Appropriating God’s Power

October 1, 2019

Appropriating God’s Power

 

This morning as I was in prayer, I was struggling with a sense of powerlessness and impotency I so often feel in my daily walk to live out and exemplify the life and power of God.  Most of us no doubt struggle with that as we realize the potentially great power that is available to us in Christ, but how do we better appropriate it into and dispense it through our lives.

Rather than share my own material today, I will share with you an article from tobemorelikehim.com.  I don’t know the specific author, but I felt he shared some great principles and insights that would be helpful to all of us.

 

“GOD’S GREAT POWER WORKING IN US”

 

or

 

“AVAILABLE POWER FOR AVAILABLE PEOPLE”

 

(Ephesians 1:15-23)

 

Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding been enlightened; that ye may know that is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

 

 

Elsewhere, I have called the prayer of Ephesians 1:17-19 “the prayer of the three ‘whats’.”  “I pray . . . that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what (are) the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power.”  The first and second, properly understood, are transcendent in their glory, but they mock us without the third.  In fact, the transcendant glory of the first two sharpens our doubt: “Could I ever hope to reach that?”  The third “what” answers our problem: the transcendent glory of the first two “what’s” is to be experienced and implemented only by the power of God! 

 

The three “whats” of Paul’s great prayer presuppose that man has very real problems that cannot be answered, very great needs that cannot be met, except through the answer to this prayer.  One of these problems is the problem of man’s insufficiency, man’s impotence, man’s inadequacy.  This problem immobilizes men everywhere, and Christians are no exception.  If they never realize the power of God and appropriate it into their lives, they will be as powerless as lost people.  Indeed, a candid examination of the church will show that Christians are often as fearful and as impotent, if not more so, than the lost world around them.  Christians, though without excuse, succumb to the external pressures of the world, the internal pressures of the flesh, and the infernal pressures of the devil, just like lost people do.  So Paul is praying that Christians will have the eyes of their hearts opened and flooded with spiritual illumination that they might “know by seeing” the greatness of the Divine power that is available to them.

 

But is this power truly available to a believer in Christ, and is it equally available to all believers?.  What kind of power is Paul speaking of?  How is it available to each believer?  How is it manifested in our experience?  Paul seems to address such questions as these in this great statement about the power of God.

 

 

  1. THE WORDS THAT EXPRESS THIS POWER

 

First, we must study the words which Paul uses in verse 19 to express God’s power.  No single word is sufficient to describe the power of God.  So Paul borrows several words from the vocabulary of dynamics to describe the power which God employs on our behalf.  He marshals an impressive array of words in one verse to define and describe God’s power.  Paul seems to be straining at the leash of language to picture God’s power.  Even though he was moved by Divine inspiration, Paul was taxed to find words to express the indescribable power of which he was writing.  As someone has said, the words seem to bend under the weight of a giant idea.

 

The four root words he uses for God’s power are dunamis,  energeia,  kratos, and ischos.  Though there are many dimensions to these four Greek words, they essentially define outward and active power (dunamis); the efficient working of energy (energeia); the mastery that rules and subdues (kratos); and inner, residing power (ischos).  Commentator Dale Moody said that “dunamis is the general word that includes the totality of the other three, energeia is the power as it goes forth in action, kratos is the power applied to the task and accomplishing it, and ischos is inherent power.” These words are like ocean billows that keep sweeping in upon the beach of our minds with new content.  No wonder that the English Bible calls it “God’s mighty power”!  And this power became ours (both actually and potentially) when we became Christians!  It came into our possession through the incoming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but it must be translated from potential to practice through our full and regular dependence upon the Holy Spirit at every moment of our lives.

 

I have before me a Bible that is loaded with study notes that have resulted from my own personal Bible study.  If you were to receive my Bible, you would receive all the notes that are in it, too.  When you received the Person of Jesus Christ into your life, you received His power, also.  But just as you would have to exploit the use of the notes in my Bible before they could be beneficial to you, you must exploit the power He has given before it can be beneficial to you.  And it must be exploited on His terms, not yours or mine.

 

Several years ago, while a Rose Parade was in progress preceding the Rose Bowl football game in Pasadena, California, a brightly decorated flower-covered parade float suddenly stopped, halting the movement of all the vehicles behind it.  Mechanics worked feverishly to discover the problem.  It was discovered that the vehicle was out of gas.  To make matters worse, the float was sponsored by a major oil company!  Those who had the most fuel available, and knew best how to deploy it, had simply failed to appropriate that fuel to their own need.  We will say more about this in the final point of this message, but this is often true of Christians today.  Even while on parade, and while advertising the available power, they may themselves not use, or abuse, or misuse, that power. 

 

  1. THE WORKS THAT EXPOSE THIS POWER

 

Second, we will examine the works that Paul mentions to reveal God’s mighty power.  The works, respectively, are the resurrection, ascension, and exaltation of  Christ.  That Jesus Christ was enlivened from the dead, elevated to the heavenlies, and exalted above all, are demonstrations of God’s mighty power, the power that is active in the lives of Christian believers.

