Rocky Places

June 22, 2018

Matthew 13:3-6

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

 

 

Rocky  Places

 

In the parable of the sower Jesus give several scenarios of the seed.  The seed was the kingdom message as Jesus states in verse 19.  The soil is the condition of the heart that receives the seed.  The rocky places are those places where we have developed a hardness of heart and cynicism about the word.  At first we receive it and embrace it, but then we begin analyze it and rationalize it.  We begin to side with the intellect of the mind and the wisdom of men, rather than the wisdom of God.  Because of this natural thinking and reasoning our faith is bound up and the root of our faith finds no depth in which to grow.

There are those of us who walking on rocky ground in our lives.  The message of Christ and His kingdom initially sounds good to us, but we are struggling with the natural mind and reasoning.  Romans 8 teaches us that to be naturally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  There are those who must make the decision to break up the rocky ground, the hardness of heart, doubt, fear and unbelief.  If there is no place for the root to go, the planting of the kingdom message will wither and die, along with your spirit.  Dare to trust yourself to the One who has given His Word and His life to back it up.  Dare to break free of the rocky confines of doubt and unbelief.  Others may think you the fool, but God takes the foolish things to confound the wise.  Be wise and rid your heart of those rocky places.

Blessings,

#kent

 

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God Rules

June 18, 2018

 

Psalms 18:46-50

The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted, 47The God Who avenges me and subdues peoples under me, 48Who delivers me from my enemies; yes, You lift me up above those who rise up against me; You deliver me from the man of violence. 49Therefore will I give thanks and extol You, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to Your name. 50Great deliverances and triumphs gives He to His king; and He shows mercy and steadfast love to His anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

 

God Rules

 

Today’s Word is one that I felt the Lord gave me last night as I was contemplating today’s events.

Recently we decided we would like to build a studio next to our home.  I started by going to my next door neighbor and explaining my idea and why I would like to do it.  Initially he said he didn’t have a problem with it.  So I proceeded and hired a surveyor to establish the boundaries.  My neighbor then brought the covenants up to me since he is the sole person responsible for these covenants.  After studying them.  The covenants stated that you couldn’t have a commercial enterprise, but that you could have a professional office in your home with approval of the Architectural Control Committee, a.k.a. my neighbor.  I explained to him that I felt that we would be in the boundaries of the covenant, plus I had to have a variance approved by the city and go through all of the hoops for that, so it might not happen any way.  I did ask him around this point if that wasn’t a possibility to tell me now before I invested over a thousand dollars on plans and application for a variance.  It seemed he was open for me to proceed so we went forward.  Again when we presented the plans to him he seemed to be personally opposed to me building next to him and preferred another location.  Where the addition would set is at lower elevation and built into a hillside, that and a high hedge of fitzers makes it all but completely out of his view.  I explained that for a number of reasons I felt this was the best location for it.  When I asked for his approval on it, his approval was as long as we complied with the covenants and his parting words were, “go for it.”

We had to make a posting for 10 days so that anyone in the neighborhood could provide input.  I had already gone to the surrounding neighbors, explained what we were doing, the reason for the variance and had them sign if they were not opposed to it.

We were somewhat blindsided when the city planner called with a three page letter from this neighbor and objections from a number of the other neighbors.  The city looked at it strongly and asked that we first obtain a Home Occupation Permit that allows you to do business from your home under fairly strict guidelines.  We complied with all of their request and were granted the variance and the Home Occupation Permit.

My neighbor has filed an appeal and stirred up a good portion of the neighborhood in opposition to us. That brings us to today, when we have the appeal hearing.

Throughout this process I have asked the Lord’s will and asked that he close and open the doors according to His purpose and plan.  Really it is all in the Lord’s hands and He is the only one that could really open the door.  Even if I was still approved today they could appeal again or oppose me in civil a case.  What is amazing is that we find ourselves among neighbors who we have helped and blessed, standing alone.  I believe this is where God brings us sometimes so that He can show us that it is not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit.  I know that the Lord stands with us rather we build or not and that it is all in His hands.

I am reminded of Paul when he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:16-17, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge.  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”  When our back is against the wall and none seem to be for us, we know that God is for us, who can be against us.  Our faith and hope are set upon His will and purpose.  I have seen before how God is able to vindicate his own if they will set their hope and trust in Him, but we may be tried in the fire before we see it come to pass.

