2 Corinthians 5:16-17

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

The Old has Gone, the New has Come

                Have you ever known somebody from a distance and based on your outward observation you formed opinions of who he or she was and what he or she was like?  Later, you came to know this person on a much more personal basis and as you gained access to really know their heart, your opinions and judgements of them changed.  You came into a fresh and deeper revelation of who they were as a person.   Many people know Jesus from a worldly point of view.  They may know Him as a prophet, as a healer, as a teacher and even as the Son of God, but do they still know Christ only from a worldly viewpoint?  Many of us have experienced a deeper revelation and more intimate relationship with Christ.  He has become so much more than a great and good person who walked upon the earth and impacted the history of mankind.  As we have come to know Him intimately we no longer see Him from that worldly viewpoint.  We have come to know Him after the Spirit.  We have come into an intimacy and knowing of the most personal kind.  We are coming to know Him not as just a Savior who awaits us in heaven, but as the person we walk with and fellowship with daily.  He knows our heart and daily He brings us more into the knowledge of His heart as we walk and share life with Him in that most intimate place.  There isn’t anything that we can’t share with Him and nothing that He doesn’t know.  The richest security and safety that we feel in Him is that even though He knows all of our weaknesses, our faults and our failures, He still loves us unconditionally. In our marriages we come to know each other’s weakness, frailties and faults quite well.  True agape, unconditional love is when, in spite of all those shortcomings, we can love them just as much anyway.  It doesn’t mean we love the faults or we don’t want to see change, but personal dislikes or desires for their change doesn’t change the fact that we love them anyway and hopefully they love us the same way in return. 

                When we come into Christ our viewpoint and paradigm has to be changed.  We are no longer that worldly person that we once were.  It doesn’t mean that those old ways suddenly all fall off, but in our inward man, our spirit, a transformation has taken place.  Old things have passed away and the new has come.  If we are intent upon knowing Christ now in this more intimate way then what began in our spirit will begin to permeate very part of our being, spirit, soul and body.  It will become our new paradigm and mindset that we now will operate out of.  While the transformation and habitation of our spirit changes immediately, the transformation of our soul and body is a work of salvation in progress.  Our salvation isn’t over and done with when we walk the aisle or give our heart to Christ.  It is just the “I do” that begins this marriage in His Spirit and life. In 2 Thessalonians 5:23 Paul prays, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  There is a progression of salvation from the inward to the outward.  This is completely the opposite of how the flesh approaches it.  We often think the better we are outwardly the more acceptable we are inwardly.  The Lord teaches us that if we learn to live out of the inward or spirit man, the outward will line up with our spirit.  His will, becomes our will, His thoughts become our thoughts and His desires become our desires.  In that intimate place we start living no longer after the man of the world, but after the man of the spirit.  The intimacy and relationship brings the transformation.  Little by little He deals with the different areas of our life and because we love Him we yield them obediently to Him, because we know that He has first loved us and gave Himself for us.  

                As we enter a new year, He is much more than a New Year’s resolution.  May we have a New Year’s revelation of our life and being in Him.  Indeed, may old things pass away and all things become new in the light and glory of all that He is in us.

Blessings,

#kent

Two Trees

December 30, 2020

John 6:44-59

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

52Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Two Trees

                Most all of us are familiar with the story in Genesis of Adam and Eve and how God placed them in a garden.  In the midst of that garden were two trees, the tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.   God said of all of the trees of the garden you can eat the fruit thereof, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you do you shall surely die.  Sure enough, when Adam and Eve yielded to temptation and partook of the fruit of that tree, death entered into the human race and the Pandora’s box of all of it consequences.  Before this day it was perfectly acceptable to partake of the tree of life.  We have come to know this tree as Christ Jesus who brings us into fellowship, unity and oneness with God.  After the fall, the tree of Life was cut off.  Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden; a mighty angel was stationed there to prevent their return.  They know longer knew the realm of personal fellowship they had once experienced with God.  They now lived in the realm of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  It was not all evil, good did exist there as well, but it was a mixture and was subject to the will of the flesh. 

                What we actually are hearing Jesus say here in this passage from John 6 is that the tree of Life has been returned to us by the Father to bring us again into a state of fellowship and personal relationship lost through the ages since Adam.  Romans 5:18-21 says, “18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Once again we have been given access through the tree of Life back into the realm of Spirit and God is Spirit.  There, in that place, we can once again walk with Him, talk with Him and find His rest.  In that place we have unity and oneness in Christ and are a part of His family experiencing adoption as sons. 