 

Each of these is a demonstration of the kind of power that has been made available to every  believer.  The three great facts about Christ that are stated here present the pattern-works of the power that is operating in all Christians.  Look at Jesus as He was and where He was, then lift your eyes and look at Him where He is.  The kind of power that brought Him from where He was to where He is, is the kind of power that is available to every believer.

 

The power that made the greatest change for Jesus was resurrection power, and the same is true of us.  Now, resurrection power is different; it is not like any other power.  It isn’t the power of a strong personality nor of an educated mind.  It isn’t the power of a good family background nor of money, numbers, or leadership ability.  It is the power that raised Christ from the dead and thus is able to bring life out of death.  Resurrection power works best in a cemetery atmosphere where death reigns (cf. Ephesians 2:1).  I repeat, resurrection works best in a graveyard!  If you are living in the spiritual and moral equivalent of a cemetery, if everything around you is dead and dull and lifeless, you need this power.  Indeed, if everything within you is dead toward God, it is this resurrection power which is necessary to save you and give you His Life.

 

Resurrection power is not deterred or defeated by obstacles or impossibilities.  Furthermore, resurrection power requires no outside support.  It needs no vote of confidence.  It can operate alone, completely alone, if necessary.  And it makes no noise or display.  Publicity is not necessary to support resurrection power; it supplies its own publicity.  When resurrection occurs, it combines all lesser miracles—the healing of the blind, the deaf, the crippled, etc.  When a person is dead (the major condition), he is also blind, deaf, etc. (minor symptoms).  When the major condition is corrected, the lesser symptoms are corrected, also.

 

The same power is required to convert a sinner which is demanded in raising the dead (cf. 1:20 & 2:1); indeed, the regeneration of a sinner is a resurrection from the dead.

 

Also, the power that is available to every Christian today is a reigning power.  “God seated Jesus at His own right hand in the heavenlies,” the text says.  The Person who was treated like a criminal on earth was elevated by God to the throne of the universe.  His redemptive work was finished.  He had defeated sin, death and Satan.  Verse 21 tells us that He is elevated “far above all principalities, and power, and might, and dominion”– whatever else these words mean, they certainly mean that He is far above any power that may be considered.  The leaders of this world, the leaders of the underworld, Satanic forces, demonic hordes, good angels and bad—He is above them all.  And the power that accomplished His elevation is resident in us!

 

Paul ascends toward his climax and conclusion when he says, “God has put all things in subjection under His feet.”  Jesus walks over everything you and I fear, and what Jesus walks over, we don’t have to walk under.  If you are in His Body, you are at least as high as the feet, because the feet are the lowest parts of the body.  And He has put everything under His feet!  People have been known to pay unbelievable amounts of money to sit beside someone whom they think to be great.  Christian, what should we think of our seat of privilege, power, purpose, etc., with Christ in the heavenlies (see Ephesians 2:5-6)?

 

So the resurrection, ascension and exaltation are the pattern-works that reveal the kind of power that is available to believers in Christ.  But the question still remains: How is this power activated in our lives?

 

III. THE WAY TO EXPERIENCE THIS POWER

 

According to verse 18, each believer can “know” this power. There is a specified way to receive God’s power.  Two ideas are brought to mind:  (1) Christians must know this power if they are to be a credit to the  God who has saved them.  Remind yourself again that no Christian can live the Christian life or perform as a Christian is supposed to perform in his own power.  In his own strength, any Christian is too feeble for the conflict he is called upon to engage in.  His understanding is too limited.  His heart is too cold.  Trying to be a mature, loving, serving human being on God’s terms while using only human energy is like trying to power a luxury cruise liner with two “C” batteries.  No Christian can live the true Christian life with such a limited, inherently deficient, power source.

 

In his useful book, A Guide to Spiritual Success, Pastor Tony Evans declares this truth by means of this illustration:

 

Suppose you went to Sears and purchased a new refrigerator, the top of the line.  This model has all the bells and whistles and cost you a hefty $6,000.  On your way home you stop at your local grocery store to purchase the food for your new appliance. Later that afternoon your refrigerator is delivered and installed, and you fill it with all the goodies you purchased – your favorite chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate milk, and fresh corn on the cob.  You retire for the night, but when you come into the kitchen the next morning, you experience the shock of your life.  Ice cream is all over the floor!  The milk is sour, and the vegetables are changing color!  It is quickly evident that your brand new, top-of-the-line refrigerator isn’t working!  Angry and disgusted you call Sears to give them a piece of your “Christian mind” for selling you a dud.  The salesperson who sold you the refrigerator is aghast at the news.  He asks you to pull open the freezer door to see if the light comes on.  You do so.  No light.  He then asks you to put your ear to the bottom of the refrigerator to see if you hear the low hum of the motor.  You do so.  No hum.  Finally, he asks you to look behind the refrigerator and see if the electrical cord has been plugged in.  You do so.  Lo and behold the cord is lying on the floor, unplugged!  You return to the phone and inform the salesman that the refrigerator is unplugged but that shouldn’t matter.  You argue that for $6,000 it should work—plugged in or not!  The salesman then explains a very important principle to you – namely, refrigerators are dependent appliances.  They were never made to work on their own. They are built with certain specifications that can only be realized when they have been energized by the power of electricity.  While all the necessary parts are there, they will not work until they get the necessary electrical juice to enable them to be and do what they were created to do.  In this regard, Christians are like appliances.  We are dependent creatures.  When you receive Christ as Savior, He gives you the requisite parts necessary for you to live a victorious Christian life.  But you will not be able to do so until you are plugged into God’s power source, the Holy Spirit.

