Our Life’s Plan

April 29, 2022

Our Life’s Plan

2 Corinthians 5:10-11

Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.

               Recently I took a business course designed from a Christian perspective.  One of the things one should have in order to have a successful business is a business plan.  It is like a written out plan of what your business is about, what you want to accomplish through your business and the ways you are going to go about accomplishing the goals you have set.  One of the things that was emphasized is that before you have a good business plan, you need to have a life plan.  You need to establish what your life is about, where you are going with your life and how you plan to get there.  We do a certain amount of this mentally, but it is an exercise we should all set down, think through and write down.  In doing that we are solidifying and putting into perspective where we are, what we are about and what we want our lives to mean and add up too and how we are going to get there.  The purpose of these kinds of plans is that they serve to be a road map to which we can refer and check our bearings from time to time.  Our lives can change and sometimes our goals and vision can change, it may be necessary to update the plan. 

               When you build a building you have a blueprint, you have the materials to be used and how it all goes together.  If we just put it together as we go we may end up with a structure that is structurally unsound and it may end up quite different from the original vision.  We may find that we forgot things because we didn’t have that blueprint.  Valuable time and resources were lost to go back and correct our mistakes.  In Luke 14:28 Jesus tell us, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have [sufficient] to finish [it]?”  That blueprint serves as a written expression of what our vision is.  As it is planned and written out it can then be changed and modified to accommodate the needed revisions.  Our life plan works the same way.

               In our previous writing we shared about the essence of Paul’s life plan in Philippians 3:7-14 about how Paul counted all thing loss or as dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus and all that was in his life was geared to this one end, to run and win the race.  He was constantly pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.  Paul knew his purpose and what his life was about and lived every heartbeat to accomplish that end.  Do we know where we are going, what life is about and what we want to accomplish in our lifetime?  Many don’t have a clue, some have a pretty good idea and maybe a few have really gone the distance to say this is what my life is all about and this is where I’m going with it and this is how I am going to get there.  We have talked before about how God has a purpose for each one of our lives and how He has given each of us gifts and abilities in different areas to be the unique creatures He has created us.  The question is what will we do with the talents that God has given us?  In our key scripture today, Paul says that life is about acceptance before God and how we all will stand accountable at the judgement seat of Christ for what we have done with our lives. 

               Perhaps it is time that we took a little time, sit down and write out our life plan as we understand it at this time.  It may really help us to evaluate what is important in our lives and what is not.  It may help us to seek out the answers and the direction we don’t have and need to have.  The key point here is that if we are really in Christ then whatever we are, wherever we go, whatever we do, whatever we have become or are becoming is centered in the will and purpose of God for our lives.  We have talked before about how it is not about us, it is about Him.  What is your life’s plan today?  Take a few minutes to write it out.  You may be amazed at where you are, as opposed to where you want to be.  At least with a map we can chart our course and check our bearings.  Let’s write that plan in the light of God’s Word and the leading of His Spirit in our lives.  It may be one of the most important things you ever do.  Refer to it regularly to check that you are still on course and make proper adjustments.  If we never do it we will never know until it is perhaps too late to matter.

Blessings,

#kenta

The Thunder of My Presence

Job 26

1 Then Job replied: 2 “How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the arm that is feeble!

3 What advice you have offered to one without wisdom! And what great insight you have displayed! 4 Who has helped you utter these words? And whose spirit spoke from your mouth? 5 “The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them. 6 Death is naked before God; Destruction lies uncovered. 7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. 8He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. 9 He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. 10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. 11 The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. 12 By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. 13 By his breath the skies became fair;

his hand pierced the gliding serpent. 14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him!

Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

               How often do we stop and really meditate on the awesomeness of our God, how great His ways and how marvelous His acts?  I marvel at God’s seemingly infinite patience with man and even myself, as I think how such a mighty and wonderful creator endures the insolence, arrogance and foolishness of man.  Especially when we see how God sees mankind in Genesis 6:5 when is says, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.” The fact that mankind still exist is a testimony to God’s incredible loving-kindness and long-suffering.  How many times He must have been grieved that the creatures that he created in His own image and honored with dominion and authority over the earth would turn from Him and despise Him through their actions and their deeds.  If our God had not had a plan and a vision wherein He saw the end product of what He was bringing His creation too, surely He could not have endured us. 

