Matthew  14:22-32

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28″Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29″Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Faith Beyond the Normal

               Most of us are probably familiar with this passage of scripture where Jesus comes to His disciples walking on the water.  For them this is a pretty paranormal event that brings them into a state of fear, because they assume they are seeing a ghost.  Jesus reassures them and calls to them, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  There are times in our lives when Jesus may come to us or make His presence known in ways that are unfamiliar to us.  This can be disconcerting for our natural man until we come into the peace that it is He and not another spirit. 

               We see Peter responding to this event in a rather unusual way.  We don’t hear of any of the other eleven disciples calling to Jesus to allow them to come to Him on the stormy waters.  But Peter represents a company of people that know Jesus well enough that they are willing to trust Him.  They are willing to step out and go where no man has gone before, because their eyes are upon the Savior.  Their faith and confidence are complete in Him. 

               We see Peter calling out to the master, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  Just a note here, Peter was not so presumptuous that He bailed out of the boat without the Lord’s permission and assurance that he could.  Jesus replies back to him, “Come.”  We see a demonstration of great faith working in Peter as he crawls over the side of the boat and onto the water.  He is doing great.  He is actually walking on the water as he comes with his eyes upon Jesus.  Then he makes the error that so many of us make; he takes his eyes and attention off of Jesus and starts to look at the wind and the storm.  At this point he has just made a paradigm shift from walking in the Spirit to walking in the natural.  When he comes out of that place of faith he immediately begins sinking into the water.  Then he cries out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!”  None of us should fault Peter for what just happened, because most all of us have done the same thing.  We have a word of the Lord or a promise that He has given us.  We step out and start walking in that word and promise, but then when the storm kicks up and adversity comes we take our eyes off of Jesus and start looking at the surrounding circumstances.  Doubt and fear again find entrance.   Like Peter, the Lord asks, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”  You were walking in the miracle power of the promise by faith, but then you let doubt come in.  It gives us an insight into how destructive doubt, fear and unbelief can be to our faith and our ability to walk in the fullness of what He wants to do through us. 

               It is imperative that we are being trained in this hour to hear and respond only to the voice of the Master.  There are many voices and some of them sound quite reasonable and good, but are they the Master’s voice.  We must learn in this hour to live, move and have our being in Him.  Seek that place where you know when you hear His voice.  Be obedient and do not waiver from that, which He has spoken to you, but set your eyes upon Him and be not moved by the storm all around you.  Dare to step out beyond the boundaries of the faith you have known, but do it at the permission and instruction of the Lord.  If He has spoken, He will not fail you and yes, He will even be there to raise you up if you fail.  Be like Peter, dare to step out in your faith and go where no man has gone before, just  remember, don’t take your eyes off of Jesus. 

Blessings,

#kent 

May 27, 2021

Abiding in the Vine

1 John 2:24

Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.

               John, the apostle and disciple of Jesus, was very passionate about certain things.  Two of the things he is most passionate about is love and relationship.  I believe John was a man of the heart and when he committed his love to you it was constant from then on.  One area of emphasis is the place of “abiding”.  This word speaks of a place where we remain; we don’t depart, we continue to be present.  It is a place we last and endure in and a place where we survive and live.  It speaks of a state or condition that is constant and a place where we wait for someone.  This concept of abiding is one that Jesus is passionate that we catch a revelation of. 

               Abiding is a two-way street.  It is a place of exchange of living and giving, and loving and receiving.  That place where we live and abide in our heart is the key to what our life produces.  Jesus shares the reality of this truth in John 15: 1-8, ““I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  Our place of abiding in Christ is the place where we grow up into Him in all things.  It is the place where He loves us, trains us, corrects us and prunes us.  It is the place where He makes us productive and fruitful with regards to the kingdom.  It is the place where we learn that our life is one with His and the blood that flows in Him, flows in us.  We are of one life and one nature as we abide there.  If or when we sever and separate our life from His then that fellowship and circulation of His life ceases to work in us and we begin to spiritually die.  Outside of Him we perish spiritually. 

               God is a God of mercy and restoration and I believe that through repentance and the redemption of the blood we can be restored should we leave this place of abiding.  Many of us may have walked away from Christ for a time, but hopefully all of us realize how dead we are inside without His life and fellowship.  It is in the place of abiding that we are living in eternal life, for we are living in Christ.  1 John 2:1-2 tells us, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”            1 John 1:9 has told us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  There is a place and provision for restoration when we fail, but our heart should be that we don’t want to fail Him.  1 John 2:17 tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 

               Our abiding in eternal life is our abiding in obedience to the will and purpose of God.  1 John 3:6-9 tells us about the state of the believer in that place of abiding, “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”  Our continual abiding in Christ is going to make us want to be like Him in every way.  We are learning to love what He loves and hate what He hates.  We are being conformed to His mind and transformed into His likeness from glory to glory.  It is a process and a maturing, but it takes place as we abide in Christ. 