When you are faced with your own personal situations when all around you seem to oppose you, make sure that your security and faith rest in the Lord and not in your might and ability.  He goes before us to fight our battles and show us His mighty deliverance.

 

A post note to this story is that our primary opposing next door neighbor, along with several others opposed us with an attorney before the city planning commission.  We simply put it in the Lord’s hands.  The 10 person council ruled unanimously in our favor and we were able to build our studio. When God is for us, who can be against us?

Blessings,

#kent

The Way of the Cross Leads Home

 

2 Corinthians 4:7-12

 

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  So then death worketh in us, but life in you”.

 

We, who are in Christ, are like the alabaster box that contains the precious ointment and perfume of the Life of Christ in us.  We may look pretty sitting on the shelf, but our value is not in the outward container, it is in the contents within.  We are like the man in Matthew 13:45-46: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”  When we have found the treasure of heaven, the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, then next to Him, all else becomes worthless and of little value.  We are willing to forsake all to follow Him, to know Him and to possess His divine Life.  How wonderful!  We are all these earthen vessels that contain this treasure within them, but how does that make a difference to the world around us?  Like Mary with the alabaster box, she broke the box to release the treasure of the fragrance within.

Paul is explaining much of the same principle that was at work in their lives.  There is no strength or power in the vessel itself.  The power and life is only released in weakness, brokenness and total God reliance.  Our world and circumstances, life in general, often has a way of crushing and breaking us.  1Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” This is common and to be expected, especially among believers.  The true fragrance and essence of our life within is released most often in the place of suffering.  The fact is, it is the treasure within that sustains us, not with natural strength, but with divine and supernatural strength.  The enemy of our souls would crush us and destroy us, but in doing so he is only releasing the fragrance of the Christ in us.

Perhaps this sheds some insight into why we must suffer in life.  In those places of weakness and utter helplessness we find a strength and life not our own.  We are driven out of our self-reliance into trust and faith in our God.  He becomes then our life, our health, our supply, and our comfort.  As death works in our mortal bodies, it is only to give place to the life of Christ.

The even greater truth of this is that it works to a multiplication of His life in others through us.  Even as Jesus, being one man, through His death on the cross brought a multiplication of His Life to the world.  The harvest isn’t in the seed, it is in the seed dying to the outer shell and releasing the life within that grows up to produce multiple seed.  It is the principle of  John 12:24-25: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” The experiences that we go through in life are serving to develop us in faith, character and maturity in our walk with the Lord.  This, in turn, translates into our being poured out for others to minister life, encouragement and builds the faith of others to walk through their trials and testings in life.  The death of the cross works in us so that it might work for Life in others.

Don’t be discouraged if your vessel is being broken and you are being poured out on the altar of sacrifice.  You are becoming the sweet fragrance of Life to others.  It is the way of the cross that leads Home.

Blessings,

#kent

You Say You Love Me

June 6, 2018

 

You Say You Love Me

 

Matthew 15:8

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.

 

            You say you love Me, but your heart is so far from Me.  Your mind and heart is upon Me in passing, but your thoughts, affections and attentions quickly distract you; so quickly I am set aside.  You say you are My friend, but conversation is a hodge-podge of interruptions as the world presses in around you and again you speak to Me in passing.  You say that I am your God and yet you are constantly scheming and planning how to accomplish your goals and pleasures.  You ask for My direction and leading, but never really take the time to seek and listen for it.  You go to church to worship and listen to My Word and even there your mind is wandering.  Even on the day you proclaim to be mine you pursue your own pleasures and desires.

            Intimacy is cultivated through time spent and direct attention given to object of your affection and relationship. You lack intimacy and relationship because it is not your priority.  Intimacy is developed through a quality of exchange between two parties.  It is searching one another’s hearts and becoming one with them emotionally, physically and spiritually.  If you really love Me come into the bed chambers of My presence through worship.  Discard the clothing of worldly cares and distraction, the weights and sins that so easily beset you.  Have times when I alone am the sole purpose of your life, time and commitment, then you will know Me as your friend, your love and your life. 