               It is incomprehensible that the very God who created the immeasurable vastness of the universe with all of its wonders, stars, constellations, planets and all that is contained therein, could care about you and me.  We, who in His sight, would be less than microscopic dust in the light of His great creation.   Yet, He tells us that He loves us and His thoughts toward us are more than we could even recount.  Psalms 40:5 tells us, “Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” If God showed Himself to us as He did to the Children of Israel we would become as dead men in the fear and dread of His Almighty presence.  Exodus 20:18 tells us about when the people had gathered before the mountain of God and He revealed His holy presence, “When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance.”  After that, they didn’t want God speaking to them, they wanted Moses to speak to them on His behalf for the fear of Him.  When we get an inkling of the Holiness of God it will make us quake and fear Him.  God doesn’t want us to be afraid of Him, for He has not given us a spirit of fear, but we do need to greatly reverence and hold Him in the utmost respect.  Because God’s grace has been so rich toward us, many of us have in our minds and hearts reduced God to someone on our level or who is simply there for our benefit.  We treat God as common and regard Him lightly.  We must realize what an insult and offense this is to the Holy God that has given His all for us.  

               Leviticus 10 reveals how God feels about that kind of an attitude when we see what happened when the two sons of Aaron, offered up strange fire before the Lord. They decided they would do things their way, instead of His.  They lost their fear of God and counted His holiness as common.  It says, “Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3 Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: ” ‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’ ” Aaron remained silent.”  We see a similar incident in the New Testament church in Acts 5 with Ananias with Sapphira when they lied to the Holy Spirit. 

               What we must realize as the people of God is that we have been called apart unto holiness and we must take very seriously the responsibility we have to sanctify ourselves before the Lord.  Why?  Ezekiel 39:27 tells us, “When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations.”  God has purposed us to be the expression of His holiness.  We can not be what He has purposed us to be until we truly see and reverence Him for who He is in the fear of the Lord.  The Word tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.   We can be like the children of Israel and know God from a distance through the revelation of others, but if we want to know Him intimately and personally, we must approach in the fear of His holiness with boldness, confidence and full assurance of faith.  Jesus tells us in John 14:21 to whom He and the Father will reveal themselves, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

Blessings,

#kent

Changing Directions from Death to Life

Romans 5:17

For 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 came to change the direction of our lives and from the moment that we came to the decision to receive Christ into our heart our lives were translated from darkness into light and from death to life.  Outwardly or in our conscious mind things might not have seemed that different, much like when a woman first becomes pregnant she probably isn’t even aware of the life that has just started within her.

               We were born into a realm and place of death.  Romans 5:12-14 tells us, “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.”  Just as the sin of one man brought all of humanity into this realm of death, the obedient act of righteousness in Jesus Christ has brought back to us an entrance into the realm of life.  These are spiritual principles that work in our lives as we give place to them and as we respond either to life or death.  Romans 8:1-4 identifies these two laws or principles under which all men live, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering And so he condemned sin in sinful man,4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”  Through faith in Christ we have stepped into a realm of life that should be changing our life and thinking.  Many of us live in the delusion that true spiritual transformation and divine life doesn’t begin till we leave this body and go to heaven.  We continually need to be reminded and aware that heavenly life begins when the Spirit of Christ comes in.  How we experience that quality of life depends a great deal on our faith and vision to recognize who we are in Christ and begin to lay hold upon that as we walk in these principles of life.  We may still inhabit a body of death, but Romans 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”  That speaks to me that the law of life can affect even my natural body.  While the Word says that I am to die to the passions of the flesh, God calls us to live unto him using our bodies as instruments of righteousness and no longer of sin.  We can read all of these words and mentally agree with them, but they never really get past our minds and into our spirits.  In order for me to truly live in the law of life that is in Christ Jesus, I have to change the way that I think, no longer reasoning as the world thinks, but bringing my thoughts and thinking into conformity with the mind of God.  Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.“  If we want to dwell in the principles of life then we have to change the direction of our thinking and begin to conform it to what God’s word tells us.  In every place that we find it contrary we are to bring it into conformity through the way that we speak, not just looking to the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen.  The realm of life is not a sight and sense realm; it is a realm that operates out of faith in the Word of God. 