               It is important that we connect in our understanding to our unity and oneness with Christ, if we are always seeing ourselves as outside of and apart from Christ then we always see ourselves separate and detached from Him.  While our unity and oneness may not be in the manifest glory that it one day will be, we are robbed if we see ourselves as anything but one with Him.  Otherwise we are trying in our efforts to live Christian lives and looking to heaven for God to help us.  He has helped us sometimes more than we comprehend or have revelation of.  He has placed His life in us and our lives are in Him so that we might live out of Christ and unto Christ.  He is our being, we have become identified with His life in us. We have disowned and are putting to death the former man that we were before Christ.  We have to always remind ourselves that we are dead to our former identity and now our identity is in Christ where we abide in His love and His life.  Lay hold of the truth of where you live, abide and have your being.  It is Christ in you and His love that now lives through you as you abide in Him.

               “These things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”  

Blessings,

#kent 

Lending

May 26, 2021

Lending

Exodus 22:25

If thou lend money to [any of] my people [that is] poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.

               What is the Lord’s heart toward lending and loans?  Deuteronomy 15:6-8 says, “For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee. If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, [in that] which he wanteth.”  God has promised blessing upon His people who are obedient to His ways.   It is His will that we are the lenders and not the borrowers.  It is His will that we are the head and not the tail.  In this position of blessing, He has given us abundance to be a blessing, especially to our brethren and the saints of God.  If we are in this position He gives us warning about how we conduct ourselves with regards to charging interest or otherwise extorting from those to whom we would lend.  It would appear, according to God’s Word that God has blessed those who are the lenders so that they may be a blessing to help and lend to those who are in a place of need.  With regards to the body of Christ the principle would be that we do not lend for personal gain, but to help our brother in need without charging interest upon the loan.  On the other hand it would be wrong of the borrower to take advantage of the lender and not make good on the loan by repaying it as promptly as possible.  Even if that were the case, the Lord would have us to forgive the debt rather than hold ought against our brother.  Jesus gives us this principle in Luke 6:33-36, “And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend [to them] of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”  Our lending is akin to our giving; it is a principle of the nature of who we are in Christ.  This is a different concept than how the world views things. 

Deuteronomy 23:20 says, “Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” While Old Testament teaches that it is acceptable to charge interest to those in the world, Christ would temper us by saying “let love, compassion and mercy rule your heart rather than greed and covetousness.  While it is not always easy to apply these principle in the world of business and commerce we must be mindful that our first priority above getting wealth and gain is to have the heart of the Father in all that we do.  There will always be those who have more and those who have less.  If we are in the place of having more then our greater reward in heaven is not by exploiting that advantage for personal gain, but by using it to help the poor and less fortunate.  If we groan about this responsibility, the Lord might remind us that He could quite easily let us switch places and we can assume the place of the borrower and the one in need if we think that would more desirable.  If you are in the place of the lender today rejoice that God has given you the privilege of being in the place of being a blessing to your brother.  He has blessed you in a place of stewardship over not what is yours, but what is His.   “He who is faithful over little, He will make faithful over much.” 

               Perhaps there are some reading this today that need to bring these issues before the Lord and get His mind on how they are conducting their affairs in this area.  Philippians 2:4 gives us this principle to guide and live our lives by, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”  Simply put, we are all, “our brother’s keeper” and we all have a responsibility to take care of one another even when it doesn’t benefit us in the natural sense.  “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5)”

Blessings, 

#kent

Colossians 1:27

To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The Experience of a Saint

This was forwarded to me by a dear one in Christ and my spirit bears such witness with it that I wanted to share it with you.  It is somewhat lengthy, but very rich in its wisdom and content.

Reading this  below ) not only blessed the socks off of me , but brought my focus right back where it belongs, on the Altogether Lovely One . It isn’t about me  or ministry or revelations or experiences. It is all about HIMSELF.