 

As Pastor Evans said, each Christian is like machinery that stands idle until the electric current is turned on.  When  it is, power is released into the working parts.  Great forces are then set in motion.  When we recognize and receive the power that God waits to release in and through us, our lives will be powerful and productive for Him.  But how?  How do we receive this power?  Not by intellectual perception alone, but by contact and relationship.  This is “acquaintance power,” thus it is character power, not cataclysmic power.

 

(2) Christians may know this power, and the means of appropriation is faith.  Paul tells us in verse 19 that this power is exercised by God “toward us who believe.”  Note that Paul places himself on an equal footing beside his Ephesian brothers and sisters.  So this power is not exclusive or elite power.  It is available (& necessary) for even the simplest believer.  The key word in this verse is the word “believe.”  “Faith” is the noun, and “believe” is the verb, and both convey the same idea.  Following the “machinery” analogy of the previous paragraph, faith is the “switch” we push to release the power of God in and through our lives.  Doubt, fear, and skepticism will short-circuit that power in us.  It is available to faith alone, and must be appropriated by faith alone.  So it is essential that we understand what faith is.

 

Faith is the faculty of taking God into the heart and accommodating Him there.  Faith is God-receptiveness.  Faith appropriates the nature of God into the human heart, and enables Him to transform the believer’s character and conduct (I John 4:8).   Faith, like a narrow channel, conveys God’s ocean fullness into the lagoons of human need.

 

If you should take a boat up the Nile River to central Egypt, you would often see simple farmers with homemade irrigation devices, lifting water from the Nile by buckets affixed on a horizontal pole, which in turn is affixed atop a vertical pole.  As the horizontal pole is rotated, each bucket is filled with the water of the Nile and is manually revolved to be emptied into the ditches of the farmer’s field.  So the mighty Nile River fills an irrigation ditch!  Even so, through the simple “irrigating” device of man’s receptive faith, the mighty power of God will flow into and through a Christian.

 

The late great pastor and author Ray Stedman has this paragraph in one of his books:

 

“I’ve been doing a bit of electrical work in an addition to my home, and I’ve discovered that electricity follows a pattern of its own and takes no notice of how I feel at the moment.  That can be a shocking experience!  Electricity is not in the slightest degree impressed with my position as a pastor of Peninsula Bible Church. It doesn’t hesitate to retaliate for any violation of its laws that I commit.  It is up to me to discover how it works, and then to respect it if I want to use it.”

 

The same is true of God’s great power.  It will remain totally indifferent to me and aloof from me if I don’t discover what it is, what the laws of its operation are, and how to adjust myself to those laws and thus to receive His power.  But if I do learn the “laws” of the Holy Spirit’s operation and adapt myself to Him by means of those “laws,” I can experience His power and can be a channel through which it flows into the world.

 

So each Christian is not only to be a point of reception of God’s power; he is also to be a point of release for God’s power.  According to verse 15, Christians are not storage batteries for God’s power as much as they are relay stations for it.   “According to your faith be it unto you.”  You can (will) have all the power of God that you will   make room for.  The only limit is the capacity of your faith.  Wherever faith links the believer to the  Lord Jesus, His nature begins to flow in to the waiting, expectant heart, and then to flow out toward all the saints and toward the surrounding world of lost people.  May God grant that more and more of His people will awaken to their privileges and their responsibilities with regard to God’s mighty power.

Blessings,

#kent

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“In Christ”

September 23, 2019

 

“In Christ”

 

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

What does it mean for us to be “in Christ”?  If most of us were asked if we are “in Christ” we would reply to the affirmative.  Let’s take a closer look at what that implies.  A couple of verses prior to this in verse 15 it says, “And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”  “In Christ” is a place that we have come too and embraced by faith.  The question is, has it become the dimension, the dynamic, the purpose and the Spirit that are now existing in our daily lives?  Do we actually identify ourselves with being a new creation birthed in the image and likeness of Christ?   Do we live out of the mindset that the Lord is our all in all?  Have old things truly passed away or are we still holding onto them behind our back while we put on our Christian face in front.  Is Christ a part of all that we think, hope and dream about or is He a Christ of convenience, serving my need and answering my prayers.  Are our lives now all about Him or is it still about us?  These are some of the hard questions I feel the Holy Spirit is asking us today.