               Are we experiencing all that we should be in our spiritual walk with Christ?  Are we laying hold of and living out of the principles of life in Christ Jesus or do we just mentally acknowledge it while we continue on living our natural lives.  If we want to see and lay hold of LIFE we have to live out of the life principles of God’s word, bring ourselves in agreement and alignment with it.  Is there a dimension of life that we are not fully experiencing because we have a mindset that is still geared and operating out of the realm of sin and death?  Perhaps we really need to be conscious of the need for us to change the direction of our thinking and to conform ourselves to the mind and will of Christ.  That change comes through the meditation and practice of His Word.  It comes as we yield ourselves in prayer and in deed to be the instruments of righteousness that He has called us to be.  Let’s be aware of who we are in Him and what mindset that we are operating out of so that we might enter into, possess and experience God’s life to the fullest, even now in this earth. 

Blessings,

#kent

Success

April 26, 2022

Success

Joshua 1:8

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

We as a people and a society are very success oriented.  There are different ideas and definitions of success.   The one most prevalent, in the world’s view, has to do more with materialism, riches, fame, houses, cars and social position.  If we are to be successful as Christians then it only makes sense for us to ask the question, “What is God’s definition of success?”  It is interesting you should ask, because the word “success” only occurs one time in the Word of God.  That is in our passage for today.  I don’t think that there are any of us who don’t want to prosper and have good success.  Here is God’s formula for having it. 

Now whether God’s ideas for success are those of the world’s, I think not, but I do believe that God created all things for our enjoyment and pleasure if they are used in the context of His will and purpose.  God is telling us today that our key to success lies between two covers that we call the Bible.  It is not just the words on a page that bring success in our lives it is what we do with those words that is life and blessing.  Notice where that Word has to be.  It “shall not depart out of thy mouth.”  Remember Proverbs 18:21 that says, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Our words are powerful instruments of both death and life.  We know that the Word of God perpetuates Life.  John 1:1-4 tells us whom this Word is, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”  God wants that Word to never depart from our mouths.  What we speak reflects what is in our heart, ” for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Is the Word of God prevalent in our speech and conversation?   What we are speaking is what we believe; it is faith in that which we hope for but may not yet see.

               What is in our mouth, is the fruit of what is in our heart, which is what brings us to the second part of success.  What is the meditation of our heart?  Is it our work, our hobbies, our sports, our earthly desires or is it the Word of God?  If we want to succeed and prosper in the kingdom of God, His Word must prevail as the primary source of our meditation and contemplation.  As we eat of His Word and slowly ingest and digest it, as we pray to fully pursue understanding and revelation, the Holy Spirit is little by little making it alive in us and then through us.   It is the staple of our spiritual life that carries over into every aspect of our natural life. 

               David had the revelation that He gives in the beginning of the Psalms in Psalm 1:1-3 he says essentially the same thing, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

               If you and I want to prosper and have good success then it begins and ends in the Word of God.  It is the source of Life and Blessing to us.  It is our guide and counselor through the instruction of the Holy Spirit to bring us into the mind and will of God.  Through it we will experience the prosperity and sweet success of a godly life because His Word fills us with divine life, eternal hope and the riches and treasures that can only be found in Christ.  Jesus said it when He said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”   When our priority lines up with what God is speaking to us today we will experience the abundant life that is in Him tomorrow. 

               “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (3 John 1:2).”


Blessings,

#kent

The Travail of Discipleship

Galatians 4:19

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

               Discipleship is a birthing process.  It is a function that comes often with much pain and travail.  Like childbirth it is often much too slow and arduous for our liking.  Most of us, as Christians, love to see people get saved.  It is exhilarating when God uses us to lead someone into the kingdom of God.  What we fail to often realize is that this is like impregnating someone without the responsibility of seeing it through to the birthing.  The Word of God is a life giving seed.  Planted in the fertile ground of a ready soul it will conceive a Christ life in that individual, a redeemed spirit, born again from above.  While this is cause for great joy it is not the end of the matter; it is only the beginning.  The Lord wants us to take some responsibility for what we have helped to produce.  A precious seed that has been planted needs some nurturing to grow up into maturity where it can also produce life in others.  It is far to easy when we have helped lead someone to the Lord, to then pass all the responsibility off to a church or pastor.  The church and ministry become, in effect, a type of surrogate mother to birth this child into Christ.  That is not to say that they are not to be involved, but it also does not take the responsibility for discipleship off us.