And when at last I got my eyes off my sanctification, and my experience of it, and just placed them on the Christ in me, I found, instead of an experience, the Christ larger than the moment’s need, the Christ that had all that I should ever need who was given to me at once, and for ever! And when I thus saw Him, it was such rest; it was all right, and right for ever. For I had not only what I could hold that little hour, but also in Him, all that I should need the next and the next and so on, until sometimes I get a glimpse of what it will be a million years afterwards, when we shall “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of our Father” (Matt. 13: 43), and have “all the fullness of God.”

And so I thought the healing would be an it too, that the Lord would take me like the old run-down clock, wind me up, and set me going like a machine.

It is not thus at all. I found it was Himself coming in instead and giving me what I needed at the moment. I wanted to have a great stock, so that I could feel rich; a great store laid up for many years, so that I would not be dependent upon Him the next day; but He never gave me such a store. I never had more holiness or healing at one time than I needed for that hour. He said: “My child, you must come to Me for the next breath because I love you so dearly I want you to come all the time. If I gave you a great supply, you would do without Me and would not come to Me so often; now you have to come to Me every second, and lie on My breast every moment.”

He gave me a great fortune, placed thousands and millions at credit, but He gave a cheque-book with this one condition, “You never can draw more than you need at the time.” Every time a cheque was wanted, however, there was the name of Jesus upon it, and so it brought more glory to Him, kept His name before the heavenly world and God was glorified in His Son.

I had to learn to take from Him my spiritual life every second, to breathe Himself in as I breathed, and breathe myself out. So, moment by moment for the spirit, and moment by moment for the body, we must receive.

You say, “Is not that a terrible bondage, to be always on the strain ?” What, on the strain with one you love, your dearest Friend ? Oh, no! It comes so naturally, so spontaneously, so like a fountain, without consciousness, without effort, for true life is always easy, and overflowing.

And now, thank God, I have Him, not only what I have room for, but that which I have not room for, but for which I shall have room, moment by moment, as I go on into the eternity before me. I am like the little bottle in the sea, as full as it will hold. The bottle is in the sea, and the sea is in the bottle; so I am in Christ, and Christ is in me. But, besides that bottleful in the sea, there is a whole ocean beyond; the difference is, that the bottle has to be filled over again, every day, evermore.

Now the question for each of us is not “What think you of Bethshan, and what think you of divine healing?” but “What think you of Christ?”

There came a time when there was a little thing between me and Christ. I express it by a little conversation with a friend who said, “You were healed by faith.” “Oh, no,” I said, “I was healed by Christ.”

What is the difference? There is a great difference. There came a time when even faith seemed to come between me and Jesus. I thought I should have to work up the faith, so I labored to get the faith. At last I thought I had it; that if I put my whole weight upon it, it would hold. I said, when I thought I had got the faith, “Heal me.” I was trusting in myself, in my own heart, in my own faith. I was asking the Lord to do something for me because of something in me, not because of something in Him.

So the Lord allowed the devil to try my faith, and the devil devoured it like a roaring lion, and I found myself so broken down that I did not think I had any faith. God allowed it to be taken away until I felt I had none. And then God seemed to speak to me so sweetly, saying, “Never mind, my child, you have nothing. But I am perfect Power, I am perfect Love, I am Faith, I am your Life, I am the preparation for the blessing, and then I am the Blessing, too. I am all within and all without, and all for ever.”

It is just having “Faith in God” (Mark 11: 22). “And the life I now live in the flesh, I live,” not by faith on the Son of God, but “by the faith of the Son of God” (Gal. 2 20). That is it. It is not your faith. You have no faith in you, any more than you have life or anything else in you. You have nothing but emptiness and vacuity, and you must be just openness and readiness to take Him to do all. You have to take His faith as well as His life and healing, and have simply to say, “I live by the faith of the Son of God.” My faith is not worth anything. If I had to pray for anyone, I would not depend upon my faith at all. I would say, “Here, Lord, am I. If you want me to be the channel of blessing to this one just breathe into me all that I need.” It is simply Christ, Christ alone.

Now, is your body yielded to Christ for Him thus to dwell and work in you? The Lord Jesus Christ has a body as well as you only it is perfect; it is the body, not of a man, but of the Son of man. Have you considered why He is called the Son of man? The Son of man means that Jesus Christ is the one typical, comprehensive, universal, all-inclusive Man. Jesus is the one man that contains in Himself all that man ought to be all that man needs to have. It is all in Christ. All the fullness of the Godhead and the fullness of a perfect manhood has been embodied in Christ, and He stands now as the summing-up of all that man needs. His spirit is all that your spirit needs, and He just gives us Himself. His body possesses all that your body needs. He has a heart beating with the strength that your heart needs. He has organs and functions redundant with life, not for Himself, but for humanity. He does not need strength for Himself. The energy which enabled Him to rise and ascend from the tomb, above all the forces of nature, was not for Himself. That body belongs to your body. You are a member of His body. Your heart has a right to draw from His heart all that it needs. Your physical life has a right to draw from His physical life its support and strength, and so it is not you, but it is just the precious life of the Son of God. Will you take Him thus today, and then you will not be merely healed, but you will have a new life for all you need, a flood of life that will sweep disease away, and then remain a fountain of life for all your future need. Oh, take Him in His fullness.