                Here is a paradox.  Just as the partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil caused Adam to die to the spiritual dimension of God and at the same time become alive to the realm of the flesh and soul, we who, now come into Christ and partake of the tree of Life, must also die.  This death is now to tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the flesh and the soul, so that we can become alive in the Spirit and experience the eternal life of Christ.  The apostle Paul gives us the key to this revelation in Romans 5: 1-14, “1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

Where we struggle is that even though we become identified with Christ in His death and resurrection in our spirits there is a process of possessing and conquering the land of our soul and body.  Just as God gave the Promised Land to the Israelites, they had to go in and conquer the land.  Possessing the promise and disposing the former inhabitants in our case of the un-renewed mind, will and emotion; along with the giants of our imaginations and strongholds.  Their victory was not in their strength, but it was in the reliance and obedience to the One who had promised.  It is our identification with Christ, who He is and what He is, that is our victory within our own mortal being.  When we take our eyes and identification off of Him then we find ourselves in the realm of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 

Which tree are you going to continue to eat from?

Blessings,

#kent

Knowing Jesus All the Way

December 29, 2020

John 14:6-7a

6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” 

Knowing Jesus All the Way

                Most of us as believers think of ourselves as knowing Jesus.  And we do know Him in some sense of the word, but notice that in this scripture in John 14:6-7 that there are three levels of knowing Jesus. 

                We first come to know Jesus as “the way”.  The Lord reveals Himself to our spirit in such a way that we understand and receive by faith that Jesus came to die for our sins and that by believing in Him we have “a way” of relationship restored to us by which we might really come to know the Father through His Son, Jesus.  For some, it is fire insurance.  If there is Hell and I don’t want to go there, then Jesus is my insurance and assurance, because He promises me eternal life with Him and to keep me out of hell. 

                Our initial encounters with Jesus and our acceptance of Him bring us into the relationship of knowing Him as “the way”, but that is only one aspect of how Jesus wants His disciples to know Him.            Perhaps we should make one more distinction.  A disciple is always a believer, but a believer is not always a disciple.  A disciple is focused upon the discipline of learning the ways of His master and becoming like him.  A believer may only be content to know about the master, but never really integrate the ways of the master into their lives.  Their faith is more superficial in nature.  It is more prone to be built upon the sand rather than the rock.  They may come and hear the word of God, but they don’t allow it to become their life, by putting it into daily practice and practical living.  They may easily talk about Jesus in the right crowd, but their life isn’t centered around living for Jesus. 

                The next aspect of knowing Jesus, is knowing Him as “the Truth”.  We come to know Jesus as the truth through His Word and knowing that Jesus is that Word as John 1:1-4  says, “In 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.”  We come to know who Jesus is in our heart and our life.  We gain spiritual wisdom, understanding and insight about our Savior.  Our relationship deepens as we endeavor to walk in “the Truth” of His ways.  We become truth seekers, because we want to know more about Jesus. 

               Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:23-24 what true worshippers are.  “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”  Those who know Jesus as the way and the truth are often true worshipers.  They have followed the spiritual journey from the outer court of tabernacle, the salvation experience; to the holy place of spiritual encounter.  There, they are led by the Spirit and the Spirit is leading them into truth.  This is a glorious place of personal encounter, revelation, understanding and the beginnings of intimacy as we are discipled by the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. 

While it is wonderful knowing Jesus as our “way” and our “truth”, ultimately we want to know Him as our “LIFE”.  This is the Holy of Holy of intimacy and relationship.  Here we step through the rent veil of the flesh of Christ as we come boldly before God’s throne.  In that place of holiness there is no room or place for our former life or that way of thinking.  We have stepped into a heavenly dimension of relationship with Him where we know Jesus in true intimacy.  Earthly values give place to heavenly ones, facts give way to truth and we become kingdom minded.