The Lord does not seek to condemn us, but to bring us into a revelation of who we truly are.  Most all of us are living way below what Christ has called us too and purposed us for.  The only place we can truly live out His purpose and life for us is in that intimate place of relationship and continual fellowship.  When we are “in Christ” this is where we find the new creation that we are in Him.

In Hebrews 9:6-8 it tells us, “Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service [of God]. But into the second [went] the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and [for] the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.”

If it is in our heart’s desire to enter into the holiest of all, which Christ has opened the access for us, then we need to understand that we can never enter in, in any other way than, “in Christ”.  If we are still living out of the ceremonial religion and the ordinances of men, then we can’t partake of the Holiest of All.  If we are still living in the old man’s thinking, his way of life and old covenant principles, then we are missing what it is to be a new creation in Christ.  The first tabernacles of our carnal thinking and religion have to be torn down before we can fully come into Christ and the dimension of His life.  It is no longer about just service to God; it is in becoming the priestly servants of God.  When we are “in Christ” we are living out of the dimension of Spirit life.  That should not be some mystical thing, but a very practical thing.  Jesus lived to manifest the will, purpose and nature of the Father. Christ has given us the same mandate.  He now lives through us if indeed old things have passed away and all things have become new.  While it is complete in the Father, it is still a process that is taking place in us.  Our folly is that in the process and living in the world and growing up in religion we can lose our bearings of who we really are and what Christ has called us out of this world to be.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 goes on to tell us, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  Christ gave His life to impart His life into you and me.  It is that life that we embraced by faith that makes us a new creation in the image and likeness of the One who has now entered our hearts and lives within us.  We were created and have become this new creation that we may glorify Christ and that we may honor Him by allowing Christ to live His life through us, even as He allowed the Father to live His life through Him.  An ambassador is one who stands in the place of His country and its leaders.  He represents all that they are.  Is that who we are “in Christ” today?  Christ in you, that is your identity that is who you now are and have been called to be.  Embrace and identify with His life in you.  You are no longer to be outside of Him or separate from Him, but you are one when you are “in Christ”.

Blessings,

#kent

Born Free

September 20, 2019

 

Born Free

 

Galatians 5:1

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

 

When we were born again, we were born into a freedom.  The blood of Christ and this salvation, that we richly partake of, washed our debt to sin away.  We were set at liberty from the bondage and stronghold of sin.  Colossians 1:12-14 tells us, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son.  In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:” What is more is that it has set us free from the law and the ordinances that have served as our condemnation and taskmaster in that our flesh was weak and inept in keeping them.  Romans 8:3 tells us,  “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” Now we know that Christ did not set us free for us to come again under the bondage of sin and we also know that we could not accomplish righteousness by the works of the law and the strength of the flesh.  Romans 8:4-8 goes on to explain how we do walk in righteousness, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Our liberation then is obtained and lived out not by our strength or our goodness, but by a whole new mindset that is dependent, reliant and fully yielded to the Spirit of God.  While laws and the enforcement of them may keep order in a society for fear of the consequences, they do not in themselves have the power to change the heart and intent of a person.  Only the Spirit of God can do that as a person yields oneself to His in-working power.

Now the fleshly-minded man is prone to think, “well, if I’m not under the law then I am free to do as I desire and please.”  That is not the mind of the Spirit.  Romans 8:10 says, “And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.” Here again the mind of the Spirit is not to fulfill the desires of the body; that is dead.  Rather, the mind of the Spirit is to perpetuate righteousness in us, which is life.  Romans 6:1-4 tells us, “1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  When we come to Christ we should have come to the revelation that entanglement again in sin is not freedom, but putting ourselves again into bondage.  Now it can be pretty liberating to think that if I am no longer under the law, then all things are lawful for me.  Paul puts that thought into perspective in 1 Corinthians 6:12 by telling us, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”  Our freedom is maintained as we walk in the Spirit.  When we fail to walk in that place we become fleshly-minded, at enmity or enemies with God, and become subject to the law and it’s consequences of judgement.  Our freedom is maintained in Christ.  In that place we walk in the liberty of the Spirit, even as Christ did in His day.  Concerning the law, He said, ” Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (Matthew 5:17).”  Romans 3:31 reiterates this by saying, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”  We, as Christ did, establish the law, not by living under it, but by it’s righteousness living through us.  Hebrews 10:16-18 says,” This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.”  We have been born again as the Lord’s free men.  Free to live by the Spirit, through His power and grace working in us, to live unto righteousness to the glory of His name and for His purpose.

Blessings,

#kent

Effects of Corruption

September 17, 2019

 

Effects of Corruption

 

Galatians 6:8

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

 

In this day and age many of us deal with computers.  They are a great tool and instrument of help anda  blessing to our lives as long as they are working properly.  When something starts to go south they can become a tremendous source of frustration.  Sometimes we experience a corruption in our software and it may start as a minor glitch, but it rarely gets better on its own and left to itself it could eventually affect and shutdown our whole system.