It seems to me as if I might just bring you a little talisman today, as if God had given me a little secret for every one here and said to me, “Go and tell them, if they will take it, it will be a talisman of power wherever they go, and it will carry them through difficulty, danger, fear, life, death, eternity.” If I could stand on this platform and say, “I have received from heaven a secret of wealth and success which God will give freely, through my hand, to everybody who will take it,” I am sure you would need a larger hall for the people who would come. But, dear friends, I show you in His Word a truth which is more precious. The Apostle Paul tells us that there is a secret, a great secret which was hidden from ages and from generations (Col. 1: 26), which the world was seeking after in vain, which wise men from the East hoped they might find, and God says it “is now made manifest to his saints”; and Paul went through the world just to tell it to those that were able to receive it; and that simple secret is just this “Christ in you the hope of glory.”

The word “mystery” means secret; this is the great secret. And I tell you today, nay, I can give you, if you will take it from Him, not from me-I can give you a secret which has been to me, oh, so wonderful! Years ago I came to Him burdened with guilt and fear; I tried that simple secret, and it took away all my fear and sin. Years passed on, and I found sin overcoming me and my temptations too strong for me. I came to Him a second time, and He whispered to me, “Christ in you,” and I had victory, rest and blessing.

Then the body broke away in every sort of way. I had always worked hard, and from the age of fourteen I studied and labored and spared no strength. I took charge of a large congregation at the age of twenty-one; I broke down utterly half a dozen times and at my last constitution was worn out. Many times I feared I should drop dead in my pulpit. I could not ascend any height without a sense of suffocation, because of a broken-down heart and exhausted nervous system. I heard of the Lord’s healing, but I struggled against it. I was afraid of it. I had been taught in theological seminaries that the age of the supernatural was past, and I could not go back from my early training. My head was in my way, but at last when I was brought to attend “the funeral of my dogmatics,” as Mr. Schrenck says, “the Lord whispered to me the little secret, ‘Christ in you’; and from that hour I received Him for my body as I had done for my soul. I was made so strong and well that work has been a perfect delight. For years I have spent my summer holiday in the hot city of New York, preaching and working amongst the masses, as I never did before; besides the work of our Home and College and an immense mass of library work and much besides. But the Lord did not merely remove my sufferings. It was more than simple healing. He so gave me Himself that I lost the painful consciousness of physical organs. That is the best of the health He gives. I thank the Lord that He keeps me from all morbid, physical consciousness and a body that is the object of anxious care, and gives a simple life that is a delight and a service for the Master, that is a rest and joy.

Then, again, I had a poor sort of a mind, heavy and cumbrous, that did not think or work quickly. I wanted to write and speak for Christ and to have a ready memory, so as to have the little knowledge I had gained always under command. I went to Christ about it, and asked if He had anything for me in this way. He replied, “Yes, my child, I am made unto you Wisdom.” I was always making mistakes, which I regretted, and then thinking I would not make them again; but when He said that He would be my wisdom, that we may have the mind of Christ, that He could cast down imaginations and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, that He could make the brain and head right, then I took Him for all that. And since then I have been kept free from this mental disability, and work has been rest. I used to write two sermons a week, and it took me three days to complete one. But now, in connection with my literary work, I have numberless pages of matter to write constantly besides the conduct of very many meetings a week, and all is delightfully easy to me. The Lord has helped me mentally, and I know He is the Saviour of our mind as well as our spirit.

Well, then, I had an irresolute will. I asked, ‘ Cannot you be a will to me?” He said, “Yes, my child, it is God who worketh in you to will and to do.” Then He made me to learn how and when to be firm, and how and when to yield. Many people have a decided will, but they do not know how to hold on just at the proper moment. So, too, I came to Him for power for His work and all the resources for His service, and He has not failed me.

And so I would say, if this precious little secret of “Christ in you,” will help you, you may have it. May you make better use of it than I! I feel I have only begun to learn how well it works. Take it and go on working it out, through time and eternity-Christ for all, grace for grace, from strength to strength, from glory to glory, from this time forth and even for evermore.