               Paul was a father.  He planted many Christ seeds that saw a wonderful harvest of souls.  He was also a mother.  He nurtured that which he helped produce.  He poured into them his life, his faith, his example, and his revelation of who Christ is, so that they in turn might grow up into Christ in all things.  Many times, it was disheartening.  Like the parable of the sower of seed in Matthew 13 there are always many elements at work that want to rob, kill and destroy the life of the seed.  The good soil is the solid Word based and Spirit led teaching of the doctrine of Christ.  It is not an organization or denomination or an institution.  It is a nurturing and feeding of the Word of God that plants believer’s feet on solid ground and gives them a firm foundation for their faith.  It is a travail and labor of love and prayer over them until they have a true revelation of Christ in them and who they are in Christ.  Many of us are still grasping that revelation and truth. 

               Jesus gives us an example of the difference in the two attitudes between one whom is simply scattering seed and one who is like a farmer who nurtures his crop.  John 10:12-13 says, “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.”  The real difference is the love and commitment we have toward the newborn in Christ.  Our love is shallow because it is not His love; it is our love.  Our love will run away when things get unpleasant, uncomfortable or too difficult.   Christ’s love is unconditional and constant.  He doesn’t just love us when we are good and obedient; He loves us the same all the time.  Even the love of God in us is an acquisition of faith and not feeling.  The Word teaches us that the two greatest commandment upon which all of the law and prophets rest is Matthew 12:29-32, ” And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”  These commandments must become the confession of our faith as we live them out by God’s grace and love in us.  For the Word of God to become substance in us we must confess with our mouth and believe in our hearts (Romans 10:10), this is the development and maturing of our salvation through faith.   We are constantly hearing the Word, receiving the Word into our hearts, receiving the revelation and quickening of that Word by the Holy Spirit and then in turn imparting and communicating that Word of Life to others that they also might grow up into Christ in all things.

The travail of truly birthing others into Christ is hard; emotionally, physically and spiritually, but it is a labor of love that yields precious and lasting fruit in the kingdom of God.

Blessings,

#kent

Equipped and Called of God

               Every morning when we rise up, our first thoughts should be to praise the Father.  Arise with praise upon your lips and let it continually flow from your heart throughout your day. 

               One of the very first things you put on is the mind of Christ.  As Romans 12:1-2 instructs us, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” 

               One of the first things we remember is that we are not our own.  We were bought with the price of Christ’s blood.  We are as Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

               Along with that mind of Christ you look into the mirror and remember who you are in Christ.  That person looking back at you in that bathroom mirror may appear in an earthen suit, but beneath that exterior is a spiritual being that lives and has expression through its earthly members.  It is just as if we are now, the earth suit of Christ, His physical body of expression in the earth.  The body no longer does what pleases it, but what pleases the Father as it is instructed and led through the Word and the Spirit of God.

               In Christ, you have a divine identity, not an earthly one.  Your identity is not in your sex, race, creed, color, earthly position, possessions or occupation.  You are a true Jew and the seed of Abraham, whether you are one outwardly or not.  Galatians 3:26-29 says, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  We have a unity with every other member in the body of Christ that transcends denomination and religious schools of thought.  God did not create a divided and splintered body in Christ.  His body is one.  It is unified in Christ.  What we see in the religious world of Christianity isn’t the body of Christ, but much of the body is hidden behind the garments and walls of religion.  No matter how we have been raised or where we worship, our allegiance and calling is into Christ. 

As we remember our divine identity, we remember that God has given us His very DNA, the make-up and essence of who He is, because the Spirit of Christ now indwells us as His believers.   His divine power has given us all that we need to be the partakers of that life.  2 Peter 1:3-4 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 

               Now, as you are meditating on these things, first thing in the morning, as you are dressing and prettying up the outward man; you are renewing your mind in who you really are in Christ.

               You have a heavenly mandate today.  Jesus told you to do something. In Mark 16:15-18, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.””  You have a heavenly mandate and with that heavenly mandate you have been given a kingdom authority to declare and administrate the kingdom of heaven into the earth. 

               I know what some of you, if not most of you are thinking.  No, it is not in your fleshly power or ability, but it as you walk in the identity and authority of who you are in Christ, in all humility and submitted to the empowering direction of the Holy Spirit in you.  Mark 16:20 reminds us, “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.  It’s not just you, it is the Lord working with you, so I hope that takes some of the pressure off. 

