Suffer the Little Children

October 15, 2019

 

Suffer the Little Children

 

Mark 10:13-16

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and [his] disciples rebuked those that brought [them.  But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  And he took them up in his arms, put [his] hands upon them, and blessed them.

 

Our children are so often ignored and neglected in spiritual things.  We are faithful to feed them, cloth them and provide them with all manner of toys and devices of entertainment, but in a world that is rampant with perversity and sin are we providing what they need most?  I believe Jesus has time for no others like He does for children.  Their simplicity, their trusting innocence, their complete confidence in us as parents to provide and care for them is exactly what the Lord is looking for in all of us that come to Him.  These are basic Kingdom principles.  The wonder years of our children are the fertile ground in which the love and relationship with the heavenly Father needs to be nurtured and grown.  If we are not planting Life in them, then something else is replacing it and the fruit of it will be death.

Sometimes our children grow up and even though we were faithful to plant the Word of God in their hearts and teach them the ways of the Lord they seem to walk away and turn their backs on the Life we labored to give them.  That is when we stand upon the promise of Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.”  I don’t believe God’s Word comes back void, especially when it is combined with prayer and faith.  So if you have children that have walked away from God, take encouragement from God’s Word and never give up praying and believing.

Let’s be vigilant to nurture and feed the most precious treasure you and your child posses, their soul.  I am so thankful for a mother that nurtured that in me, that taught me about Jesus from an early age and prayed with me every night as a small child.  Through the years of my life there have been times I have walked away and been unfaithful, but the roots of God’s Word and Love have grown deep in my soul and His Love continues to draw me back to Him.  Be faithful in this area with your children and grandchildren.  There is not a more precious investment you can make, than in bringing them constantly to Jesus.  He wants to sit them upon His lap and bless them.  Let us not error as the disciples and hinder them from that place of relationship and time in His presence, but let us be diligent to nurture and develop them to really know their Savior.

Blessings,

#kent

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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

Divine Health

September 25, 2019

 

Divine Health

 

Isaiah 53:5

But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

 

There are a spectrum of beliefs about divine healing across Christendom today, ranging from it doesn’t exist to every aspect of health is a matter of faith.  It is not the intent to debate these points, but to communicate what the Word of God has to say on this subject and how the Holy Spirit would help us to believe and appropriate it’s truths.

Most of us, as believers in Christ, if indeed we are believers, have no problem accepting by faith that Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins. We embrace by faith in Him that He has washed away our sins, casting them as far as the East is from the West, into the sea of forgetfulness, never to be remembered anymore.  I dare say many of us probably struggle more with forgiving ourselves than God does with forgiving us.  This is probably true of the aspect of our healing as well.  If indeed we believe in the cross and the power of Christ to forgive our sins and the truth that we are saved by His grace.  If we can truly believe that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus as the Word declares we are then we can no more deny the other aspects of our salvation.  Isaiah, written hundreds of years before the crucifixion of Christ, prophesies very accurately of this great act of sacrifice and salvation that would come through our Christ.  Part of that salvation encompasses divine healing as our scripture today indicates.  If we don’t want to believe that, then we can make attempts to explain it away as we do with other passages that don’t fit our theology, but the fact is ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).’

God in his covenant with Israel, when He was about to bring them into the promise land, in Exodus 15:26, He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”  If this promise was true of the old covenant how much more so by the new covenant of Christ blood?  The Word of God bears witness that our God is a healing God, healing us physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Jeremiah 17:14 says, “Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou [art] my praise.”  David says of the Lord in Psalms 103:3, “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;” He shows how health and salvation are tied closely together.

Now some of you may be saying, “well I prayed and God didn’t heal me”.  Why, because you don’t see the evidence of it?  You believe that you are saved, do you see yourself fully walking without sin and in the full manifest nature of Christ?   This is probably not the case.  We have the foretaste of the Spirit, but it’s fullness we still await.  What can take place in the spiritual realm is not always immediately revealed in the natural realm.  This is where we struggle, because we have to see it to believe it.  Treat your healing as you do your salvation.  If you do not doubt that Christ can and has saved you, then accept and receive healing the same way.  Praise and thank Him for what He has done, not just what you see with the natural eye.

1 Peter reiterates what Isaiah says in 1Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” As much as the nails purchased our salvation, those stripes paid for our healing.  How God works in this area is varied and different.  We can’t put God in a box and regulate his miraculous working with a magic formula, God is God and He works all things after the council of His will and purpose.  This we do know, God is healing and raising people up from sickness and even death, every day.  What He has done for others, He can do for you.  Lay hold of His Word, confess, believe and rest in His promises.  He is the Lord your God that heals you.  May our health trials be but the greater motivation to praise Him, to remember and declare all the areas of His faithfulness.  The greater our pain, the higher our praise as we declare the light of His truth in the face of our darkness.  The victory is won in the heavenlies, before it is revealed in the earth.  God is faithful to see you through.