The effects of sin work much the same way in us.  When we give place to areas of sin in our lives it is often minor at first, but the more we feed it, the hungrier it gets.  Little by little it leads us down a path of greater and greater corruption.  It is like a cancer that may manifest in one area of our body.  Left unattended it can grow and spread till it can affect other areas of the body as well.  It can overtake us to point that we begin to lose moral compass and control over its direction.  Often times, the Holy Spirit will deal with us about it and even send others into our life to exhort us and warn us of our corruption.  The corruption of sin can again rule over us if it is given place and allowed to have dominion.  That sin will eventually manifest itself to the point that it can be spiritually life threatening and totally destructive to our lives.  That which we sought to hide in the corner may be suddenly shouted from housetops and we can find ourselves publicly naked and humiliated.  Those that once admired us may now despise us because of the reproach our corruption has brought upon us.  All that we had spent years building in reputation and integrity can be destroyed in a moment.  It is vitally important that we judge ourselves, lest we be judged.  Whom the Lord loves He chastens.

If we find corruption in our lives, our remedy is repentance, changing our mind and going the other direction.  This isn’t always easy because of the stronghold that sin can have upon us.  We may well need to humble ourselves and go to other mature members of the body of Christ to help us in these areas of bondage and corruption.  Freedom from corruption will first begin to come with our decision and commitment to get free from it.  We may need some help and deliverance, but we still have the power of Christ within to enable us to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.  Perhaps there is corruption at work in many of us that we need to deal with, confess, and get deliverance from, that we might live a life of liberty and freedom in Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

Joy Cometh in the Morning

September 13, 2019

 

Joy Cometh in the Morning

 

Psalms 30:5

For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

 

Where is your life spiritually today?  Would you characterize it as nighttime or daytime?  Most all of us, who have been walking in Christ for a time, know that we go through seasons in a spiritual sense.  There are times we go through such close intimate times with our Lord and sense His presence and love in such a wonderful way and then there are those nighttime experiences.  It may come as a result of allowing sin to come into our lives.  It may be the result of God’s chastening or dealings in our lives.  It may be through persecution or tribulation.   Whatever the reason it is nighttime experience, one in which we fail to sense God’s presence in our soul.  Our prayers may seem hollow and of none effect.  These are times when spiritually we cry out for God, perhaps it is in these times we really begin to seek God’s help, His presence, His deliverance through a trial or tribulation we are facing.  There are times our lives can feel pretty bleak.  Our circumstances are overtaking us.  Where is God?

King David experienced this nighttime ordeal before He became King.  Psalm 30:7-9 says, ”

LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, [and] I was troubled. I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.  What profit [is there] in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.”  Perhaps you and I have prayed prayers similar to this.  One thing that is so admirable about David and I think a spiritual key to us overcoming in these dark times is that David, no matter how low, remembered the goodness and the faithfulness of GodHe continually brought God’s promises and His benefits before the Lord in his prayers and psalms.   And he never ceased to praise and thank God even in those dark times.  He was quite honest with God about what he was going through and the emotions that wanted to overtake him, but he always brought his thoughts and focus back to a place of faith in the faithfulness of God.  We may go through some long nights that may go for years, but learn those principles that David learned.  They will sustain you in those times. David even says an interesting thing in this passage, he says, ” by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face.”  Have you ever thought of your mountain as favor from God?  Remember that what God is allowing in your life is designed to press you into Him.  He wants us to learn and trust Him for who He is, not what He can do for us.  This is the place of maturing faith where the rubber meets the road.  God has to become very real to us or we give up and turn away.  God is processing us through the hardships of our life.   “The trial of your faith is much more precious than Gold” (1 Peter 1:7a)

In this scripture David says “joy does come in the morning”, our trials, darkness and seeming separation from God won’t last forever.  He is faithful to bring us through if we faithfully hold fast to Him.  David’s next expression after talking of how severe the trial says, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”

If you are in your night season, don’t be discouraged, have hope, God has not forsaken you.  He is proving you and bringing you into whom you really are in Him.  Stand the test, stay the course, for joy comes in the morning

Blessings,

#kent

The Place of Loss

September 9, 2019

Job 1:20-22

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

 

 

The Place of Loss

 

 

A very real and painful part of life is sometimes losing the things we have most loved.   Loss has many faces.  It can be a loved one, a marriage, a child, a job, a dream, health, possessions or a loss of an identity in who we thought we were or what we thought we had.  Loss has many faces, but when it touches those areas in our heart that are most dear, it is most painful.

As Christians we are certainly not immune from the experience of loss.  We know how we view loss, but how does God view lose and why does He allow it to touch our lives. Often the losses in our lives, though painful, are necessary to make way for the new chapters that are yet to be written and the purposes that are yet to be fulfilled.

We are line of sight people operating primarily out of what we can see immediately before us.  We don’t have the wisdom and council of God to see the end from the beginning and know why things had to happen as they did.  In our shallow minds and the infancy of our understanding we often become angry and disillusioned with God.  We begin to believe the enemy’s lies that He is against us and not for us.  We begin to believe that perhaps our faith is a sham and we have just become the laughing stock of all who look upon our lives.  Perhaps all we can see is failure, disappointment and loss.