                Now, hopefully, your thinking has changed as you face your day from what all I am going to do, to what does the Holy Spirit want to do through me.  You are a part of the body, and, if you are in sync with the head, even Christ, there are no limitations on what He can do through you because you are one with Him.  You no longer operate out of a fleshly mindset, you are operating out of the mind and heart of Christ.  You are operating out of the third heaven where He dwells.  Ephesians 2:6-7 says, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”  In Christ, you are operating out of a third heaven position, which means you are no longer looking up at how big and bad the obstacles and giants are before you.  Now you are looking down upon them and your giants have become as ants beneath your feet.  Isn’t it wonderful the empowerment that being “in Christ” can give us?  But before we get to high minded remember one last thing, you are not only the royalty of God, you are His priests.  Remember what 1 Peter 2:9-10 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 

               As His priesthood, we, like Christ, ever live to make intercession and stand in the gap on behalf of others.  Who we are doesn’t become as important as why we are.  It is about what we can minister and give to a hurting and dying world around us.  We have taken within ourselves the heartbeat of God for His humanity and creation.  Our groaning and travailing is to set creation free as He has set us free. 

               Okay, I think you’re about ready to face your day, you radiant, magnificent sons and daughters of God.  Remember, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us,” and ‘as He is so are we in this world’. 

               “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelations 11:15)

               “And they sang a new song:  “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,

because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelations 5:9-10)   Be mighty people of God!!!!!!

Blessings,

#kent

Clothed and Walking

April 21, 2022

Deuteronomy 8:1-6

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

Clothed and Walking

               If we truly want to know God’s provision in every circumstance in our lives then we must experience what it is not to have.  We have to experience the night before we truly appreciate what it is to have the light of day.  Often, we don’t always understand the things we must go through, the losses that we must endure and why sometimes God doesn’t seem there for us.  We all have our own wilderness journey in one form or another.  Through it all we have been tested to see what was in our hearts.  Would we continue to trust God, even when He didn’t seem to show up, meet our need or answer our prayer?  When things didn’t go our way, did we blame Him?  Many of life’s heartaches and hardships have really tested us to see if when we couldn’t understand His hand, we would trust His heart.  Yet in those times as we look back, we see the subtle grace of God at work helping us, comforting us and giving us strength when we had no more of our own. 

               Some of us are at this place in our walk right now.  We are struggling with finances, with health, with relationships or job issues.  Sometimes we reach that point where we want to just rebel, get mad or give up.  Your heart is being tested.  It is not out of meanness or lack of caring, but when a muscle is stretched and pushed beyond limits, it must continue to grow in order to meet the demands placed upon it.  It is not easy.  It is painful.  What we forget is that we are not just an ordinary people, we are an extraordinary people.  We are becoming that because God is taking us the extra mile and stretching us beyond our human limitations.  He is preparing us for extraordinary times. Yet, as we will respond to Him in faith and obedience, we see His grace at work in supernatural ways in other areas of our life. 

God is separating us from our reliance upon our flesh and our dependence upon this world.  He is stretching us to know supernatural provision and strength.  We don’t find that when we are in pursuit of worldly goods or earthly fame and significance.  We find it in the humility of walking in His discipline and discipleship.  We will never fully appreciate the bread that is our provision until we first pursue and find the bread that feeds our spirit and our soul.   We could say, “seek ye first the bread of life, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Jesus tells the following that pursued Him after He fed the multitude in John 6:26-27, “Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27Do 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.” Jesus is the fulfillment of that manna which came out of heaven.   It is not in the attainment of physical needs and wants that we are filled and completed, it is in our partaking of Him in personal relationship, faith and obedience that we find the true bread of life.  When you have truly found Him, then all of your superficial needs are met as well.   That need that we have is not always seen and met in the present tense, but it is met in faith as we embrace Him.

               God is our loving heavenly Father who disciplines us as His sons.  He is often willing that our flesh would suffer so that our spirits may grow.  Most of us are here and now kind of people.  We are most concerned with what we are facing right here and right now.  Be not concerned with the cares of the moment, God is seeing you in a much greater role, one in which you must be tested, tried and proven.  That is just as He was doing in Joseph when through years of suffering and hardship, God was all the time preparing Him for leadership and government.  Could Joseph have faithfully and adequately done what he did for Egypt, if God had not prepared and raised Him in His purpose through strong discipline and adversity?  Like he told his brothers, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”  You may think the devil is out to destroy you, but what he would mean for evil, God will use for good.  Romans 12:12 exhorts us, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”  If you are enduring the discipline of the Lord, then rejoice, because God has marked you for better things.  What He has called you too, He will prepare you for. 