Blessings,

#kent

“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

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

Lambs Among Wolves

August 7, 2019

Luke 10:3  Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

 

Lambs Among Wolves

 

The context of the verse above is taken from the account of when Jesus sent out seventy disciples to go in His name and authority.  They were not to depend on their resources, and they were only to stay and let their peace come upon those who received them.  The very powers of hell had to give place to them.  Just before this verse Jesus says, ” The harvest is great, but the laborers are few, pray that the Lord of the harvest would send more laborers into His harvest.” 

               This passage stands a preview of the great commission, which Jesus gave just before His ascension when He gave the command to go into all of the world and preach the gospel.  We know as believers that we are expected to share our faith with others.  It is often easier for some than others to verbalize their faith.  The message you carry needs to be preceded by an attitude.  Jesus said, “I send you forth as lambs.”  What is a lamb nature?  Is it wishy-washy, mealy mouthed, timid, weak, kick-me-around, attitude?  Was that the nature of the Lamb of God?  He was humble, why, so others could be lifted and built up.  He was meek, which is not weak, it is strength under control.  He was willing to suffer offense and wrong not because of fear, but because of love.  He saw past the wolf type nature that is prompted by the god of this world, satan, and into the heart of man that desperately needed the liberating love and forgiveness God wanted to give them. 

               The demeanor of our lives often speaks as loud or louder than our words.  Many people speak words, but the power behind your words is your demonstration to carry out what you say.  God has given us a commission and I believe He has given us the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out that commission.  Let us be faithful to step out not just in word, but in action to profess Christ name and our faith in Him.  Then trust the Holy Spirit to do the convincing and the convicting that will bring them to Him.  He has prepared the harvest; we must be faithful to bring it in.  You can be sure that He has not given us a task, but what He has not empowered us to do it, even to the point of supernatural acts.  Let us not limit God by our unbelief but go as He sends us, as lambs among the wolves.

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

The Realm of the Unseen

July 29, 2019

 

The Realm of the Unseen

 

2 Corinthians 4:18

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.

 

Christianity is unique in that we exist and live in a world and reality that is both natural and spiritual.  We operate in two different realms that come together in faith.  We don’t just worship gods or ideas; we worship the one and only true and living God of all creation and glory.  We have seen His face in His Son, Jesus Christ and He not only exist outside of us, but He also inhabits His believers with His Holy Spirit.  The true Christian, likewise, in his spirit, indwells heaven and the touches the dimension of the spiritual realm.  Our faith is all about how these two worlds come together in our daily lives.

How do we know this other world outside of our natural self?  It is revealed to us through God’s written Word and it is made alive within us through the Holy Spirit.  Romans 8:24-25 tells us, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, [then] do we with patience wait for [it].”  A Christian doesn’t worship, serve and hope in a God that he tangibly sees, touches and acknowledges with just their natural senses, but the true believer steps into the dimension called faith where we call things that are not as though they were.  Many of us still struggle with this concept, because our natural mind still wants to operate in a sense realm mentality, touch it, taste it, smell it, see it and hear it.  Many have rejected Christ because they will not allow themselves to believe and enter into the realm and dimension of faith, where realities are laid hold of in the spirit, before they are ever manifested in the natural.  Many of us as Christians are still missing it because even though we were able to embrace Christ as our Savior by faith we fail to carry that on through as a part and portion of our spiritual walk and life.  As a result, we are natural minded Christians who only see limited blessings.  As spiritually minded Christians, the realization is, that the less of the natural man is given place the more the spiritual man, in the image of Christ, can come forth.  It is not like we zombie out and just let the Lord possess our bodies, it is a union whereby the soul gives the place of lordship and dominion over to the spirit which is the habitation of the Holy Spirit.  Thus, by faith and knowledge in the Word of God, we can grow up in Him in all things.  We learn to live and operate out of a place of trust in the Lord as we are obedient to His will and commandments to our lives.  We learn to know, practice and operate out of the principles of the Spirit realm and not just the earthly.  We know that our obedience to the principles and commands of God’s Word will bring forth God’s promised results.  By faith we have embraced them, and our hope stands in the gap waiting for that which we have not yet seen, but believe we have.  The results and manifestation of our faith may be seen in a moment, days or over the course of years.  Sometimes it even supercedes our natural lifetime and extends into generations.  Look at the promises that Abraham believed for.  They are still seeing their fulfillment over the course of thousands of years.   God doesn’t promise a time; He just promises His faithfulness.

