Psalms 30:7-12

LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled.

8 I cried out to You, O LORD; And to the LORD I made supplication: 9 “What profit is there in my blood,

When I go down to the pit?  Will the dust praise You?  Will it declare Your truth? 10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!” 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.  O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Attitudes that Nullify or Qualify

                There are times we come to some very hard places in our lives.  Some of us have lived in those places for a very long time.  We have no doubt cried out to God to remove our mountain, whatever form of adversity and trial it may take.  I found it interesting that the Psalmist David says here, “Lord, you have made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face and I was troubled.”  There is no doubt that  a lot of us that have been, and maybe still are, in this place.  The question is, “have we viewed it as the Lord’s favor?”  One thing God often does with us is that He puts us between a rock and a hard place.  We find ourselves in such a pit that the only way we have to look is up.  Our resources dry up.  Our strength fails.  We are left with two choices: forsake our faith, as we mummer and complain, or encourage ourselves in our God and the power of His might. 

                We see two examples in the Word.  We see the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and led into a wilderness where there is no food and water.  A great many of them choose to murmur and complain when they find themselves against the mountain of adversity.  They want some one to blame for their trials and problems.  They focus on death and what they left behind and how bleak the picture is before them.  They are always looking at how big the problem is and not at how big their God is.  On the other hand, we have someone like David.  Here is a man who has seen and experienced the reality of God and yet finds himself seemingly forsaken as King Saul pursues him to take his life.  I believe the reason David found such favor before the Lord is because he refused to allow his fears to be the giant that conquered him.  He saw himself in God in the sense that he knew God would not deny or forsake Himself.  He expresses the fact more than once that he became discouraged in his soul, but in his spirit he would rise up and say, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul.  Forget not all of His benefits.” 

                It is the favor of God that causes our mountain to stand strong.  It is not that He may beat us down, it is so that He can build us up.  Philippians 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”  Until we develop the eyes of the Spirit our fleshly mentality will keep us just going around and around our mountain.  It is with the eyes of faith and by the Spirit that we will, in due season, go through the mountain and that mountain will be cast into the sea.  Our mountain is our place of spiritual preparation and the place where God is honing us for a greater purpose. 

                We have two choices: murmur and complain or praise and worship.  Which do we think will bring us more quickly into the purposes and plan of God for our lives?  Philippians 4:6 reminds us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Our problems and our mountains aren’t always going to go away like we might like them too, but we are not alone in the trial.  Enter into your God and His mighty promises.  He will, in His time, turn your mourning into dancing.  He will put off your sackcloth and clothe you with gladness.  Encourage your soul today, “How great is our God.”  He will never fail us or forsake us.  “O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever!”

Blessings,

#kent

The Loss of a Birthright

April 29, 2021

6/2/08

1 Chronicles 5:1-2

The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father’s marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright, 2 and though Judah was the strongest of his brothers and a ruler came from him, the rights of the firstborn belonged to Joseph)-

The Loss of a Birthright

                There are several examples in the Word of those who lost their birthright.  We see Esau selling His birthright to Jacob for a bowl of pottage, which took him out of the lineage of God’s divine line through which the Christ would come.  We see those who forsook their higher calling and purpose because they failed in their faith and obedience to lay hold of the promise.  We first saw that birthright forsaken when Adam disobeyed God and brought all of humanity into sin and darkness.  He fell from the high place that His birthright had afforded him.  Authority and dominion were lost to him. 

Through Abram God brought forth the father of many nations and through his loins he began a seed line of faith and promise.  We see there were cases that this seed line did not follow through the firstborn if they proved themselves unfit or unfaithful.  What this all led to was the promised inheritance, restoration, dominion and authority restored through God’s firstborn son Jesus Christ.