               We are no longer walking in this worldly economy as kingdom people are; we are walking in a kingdom economy and for a kingdom purpose.  In this journey God will clothe you with His righteousness that will not wear thin and He will put the strength in your feet to walk the walk of the cross as He shods them with the preparation of the gospel.  We are people that are rich beyond measure, but our riches are not measured by earthly standards.  God is our standard and in Him there is no lack or weakness.  Let us pursue Him who is our Bread of life, provision and godliness.  In Him we will know no lack.  Even in our correction He will sustain us. 

Blessings,

#kent

Failures that don’t end in Defeat

Micah 7:7-10

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. 8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. 9 Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. 10 Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will see her downfall; even now she will be trampled underfoot like mire in the streets.

We have all known times of failure in our life and most of us have experienced the Lord’s rod of correction.  There are times when we have stubbornly pursued our own interests and pleasures to only find bitterness and sorrow at the end of what we thought we had to have.  Our sin has consequences and many of us can testify of the great pain and suffering we have had to endure because of our foolish disobedience.  

In those moments of failure, when the house that we have built upon the sand is washed away, we may stand in utter shame and humiliation that we have come to this point in our lives.  We may almost think the world and the ones that we loved would be better off without us.  We have had to fully confront our iniquity and the failure which has resulted from it.  How can we even face God or the ones who loved and respected us?   We see failure written all over us, what do we have to live for and have to offer now? 

Our scripture today is one of hope and encouragement to the person who feels like a failure. In this scripture we have a nation of God that failed Him and had to suffer the reproach and the discipline of His correction.  The one thing we have to know about our God is though He will discipline us; He will never stop loving us.  He has a tender heart for the one who is truly repentant and will set their heart upon Him again.  After all, that is what discipline is for, to show us the error of our ways and bring us back to righteousness.  No matter how low we go, God never stops loving us, but a man without hope or faith is dead.  Without hope there is no way but down.  Hope causes us to look up into the loving eyes and heart of our Heavenly Father and say; “Can you still use this broken pot?”  It is our hope and faith in the Lord that believes that though we sit in darkness the Lord will be our light.  Christ will plead our cause and will be our advocate.  He will lift me again out of my place of darkness and bring me back into the light of His salvation.  All those who cursed me and judged me will be put to shame for though I was defeated I don’t have to fail.  The Lord is our victory and He is our good success.  When we were willing, through repentance, to relinquish the failure that we were; God begins to form a new man fashioned in the form of victory and uprightness.  He is a man that rises out of the ashes of failure to find victory and purpose again in His God. 

Only God can take our failures and defeats and turn them for good.  When our enemies thought they had nailed our coffin shut, then God will raise us up to their shame.  You can trust that it won’t be in our time, it will be in His time.  No matter how bad we mess up and no matter how bad we fail God, our loved ones and even ourselves, all hope is not lost if we will put our eyes back on Jesus.  His love and forgiveness can reach into the deepest hell and depravity and set the captive free.    No one else and no other God can do that but Him.  Our failures don’t have to end in defeat, in fact they may be what bring us to our ultimate victory in Christ and our enemies will be put to shame before us. God can still bring us back into the light of His salvation and grace.  ‘As long as there is life, there is hope.’

Blessings,

#kent

Prepare for the Storm

April 19, 2022

Prepare for the Storm

Luke 12:36-40

And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed [are] those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find [them] so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

               When the weather forecaster tells you that there is a blizzard on the way and that it will be here the next day around a certain time, what is your response?  Most of us would think, “what do I need to get done and how do I need to prepare before the storm comes. Do I need anything from the grocery store?  Do I need to do things to the home to prepare for what is coming?”  Our thoughts are normally on preparation so that we have taken care of the necessary duties before the storm arrives.

               When someone, even a reliable someone, tells us about something that is coming, but we don’t see it for sometime, we often grow complacent.  We might be apprehensive at first, but then after a time of nothing happening, we begin slipping back into our normal routine of life.  I think that is where many of us are in our spiritual preparation and walk with the Lord.  We have heard the prophetic warnings, but we have slipped back into our complacency with life.  Today, the Lord is speaking another warning for us not to go to sleep on our watch.  We are not only to be watching, but we are to be in an attitude of preparation for the spiritual battle and storm that lies ahead.  It comes at a time we don’t know, but when it comes it will leave us no more time for preparation.  If we haven’t prepared it will be too late to start. 