HIMSELF

by A. B. Simpson

Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord;

Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.

Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own;

Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.

Once ’twas painful trying, Now ’tis perfect trust;

Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost.

Once ’twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast;

Once ’twas constant drifting, Now my anchor’s cast.

Once ’twas busy planning, Now ’tis trustful prayer;

Once ’twas anxious caring, Now He has the care.

Once ’twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says;

Once ’twas constant asking, Now ’tis ceaseless praise.

Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;

Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me.

Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One;

Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.

Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine;

Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.

Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;

And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the veil.

Unless Holy Spirit nudges me , I probably won’t be sending out “little letters” for a while and only to those who have responded in some way . I know there are those whose mailboxes are already clogged with unwanted stuff.

I’m always glad to receive a word from any of my brothers and sisters and shall try to give a personal reply ASAP.

Loving Him because He first loved me ,

 and loving you in Him ,

Pat

Gussie

Blessings,

#kent

Gifts and Callings

May 24, 2021

Romans 11:29

For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

Gifts and Callings

               When God created us for a purpose He put within us gifts and callings.  The gifts and callings are like the resources within the earth.  They may or may not be evident upon the surface, but often they need to be mined out of our earth, developed and refined.  God is not an Indian giver.  He doesn’t take back that which He has placed within us.  Now we might take what He has given us and run with it to our own ends and for our selfish purposes, but in ourselves it will never produce the life and blessing that He has destined it for.  A gift is not just for receiving, but for giving.  This is the beauty of the mystery of the body of Christ.  We are gifted and called in different ways, but brought together under the unity and submission to the headship of Christ we function in our many different offices like parts of the body function to the health and wholeness of the whole natural body. 

               You have a gift and a calling in your life.  Have you found, discovered and developed it?  Are you using it for God’s kingdom purpose or just for your own benefit?  Often our gift and calling is tied to our passion, the thing that we love to do.  When we have a passion for something then it isn’t a chore, it is what we enjoy doing.  Don’t think that what you have is unimportant, less significant or not as needful to the body of Christ.  The body truly is only healthy and functions properly when all the parts are in place and functioning in submission to the Spirit.  True Christianity is not a spectator sport.  It requires that we are in the game and performing in our gifting, position and calling. 

               Some of us have yet to discover what our particular gifting and calling is, but it may well be right in front of you.  You may be doing some aspect of it right now in your daily life.  It may not look real spiritual and in fact it can be quite functional.  Our gifts and callings take on so many different forms and are as unique as we as people are.  Some people are organizers, some benefactors, some have skills with crafts, music, speech, writing, listening, helping, encouraging, some in leadership and some in support of leadership. 

Perhaps a good guiding scripture for us concerning our lives, how we live them and how we carry out our talents, gifting and calling is found in Colossians 3:17.  It says, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”  All that we do in life we want to be directed to the praise and honor of the Father.  Now some of us are good at talking about what should be done and we may think our gift is to judge and critique everyone else.  Sorry, now you are trying to take on God’s job.  Romans 14:10-13 exhorts us, “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11It is written:  ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ “12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” 1 John 3:18 says it this way, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” 

               Each of us has a calling, gifting and an election in Christ Jesus.  Find your calling and begin to function in it.  The rest of us as the body of Christ need what you have.  A lost world needs what you can contribute.  None of us are without something that we can give.  You will find your joy and fulfillment in doing so. 

Blessings,

#kent 

The Honor of His Name

May 21, 2021

Jeremiah 14:7

Although our sins testify against us, O Lord, do something for the sake of your name.

For our backsliding is great; we have sinned against you.

The Honor of His Name

               Jeremiah writes this scripture at a time of great judgement befalling Israel because of their backsliding and rebellion.  Jeremiah, in his day, was like the proverbial square peg in a round hole.  He didn’t fit  because he was the representative of God’s name and God’s name had lost all honor in the land.  Jeremiah remarks in Chapter 15:16-17, ” When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty.  17I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation.”  Bearing the Lord’s name can be a lonely and unpopular place even when you are surrounded by those who profess His name, but their hearts are far from Him. 

               God’s name is HOLY.  He has called us, His people by His name; with that blessing and privilege we are called to holiness to bear is name in honor and righteousness.  Needless to say, God is jealous over His name and His reputation.  How many people in the world misunderstand God’s true nature and character, because we, who are called to be the people of God, have misrepresented Him?  How many today reject Christ, because of what they see in the lives of the people who call themselves Christians? 