What do you think Job saw when all that he loved and cared for was taken from him in a day and then even his own body was brought into immense suffering.  Here is a man that didn’t have the Word of God to go too or the revelation of Christ to lean on and yet when he lost everything he fell to the ground and worshipped.  “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”  Can we and have we done the same in our loss?  Is our loss of greater value to us than our relationship with Father?

No, we don’t understand.  Job didn’t understand, but understanding isn’t essential to maintaining our faith.  In fact, it is in the times that we least understand that we must have the greatest faith.

Joseph didn’t understand when he was given dreams and visions of God of greatness and then his own brothers sold him into slavery where things went from bad to worse and he ultimately ends up in prison through false accusations.  Now if someone had a right to be bitter, it was probably him.  All he had tried to do is be a man of integrity and faithful to His God and look where it got him.  Yet when we get to end of the story we see how God turned what was intended for evil into what was good; fulfilling a divine purpose through Joseph’s loss.  Often in our lives our losses are not what they seem and they are not about God being against us, punishing us or forsaking us.  It is often our losses that are the preparation for what God wants to bring us into.  Before He can reveal the greater He often must take away a lesser.

This is to encourage you today if you are in that place of loss and disappointment.  Your plans and dreams may be shattered, but the dreams and purposes that God has for you are not.  If you trust Him, lean upon and give your losses to Him; He can take your losses and make them the place of your ministry. your victory and your purpose in God’s kingdom.  Pain often paves the road for a path that we would have never traveled on our own and a vision that we could have never fulfilled without it.  No matter what your loss, never lose your faith and confidence in God.  He is for you and not against you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ”  Jeremiah 29:11

Blessings,

#kent

Matthew 24:35

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

 

Trivial words fade quickly from the hearing,

as does the familiarity of life from our memory.

When that which is trivial and familiar is passed away,

is there the substance of faith and reality to take its place?

When all that is known, becomes unknown,

and the life we’ve known comes tumbling down,

is our foundation strong to build again upon

those things which can not be moved, eternally sound?

Heaven and earth will pass away,

but God’s Word will always remain.

He is the confidence that anchors our hope,

when all else is stripped from its context and frame.

 

When Life gets Turned Upside-down

 

There can come a time in our life, and it may have already occurred in yours, when either naturally of supernaturally our world, as we know it, falls apart.  All that was familiar and comfortable becomes unhinged and discomfited.  We may lose our career, a loved one passes, we are bankrupted, our children run away or get in trouble; there are multitude of ways our life can get turned upside down.  While those transitions in life are rarely desirable, they may put to the test all that we have lived and believed.  All of sudden all the beliefs that we had neatly folded in our box become dumped out and the very fabric of all that we called faith is tested.  In those moments of turmoil we may be desperately trying to find God in the midst and thick of it.

“How could He let this happen?”  “Why?” ” Where are you God?”

It is probably much the way Job felt when satan was allowed to touch his life in almost every area.  If we live in our natural mind and reasoning, then all we can see and comprehend are our natural circumstances.  We may have grown so accustomed to the blessings of God that we thought we were immune to the trials of life, but God never promised us a life without trials.  Satan’s purpose through the trials might be to kill, steal and destroy.  Most of all, he wants you to doubt God’s love and faithfulness, so that you would turn from God and count Him unfaithful.  He wants to steal your identity in Christ.

We have to ask ourselves, in the story we see of Job, what was God heart and His ultimate purpose in allowing such calamity, pain and devastation in Job’s life?  In the end it gave Job a greater revelation of God in His holiness and majesty.  In the end, because Job retained his integrity and faith, God promoted him to a place of priesthood where he was interceding and making sacrifice for his accusers and fault-finders and he was brought into a double portion of all that he formerly had, as great as that already was.

Father isn’t out to make us fail or to make our lives miserable, but out of pain is often birthed a greater blessing that can bring us up higher into Him.  We won’t always understand its purpose at the time and it may feel like God has totally abandoned and forsaken us, but He is causing us flex our faith, not our intellect or natural abilities.  He is causing us to trust Him in what we can’t see.  Our response should be to bless the Lord in those times, not to curse Him and turn away.  Even Job, without the Word of God to draw upon, had a revelation of this truth in his heart.

Job 1:21-22 says that after Job heard of all that had come upon his property and family, “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

Will that be our response if and when our world is turned upside down?  These will be the times when the true metal of our faith will be tested.  It may be so bad, we don’t think it could be any worse and then it gets worse and it continues to get worse, but God never ceases to be God or to sit upon the throne.  If we truly know Him, He will be the anchor in the storm that keeps us from running aground on the rocks of circumstances and unbelief.  He is still there in the boat with us as we are weathering our storm and it may seem He is asleep in the hull of the boat and oblivious to all that is happening around us.  We may be crying out, “Lord, don’t you care that we perish?”.