Romans 5: 12-17 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”  Christ was the restoration of that which was lost through Adam’s failure.  Therefore, we have been called in faith to rise up in the birthright afforded to us in Christ Jesus and to produce seed worthy of acceptance through faith.  We have a birthright in Christ that we don’t want to take lightly or take for granted.  It is a high calling in Christ Jesus to come up into Him and to rule and reign in Him through the authority that He has once again afforded us.  Paul speaks of the calling of this birthright when he speaks in Philippians 3:12-16, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

                God has given us back a birthright in Christ Jesus full of faith and promise.  Let us not neglect so high a calling or be unfaithful to that which Christ has called us to inherit.  Secure the birthright afforded to you through your steadfast faithfulness and obedience to Him. 

Blessings,

#kent 

The Subtlety of Compromise

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

            The mind that God has given us are marvelous in their ability to help us function, remember, reason and navigate life.  They can also be extremely susceptible to deception and wrong reasoning and thinking.  How many times have we heard people say, “My God wouldn’t do that or isn’t that way, or is this or that.”  Who is their God?  Who is our God?  We know God through the revelation and knowledge of His Word.  We know Him through the life of Christ we see recorded in that Word.  We know Him by His Holy Spirit that He has placed within our hearts and we come to know Him personally and experientially as we walk with Him in obedience and relationship.  Like Eve, our minds are not only open to hear the voice of God, but other voices, reasonings and spirits as well.  How blessed we are to have the foundational truth of the Word of God; to have absolutes and firm values of what is God’s will and righteousness.  Satan’s purpose is always to pervert, twist, misconstrue and ultimately to lead us away from the Truth and to destroy our faith.  He is probably not going to have much success if he is too obvious.  If he came up to you today and said, “God isn’t real.  You need to just relax, enjoy life and forget about this God stuff.”  We would obviously refuse that and rebuke the devil.  The devil is known for his subtlety.  If he can influence our flesh to make small compromises, he will chip away at our moral fiber until it crumbles and falls.  “What can it hurt if I just do this little thing?”  It is the little foxes that spoil the vine.  It is the little compromises that add up to major falls.  It is fleshly and false reasoning that undermines our foundation of truth.  One day something comes along and because we have compromised the integrity of our values that we knew to be right we set ourselves up to make a major blunder that devastates our lives and the lives of those around us.  We all have areas of weakness in our lives where we are prone to be given to the flesh and to sin.  The enemy will find the open doors and windows to creep in unawares and devastate our spiritual lives. 

            God is continually warning us throughout the Word to guard our hearts from the deceitfulness of sin.  Deuteronomy 11:16 says, Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them.”  Psalms 98:5 warns us against the hardening of our heart that can come through life’s trials and testings,” Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, [and] as [in] the day of temptation in the wilderness:”  Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? “ 

Knowing that our minds and hearts are prone to evil, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us about how to combat these compromising temptations. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  Our compromises are the imaginations that we don’t pull down and we allow to have place.  Many of us are dealing with these compromises in our lives today in one area or another.  The last thing we want to do is become stiff necked, hard-hearted, having eyes, but we cannot see and ears, but we cannot hear.  Let us repent of our compromises and be restored in those areas we have let imaginations and strongholds come in.  Let us be faithful in love and all humility to restore one another in the areas we see our brother or sister falling into compromise; taking heed that we also do not stumble in disobedience.  We are not judges, but we are watchmen, watching out for one another in love, knowing that all of us are subject to compromise.  Let us deal quickly with our sins while they are small, before we reap the consequences of what they will produce in us. 

Blessings,

#kent

Called unto Good Works

April 27, 2021

Acts 10:38

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Called unto Good Works

                Romans 8:11 says, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”  If that same Spirit that raised up Christ dwells in us then haven’t we, like Him, been called to go about doing good?  You know what is the most disturbing thing about me?  It’s me.  Life becomes so much about my agenda, my desires, my wants, my needs, my comfort, and my appetite.  When you stop to think about it, a whole lot of life is just about me.  Is God anointing us to go about doing ourselves good or others? 