                In John 14: 7 where Jesus says, ” If you really knew Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”  This word “knew” and “know” here is the Greek word, “Ginosko”.  It means to lean to know, come to know, become known, understand, but it is also the Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.  This doesn’t speak about being acquainted or knowing about someone.  This speaks to the depths of human and spiritual relationship.  We come to know Jesus as our LIFE. He is the life seed of all that is planted within us coming to fruition.  He becomes more than the “way” and even more than “truth”, He becomes our “LIFE” and we become His.  There is a spiritual union of one flesh or one spirit if you will with Jesus.  Jesus was speaking here to His disciples of a new door of intimacy and relationship that had not previously been open; “From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him” speaking of the Father.  If you really want to know the Father it is through the intimacy of a love relationship with Jesus that takes you into the presence of the Father where you no longer distinguish between the two, because they are one in His love.   The cross that Jesus faced was the ultimate expression of the unified love of the Father and the Son.  When we know Jesus as the “way”, the “truth”, and the “LIFE”  then we also will be consumed in His love.  ‘The things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace’, as the song was written. 

                This is that journey that we want. That which is consummated in His LIFE!   Out of that LIFE we live, move and have our being.  Out of that LIFE we live out of the power of the resurrection life and the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.  Out of that LIFE we will overcome and prevail, for it is the LIFE of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit living through and out of us.  Out of that LIFE comes our Sonship and our unity with God to walk, live and operate fully out of our destiny and purpose.  Let us come to know Jesus all the way as the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Blessings,

#kent

Life and Godliness

December 24, 2020

1 Timothy 6:6-12

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Life and Godliness

                This scripture kind of flies in the face of all that we are taught in our present-day society.  It teaches us that it is all about education, working your way up, success and getting ahead.  All of these can be good in the right balance, but in all of our pursuit of life’s “success” we often miss the most important and needful things, life and godliness.  It takes a paradigm shift in our natural thinking to not be so earthly minded and material oriented that we rob our soul to satisfy our flesh.  How many upon finally reaching their goals of success, wealth, fame and riches find that happiness, satisfaction, contentment and peace are not in the pot of gold they thought to find at the end of their rainbow?

                We all need to work and support ourselves and families.  That is a godly principle.  In the process of that we often find ourselves getting out of balance, because the world and work place begins to demand more and more from us at the expense of robbing God, our family and even our own souls. 

                Many times this may be because we are trying to find our identity in our career rather than our relationship with Christ.  What we are and how we are seen in world’s eyes supercedes who we are and our life’s purpose in Christ.  Many of us have fallen in this snare and may be there right now.

This is not to condemn but cause us to take an honest look at our true motives, affections and life’s pursuits.  If we are not first and foremost focused on our identity in Christ and how He wants to live through us day by day, then we are missing our calling.  We all have to be so careful that we don’t get caught up in the materialism of the world and society we live in, that we miss our higher and foremost calling.  “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

                If our basic needs are met, then let us pursue what God apprehended foremost for, Himself.  Our primary function is the expression of His nature in and through our lives which grows out of an ever increasing relationship and intimacy with Him.  The enemy will bring every distraction and temptation to rob us of that identity and purpose we all have in Christ Jesus.

                Let us check our priorities today.  Are we aligning our lives with this scripture?  If not, what steps do we need to take to bring our lives back on course with our true identity and purpose? 

Blessings,

#kent

The Lord’s Friendship

December 23, 2020

The Lord’s Friendship

John 15:14-15

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

                Jesus says there is a characteristic that goes along with friendship with Him and that is obedience.  Our obedience to the Lord is something we all probably take much too lightly.  We tend to go our merry way through life and regard lightly the many ways and places in our lives that we offend the Holy Spirit and regard lightly the Lord’s will and commandment for our lives.  It becomes an unconscious act on our part, because we get caught up in our busyness and our lives.  We fail to always keep the Lord constantly before us, so that our day, our thoughts, our actions and words are centered around and in Him.  Jesus is more often our afterthought rather than our forethought.  What the Lord is communicating to His disciples is that in order to be in that relationship as a friend of God, rather than just a servant of God, requires obedience and cognizance of His will and His ways in all that we do.  Obedience on our part is an expression of our love and friendship with the Lord.  We are communicating that we value Him above ourselves and the relationship we have with Him is of more value than our personal will and desires.  Jesus speaks in John 14:15,  “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In this fourteenth chapter of John where Jesus is basically bidding farewell to His disciples before His Passion, He emphasizes this aspect of love, friendship and obedience quite strongly.  “At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me (John 14:20-24).” 