               God is saying that His judgement begins at His house.  Like Jeremiah, the word of God’s judgement is not one we would desire to speak, but out of His commission we must speak.  God is going to bring judgement to His house to restore honor back to His name.  He has entrusted us with His name, but many of us have not held it in holy regard and reverence.  We have not feared His name as we ought to fear it.  Hebrews 10:26 says, “Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins.”  If Jesus is coming for a bride without spot or wrinkle then know that she has to be cleansed. 

               The trumpet has been sounding for some time now for us to turn our hearts wholly to the Lord in the light of what is coming in the earth.  It is a time when your faith will come with a price and like Jeremiah you may well become a reproach to the congregation around you as you sanctify your heart and life unto Christ.  Christ will no longer be about our religious verbiage, but about the epistle that He has penned in our hearts and that is read of all men.  The reality of who we are will be revealed and not just who we have professed to be. 

               Father is reminding me of the scripture in Matthew 10:32-40 that says, ““Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

40“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”” 

               There is a winnowing about to take place in the house of God where the wheat and the chaff will be thrashed and separated.  While our soul ties run deep, our spiritual ties with Father must run even deeper.  Stand in the truth and the vindication of the Name of the Lord, for honor must be restored to His Name!

Blessings,

#kent

Desire Wisdom

May 20, 2021

Desire Wisdom

Proverbs 2:1-11

1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom

and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

               Among the things that we covet, desire and pursue in the earth, is wisdom one of the primary things?  Proverbs 8:11 says, “For wisdom [is] better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”  Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”  Godly wisdom is a much neglected thing and yet just the word “wisdom” is used some 234 times throughout the Word of God, so one might get the impression it is a more important aspect in God’s eyes than many of us realize.  It is far too exhaustive to cover thoroughly in this brief study, but let’s just let God’s Word instruct us in this area today. 

               First, what is wisdom?  Ecclesiastes 2:26 says, “For [God] giveth to a man that [is] good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to [him that is] good before God. This also [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.”  James 3:17 tells us, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”  It is godly guiding principles of life that helps one to produce the fruit of godliness in their life and walk. 

               How does one obtain it?  Job 28:28, Proverb 1:7 and Proverbs 9:10 pretty closely agree and bear witness to each other that, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy (to depart from evil) [is] understanding.” It says that fools will despise wisdom and instruction.  So, if you be among the wise, “So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding;(Proverbs 2:2) For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth [cometh] knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: [he is] a buckler to them that walk uprightly (Proverbs2:6-7).”

               Why is it so important?  Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 15:33 tells us, “The fear of the LORD [is] the instruction of wisdom; and before honour [is] humility.”  It is so important, because learning wisdom is learning the way of the Lord.  It is our instruction and way of salvation.  It is the path that leads to life.   Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy the truth, and sell [it] not; [also] wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”  I think this is a key verse to understanding a couple of passages in the New Testament.  If we think about this wisdom as like the oil of godly understanding, of principled living, of the knowledge which leads us into relationship and intimacy with Him, then we might get a little insight into Matthew 25:1-13.  The parable about the ten virgins, five who were wise and five who were foolish.  We just learned that the foolish are those who despise wisdom.  The reason they despise wisdom is because wisdom demands great reverence and respect for God, as well as obedience.  The foolish want to go their own way, be complacent and do their own thing.  Proverbs 15:21 says, “Folly [is] joy to [him that is] destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly” Can any of us see that folly in ourselves?  They were all virgins.  They were all looking for Christ’s coming, but we see two different conditions of the heart, one acceptable and one not.   Wisdom is not something you have in a moment of time, it something that you cultivate, grow and mature into.  Wisdom is revealed to those that love her, seek after, cherish and respect her.  She is a relational creature and one you must grow in relationship with.   Proverbs 19:8 says, “He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.”  Ecclesiastes 2:13 says, “Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.”

Isaiah 33:6 tells us, “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, [and] strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD [is] his treasure”  “My son, attend unto my wisdom, [and] bow thine ear to my understanding (Proverbs 5:1).”  Perhaps through these many passages and exhortations of wisdom we are given even more a sense and gravity to the exhortation of Revelations 3:15, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot.  So because thou are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and the miserable and poor and blind and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayes become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest cloth thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see.   As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.”  This is the exhortation to the foolish virgin to go get and buy wisdom before it is too late.

               Let us pursue wisdom whereby our lamps are filled with oil and we are not filled with a false sense of security and riches; but of a truth, we are rich in the wisdom and the mind of our God.