                Some might say, “Well, that’s just a works thing.  I live by faith.”  James says faith expresses itself through works and our works are the fruit of our faith.  Some of the basic steps of walking deeper into Christ and to be the greater expression of Him is to be less and less an expression of me.  Some of us want to take that to an extreme “that we are just martyrs for Jesus” type of attitude and really all that is, is just another expression of look and feel sorry for me.  “Me” is a pretty central part of our lives, but if I want to be a central part of God’s life, “me” is not found in the center of that world.  In that world me is the servant that is more concerned about the well being of another than it is itself. 

                “Me” isn’t real big on good works unless there is something in it for me, but the Christ in me is the servant of all.  The Christ in me is not there to be served, but to serve.  The Christ in me continually maintains an attitude of bended knee, eyes looking to heaven, hands reached out to serve and feet that carry us to do the good works we were called too. 

                If we believe that we, like Jesus, are called unto good works, then the one person we have to leave out of the equation is “me”.  It doesn’t mean we don’t respect and care for the body that God gave us, or that we can never have fun and relaxation, it just means that we are no longer the center of our world; He is and it is all about what is pleasing unto Him.  When we are centered on living out of the Christ in us and that is the One with whom we are identifying day by day, then we can be assured that God will be with us.  We will see His works manifested through us by His power and grace working in us.  It is not about how much I can do or how good I can be; again that is dependent upon me.  As our hearts are fixed and focused on Christ then all that He is begins to find expression through our lives and actions.  God’s life and nature are finding expressions through us and He is the expression of good works.

Blessings,

#kent 

God’s Dwelling

April 26, 2021

Isaiah 66:1-6

This is what the LORD says:

   “Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool.

   Where is the house you will build for me?

   Where will my resting place be?

2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD.

 “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. 3 But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a person, and whoever offers a lamb is like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense is like one who worships an idol.

They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations; 4 so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread.

For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened.

They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.”

5 Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word:

“Your own people who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said,

‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!’  Yet they will be put to shame.

6 Hear that uproar from the city,  hear that noise from the temple!

It is the sound of the LORD  repaying his enemies all they deserve.

God’s Dwelling

                Here in Isaiah the Lord is giving His people insight into what He is looking for in His people.  What Father desires is not an earthly edifice to dwell in or sacrificial acts or animals.  Heaven is God’s throne and earth His footstool, why would He want a natural house that we could build for Him? 

                So many through the ages have only known a Christianity of works, ceremony and the sacrifices they could produce, offer and perform.  Many have gone through the motions of religion and never known the intimacy of relationship.  Such were the religious men of Jesus’ day and such are many in this day, but God is opening the eyes of many to the substance of what He is looking for.  He says, “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”  God has no heart for outward religion and show.  Perhaps nothing on earth has brought more shame and discredit to His holy name than people operating under the cover of His name while committing abominable and ungodly acts.  Religion isn’t the answer to finding the heart of God, it is your heart condition and attitude that He is looking for.  It was religion that put to death the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus was no friend of religion even though it feigned itself in truth.  Jesus told his disciples to do as they say, but not as they do.  They speak out of the word of truth, but they don’t live the truth in their heart and attitudes. 

                “But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a person, and whoever offers a lamb is like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense is like one who worships an idol.”

They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations; 4 so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread.” 

                Now why would God say that when He was the one that instituted these acts of sacrifice?  It was because they had lost sight of the truth behind the sacrifice and were simply going through the motions while they still did whatever they wanted. 

                “They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations; 4 so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened.  They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.”

                They were much like the wise and foolish that Jesus talks about in His parables.  The foolish came to God and they heard God, but they didn’t do what He said.  The wise man came and heard, but then he built his life on the foundation of the truth through his attitudes and actions, so that when the storms of life and even the judgements of God came, his house stood while the foolish man’s was destroyed. 

                “Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word:

“Your own people who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said,

‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!’  Yet they will be put to shame.”