Most all of us want a closer and more intimate relationship with Christ.  We want to hear His voice and experience His manifest presence in our lives.  It is the consecration of desiring Him above all else that brings us to that place.  Would we want to be or abide someplace where we were ignored, put aside, unappreciated and not valued?  Yet, somehow we expect to experience the presence of the Lord when this is often the attitude of our hearts toward Him.  If the Lord is to feel welcome in us and extend His tent over our lives, then we have need of a heart attitude that reflects true love, reverence, respect and obedience to Him.  He needs to know that we are truly His and not our own.  He will not usurp the will He has given us and we can certainly override His will for our lives.  Most of us have learned that when we do this, we rob ourselves of God’s best for us.  Is there anything really better than abiding with Him, experiencing His closeness and abiding in the heartbeat of God?  That is the place we really realize the fullness of joy, contentment and purpose. 

                The Lord wants to be our friend.  He wants to reveal Himself to us in a much more personal way.  Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.”  Jesus wants to be that friend to us that is closer than a brother, but we must show ourselves friendly through our response and obedience to Him.  Our obedience is the expression of love to our dearest Friend.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Toolbox

December 22, 2020

God’s Toolbox

Romans 12:4-8

4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to hisfaith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

                We have often heard the analogies of how we are members of one another in the body of Christ and how as such we serve one another.  Perhaps another way of looking at the body of Christ and its members in particular is that we are God’s toolbox.  He has a world of broken people down here, and many Christians are among them.  They are broken, hurting and in need of attention and fixing.  We know that God is a Master Craftsman concerning His creation, but He has chosen to work with and through His tools.  Think today that you are a unique and special tool of God.  God has given you characteristics, gifts and abilities He didn’t give to everyone else.  There are ways and areas you can operate in that others can’t.  Those gifts and abilities He has placed in you, some naturally and some divinely, are so that He can use you as His tool to do a work that perhaps no other tool can do quite as effectively.  What’s more, He will put you in circumstances and with people that need the ministry of those gifts and abilities.  Obviously, you are most effective as your life is yielded to the Holy Spirit so that He can direct and use you to fix, mend and encourage the broken, damaged and discouraged.  Sometimes we often take for granted what our lives can mean to the well being and spiritual health of others if we are truly yielded and available to the Holy Spirit to use.  How often we miss it because of our self-will.  We take ourselves out of God’s hand to pursue our agenda and our priorities.  We often rob others of God’s ministering, healing touch through us.  We rob God from doing a divine work of grace in some broken person’s life and last but not least, we rob ourselves of being that tool in God’s hand that could have made the difference, that could have brought the healing and the restoration.  We didn’t have the time, or the energy or our own agenda was more important.  Haven’t we all been guilty of that? 

                God wants each of us to realize how important and vital each one of us are to His Kingdom coming forth in the earth.  Isn’t that what we pray?  “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done; in earth as it is in heaven.”  If God’s kingdom isn’t fully come in us, possessing us and living through us, then how can it come in the earth?  Jesus says the “Kingdom of God is within you.”  We are the vessels and the conduits through which His kingdom flows out to the earth and waters the dry ground.  The kingdom must first come and be revealed in us.  Christ must have expression and license through us and through our will to perform His.  That means to be effective tools, we must be yielded to the Master’s hand.  As readily as He will use someone else to work grace in your life, He wants to use you to work the work of grace in another’s.  We are created for a purpose and that purpose is to fulfill what God has fashioned us for.  Everyone is different, but everyone is just as important to the whole. 

                Take time to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  Be careful that we don’t blow past those divine appointments we have in life and the opportunities to minister the love, grace and gospel of Christ.  A tool that is not used eventually becomes rusty, stiff and of no use.  Be that tool at the top of God’s toolbox that He can lay hold of and use often in His work of grace in the lives of others.  Be that yielded vessel that God can perform the will and do of His good pleasure in and through.  We are God’s toolbox and He deserves only the best tools.

