.  “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Why are words so important?  Words are the expression of the heart and it’s condition.  If our heart is evil, our words will reflect that and if our hearts are pure and just, our words will reflect that as well. 

              In the first part of this study let’s begin to look at the power of God’s Word.  There is a creative power in words that cannot be denied.  Perhaps the greatest and foremost of these is seen in John 1:1-5, “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” 

All of creation is held together by “the Word”, which is Christ Jesus.  He was the spoken Word of faith proceeding out of the Father’s mouth that set all of creation into being.  That Word has expression through a person Christ Jesus who is the divine mouthpiece of God.  Jesus even said in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.”  What Jesus spoke in this earthly ministry was not idle chatter; they were the foundational building blocks, the DNA of eternal life.  Our faith in those words and the God-man that spoke them is the essence of our faith and the hope we have in eternal life.  It is the power of God’s Word that has the power to change and transform our hearts and lives.  Again, in John 14:10 Jesus says, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”  Jesus again confirms that His presence and His expression are the extension of the Father and not His own as a separate entity.  Through our unity in Christ Jesus and common faith in Him, He has joined us to Himself for us to, in turn, be the expression of His Word.  Our unity and alliance with the Word is seen in our obedience to it.  Because Christ was the Word, His life lined up with it in total obedience.  Jesus tells us our lives must do the same if we are a part of that Word.  In John 14:23-34, “23Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.””  

              Jesus expresses His mission and what His Word is to accomplish in and through us in John 17:6-8, ““I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.”  Then in verses 14-19 Jesus prays, “14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctifythem by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”   We should begin to grasp how central God’s Word and truth is to all that He is imparting into the believers.  Words are a creative and dynamic power we will continue to expand on as the Lords leads.  (Continued)

Blessings,

#kent

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