                It is those who say they are God’s who will often be your greatest persecutors thinking they do God a service.  It was these religious ones that condemned and had Jesus put to death.  It was the spear of Saul’s religious spirit that attempted to pin David’s anointing to the wall.  Know that if you are walking in the true Spirit of Christ, it will often be those of your own household, even the household of faith, who are your greatest persecutors.  Wheat and tares may grow in the same field until harvest and then there comes a time of winnowing and separation. 

                Father is looking to abide in those whose hearts are so ripe for Him.  Those whose heart cry is for Him.  Those whose only desire is to please Him.  He is still looking for that intimacy of relationship with His people who aren’t just interested in going through the motions, but passionately they want the substance of God’s reality in their lives.   These are the ones who are pregnant with the life seed of Christ in them.  These are the ones that will bring forth a nation in a day.  They love Jesus with all of their hearts and they only want to go where He is leading them.  God is calling out for the hearts of His true people, of His true house and dwelling place, for them to gather unto Him with all of their being.  He is coming in those who know the substance of His Spirit and Being, not just the outward showing of an appearance of godliness.  It’s the real deal or no deal.

                “Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple!

It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve. (Isaiah 66:6)”

blessings,

#kent 

In the Father’s Hand

April 23, 2021

John 10:28

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.

In the Father’s Hand

                The little boy put his hand in Father’s hand and clutched tightly.  The Father held firmly and lovingly the hand of the little boy as they walked through the streets of the city.  The little boy was in awe as he craned his neck to see the top of the tall buildings.  He was fascinated by all of the sights, sounds and all of the individual dramas that seemed to be taking place all around.  He felt the security and the safety of the Father’s hand as he inhaled all of the senses of that were rising out of the city streets where they walked.  They walked through some of the department stores with the variety of their wares displayed.  They stopped and ate at a local deli where the owner was very friendly and had great food.  They waited to cross the busy streets full of living machinery, moving, honking and pressing to reach their destination.  They saw men dressed very sharply in suit and tie and they saw men in rags, sitting and begging on the street corners; what a strangely diverse world.  It was so massive and grand and yet it seemed in control as long as the little boy held on to His Father’s hand. 

                The visits to the city became more frequent as the Father always had a purpose for going and He would always encounter and speak with new and different people.  The one thing that didn’t change is that the little boy always held firmly to his Father’s hand.  The more they visited the city the more the little boy grew comfortable with his surroundings. He felt less intimidated and awestruck and now he was more curious.  As his Father would be talking to others he began straining and pulling on his Father’s grip to see some new thing or want to explore some new place. 

                One day, near Christmas, they were in the city and the stores were alive with animated characters and displays of lights and toys.  As they were walking down the street they passed the most beautiful display with automated cars and video games that you could play and all of the things that he desired to have and play with.  As they passed, he kept looking back, longing to go back to watch and play.  Suddenly without warning, he broke his grip with his Father’s hand, and he began running back through the crowd to the place that they had passed.  He heard his Father calling out for him, but his heart was set upon a mission and that was to get back to the toy store that they had passed a while back.  Suddenly, he forgot all of the caution and the warnings that His Father had given to him.  His heart was fixed on one thing; he had to get back to that toy store.  As he ran back, he heard the voice of His Father become more and more faint as he became lost in the crowd of shoppers.  Finally, he arrived at his destination and with joy and delight he played with the interactive games and looked at all of the displays.  After he had finally had his fill, he began to look around at where he was and what he should do now.  He began to think about the warning and exhortation that his Father had given him, “Never let go of My hand.”  He had disobeyed, because he had become more caught up with the world around him than the relationship and the obedience he had with his Father.  Now he suddenly found himself alone, lost and with no one to look after him.  How would he eat, where would he sleep, who would watch out for him?  Suddenly the toys had little appeal as fear began to grip his heart and he began to grasp the gravity of his situation.  What if somebody wanted to hurt him or kidnap him, what would he do? 