               Be thankful in the trying of your faith; for it is these smaller storms that will help prepare you for the big one.  God has not given us a spirit of fear, but neither has He given us a spirit of apathy and complacency.  He is calling us to ready ourselves in the Word, in prayer, in relationships and in practical living.  We must know Him now in an intimate relationship, for the coming storm will test the depths of that relationship.  If our knowledge and relationship with the Lord is only on the surface and we are shallow; the storm will sweep us away.  We need roots that go deep in their confidence and commitment to the Lord.  We must not be easily moved or shaken in our faith, for our faith may cost us our life.  That won’t shake us if we are confident in who and what we are in Christ, but if we are not it will cause us to forsake and deny our faith. 

               What is your level of preparation today?  Can you assume that all will always be well?  Our faith in Christ is our most important calling.  Prepare well for the coming storm.  It will come in a day that we don’t expect it.  Don’t be foolish to neglect it.  “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

(1 Thessalonians 5:3)”

Blessings,

#kent

Spiritual Mindset

April 18, 2022

Spiritual Mindset

Romans 8:5

5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

            If we ask ourselves today, “what is my mind most often filled with, what are the predominate thoughts that are foremost in my heart?”  Take just a minute to meditate on that question and try and arrive at an honest answer.  Generally, it will be about what we are most passionate about, whether it is our family, our job, our spouse, our sports, hobbies or pleasures.  The spiritual man may enjoy and appreciate a lot of things, but the one thing he is passionate about is God.  His or her heart will continually be in state of meditation, thinking, singing, praising, worshipping and fellowship with the Lord.  The Lord is the lover of the spirit’s heart.   When we read the Song of Songs we are reading a love story, a passion story of the soul in pursuit of Christ.  If He is not fully the passion of our hearts and souls, then He must become so.  Nothing will ever do more to deliver us from sin and conform us to His nature than continually abiding in His presence.  Psalms 16:11 declares, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.”  The richest place of contentment, joy and fulfillment is in the Lord’s presence.   When we truly taste of His presence, we understand that there is not a replacement for it on earth.  Nothing can take us higher, nothing can bring us greater joy, and nothing can have as great an emotional and spiritual impact as encountering His presence.  It can be somewhat elusive as it was for the Shulamite maid in pursuit of her lover, but once she found His love, she would settle for no less, nor no other. She would pursue Him, no matter how far or what the cost.  Songs 6:3 says, “I [am] my beloved’s, and my beloved [is] mine: he feedeth among the lilies.”  For us the lily has become a symbol of resurrection life and that is exactly where we find Christ.  We want to feed and eat with Him in that place of resurrection, Spirit Life.  Songs 7:10 reveals to us, “I [am] my beloved’s, and his desire [is] toward me.”  As much as we may desire Him, He desires us more.  He is passionately in love with us and is wooing us into His bedchamber.  He desires to impart into us His divine life; the life that lifts us above the natural realms of earth and living into the realms of His glory and presence. 

            We so often think of spiritual life in terms of life and death.  “When I die and go to heaven then I will be with Jesus.”  Why are we waiting for death, when we can press into Life now?  Jesus never taught that we had to die before we could become spiritual.  He taught us that when we came to Him we already died; we already became identified with that cross and at the same time we became identified with His Life.  We stepped out of natural thinking, living, being, into a new creature formed in His image and likeness.  His desire is that we unwrap its mystery and begin to taste of it now.

            The Lord has called us to a spiritual mindset where our minds, our hearts, our souls are continually in love and pursuit of Him.  Do we love Him like He loves us?  Are we willing to give our all for Him as He did for us?  This is the place of abiding in Him; this is the place fellowship and relationship.  We will never find the intimacy with Christ that we desire in the midst of other lovers.  Will He still love us?  Yes, always and forever, but He is looking and earnestly desiring the soul whose heart is single toward Him, who has forsaken all other lovers and He is the sole passion and love of their hearts.  Are we that person?  Is Christ really everything to us, our all in all? Are we the ones “who live in accordance with the Spirit and have their minds set on what the Spirit desires”?  Do we find ourselves falling short of the love relationship Jesus desires with us?  I think, in truth, most all of us fall so short of the spiritual men and women that He has called us to be.  We are but a phantom of the real.  We don’t have to stay that way.  Look into the yearning eyes of your loving Lord.  He is calling us unto His heart and bosom today.  He is calling us to come up higher, to be a partaker of His divine life, to be the spiritual men and women who walk and live in the Spirit. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Blessings,

#kent

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