We are an impatient people and often we are prone to give up on our faith and let it go.  Some of the things that God teaches us through faith are patience, perseverance, and prevailing in the face of doubt and discouragement.  Often things are established in the heavens long before they are seen upon the earth.  How many things are still in heaven that never made it to earth, because our faith failed, and we gave up.  With our faith we need to release praise and thanksgiving, rejoicing in expectancy for what we hope for, but have not yet seen with our natural eyes.  Here we need our spiritual eyes to see and embrace God’s promises, despite what natural circumstances tell us.  Here, in the unseen realm, we call those things that are not as though they were.

Blessings,

#kent

Leave Her

July 11, 2019

 

Leave Her

 

Jeremiah 51:9

We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up [even] to the skies.

 

Lay down the ways of the past and pick up the anointing of your future.  Give place to the spirit where you formally gave way to the flesh. The heart of the Lord is to lift you out of the dark places and set you as a lighthouse, a warning to ships in the night.  Be not distressed that the Lord is separating you from the former loves of this life.  He is now your first Love and the reason you are single in heart and purpose.  Your life formerly expressed the natural beauty, but now it is an expression of my beauty of holiness.  Cleanse yourself of former idolatry and sin.  Sanctify and set yourself apart unto Me this day for I am your righteousness.  I am your holiness and salvation.  I have chosen you out of your mother’s womb.  I have set my eye upon you and my favor has been with you in ways you did not outwardly see.  There have been the lovers of your youth; those coveted things that you now must leave behind as you come up out of the earthly into the heavenly realm.  The Word tells you to love not the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the vainglory of this life (1 John 2:15).  Love my Word, the Spirit of life and truth.  Breaking up with your old lovers is hard to do, but they can not be compared to the love I have for you.  For this hour you have been created, birthed and born into this world.  This is not for your glory, but for Mine.  I have patiently loved you.  My Spirit has hovered over you with tenderness and care.  I have kept you beneath the shadow of my wing, but now it is time for you to come forth.  It is time for you to spread the wings of your spirit and allow me to be the wind that lifts you up from the earthly into the heavenlies.   Covet not the temporal and the perishing.  Embrace the eternal and the promise of My Word.  As you let go of the former, the temporal, the old affections and ways, I will fill your hand with mine and what I shall impart to you will so exceed anything you have heretofore possessed.

You fear the weakness you see within yourself.  It is a source of unbelief as you focus on your ability or rather lack of it.  I am your ability.  I am your mind, your heart and your strong arm.  Where you would fail, I shall not.  Fear not what you see lacking in yourself, but rather set your eyes upon Me and who you are in Me.  I have not called the faint of heart, but those who are bold and radical in their faith.  No longer succumb to this world.  I have called you to rise up and walk with the Overcomers.   I have called you to be the pillars of my temple and the support of my people.

Hosts of ungodliness surround this world.  Spiritual influences of darkness continually assail your souls.  But they can not stand against the blood of the Lamb and the Word of My Testimony.  You are my living Word sealed in the blood of the Lamb.  You are the offspring of spiritual intercourse, born in this world, but not for it.  You have been birthed from above.  You are here to bring praise back into the earth.  You are here to lift up the majestic name of glory.  You are to be a sound, an expression and exclamation point of God’s glory.  The instrument can only express the musician that plays through it.  Allow Me to blow my sound through you so that you may be a trumpet to the nations, a sounding of the Lord’s day.

Do not grieve as you leave these former things, for they are as dung compared to what I will show forth through you as you yield yourself to Me.  Former things are pasted away, behold I make all things new.  You are a new sound in the earth, a heavenly sound that the earth has not heard before.  Though they don’t understand it they will be in awe of it and know that it is not of this world.

Leave her that was your former lover.  Be sanctified and joined unto Me.  I am your rest, your Husband and the Lover of your soul.  Be Mine alone and give not your heart to another.  I will embrace you with the arms of My Love and you shall know the sweet communion of My Presence that you have longed for.  I am a jealous God and I will not share my glory or your affection with another, but I am near to those whose hearts are fully Mine.  As you have borne the image of the earthly, now you so shall bear the image of the heavenly.   Look for me in the nighttime and I shall be there.  I shall turn your night into day and your sorrow into joy.  I will give the oil of gladness for the spirit of heaviness.  You shall know my peace and it will give your rest.

Draw near with all of your heart.  I will meet you in that place.  Have a vision for My purpose in you.  It will lift you on eagle’s wing that you may soar in the destiny I have purposed for your life.

Blessings,

#kent

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