                He went over to a bench in the mall and as he set there he began to cry and repent that he had ever let go of his Father’s hand.  That grip held him in relationship with the one who was his protector, his provider and the one that truly loved and cared for Him.  He had thrown that foolishly away to pursue that which caught his eye.  Where he had once held such a reverential awe and respect for his Father, he had on a whim, abandoned Him to pursue the attractions of the world around him.  Now he sat there lost, alone, hungry and scared.  As he held his head in his hands, he cried and said out loud “Father, I have been so bad and so stupid to run away from you.  Please forgive me.  Please come find me.  I am so sorry I let go of your hand.”  After crying and repenting for some time he finally opened his eyes only to see this large figure before him.  As he saw his legs and followed his form upward, his eyes met with the kindest and most wonderfully loving eyes in all of the world. It was His Father.  With great joy he leapt into the embrace of His arms and repeatedly sobbed how sorry he was.  Their reunion was wonderful as his Father forgave him.   The little boy wondered at himself that he could have taken for granted all that He had with his Father to run after such temporary pleasures and delight.

                Later, he asked His Father how he found him.  His Father said that he had been observing him the whole time from the crowds.  He said, I would never leave you or forsake you, but you had to come to that place where you realized what it would be like without me.  Only then would you be willing to obey me and never again let go of my hand.

Blessings,

#kent 

The Same Spirit

April 22, 2021

The Same Spirit

Romans 8:10-12

And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

                Where is our mindset, our conversation, our thoughts and our life today?  Aren’t we all prone to be absorbed with the flesh, the world and the outward man?  We are worried about finances, we are struggling with diseases and afflictions in our bodies, we are wrestling with relationships with people, just to name a few of the many things that press upon us to capture our attention, our time, our worry, our money and our life.  Isn’t the Word telling us that if we are focused on all of these outward things they are turning us away from who we are in Christ and the power we have resident within us.  It is not that we stick our head in the sand and refuse to acknowledge that we have problems and needs, but it has to be our focus that those needs are not met in us, they are met in Him.  Even the circumstances of life, the trials and tribulation must become the reminders to focus on Christ, to praise Him and glorify Him even in the midst of the battle, the pain and the struggles.  The Word tells us that ‘we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)’ and Galatians 2:20 expresses the Christ mindset when Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  Death surrounds us and is ever trying to consume and devour us, but we reject the death and embrace the life.  The embracing of that life often is death to the outward man that is perishing, but we are focused on the life that is bringing us into the eternal.   We care and attend to the external things like we care for our car.  It is the vehicle that transports us from place to place.  It requires a certain amount of attention and maintenance to run properly.  We can’t just put gas in it and run it without doing other things that keep it lubricated, tuned, repaired and running right.  We take care of it because it is a means to an end; it is a vehicle to reach a destination.  That is what our body is and the outward man.  We can become consumed with our bodies like some people do with their cars, but all the extras are not what is needful.   Many of us go through things in our bodies we don’t think others can possibly understand or relate with; maybe they can’t, but God can.  Hebrew 4:15 tells us, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.”  It is in our weakness that we must come to know God as our strength.  None of us can really boast of being anything in ourselves and it is never truer than in our weaknesses.  There, we must not identify with the death, but the life.  Yes, the outward things are wearing out and passing away, but the inner man is renewed day by day.  It is the life, the wisdom and the power of the One of who is the owner of this vehicle we call our body that we want to be focused on.  As in Christ, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you and quickens your mortal body also.  Lay hold of and live out of Spirit Life. 

Blessings,

#kent 

In Order

April 21, 2021

1 Corinthians 14:40

Let all things be done decently and in order.

In Order

                God is a God of order.  He has a time and a place for all things.  If we are to operate out of God’s order we, ourselves must be subject to that order.  It is not a matter of legalism or religious structure.  It is a matter of finding the mind of God and following it. 