Blessings,

#kent

Slipping in the Mud Puddle

               We mentioned before that our feet determine and speak of that way in which we walk.  How is our walk with Christ today? Are we walking on solid rock or are we going through the slippery places.  Sometimes with our walk in Christ our feet take us and land us where we would not choose to go in the natural.  There are times we get in those places where we get bogged down in the miry clay of life and the world around us.  We know we are not where we want to be or where we should be, but our feet are stuck.  We can’t seem to move out of that place.  We are like in a pit and can’t get out; we keep slipping back in.  David experienced that place.  He shares in Psalms 40:1-4, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. 4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.”  No matter what you are going through.  No matter how defeated or discouraged with yourself or others that you have become, keep your heart and eyes on Jesus.  You may have strongholds in your life that are keeping you in sin and you can’t seem to get free.  You may hate yourself for who you are, what you have done or what you are doing.  God hasn’t forsaken you.  He sees your heart.  He sees your need and He knows your weakness.  He can lift you up out of that pit if you are willing and desiring to walk in the paths of righteousness.  Humble yourself and seek Him.  Seek out the help you need and that which He has provided for you in His body through the gifting He has given to those who can help you get free and deliver you out of your slippery pit.  Don’t let condemnation and the accuser rob you of the deliverance that God has for you.  He is greater than your weakness and He can restore your feet to the paths of righteousness. 

               Again, in Psalms, David speaks of a time when his feet almost slipped.  As he beheld the wicked, it seemed that they prospered and got fat and nothing bad ever seemed to happen to them.  Have we ever coveted the world?  Here we are struggling and going through trials and tribulations and those living in the world seem to be the ones that really have the good life.  In Psalm 73 David speaks of the way that his feet were taking him, as his heart was drawn to this seeming paradox.  “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. 3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.  5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. 7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. 8 They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. 9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. 10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. 11 They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?” 12 This is what the wicked are like— always carefree, they increase in wealth. 13 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. 14 All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. 16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. 18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. 19 How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!”  While the walk of the godly man or woman is difficult and often filled with hardship, God is simply preparing you for an inheritance that is so much greater than all of the riches of the world and the prosperity of the wicked.  Their eternal end is bitterness, anguish and suffering; yours is an eternal inheritance with riches stored up in heaven beyond what your mind can imagine.  As Jesus says in John 6:27, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

               The world and all of it ways can begin to look pretty good to us, but we must maintain our vision that we are strangers and so-journers in the land till the Lord comes to reign in righteousness upon the earth.  Isaiah 26: 1-8 says it like this, “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. 2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. 3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. 4 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. 5 He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground

and casts it down to the dust. 6 Feet trample it down— the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor. 7 The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth. 8 Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”  This is how the Lord encourages His people to be steadfast and abounding in a walk where our feet abide and continue in a righteous walk.  While it is a walk of humility it will open up into place of authority and dominion.  He tells His people in Isaiah 49:23, “Kings will be your foster fathers,

and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Again, in Isaiah 60:14 it says, “The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”  So, why would we want to envy the wicked or the high places of this earth?  Your position, your authority and your dominion in Christ is so much higher and so much greater than the best that the earth can offer.  Keep your feet steadfast in His ways.

Blessings,

#kent

Parables of the Kingdom

Matthew 13:44-52

44″The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45″Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

47″Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51″Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.

“Yes,” they replied.

52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

               Jesus has given us some parables here in Matthew to help us grasp a spiritual understanding of the kingdom of heaven.  It is much like you having discovered a large reservoir of oil beneath your property.  You grasp the potential wealth of what you are sitting on, but until the oil can be brought to the surface it has no practical and realized value or worth to you.  Aren’t our lives the same way?  We have discovered the great truth and wealth we have of Christ in us, our hope of glory, but as long as He stays locked up in our spirit, our property, remains pretty much unchanged.  So, what will we do?  Now having this knowledge of the great treasure possessed beneath the surface, we will make our primary pursuit and investment in gleaning the treasure we know is there.  We will make what ever sacrifices are necessary of what we now possess outwardly so that we might tap into the rich resources that are hidden in our earth.  2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” There is treasure in these here vessels of clay and we need to mine it out.  We are drilling for the nature, the power and the life of Christ, and we don’t want to spare any expense or fail to make any sacrifice necessary to lay hold of it.  What is more is that, as we are in pursuit of the riches within, we want to share the good news with others around us.  We want them to know that they also can have this treasure, but we find that many are far too self-absorbed to hear us or lay hold of the truth that we are sharing with them.  Paul says in verses 4-6, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 

We have been blessed with the revelation of the riches we have within, now it is about laying hold of them till they become resident and manifest in our daily lives.  In laying hold of these riches there are other things that we value in life that we will have to let go of.  We have to decide where our treasure really is and what we are willing to give up to lay hold of it.  If we choose the riches and what is valuable to us in this life then we will lose our grip on the eternal life and fail to realize the riches that we held.  On the other hand, when we are willing to forsake all else and spend all our resources to lay hold of this treasure within, then we will lay hold of riches that so far exceed those we could ever know in this world. 