Blessings,

#kent

Enter In, the Third Dimension, Part 2

Hebrews 9:16-22

This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

                This scripture is pregnant with promise and while we as Christians enjoy a greater degree of intimacy and closeness in our relationship with our God, yet there is still an itch in our spirit that cries out to be scratched.  We experience our God’s glory and presence in a measure, but we know that there is so much more we have yet to experience.  In those moments in our walk with our God, when we taste of a deeper revelation and experience of His holy presence, when His Spirit comes over us and we are undone in ourselves and yet sense the fullness of joy and completeness that only His presence can bring, our spirits cry out, “Abba, Father, we want more of you”.  Inwardly we groan and travail because we know that still we haven’t experienced and aren’t walking in the fullness of what He has created us for. 

                It is a principle, that many times God gives us a promise that we lay hold of and enter into by faith, but we don’t always fully experience the full manifestation until its fullness of time.  Abraham had the promises of God, but saw only a small portion of them fulfilled in his lifetime.  God has given us principles here and in the Old Testament examples for entering into the Holy of Holies. 

                First, we know that there is no entrance without the blood of Christ applied to our hearts by faith.  Secondly we see that Christ Jesus was not only the sacrifice, but also the high priest and it was only the high priest that could enter into the presence of Almighty God.  In the Old Testament the high priest wore what was called an ephod set with two onyx stones. These stones were engraved with the twelve tribes of Israel. They also wore a breastplate of judgement set with twelver precious stone representing the twelve tribes. (Exodus 28:12).  When the high priest entered into the Holiest of All, all of the tribes and all of the peoples were represented there in that ephod and breastplate.  We could have no entrance before the presence of God in ourselves, but as believers, by faith, we are in Christ.  The identification of who we are is no longer seen in that former sinful man we were, but in the Christ man that we are, one in Him.  When we come before the Father in faith, He no longer sees sinful, corrupt flesh, He sees the righteousness of His Son because we are in Him and covered by His blood.  This is what gives us that boldness to approach His throne.  We don’t come before the Lord with defilement.  The Word says here, ” Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”   We have touched on our ‘approaching in full assurance of faith’, meaning without doubt or wavering.  It says that our hearts should be sprinkled from an evil conscience.  We need to deal with heart issues that aren’t right with the Lord whether that be unforgiveness or sin we are still harboring in our hearts.  These issues need to be dealt with and put under the blood of Jesus.  Otherwise there is a defilement that brings separation.  Our bodies are to be washed with pure water.  It is Spirit and Truth, the washing of the water of the Word, quickened and revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:24, ” God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.”  It is not about where we worship that matters, it is about how we worship that matters to God. 

                Lastly let us discuss this area of worship because it is the atmosphere that God lives in continually.  In heaven around His throne we see the picture that there are multitudes of heavenly hosts of angles and the redeemed of the Lord singing and worshipping their God continually without ceasing.  This is the atmosphere that we need to cultivate within our spirit.  There was a piece of furniture that stood at the entrance of the Holy of Holies.  It was the altar of incense.  The priest would burn sweet smelling incense and wave the smoke of it before the Lord.  This is our praise.  Our worship and praise is foundational to our entering into the Lord’s presence.  Praise is used in some 216 verses, so the Holy Spirit is telling us this is a key not to be overlooked in approaching the throne of God.  Psalms 22:3 says, “But thou [art] holy, [O thou] that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”  If we want to enter in and experience the presence of the Holy One we need to worship in Spirit and in Truth.  We need to create the atmosphere of praise and worship that invites His presence into our midst.  We will experience more of the presence of God in this atmosphere than anything else we can do. 

                The body the Lord has given us is His tabernacle.  We have a body, outer court, a soul, holy place, and a spirit, which is our Holy of Holies.  What part of your being are you living out of?

                Ours is a progressive walk in the Spirit as we seek to grow up into Christ in all things.  By faith and the blood of Jesus we go through each entrance into a deeper level and experience with God.  We have only touched on a vast subject as we briefly looked at each entrance into the greater depth and dimensions of God.  In conclusion, let us share the vision that Paul had as He pursued the fullness of God for his life in Philippians 3:8-16, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”

Blessings,

#kent

Enter In, the Third Dimension

December 18, 2020

Enter In, the Third Dimension

                As we touch upon the entrance of this Dimension we do so with utmost reverence, respect and awe; for in this place the very presence of the Almighty God dwells and resides.  In the Old Testament tabernacle the glory cloud of the Lord rested over this place.  The Holy of Holies was a foursquare room inside of the Holy Place.   It contained the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat that covered it.  Within the Ark it contained the ten commandments, the golden pot with manna and Aaron’s rod that budded.   In Holy of Holies only the high priest could enter once a year to make a blood atonement for the people of Israel.  The high priest had better be right in his heart and life when he entered into this dimension, because he would fall dead if he entered with any defilement.  He had bells on the bottom of his robe so they could hear if he was still moving and they would tie a rope around his waist in case he died so they could pull him out. 