                Most of us get pretty caught up in ourselves and if we are so blessed that God is doing something through us we can tend to think that we are the only show in town and we need to take the stage.  Someone else might be receiving something else and also feel that they need to share it right away.  Now we are talking in the context of when we are assembled together and where there is even a freedom to operate out of the Spirit.  In that operation there is spirit of order as we operate in love, giving place to and deferring one to another.

                Unfortunately, many of our churches today are so controlled and structured and I think it is for fear that we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to get out of control through people.  If we just keep and limit the Holy Spirit to center stage then everything will be done decently and in order.  We will sing the songs on cue.  We’lll give the announcements, the offertory, the sermon and the benediction and all of us will go home having experienced an orderly service. 

                What happened to the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in our assembly as they did in the early church?  Most of us are only experiencing a few of the gifts while the rest of the gifts in the body are stifled and never allowed expression. 

                God’s order is not to stifle His Spirit but to allow it expression through whomever He chooses to move in an orderly way of conduct.  All things are to done in love, waiting upon one another and for the edification and the building up of the body of Christ.  Unfortunately, there are probably a lot of needs that are never meant, because we do not allow the Holy Spirit to move through the body.  The body has become so dumbed down by tradition that it doesn’t even know how to allow the gifts of the Holy Spirit to operate through it.  We have become an order of man, rather than of God.  God gives administrative gifts to some, but that doesn’t lessen the need for the expression of the other gifts contained within the body.  God wants all things to be done decently and in order.  The other expressions are to be judged by the headship as spiritually sound or not, because the flesh can also manifest and operate in these times, but if we never really open the door for the Holy Spirit to move then who is really robbed, us or God? 

                It is really no different in our every day lives.  We have our agenda of things to do and a schedule to keep, so how many times are we not sensitive or unwilling to move in another direction that God might be wanting us to take, because it doesn’t fit with what we have planned.  I know I am guilty, how about you?  There may be opportunities for us to minister and be used of God in very special and unique ways, but we miss it, because we dismiss the Holy Spirit.  When we do that, are we living out of the flesh or out of the Spirit? 

                The Holy Spirit is our mentor and the One that leads us into all truth.  If we are truly open to the truth, then we must be willing to obey the truth.  God has an order, but His order doesn’t quench His Spirit.  It is our order that does that.  As a body and as individuals let us be sensitive to the Spirit of God in our lives and how He would use and direct each of us.  Let us allow Him to be the top priority in our agenda and schedule.  That is not always going to be what is convenient for the flesh, but then we no longer live, but Christ in us, right?  Be sensitive to the Spirit and operate out of His order and love.

Blessings,

#kent

How are you Clothed?

April 20, 2021

How are you Clothed?

Isaiah 61:10

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels.

                Our focus in the world is often on fashion and the styles of clothing available.  God has a clothes closet as well.  He is the One that wants to clothe us, but we make the choice concerning what we want to put on.  Outwardly we know how we like to clothe the body, but how do we clothe our spirit?  God has provided for us garments of salvation and robes of righteousness.  These are garments that we can not put on out of our closet; we must go to God’s closet to find these garments.  Matthew 6:27-34 challenges us not to get our eyes only fixed on the outward needs, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which t day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith? Therefore, take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you

 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.” 

What Jesus is saying is that if we are only focused on our physical needs we are missing the greater supply and provision that is in Him.  When we focus on clothing our spirits with His salvation and righteousness then with that clothing comes divine provision.  How many times can we not see the forest for the trees?   We are so caught up in the needs of this life that we fail to see where our supply comes from.  If we can become focused on the Supplier rather than the supply the supply will take care of itself.  