               In another parable Jesus gives here of the net drawing in a great catch of fish we see that the kingdom of heaven is currently made up of a mixture of both good and bad.  We see it in the realm of Christianity.  It is a mixture of flesh and Spirit.  We also see that in God’s time there will be a purification and casting out of all that is bad or that defiles.  This same analogy could apply to our individual lives as well.  We may often become disgusted with all of the flesh and ungodliness we see in the body of Christ, but we don’t have to look any further than ourselves to see where it comes from.  We are like that net of fish, full of a mixture of good and bad.  Surely, I am not the only one that becomes so discouraged with myself; with how far I miss the mark and fail to walk after the Spirit in so many aspects of my life.  We are a mixed bag that the Holy Spirit is trying to help us sort out as we look and fully lean upon Him.  Most any valuable thing in its natural state is impure.  That is why God is processing us, to bring out the riches of His pure nature and love.  Sometimes it is like going through hell with fire and gnashing of teeth as we deal with these areas of impurity and iniquity in our lives. 

               In Matthew 13:52 Jesus says something rather interesting, “52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.””  It is like, the more the Holy Spirit instructs us in our lives through knowledge and experience in godliness, the more we understand and know of its ways.  As we grow in understanding and experience we share that with others who are likewise seeking to know Christ in a deeper and more meaningful way.  We all have rich experiences of how the Lord has dealt in our lives and how He has taught us.  As we share these with others it is a mixture of not just past experiences and knowledge, but also of fresh revelation and insight into areas of our lives.  Our lives should be a combination of new treasures and old.  It is like building a house, you are continually building upon the former with new material.  God’s Word never changes and yet it is always fresh as He unveils new truth, insight and revelation in it.

               What kingdom truths is the Lord opening up in your understanding and what are we doing to lay hold and see the reality of these truths come to pass in our lives?  He is our resource, our provision and our salvation, but we have to let go of the world with that other hand.  It is going to take both of our hands holding fast to His so that He can pull us up into Him.

Blessings,

#kent 

The Lord’s Presence

May 17, 2021

The Lord’s Presence

Jude 1:20-25

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

                There is no more awesome place than the Presence of the Lord.  It is a place of great glory and majesty where the power and presence of the Almighty emanates.   There are times in our worship and God experiences that we enter may enter into the Presence of the Lord where our actual body and soul experiences, at least a measure, of that Presence.  For those who have tasted of His Presence you know that there is nothing in earth that can imitate or match it.  When God’s Presence truly comes into a place, we become prostrate, for we can’t even look upon Him in our natural state.  He is as a consuming fire and cleaners soap.  There is no pretense, excuses or falsehoods that can abide in that presence, for they are totally exposed for what they are.  We know that as His children we have access into His Presence through the Son, for we are in Christ.  We are accepted in His Presence in Christ, our High Priest.  Hebrew 9:24 says, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”  It is His righteousness that clothes us and we wear those garments in faith.  The Apostle Paul gives us a revelation of what it is to press into the Presence of the Lord in this life in Philippians 3:8-11, “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.”  When we catch a revelation of the place of God’s Presence then everything else will loses its meaning and value in comparison.  That place of God’s Presence, it is the place of the richest treasure we can experience.  That is what makes heaven so wonderful.  It is filled with His presence. 

                We have a portal of access, a door of faith by which we may enter in.  For those in Christ the Presence of the Lord is our fullness of joy, but to the sinner that seeks to come in some other way or with other garments than those washed in the blood of Lamb, there is a terror and dread.  For outside of Christ we would be cast out of the Presence of the Almighty.  This is why we want to put off the garments spotted with sin and flesh.  Put on Christ and pursue His Presence.   Pursue His Presence with intimacy, worship and fidelity to your faith.  Make the Lord what your eye and heart covets and let your contentment be with nothing less.

Blessings, 

#kent

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