            Do not continue to try and fool yourself into believing you have a relationship with Me if I am not the primary object of your affection, the purpose of your life and your reason for being.  So many are missing Me in this hour through the mere pretense of religion and relationship.  It is the same reason that your marriages fail and your children turn away from you. The temporal things have possessed your soul while the eternal things fall by the wayside.  Reevaluate your priorities and live according to those things that are most important, for soon this life will pass and all that is left is what you have built on an eternal foundation.  The house will be tested in the fire and only the eternal things will remain.  Be wise; build your house upon the rock so that it may stand the test of time and storm.  Don’t rob yourself through the deceitful gains of this world of the eternal riches that are yours in Christ.  Search your heart, be true to yourself; am I what you truly love most in this life?  You know My love does not waiver for you, that it is not conditional upon your performance or good deeds, but don’t treat it as common and take for granted all that I have done to express that love for you. Honor and fear Me, for I have humbled Myself that I might exalt you.  Do not despise through your neglect and complacency the calling and purpose that I have for you.  Return your heart and true affections and commitment to Me, so that I may have fellowship with you and reveal myself to you.  You are the object of My love, but I must truly be the object of yours.

Blessings,

#kent

Living Water

May 24, 2018

John 4:10-15

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

 

Living Water

 

There is something greater than the wells of religion that our forefathers dug for them and for us.  Jesus comes to us as He did to this woman of Samaria who had always drawn and drank from the well that always left her thirsting again and wanting more.  We also have drank from the wells of the in-part realm; as a result we continue to thirst and are never really satisfied.

The Lord speaks through Jeremiah 2:13 like this, “”My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

What we are thirsting for is a fresh revelation and manifestation of the living water that only comes from Christ.  He is the only one that is the perpetual artesian well of living water that comes forth from our spirit, through our soul and into the earth.  His Spirit life in us is that which alone can satisfy where we never long for the natural waters again of religion and dead works.  Jesus speaks to this in John 7:38-39, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”

It is in the intimacy with our Lord that we abide in the shade that covers and protects the well of His salvation.  It is there in that secret place of abiding with Him that we continue to drink and find refreshing.  There at that well of His presence is the fresh water of revelation and regeneration.  Abiding there in Him we come to find that we are not only drinking from the well, but we are the well.  Now that living water is flowing out of our belly and we become a source and fountain of the living water’s dispensation.  When others come around or when the Lord leads you into encounters as Jesus encountered this Samaritan woman; you are that well of living water the Holy Spirit desires to flow through to give drink to all who are thirsty.  Once they have drank of the living water will they ever want to go back to that which does not satisfy?

Isaiah 55:1-5 speaks of this ministry of living water.  ““Come, all you who are thirsty,

come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

2Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

3Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.

I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.

4See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples.

5Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you,

because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”

The splendor is the living water that flows from your being, because it is the life-flow of God.  It gives life, encouragement, strength, joy and salvation to all who drink of it.  The way that you become the well is by living in the flow of the river of life.  Out of that place you become the streams in the desert and the dry place.  You cause to flourish again that which others considered dead.  You cause the desert places to bloom and come alive because you are that oasis of living water that Father wants to flow through.

We have settled for the lesser for far too long.  Let’s jump in the river of His divine life and become the expression of all that this river possesses.  We are the conduits and the pipelines to bring living water to the nations.  Can we settle for anything less?

Blessings,

#kent

Acts 4: 32-35

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

 

Where do our True Riches and Resources Lie?

 

Many of us are coming to the sobering realization that the rich and abundant life as we have known in it in America is quickly coming to an end.  So much of what the Lord has been speaking to us to prepare for is now coming into plain view.  A great deal of what the Lord has been speaking has been about the preparation of our hearts and our relationship with Him.  He has been encouraging us to get our eyes off of the things of this world and on to His kingdom.  We, as the body of Christ, must begin to learn how to function in God’s kingdom economy.  What we have known up to this point and time has mostly been about how to prosper in this world’s economy.  Now we see the foundations of this world’s economy quickly crumbling and the handwriting is on the wall.  We may hope that America’s stimulus packages will be our salvation, but in truth they it may only fuel the inevitable.