Just remember if you perish, Christ perishes with you, because He is in you.  In those times, can you still remember who you are, “IN CHRIST”?   Circumstances can change, but God’s word doesn’t change and Jesus doesn’t  change.  He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  You are anchored to eternity in Him.  Even if your outward man would perish, you have a building, a tabernacle made by God, eternal in the heavens.

What we must have as saints of God, is an immovable faith and trust that can not be shaken by heaven or hell.  A faith so grounded in Christ that even when our mind can’t wrap itself around it and our reason fails us, our faith remains steadfast and firm.  Either God is who He says He is or we have believed in vain.

There may be or come times in our life when nothing makes sense.  That is when faith in God’s Word is your anchor.  We may be in total disorientation and vertigo, but just as a pilot in darkness and storm must rely upon his instruments to give him bearing and orientation, so we must do with the Word of God.  We can’t trust our senses, our feelings or even our intellect; to do so could prove fatal.  God’s Word must remain the anchor of our soul, because we know that even though all else would pass away, God’s Word remains and He is ever faithful.

Blessings,

#kent

Matthew 24:35

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

 

Trivial words fade quickly from the hearing,

as does the familiarity of life from our memory.

When that which is trivial and familiar is passed away,

is there the substance of faith and reality to take its place?

When all that is known, becomes unknown,

and the life we’ve known comes tumbling down,

is our foundation strong to build again upon

those things which can not be moved, eternally sound?

Heaven and earth will pass away,

but God’s Word will always remain.

He is the confidence that anchors our hope,

when all else is stripped from its context and frame.

 

When Life gets Turned Upside-down

 

There can come a time in our life, and it may have already occurred in yours, when either naturally or supernaturally, our world, as we know it, falls apart.  All that was familiar and comfortable becomes unhinged and discomfited.  We may lose our career, a loved one passes, we are bankrupted, our children run away or get in trouble; there are multitude of ways our life can get turned upside down.  While those transitions in life are rarely desirable, they may put to the test all that we have lived and believed.  All of sudden all the beliefs that we had neatly folded in our box become dumped out and the very fabric of all that we called faith is tested.  In those moments of turmoil, we may be desperately trying to find God in the midst and thick of it.

“How could He let this happen?”  “Why?” ” Where are you God?”

It is probably much the way Job felt when satan was allowed to touch his life in almost every area.  If we are only in our natural mind and reasoning, then all we can see and comprehend are our natural circumstances.  We may have grown so accustomed to the blessings of God that we thought we were immune to the trials of life, but God never promised us a life without trials.  Satan’s purpose through the trials might be to kill, steal and destroy.  Most of all, he wants you to doubt God’s love and faithfulness, so that you would turn from God and count Him unfaithful.  He wants to steal your identity in Christ.

We must ask ourselves in the story we see of Job, what was God heart and His ultimate purpose in allowing such calamity, pain and devastation in Job’s life?  In the end it gave Job a greater revelation of God in His holiness and majesty.  In the end, because Job retained his integrity and faith, God promoted him to a place of priesthood where he was interceding and making sacrifice for his accusers and fault-finders and he was brought into a double portion of all that he formerly had, as great as that already was.

Father isn’t out to make us fail or to make our lives miserable, but out of pain is often birthed a greater blessing that can bring us up higher into Him.  We won’t always understand its purpose at the time and it may feel like God has totally abandoned and forsaken us, but He is causing us flex our faith, not our intellect or natural abilities.  He is causing us to trust Him in what we can’t see.  Our response should be to bless the Lord in those times, not to curse Him and turn away.  Even Job, without the Word of God to draw upon had a revelation of this truth in his heart.

Job 1:21-22 says that after Job heard of all that had come upon his property and family, “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

Will that be our response when our world is turned upside down?  These will be the times when the true metal of our faith will be tested.  It may be so bad, we don’t think it could be any worse and then it gets worse and it continues to get worse, but God never ceases to be God or to sit upon the throne.  If we truly know Him, He will be the anchor in the storm that keeps us from running aground on the rocks of circumstances and unbelief.  He is still there in the boat with us as we are weathering our storm and it may seem He is asleep in the hull of the boat and oblivious to all that is happening around us.  We may be crying out, “Lord, don’t you care that we perish?”.

Just remember if you perish, Christ perishes with you, because He is in you.  In those times, can you still remember who you are, “IN CHRIST”?   Circumstances can change, but God’s word doesn’t change and Jesus doesn’t  change.  He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  You are anchored to eternity in Him.  Even if your outward man would perish, you have a building, a tabernacle made by God, eternal in the heavens.

What we must have as saints of God, is an immovable faith and trust that can not be shaken by heaven or hell.  A faith so grounded in Christ that even when our mind can’t wrap itself around it and our reason fails us, our faith remains steadfast and firm.  Either God is who He says He is or we have believed in vain.