                This is the highest and most holy realm of all.  The Word says that anyone who beheld God would surely die.  Our flesh can’t stand before Him and live.  In this place God was pretty much separated from man.  It was only the blood sacrifice and the atonement that allowed any access at all.  It is important that we see that in every dimension the blood never looses its power, but it is the only substance that provides access into the presence of the Almighty from beginning to end.  This is why Christ Jesus is so central and the key of our salvation is in Him.  In the Father’s eyes He is the sinless Lamb of God, offered upon the cross and His blood was shed for the atonement of all mankind.  The blood of animals only stood as a substitute until the fullness of times came and Christ Jesus came on the scene to be that eternal, once for all, sacrifice for all of mankind, past, present and future. The Lamb of God that was slain.  Not only did Jesus become the supreme sacrifice; He is also the spiritual High Priest of our confession, no longer after the Levitical order of the Old Testament priest, but after the order of an eternal priesthood, the order of Mekelsadek.  This is explained in Hebrews 7.  There is so much here and I can only hope to begin to touch on it, but Hebrews 7:22-26 says, “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;”

What we now see is that with the New Testament and the advent of Christ there is a new order that changed the old order of how things were.  When Christ Jesus hung upon that cross and gave up the spirit something supernatural and even super-spiritual happened.  Matthew 27:51 says, “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” The veil was the thick seven layered curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place.  God was revealing that through the death of His Son, the veil, representing His flesh was torn and access was now provided that had never been available before into this most Holy Place.  Hebrews 9:16-22 says it like this, “This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” 

                We will continue this in the next session and speak more of Entering In, the Third Dimension.

Blessings,

#kent

Righteousness

December 17, 2020

Righteousness

Philippians 3:9

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

                Righteousness, in a broad sense, is defined as the state of a person who is, as he ought to be. This is the condition acceptable to God.  This involves integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling and acting.  It is the definition of who we are in Christ.  As Paul so aptly puts it here in this scripture from Philippians, it is “not having our own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ.”  While it is by faith it is not even of our faith. It is “through the faith of Christ.”  The Word is very clear here that God’s righteousness is not through the enactment of our will, but the product and dispensation of His life, appropriated by His grace through faith that is active within us.  Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Our salvation and consequently our righteousness are the products of God’s grace and again it is not even from a faith that is from us, it is a gift of God.  We can never earn our way into heaven by being good enough; it is just not going to happen.  True righteousness is a God thing; it is not a man thing.  Only God has the power to impart righteousness in us and through us.  Now, it is important, having said that, to understand that we are the “Righteous.”  We are the standard bearers of God’s holiness and expression in this earth.  If we are the only Bible most people will ever read then they really need to be seeing the nature and character of God in our lives.  Isn’t it disturbing that the greatest turn off for the world at large toward Christianity is the hypocrisy and double-mindedness they see in those who proclaim to be Christians?  How do we think God must view this, that He is disgraced by His own people?  This is not said to be a condemnation, but we all do bear the shame of living less than fully committed lives for Christ.  The early Church set the world ablaze with Christianity because the world, in that time, saw something in them that was worth living and dying for. They saw lives truly changed and transformed by the power of God and they saw the Spirit of God alive and living through the people who embraced Christ.  Should it be any less true today?  Has God changed?  Doesn’t it say, “He is the same yesterday, today and forever”?  Where is our righteousness?  It is never going to be seen in a people that have merely embraced religion and the mental assent of being a Christian.  It is only going to be seen in a people whose eyes and hearts are steadfastly fixed on Christ and who are running every day and every moment deeper into Him.  As His people pursue Him with hungry hearts full of faith, He is filling and flowing through their lives in righteousness.   “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself ” (Philippians 3:20-21).  We are a work of righteousness in progress.  Let us press in by the faith, which our Lord has placed within our hearts to possess Him who possesses us, that we would indeed be and show forth the righteousness of God, which we are, in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

Forgiveness

December 16, 2020

Forgiveness

Ephesians 1:7-10

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.