The question in our hearts and minds is, “What do we do now?”  The Lord has been trying to prepare us by shifting our hearts and affections from this world and getting them where they have belonged all along, which is upon Him.  I don’t know how it will all take place, but I sense that God is going to show Himself a much greater provider than many of us really believe that He is.  If our riches are no longer in our monitory system, then where are they?  Well first and foremost, most of us know that they are in the Lord.  Yet I don’t know of any one that has ever seen money just raining out of heaven.  God works through natural means His wonders to behold.  What we are going to need to do in these coming times is to lose our isolationism and independence so that we can begin to come together in community.  In our community is where our true riches and resources lie.  What we can no longer do as individuals we can do as a community of like-minded believers who are willing to live and give for the common good.  We see this principle in operation in the early church who were often ostracized, plundered, persecuted and stripped of their earthly position and possessions.  There is strength in community when we come along side of one another and each begins to put their brother’s need before their own.  In order to truly be a body we have to learn to function and operate as a body.  We have only seen this in an in-part realm in our current church bodies.  We can see a better picture of it in our Amish communities and others like them that have maintained this as a way of life.  Now is the time to wean ourselves from the dependence we have had upon the world.  I am not telling anyone to quit their jobs, but we can readily see that our jobs and our income are no longer our security.  As we prepare for the leaner and more trying times ahead remember this principle and ask of the Lord His wisdom as you prepare and make decisions.  Begin to establish tighter stronger bonds of relationship with fellow believers.  God is going to be taking away our independence so that we can learn His unity.  This also means that as we come into closer quarters with one another there will more occasions for irritations.  God is teaching us to lose our selfishness and ourselves.  We all have so much more of it than we want to acknowledge or probably even realize.  We are entering into a time of practical hands on Christianity where the rubber meets the road, so get ready to die to yourself.

Things will begin to radically change, but God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, of power and a sound mind.  As we set our eyes upon the Lord He will begin to bring forth a new order and you will see that your communities must grow much stronger, because it will no longer be about us individually, but about us corporately.  Begin to prepare by setting aside and storing up the essential things.  It is time to get rid of the non-essential baggage that only weighs us down.  As we seek the Lord He will give us His wisdom and guidance.  He is well able to care for His own.  He showed us that when He cared for over a million people out in a wilderness with no natural resources to rely upon.  It is a time when we will begin to learn what it is to truly live and operate out of a kingdom economy.  God’s kingdom knows no lack and He is well able to supply all of our need according to His riches in glory.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Kingdom of Heaven  (Part 3)

A Matter of the Heart

 

Mathew 13:19

While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside.

 

“Our mind must bring our mortal man into agreement with who we are as a spiritual being.”  Jesus likens the gospel of the kingdom unto a seed planted in the ground.  The type of soil that it falls into has everything to do with its success in taking root, growing up and bearing fruit.  This has to do with the condition of our hearts.  In this parable from Mathew 13 Jesus describes a number of conditions in which the seed doesn’t take root or if it does, why it doesn’t remain and become fruitful.

Our hearts, spiritually speaking, are made up of our soul and spirit.  We have already discussed how Christ came to reside in our spirits when we asked him into our hearts.  Our souls are made up or our mind, will and emotions.  These constitute how we relate to the Lord both initially and throughout our relationship with Christ.  It is the realm of the soul wherein lies the battle for the kingdom of heaven.  A person who has received Christ and given themselves to God, has the desire to press in with their soul and possess what they already possess in the spirit.  This is what the Bible terms walking in the Spirit.  What was not possible before, is now made possible because of the power of Christ in us.  Romans 8:2-5 puts it in this perspective, “2For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], 4So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]. 5For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and  seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.”  Self has been dethroned and Christ has been enthroned in our hearts.  We now operate under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  What we could not do in ourselves, Christ has done for us, so it is now a matter of bringing the soul into alignment with the law that has been written upon our hearts.  It is the law of the kingdom and the Holy Spirit is its administrator.