There may be or come times in our life when nothing makes sense.  That is when faith in God’s Word is your anchor.  We may be in total disorientation and vertigo, but just as a pilot in darkness and storm must rely upon his instruments to give him bearing and orientation, so we must do so with the Word of God.  We can’t trust our senses, our feelings or even our intellect; to do so could prove fatal.  God’s Word must remain the anchor of our soul, because we know that even though all else would pass away, Gods’ Word remains.

Blessings,

#kent

From Fear to Faith

August 5, 2019

 

From Fear to Faith

 

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 

After being away a good part of the day, that night we brought a couple of our grandkids home with us to spend the night.  Before I had finished getting everything out of the car, the wife was telling me the back door was unlocked and open.  She said she was sure that she had locked it.  On the way into the house I grabbed a trusty little aluminum bat and went into to secure the perimeter.  As the grandkids followed we walked all through the house and did a search to make sure no one was there.  Everything was in tact and nothing was disturbed so it appeared to be just an oversight on our part that the door was open.  As the grandkids followed me and talked I could hear the apprehension and a degree of fearfulness in their voices as they wanted us to set the alarm.  Now these grandkids are about six and nine years old.  As we got them ready to put to bed I began to talk with them about fear and the author of fear.  I explained about the One who is our life and security, the One who has His hand upon our lives and all that touches us can only be by His permission.  We talked about “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world”; how we are “more than conquerors through Christ that loved us” and how God has “not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  As I began to speak these things to them, faith began to rise in their hearts as they began to remember and realize that even though they were just children, Someone much greater resided in them and watched over them.  I began to recount Bible stories of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, of Hezekiah when great armies came up against Jerusalem and the Lord told Him to send the praise team and worshippers out first.  I asked them how they would like to go out in the frontlines of battle with just a tambourine or a horn or just their voice.  We talked about how that praise and worship of faith and obedience released God to discomfit and utterly destroy those great armies so that by the time they reached them all there was to do was gather the spoil they left behind.  We talked about the story of Paul and Silas, beaten for their faith and thrown into dark dirty jail, their hands in chains they began to sing hymns and songs unto the Lord.  Through that praise and worship in the midst of such discouraging circumstances, God sent an earthquake that opened the cells and freed everybody, but nobody escaped.  As the distraught jailer thought everyone had fled he drew his sword to kill himself, Paul stopped him and assured him all of them were there.  We saw how what had seemed to be a day of utter defeat and failure had been turned by God to result in the salvation of this jailer and his household. 

            The kids wanted to hear more and more stories, but finally I said it is time for us to go to bed.  Now there was no more fear or apprehension as we turned in.  It was as the scripture says in Romans 10:17, So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Are you fearful today about some circumstance in your life?  Don’t look at how great the problem or the circumstances are, rather look to the Word of God and see how great your God is.  Look at all the times He delivered His people, because they put their faith and trust in Him.  Don’t look to how great the name is of the disease or burden that you bear, look to the Name above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord to the glory of God ( Philippians 2:9-11).  Our God can take us from fear to faith as we read and meditate upon His Word; remembering how great and mighty our God is, how He loved us and gave himself for us and how if we fear anything let us fear the Lord and trust Him.

The Psalmist David says it so well in Psalms 56:11, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”

Blessings,

#kent

Be Encouraged

July 12, 2019

Be Encouraged

Matthew 11:28

Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 

Every action of the Father is an action of Love.  The Lord God hovers over His beloved as a hen over her chicks.  Though we do not see it, His arms of love and comfort surround us constantly.  The souls of men are the object of His affection and desire.  Each one of you who read this must know that your God loves you in particular.  There is nothing outside of His knowing, concerning your life; no area is hidden and no emotion is unfelt by Him.  Jesus became identified with us in our infirmities and weaknesses.  He experienced every hurt, pain and heartache, as well as temptation, just like you and I.  He is our high priest that ever lives to make intercession on our behalf.  Can you think of anyone you would rather have praying you through than Jesus?  The Father isn’t against us, He is for us.  The Holy Spirit has been given to each believer to help, comfort, come alongside and instruct us in the way.  The Lord sees your discouragement today.  He sees your efforts and your heart.  Whether you sense Him or not He is there with you in the valley of the shadow of death and despair.

In your spirit, just crawl up on Daddy’s lap today.   Just hold Him and release your heart to Him.  Let Him just put His wonderful arms of comfort and love around you as He lets you know everything is going to be okay.  He’s got the whole world in His hands and has your problems and concerns as well.  Lay your head on His bosom and rest your weary soul.  Let God have control of all those areas of worry and concern.  Enter into His rest and as you rest in Him He is already at work in your circumstances to meet your needs.

Yes, we grow weary, we get tired and we can become discouraged.  Come aside and take your rest in Him all of you that are weary and heavy-laden and “I will give you rest”, says the Lord.

As we come to the end of ourselves and learn to rest in our Father we learn the joy of our salvation.  We find that He is more than able to meet all of our needs according to His riches in glory.  In our weakness He is made strong.  “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).”  Today, rest and find comfort and strength in Him who is your life, your blessing and your portion.

Blessings,

#kent

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