                Then, of course, there are those of us who think that we are already rich and have need of nothing.  Because we have been blessed, we have become lazy, complacent and full of ourselves.  Could this typify the American Christian?  We can go to church on Sunday or during the week, we have all the Bibles and spiritual literature we need so we must be spiritual and clothed with righteousness.  Revelation 3:15-19, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”  It is a time when we need to wake up and realize how spiritually blind, naked and destitute we are as a whole.  It is a time when we must get off our spiritual haunches and begin to pursue our God as never before.  We have become lulled into mediocrity and lukewarmness.  God is moving in other nations and other peoples His wonders to behold.  Through others He is raising up missionaries to send to us to sound the trumpet and wake us up to our spiritual condition and nakedness.  We have knowledge, but we don’t have the power and demonstration of the Spirit of God at work in our lives.  That comes through pursuing God with all of our hearts and putting the kingdom of God first in our lives.  The glory of the Lord is the desired raiment we seek, His holy life and nature clothing our spirit and soul.  We are a people preparing for the Bridegroom.  It is time for us to rise and dress appropriately.  We do this by seeking out the in working of His divine nature within us.  While God desires to bless us and meet our outward needs, our focus and heart must be for the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then will all of our needs be met, spirit, soul and body.

Blessings,

#kent 

Celebrate Life

April 19, 2021

Celebrate Life

Psalms 5:11

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

                If ever a people had reason to celebrate and be joyful, it is the people of God.  Who is blessed like us in all the earth?  Who else are the recipients of such great promises as given in 2 Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  Who else has been called to be joint-heirs with Christ and to be seated with Him in heavenly places at the right hand of the Father?  Who else has had the Lord of the universe come and give His life a ransom for our sins that we might be partakers of His life and kingdom, that we might have fellowship and unity with the Creator of all.  All that we have is by the goodness of His hand and all that we are is by His grace and sufficiency that works in us.   

                This morning as I was reading 1Chronicles 29 about how the house of God was a labor of love for David.  He laid up tremendous wealth in materials to build the house of God.  It says in verses 2 and 3, “Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for [things to be made] of gold, and the silver for [things] of silver, and the brass for [things] of brass, the iron for [things] of iron, and wood for [things] of wood; onyx stones, and [stones] to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, [which] I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house.”  David has made it his joy and purpose to bless the Lord back with the abundance that the Lord has blessed Him with.  This joy in giving and in blessing God through the preparation of building His temple is contagious even among the people.  Verses 6-9 shows us how this became also the heart of the people, “Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly, And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And they with whom [precious] stones were found gave [them] to the treasure of the house of the LORD, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.”  These people had laid hold of the joy of giving unto the Lord and they were making a celebration out of it.  And why did they want to give so much to the Lord?  They gave, because they acknowledged and appreciated how much the Lord had given unto them. 

                Listen and read how David then blesses the Lord at this time, “Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed [be] thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, [is] the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all [that is] in the heaven and in the earth [is thine]; thine [is] the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who [am] I, and what [is] my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things [come] of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we [are] strangers before thee, and sojourners, as [were] all our fathers: our days on the earth [are] as a shadow, and [there is] none abiding. O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name [cometh] of thine hand, and [is] all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee.”

                This was also the time of Solomon’s coronation when David handed over the kingdom to him and the great task of building the temple.  Isn’t it interesting to note that in this great giving from a right heart and attitude of the people that Israel never prospered more greatly in its history than it did at this time?  Wasn’t it because the leadership and the congregation of the people all had a heart of thanksgiving and appreciation for all that God had done?  It says of Solomon in verse 25, “And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him [such] royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.”  We know that we can never out-give God, but isn’t it wonderful that we can give something back to a God that has blessed us so.

                The Lord has committed the task of building the house of God into the hands of the church.  We should know that we only labor in vain if we are building after the flesh and not after the Spirit.  For we are the workmen and the instruments of God for the building up of His house to the glory and honor of His great name.  What a privilege and honor to know and serve Christ.  We have great reason today to celebrate.  May we always have the heart to bless Him as He has blessed us through uprightness of heart and willingness to give. 

Blessings,

#kent 

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