In this lower realm of heaven where the souls of natural men abide we find that there is still a war going on for our souls.  In this realm we find principalities, powers and rulers of darkness still in operation and launching assaults first to keep us from coming into the kingdom of God, but then once we have, there is still the assaults to rob it from us.  It is our soul that is caught between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.  The difference is that now that we are in Christ we are equipped with spiritual armor, the Word of God and the power of God to do battle with this enemy of our soul.  Still there is a responsibility that lies with each of God’s children to utilize what God has provided us.  There is the need for continual vigilance to align our minds and our thinking with the mind of Christ and the Word of God.  If satan can deceive or get a hold of our minds then he can pull us down from our relationship and intimacy with Christ.  He can pervert and pollute our walk and put us again under the bondage of the flesh.  He desires to bring us back again under the mindset of the law of sin and death.  On one hand he seeks to corrupt us and on the other he seeks to condemn us when we step in his corruption.  The more condemnation we feel and give place too the less faith we have to lay hold of God’s promises and His Word.  There is a war in the heavenlies of our soul.  In this realm of the kingdom of heaven the battle is still going on.  We are in it and we must be mindful of it.  Ephesians 6:10-18 exhorts us, “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. 14Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, 15And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace, 16Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. 17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. 18Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).”  Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.”

The soul is the spiritual battleground where the war must be won and the kingdom of God established.  Christ has given us the victory and He has sat down at the right hand of the Father till His enemies be made His footstool.  We are the feet and the body that must carry out the victory and establish the kingdom of heaven in this earth through the power of Christ within.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Kingdom Principles (Part 1)

Introduction to the Kingdom

 

Matthew 22:2-14

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son

3And sent his servants to summon those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they refused to come. 4Again he sent other servants, saying, Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have prepared my banquet; my bullocks and my fat calves are killed, and everything is prepared; come to the wedding feast.

5But they were not concerned and paid no attention [they ignored and made light of the summons, treating it with contempt] and they went away–one to his farm, another to his business,

6While the others seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and put them to death.

7[Hearing this] the king was infuriated; and he sent his soldiers and put those murderers to death and burned their city. 8Then he said to his servants, The wedding [feast] is prepared, but those invited were not worthy. 9So go to the thoroughfares where they leave the city [where the main roads and those from the country end] and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.

10And those servants went out on the crossroads and got together as many as they found, both bad and good, so [the room in which] the wedding feast [was held] was filled with guests.

11But when the king came in to view the guests, he looked intently at a man there who had on no wedding garment. 12And he said, Friend, how did you come in here without putting on the [appropriate] wedding garment? And he was speechless (muzzled, gagged). 13Then the king said to the attendants, Tie him hand and foot, and throw him into the darkness outside; there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

14For many are called (invited and summoned), but few are chosen.

 

Perhaps this parable of Jesus is a good overall summary of the kingdom of heaven.   Jesus talks much about the kingdom of heaven and speaks many parables about it, but to many of us it is still somewhat of a mystery.  In this parable and illustration we see the King as Father God, giving a wedding banquet of His Son, which we can easily see is Christ.  Now the kingdom of heaven is not represented specifically as the marriage to the bride, but rather all that are invited to come to the celebration of the union.  In this parable we see the first invitations going out to God’s people who have been invited.  They have been invited through the dispensation of God’s Word, prophecies and promises of a coming Messiah, but they miss it, they reject it, they blow it off because they are to busy with their own things.  In some cases the servants who bring the message are even abused, persecuted and put to death.  This represents the Jewish nation as a whole.  The Light came to them, but in their darkness they perceived it not.

We can look back over history at the plight of the Jewish people and we can see through the destruction of Jerusalem around 70 AD and on, the people of Israel have been a scattered and persecuted people.

Because of Israel’s rejection as a whole the invitation to the wedding banquet or to come into the kingdom was extended to gentiles and to all that would respond, both bad and good.  We then see that as the King (God) viewed the guest that there was a protocol; people permitted to the feast had to have a wedding garment.  We can easily assess from the scriptures that these garment s represented the righteousness of Christ and those who wore them needed to be washed in the blood of the Lamb.  There was none permitted to stay that had their own righteousness or clothing.  Acts 4:12 tells us, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Now we can surmise through other parables that Jesus speaks of the kingdom that there is, for a time, a mixture of those who truly possess the wedding garments and those who don’t.  This one man that was cast out of the wedding may be representative of many who will have to answer to the King in the time of judgement.  We see it in the parable of the wheat and the tares where the two were allowed to grow together until the time of harvest.  Jesus was the kingdom come, but this coming was His first coming as the Saviour and the Redeemer of men.  Through Christ, men could receive the kingdom of heaven into their heart and be recipients of the King and his kingdom.

Here we have an overall view of the kingdom of heaven as being the place to where we have been invited to Christ.  We see that we both have to respond and dress appropriately to be acceptable in this kingdom.  We see that many are called, but few are chosen.  Hopefully we have all responded to the invitation and dressed appropriately through asking Christ into our hearts and are putting on Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

This is the One I’m looking for.

 

Isaiah 66:1-2

Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest? For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

 

 

‘Where is the place of my rest’, says the Lord.  ‘I am the Lord of heaven and earth, what edifice or building could you possibly make that could even compare with what I have already?’  The Lord is not looking for what we can produce for Him out of the works of our hands; the dwelling place He desires and is looking for is a condition of the heart.  “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”  Is that the condition of my heart and yours today?  Are we what the Lord is looking for to be the place of His rest?

What is it to be poor?  Does it mean you have to be homeless, destitute, without wealth or is it a condition of the heart wherein nothing is regarded of true value outside of God?  The spiritually poor recognize that the world and all it’s riches are soon to pass away and that the only true treasures are those of heaven obtained through relationship and right standing with God.  Often it is the people of low social and economic status that best grasp this concept.

Jesus teaches the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 and says, “Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.  Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”  If we desire to be the blessed of the Lord here is where our heart needs to be.  This is an expanded definition of Isaiah 66:2.  These are the righteous who yearn and have a heart after God.

What does it mean to have a contrite heart?  It is interesting in looking up the meaning of this word in the Hebrew it literally means, “dust”.  It spiritually means that your heart is reduced to the base elements, there is no regard, no significance, nothing of value in your spirit outside of God and His working in you.  You are as dust before Him and the heart of the contrite is that God would somehow look upon the dust of our nothingness and fashion it into a vessel pleasing to Him.  Psalms 34:18 says, “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”  Psalms 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Finally Isaiah 57:15 says, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”  Do we see here the place of His Holy dwelling?  Why do we weep and mourn in our spirits?  It is because we have become cognizant of how utterly destitute we are without His holy presence and we cry out for Him to fill us and reveal His presence within us.

Lastly, God looks for those who “tremble at His Word”.  This is simply the fear of the Lord.  It is those who regard God and His Word with such holy respect and reverence that they in no way wish to offend the Holy Spirit in action, word or deed.  It is an attitude that truly gives God His due honor and respect.

2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us what God is looking for, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him…” Are we what God is looking for?

Blessings,

#kent

There is a Fountain

April 20, 2018

 

There is a Fountain

 

Proverbs 13:14

The law of the wise [is] a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

 

What are the waters of council and advice that we drink from today?  How are our opinions and values formed or swayed?  We all are constantly surrounded and bombarded by the world’s fountain, but in drinking from that fountain we can quickly become ensnared in its values and philosophies that lead to death.  Where do we go to find our council, our values, our understanding and direction for our lives?  We know as Christians that it is found in the Fountain of Life.  That Life comes through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit and those who are imparting that Word of life to others.

We have to be careful where we drink in our influence and persuasions.  Tainted and corrupt waters will taint our soul and our thinking; thereby our values become perverted.  The Word exhorts us to drink from the fountains of wise council, so that it may deliver us from the snares of death.

Proverbs 14: 27 tells us another aspect of this fountain, “The fear of the LORD [is] a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” Not only do we want to seek out and follow wise council from the Word of God, we want to have a holy, wholesome fear and reverence of God that we would not depart from the wisdom, council and instruction that He gives us.  Our God is not one to be trifled with or tempted and yet we do it all of the time.  How many times through our actions, our words, our attitudes and our values do we disrespect and dishonor the name of the Lord?  We are foolish when we don’t truly fear and reverence Him.  If we are wise we will not lose that fear and respect, for what we sow, we shall also reap.

Proverbs 25:26 tells us, “A righteous man falling down before the wicked [is as] a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring“, How are the waters of your spring today?  What is your life producing, what is the fruit of your lips and are our behaviors and attitudes those that flow from the pure fountain of life, from the Christ?

Guard yourself and the watering holes from which you drink.  We want our fountain to be fed from the Fountain of Life.  There is a Fountain who is Christ, the King.  We want Him to be our supply and the source of our wisdom and influence.  There are fountains all around that contain the snares of death.  Let us be wise in choosing the fountain from which we drink.

Blessings,

#kent

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