                Forgiveness is a word that we use a lot and often fail to really consider the depth of what it implies and what it accomplishes.  Forgiveness is a necessary ingredient before any true restoration and reconciliation can take place in a relationship where an offence has occurred on the part of one or both parties.  Where an offence remains not forgiven, it may be pushed down or ignored by the offended one, but when forgiveness is not released it is like getting a splinter under the skin.  Even a small splinter that is not released will begin to fester and be a constant source of agitation until it is removed. 

                God, in His great wisdom, saw all the offences we committed toward Him as human beings.   While we might have good intentions, we have come to realize that God’s standards of holiness and righteousness are not obtainable in our fallen state and so we are a constant source of offense to Him.  We have come to realize that under God’s mandate and law we are all destined for judgement and the eternal consequences for our sins.  This was not God’s plan.  His plan was to provide for us forgiveness.  Through the sacrifice and the shedding of the blood of His perfect Son, He could extend release and pardon to us for our offences and sin.  God’s heart is to reconcile, redeem and restore His creation back to Himself and He paid the ultimate price to do so.  We all know what we deserve, but the mercy and grace of God said, “no”.  He has extended to us the olive branch of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation through the blood of His own precious Son.  God, in Christ, has done all the hard part for us and all we have to do is extend the hands of faith and receive this great and precious gift of forgiveness and pardon. 

                Imagine that you have murdered someone in the heat of passion and you have been tried, found guilty and sentenced to death.  Nothing you can do can undo the consequences of your sin.  Then one day the son of the president comes to you and says, “You know that you have committed a crime and the debt and punishment for that crime has to be paid.  I am here to take your place, pay for the crime and let you go free.  It will be just as if you had never committed that crime.  It will be erased from your record.”  If you accept this exchange then the doors to the prison open and you are free to go.  As if that were not great enough, the president’s son tells you that now that you are free he wants you to assume the position of the president’s son with all of its rights, powers and privileges.  Wouldn’t we be a fool not to accept such an offer?  Obviously, in turn we would owe the president and his son our lives for that exchange.  Obviously, what he is offering is far better than what we were facing.  We don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.  The point is that if we never accept the pardon and we hold on to our offence then it can never be pardoned or released.  With every gift given there is an exchange, but for the exchange to be complete it must be received.  The gift isn’t mine till I accept it from you and I can never open it and experience its contents until I am willing to reach out, take it and open it.

                In our human relationships forgiveness is an important part of our interactions with one another.  We offend and hurt one another rather intentionally or unintentionally all the time and we need to ask and extend to one another forgiveness.  As Christians we are commanded of God to forgive others as Christ has forgiven you and gave Himself for you.  Many of us are struggling with our relationship with both God and man because we have been unwilling to release forgiveness.  It doesn’t mean that we extend forgiveness and are expected to continue in a hurtful or destructive situation given a choice, but we need to forgive to set ourselves free.  It is the only way we can get those splinters of offense out of us.  When we withhold forgiveness we create a dam that withholds the love of God from flowing through us.  We close our heart and emotionally detach ourselves. 

                Many of us need the restoration and the reconciliation that can only come, as we are willing to release forgiveness.  We can’t always be responsible for the other party accepting it, but we can release it and thereby release ourselves.  Often pride, on both sides, is the greatest hindrance to our reconciliation.  You can see why God loves humility in us, because it is not too proud to say when it is wrong and it is not to proud to forgive someone, even when they don’t deserve our forgiveness. 

                Unfortunately, our unwillingness to forgive can become for us a puddle of self –pity that we continue to wallow in and feel sorry for ourselves.   We can do the same thing with our unwillingness to receive forgiveness.  We remain in the bondage of our offenses.  

                Forgiveness is one of the most powerful instruments of love that the Lord has ever given to us.  We all need to take it, use it and exercise it often.  Nothing can set us free and restore right relationships like forgiveness.  It can unlock the many prison doors of our hearts and sets us free to love and be loved with the love of God. 

                Search your heart and if you find their a hurt, a wound and offense that someone has committed either intentionally or unintentionally, exercise the gift of Father’s love and forgive them.  You are right.  They may not deserve it, but then neither did we.  When we set others free, we free ourselves and become again and instrument and a heart that God’s love can flow through.

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: