The Call to Prayer

January 12, 2018

 

The Call to Prayer

 

1 Timothy 2:1-4

I urge, then, first of all, that request, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-

For kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceable and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

 

How important is our prayer life?  Can we ever know to what extent the events of life are impacted through our prayer or lack of it?   Paul starts out this passage to Timothy saying the first order of business in our worship is prayer.  Obviously request, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving does make a tremendous difference in God’s economy for it is the means by which God channels His intervention and direction in human affairs.  It can affect every aspect of our lives from those who are in authority over us to our health and finances.  Faith is what moves the heart and hand of God.  Our prayer life communicates that faith into the spiritual realm and is a primary catalyst that activates change.  As people of God, we learn that our dependence is not in ourselves, or our government or our economy.  It is in GOD WE TRUST.  Our founders and forefathers of the United States knew how important this principle was when this country was established against tremendous natural odds.  We live in the country we do today as result of a supernatural God doing supernatural things.  We are losing our country to factions that want to tear out the very cornerstone and foundation of our country, our beliefs and reliance upon God.  This spiritual attack is against the very life and heartbeat of our nation.  How we need a standard of prayer to be raised up.  I speak of myself, as well as many of us when I say we have become lethargic and have fallen asleep at the wheel of our spiritual responsibilities to pray, not just for our personal lives and what directly affects us, but for our nation, our leaders, the body of Christ and the lost.  We have become so financially and materially focused that we have lost sight of our spiritual responsibility for the direction of our nation.  Many of us have disengaged from the privilege and responsibility we have as American to participate in our government to decide the direction we go.  If we are Spirit led people then we need to be spiritually led how to vote and take part in the type of government we have.  God’s holds His people responsible for setting the course of a nation.  We can not be complacent when it comes to prayer.  It must be our passion.

I believe the only reason God has withheld judgement from this nation as long as He has is because of the prayers and faithfulness of His saints.  To our shame, so many of us are riding the coattails of the few faithful ones.  A wave of prayer, intercession, request and thanksgiving needs to rise on behalf of this nation.  Let this stand as a call to arms for all of us to commit ourselves to prayer and fasting for the condition of our nation and God’s direction in the decisions and course of our government and in particular our judicial system at this time.  Our God is faithful and He does hear the cry of His people.  We must engage in the battle going on in the spirit for our nation.  Darkness has gained a foothold that is tearing at the very fabric of our life and morality.  Prayer is our weapon to fight this spiritual battle.  If we desert the battle we desert our heritage and our future.  As so many brave Americans have laid down their physical lives and well-being for this nation we must engage the enemy with no less commitment in the spiritual arena.  Our nation and our lives hang in the balance.

Blessings,

#kent

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Tragedy to Triumph

January 11, 2018

 

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.  Genesis 50:20

 

Tragedy to Triumph

 

In the process of life many of us will go through tragedies that will be “life changing events”.  These events are something we would never have chosen to experience or go through if given the choice.  They can be incredibly painful and they will forever stain our life.  While they are often horrific, they are a part of the fallen world that we live in.

Could God stop these things?

Yes, but then it would only be His choice and no longer the free will to make our own.  While God can’t remove all the tragedy in the world without violating our free will, He can and often does, take those things that satan meant for evil and turn them for good if we will allow Him to have His perfect work and way.  On the other hand we can circumvent God’s highest when in our pain, we choose to blame Him, others or even ourselves. We hold on to that pain in the form of bitterness, resentment and unwillingness to forgive our perceived offenders.  We hold those offenses in our heart to our own detriment and hindrance to experiencing God’s greater working of grace and good.

We often feel like God could have prevented this if He wanted too.  Yes, and He could have prevented His Son from going to the cross when Jesus cried out to Him to remove that cup of suffering from Him, but He was relinquished to the greater will and purpose of  Father.  Sin took Jesus through the intense suffering and crucifixion, and through His willingness to forgive His enemies and murderers He showed us a higher way of laying hold of God’s redemptive work even through our own tragedies in life.

Through the deep pain that we experience and the suffering we endure we often later find it to be the catalyst that brought us into a greater experience of grace and God’s working through our lives than what we ever would have known without that experience. We have been changed in such a way that it has given us a greater compassion, empathy and passion to change those things that often caused our pain or is causing that pain in others. We can relate with others in ways we never could before and often we find our life purpose out of such tragedies. God can take that which was meant for evil and turn it for good if we are willing to give it to Him, trusting Him to heal us and in the process transform us into someone better and more like Him through things we’ve suffered.

Jesus loves you and He totally relates with you in your suffering. Ultimately He wants to take your tragedy and turn it into triumph, even as the tragedy of the cross was turned into the redemptive triumph for all of mankind.

Blessings,

#kent

The Backside of Love

January 5, 2018

Hebrews 12:14-11

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

 

The Backside of Love

 

When we speak of love it often the warm fuzzy feelings that come rushing to the forefront of our minds and emotions.  Certainly God’s love can be there to warm us with provision, blessing, intimacy with Him and the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit’s presence.  What we don’t so often recognize or care to acknowledge is the backside of God’s love.  Love’s desire is to bless, but often in order to bless it has to correct, instruct, discipline and train.  Such is God’s love for us as sons.  We love all of the glory and power that is associated with being sons, but to get us to the nature and character of sons there has to be the Father’s discipline and correction.  God tells us if we don’t go through this then we aren’t really sons; for whom the Lord loves He disciplines and corrects.  This is no less a part of His love than the warm and fuzzy part.

Sometimes it is hard to comprehend with the natural mind how pain, discipline and suffering could be associated with love and yet it is.  These are the tools of our perfecting and instruction.  It is in this humbling place of discipline that we lose ourselves and begin to take on Him.  We learn to identify with the pain and suffering of others and out of that place develop hearts of compassion to minister the love and life of God to a hurting and dying world.  It is not in the high places of recognition, worldly honor, power and position that we carry the image of Christ.  It is in the low places of people’s needs, their hurts, their wounding and brokenness.  There, in these low places, do we learn how to administrate justice, healing, deliverance and restoration to the identity that God has for His humanity.  It says, “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.”  His holiness is to be wholly like Him in our being.

Let’s face it, our flesh is self-serving, self-preserving and self edifying.  It is all about me, what I like, what I want, what feels good and what looks good.  The Cross is our instrument of discipline that brings us to the end ourselves and begins shaping us in the image and the nature of Christ.  In order to come into His likeness, my likeness has to be done away with.  “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Job 5:17-22 says, “Blessed is the man whom God corrects;

so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

18For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.

19From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you.

20In famine he will ransom you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword.

21You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes.

22You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the beasts of the earth.”

God disciplines us to take our confidence out of ourselves and put it into Him.  Hebrews 2:10-11 it says,  “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”  If the author of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, are we better than He?

Let us bear up under our discipline manfully, acknowledging and praising God in whatever we are called upon to endure.  The closer we are drawn to the bosom of the Father the hotter the flames of His holiness burn, but they will only burn away in us what is corruptible, temporal and what must perish anyway.  For what is burned is only the ropes that have bound us as it was for the three Hebrew children in the Bablylonish furnace in the book of Daniel.

1 Peter 4:12-14 exhorts us, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

19So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”

The backside of Father’s love is not always pleasant, but it is needful for us to come into the sons He has called us to be.  Endure patiently and faithfully, for in due season it will yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness.

Blessings,

#kent

Family Values

January 3, 2018

 

Family Values

 

Ephesians 5:21-33, 6:1-4

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

 

Since the family is the cornerstone of our civilization it is an important issue with the Lord.  If the family disintegrates in our society, so does it’s structure, foundation, principles and morals.  Here in Ephesians Paul shows us the parallel between the family and our relationship as the Church to our husband Christ.  Sometimes husbands or wives want to pull verses out of context here and use them as a club to beat their spouse.  While a bit long, I felt that we should look at this whole passage in context.  As we read it we can really see that the true expression of love in a family is in submission, service, in caring for and honoring one another.  There is a genuine respect and dignity for each member of the family and no position in the family is to be abused or exploited.  We see a unit that God has put together to operate out of love and unselfishness.  While there is a hierarchy and order to the family, it only serves to solidify and give meaning to each ones position and function within the family.

We see Jesus as the type of the husband, who, though He is Lord of all, humbles Himself and becomes a servant to the Church, His bride.  He is willing to lay down His life to minister to her needs, to protect and provide for her.  She, the Church, makes her Lord and husband the object of her affections, of her adoration and the purpose of her life is to live and honor Him.  The children grow up to honor, respect and obey their parents.  As they grow and mature in this attitude within the loving environment of the home, they learn not to be just takers and users, they begin to learn what it is to be like their parents in giving and serving and working for the common good of the household.  This is the model we have before us in the Word.  In the real world and even in the Christian world, we see this model quite flawed and in many cases broken.  We see our lives and our families out of order and our houses often in ruin.  For us to begin to be the true church and bride of Christ we have to get our own lives in order with Him on a spiritual dimension.   Then what we have in our relationship with Christ has to translate into our family life through proper submission to one another in love.  If the whole family’s attitude is not what some other member can do for them, but what they can do for the other then the harmony and balance comes in, because the family ceases to try and operate out of selfishness and starts to operate in true love.  Just as in the body of the Church, there are offices and gifts that can best be operated from the position that we are in our family.  It is not a matter of one being lesser than another is, it is a matter of being faithful to operate and serve in the position you hold in the family.  We often get our families out of order because members of the family are trying to operate in the positions and offices that haven’t been given to them.

We may justify and say there is good reason for that because someone it dropping the ball, but for us to enjoy the highest blessing, we need under gird one another and help each other in our weaknesses, but that doesn’t mean we usurp their position.  David didn’t take the place of King until the Lord removed Saul and placed him there, even though he could have.  Often we can appoint ourselves to a place in the home where God hasn’t placed us and it gets our home out of order.

As your reflect on some of these principles today think about your family and where you, as a family, may be out of order.  Take this passage and see your position in the home in the light of God’s principles.  God wants us to have family values.  He wants our homes in order physically, emotionally and spiritually.  The first and foremost thing that has to be in place is that LOVE has to rule, because it is not selfish and it doesn’t seek its own.   It is all that 1 Corinthians 13 says that it is.  If Christ is truly reigning in our hearts then He should be able to reign in our homes as well and we, as a family, should be able to operate first and foremost under His headship and direction.  Raising a family is not an easy task, but think how the whole family can grow spiritually as we operate our families in these godly principles.  It can begin at the family altar, where all of us must submit to the Lordship of Christ and to the direction and instruction of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,

#kent

When People Let You Down

December 26, 2017

 

When People Let You Down

 

2 Timothy 4:14-18

Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words 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. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Without a doubt, most of us can think back in our lives when someone or some group let us down, has judged us, cast us out or otherwise hurt us.  There is a pretty good chance that in a lot of those cases these people may have been fellow believers, people we thought were our friends and people we trusted and put our confidence in.  There are many walking wounded out there who are still carrying the scares, the hurts and perhaps the unforgiveness for those times when we were hurt or forsaken.

There is a truth that we must always keep in mind; people will always disappoint you and let you down, but Jesus will never leave you or forsake you.  The evidence of this truth is in the scripture today where Paul stood alone against accusations, judgements and insults.  Those around him left him standing alone; none stood in his defense except Christ.  That’s hard when you’ve had friends that you have been close too, brothers and sister that you’ve loved and fellowshipped with and something comes up where your character is brought into question. Maybe it is something from your past and suddenly you’re standing alone.  You are on the outside of fellowship looking in.  For some reason others won’t believe you, but they will take without question, the words of your accusers.  How many precious brothers and sisters have had their faith shipwrecked because of so called believers who have stood in the place of judgement and condemnation?  Didn’t the same thing happen to Jesus?  Where were his disciples when He was falsely judged and condemned?   “And they all forsook him, and fled” (Mark 14:50).

There are times in life when all we have is Jesus and the Word of God.  While it is very hurtful, our hearts will be tested as to whom we really put our faith and reliance in.    God wants us to retain that spirit of love and forgiveness in those times of hurt and disappointment.  Our natural man wants to lash out, defending and justifying its self.  We want to share with everyone the great injustice that is being done to us.  I have seen times in our lives when we kept thinking a situation couldn’t get any worse and it would get worse and worse and worse.  It was quite obvious that we were under great spiritual attack.  Often that is the time when God asks us to do the hardest thing,  “Shut up and be still.”  We can miss the great salvation that Christ wants to work in our lives, because we are too caught up in trying to save and justify ourselves.  What He wants us to do instead is, “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)” The love of Christ alone, in us, is our only ability to be able to turn the other cheek, to render blessing for their cursing, to love our enemies and pray for them that despitefully use us and accuse us.  One of the most difficult things for us to do is to act out of the spirit of Christ, rather than to react out or our flesh and render evil for evil.  God has a higher way for us, but to experience the higher we must be willing to die to the lesser.

Through life we are going to encounter injustices and inequities.  How are we going to respond to these?  How are we responding to these now?  In these times, as painful as they are, hide yourself in Christ.  Put Him on as a garment and shield against the personal hurt and pain.  He is our vindicator and He will render righteous judgement in due time.  That may not be in our time, but we need to place it in God’s hands and trust ourselves to Him alone.

Today, if you have passed through this place, or you are in it now, or perhaps it is ahead of you, find your refuge, strength and peace in Christ.  Remember it is not about how you feel, it is about how you obey and respond out of faith and love according to God’s word and not your emotions.  Your feelings will probably be in total contradiction to what God is prompting us to do, but as we respond out of faith, obedience and prayer, he will help our feelings to line up with His will for us, but it may take some time.  People will always let you down, but the Lord will never leave you or forsake you.   “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.  (Colossians 3:13)”

Blessings,

#kent

In Your Anger, do not Sin

December 21, 2017

Ephesians 4:26-27

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.

 

 

In Your Anger, do not Sin

 

Anger is an emotion that we all experience from time to time.  It is not sinful to be angry and sometimes anger can stir us to take action rather than be complacent, but anger can be a dangerous emotion if left to its own devices.  The Word of God warns us that it is not an emotion that you want to hold on too.  The Word exhorts us not to hold on to it for more than a day.  The warning that follows is an indicator of what anger can give place too.  It can be a foothold for the devil.  Anger can give place to rash behavior, offenses and unforgiveness; all of which the enemy can work through to bring division, strife and discord.  Remember the purpose of the devil; Jesus says he comes to kill, steal and destroy.  Any time the devil gets a foothold then that is his ultimate purpose.

Anger is often the expression of wounds, hurts or disappointment we receive through others.  It is like when you hit your thumb with a hammer.  The pain may cause you to go into a rant of expletives that are the venting of the pain you are feeling.  The expletives were the outward expression of the inward pain.  If that pain needs expression, couldn’t it as well be vented through an outburst of praise to God.  It would seem that an outburst of prayer and praise to God would yield more positive results than outburst of profanity.  So sometimes it is how we train ourselves to react to anger or pain that channels what it produces from us.

The last thing that we want to do is to give the devil a foothold to work in our lives.  Satan is a serpent who feeds off of dust.  Dust is what we have been made from and when we are in the flesh he has permission and opportunity to feed off of the flesh.  That is why Jesus made the statement in John 14:30, “I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me.”  The enemy has no power over us as we walk in the Spirit, but when we get into the flesh, now he has access to get a foothold.  Anger can easily get us into our flesh and provide that foothold.

Are we going to get angry at times?  Of course we are, but we don’t have to allow it get us into the flesh and into a place where hurt, disappointment and offenses begin to rule in our heart.  Just like when we hit our thumb with a hammer we have a choice to curse or praise.  We can have those same kind of choices in how we channel our anger, so be angry and sin not.  Give it to the Lord and get over it quickly.

Blessings,

#kent

Every Day

December 18, 2017

 

Every Day

 

Revelations 20:12

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

 

It occurs to me as I sit and write that all of us are composing and writing our lives upon God’s books.  Each of us has a life’s novel that tells the story of our lives and what we did with them.  Though the memories of us may fade and we are forgotten in the earth, there is a record that stands, a book that we wrote.

What are we writing in our book?  How will it read back to us as we stand before God and give an account for our lives and what we did with them?  If we feel we have nothing else, our life is our talent, to use for God’s glory and purpose or for our own.  The sad part is, none of us can ever go back and erase what we did the day before or the years before.  The ink is already dry upon the page.  The good news is that today is still to be written and our tomorrows after that.  What are we writing upon the pages of our life?  Will it be a story that pleases the Father or one in which we stand ashamed at a life wasted and that brought forth no lasting value in its life’s pursuits?

All of us have our regrets, our failures and our pages we wish that we could write over.  The important thing for us not to forget is that we are still writing this book.  Ecclesiastes says that as long as there is life there is hope.  Will your book be a story of transformation from death to life?  Will it be a story of how your life was a blessing; not only to God, but also to the lives you touched?  What are we going to write in our book today and through the coming weeks and years?

Psalms 118: 4 says, “This [is] the day [which] the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  There is a Latin phrase, “Carpe diem”, simply, “seize the day”, make the most of every moment that we have breath and life.

Solomon was a man that had and could have all that his heart desired. He set out to find the meaning and purpose of life.  At the end, this is what he had to say and we will conclude with his words of wisdom in Ecclesiastes 12.  “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”- 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; 3 when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; 4 when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; 5 when men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets. 6 Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, 7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. 8 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!”

The Conclusion of the Matter

13 Now all has been heard;

here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

May we consider carefully every day how we write each page of our book.

Blessings,

#kent

Spirit Anointed Prayer

December 14, 2017

 

Spirit Anointed Prayer

 

Ephesians 1:15-23

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

 

Paul goes on Ephesians 1 to tell us that the hope and destiny that is ours in Christ is so important that we grasp it, that he prays a Spirit anointed prayer that we fully comprehend and embrace what God wants to do in and through in us in Christ.  It is a prayer that we also might embrace and pray to the end that we, and those we pray it for, might gain wisdom and enlightenment concerning spiritual matters.  Through this prayer we get a glimpse of the importance it is to the body of Christ that we understand and comprehend our spiritual destiny.  We will never be able to lay hold of the power, authority and understanding that is ours in Christ if our faith is just a religion and a ritual.

What is it that the prayer asks for?  “Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”  1 Corinthians 2:6-10 tells us, “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.” As we grow up into maturity in Christ then our purpose is to obtain spiritual wisdom through the Holy Spirit to KNOW what God has prepared for those who love Him.  The natural mind can’t know and comprehend it, but the mind of the Spirit can.  We must lay hold of that mind.

Paul prays also, “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”  We need a vision and a purpose of our calling.  Have you ever worked on a project where you just did a task, but you had no concept of the big picture and what your part was in accomplishing it?  If you had no ownership in it then it had little meaning or significance to you personally.  On the other hand, if you see and understand the big picture and realize that your part is significant and important to the accomplishment of the project then you are far more committed to it. You are committed especially when you know that you are not just a worker, but also a partaker in its consummation and fulfillment.

What is daunting to us as human beings is that what God has called us too seems so far beyond our strength or ability to accomplish and fully lay hold of. That brings us to the third and most important part of the prayer, “19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

The accomplishment is in His power and might, not ours.  It is no small power, but it is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in heavenly places far above all rule and authority, power and dominion.  That power is raising up you and I in Him also.  Ephesians 2:6-7 goes on to later tell us, “6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Christ is the head of the body and we are His body and feet.  He has put all things, not only under the head, but also under His feet.  That means that you and I must realize the authority and dominion over all things in Christ.  Hebrews 10:11-14 says, “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest (Christ) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”  What the head of the body has accomplished He waits for the rest of the body to fulfill.  That is our destiny and that is our calling.  Thus we take up and pray this prayer with the apostle Paul that we also might comprehend and lay hold of that for which Christ has called us too and the Spirit has empowered us to obtain.

Blessings,

#kent

War in the Heavens

December 13, 2017

War in the Heavens

 

 

Ephesians 6:10-13

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 

We experience most of our world through the realm of the five senses.  Based on the input from our senses our brain evaluates that information and outputs response accordingly.  In Christ we come to realize that there is a sixth sense, if you will, that must be developed and exercised.  It is spiritual discernment.  We come to realize that not everything that pertains to life is contained in the natural realm.  Even the natural world recognizes this as evidenced by all the movies that have their basis on spirit type of experiences.  Most are perversions of the truth and yet they have some basis of truth in them.  They often center on the fact that there are evil spirits and influences in the world.  While many of the movies are made to create an atmosphere of fear, God wants to create in us an atmosphere of faith and confidence in His Word and authority through that Word.  God wants His people to be as aware and cognizant of the spiritual realm as we are of the natural realm.  In this earth, through our natural life, we operate out of both realms.  The Spirit and the Word are constantly teaching us how one impacts the other.  Paul is exhorting in this passage to put on a spiritual armor and he goes on to tell what that consist of.  He is letting us know that we are engaging in an arena of spiritual battle that is not flesh and blood, but it well can manifest itself through flesh and blood.  Just as we are yielded to the Spirit of God and the Spirit can move through us to impact our natural world the same is true of the spirit of evil.  Through our faith and prayer life we are actively engaging these forces and are often feeling their resistance.  It is usually when you are really committed to God and living for Him that we begin to feel the evidence of that resistance and opposition to us the most.  This is why Paul is exhorting us not to go out unprepared or without spiritual armor.  It is essential to our being able to stand in the battle.

There is a war going on the heavenlies of our mind today.  We are being attacked constantly and often quite subtly by the powers of darkness.  The enemy is constantly seeking to exploit our weaknesses and desires to gain entrance for the purpose of undermining our walk and relationship with Christ.  It is something we can not take for granted or become complacent about or sin springs up and reaps an evil and destructive harvest in our lives.  Learn what it is to apply the spiritual armor found in Ephesians 6:14-18 and stand, not afraid, but ever watchful of the enemy of your soul and destroyer of your faith.

Blessings,

#kent

Curse for Blessing

December 11, 2017

 

Curse for Blessing

 

Galatians 3:13-14

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:

That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ became a curse for us that in turn we might be the recipients of a blessing.  Verse 14 tells us that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.  In Genesis 22:17-18 God pronounces blessing upon Abraham when He says, “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which [is] upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”  Abraham received this promise when, in obedience to God, He was about to offer up his only son.  That act was symbolic of God offering His only begotten Son as our sin sacrifice.  That sacrifice carried with it the end of a curse and the beginning of a blessing.  Jesus became a curse for us in taking the curse of the law against sin and in turn released the blessing of Abraham not only on the Jews but also on the Gentiles.

Galatians 3:16 goes on to say, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”  If Christ was indeed the “seed” spoken of to Abraham then we can easily see where God’s promise of blessing is upon Christ and all that are in Him.  For all that are born again in Christ Jesus are the seed of Abraham by faith in Abraham’s seed which was Christ Jesus.  That promise declares that his seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.  Are we not more than conquerors through Christ that loved us and gave Himself for us (Romans 8:37)?  Is He not greater within us than He that is in the world (1John 4:4)?  The fact that we are blessed through Abraham not only means that satan is defeated and we possess his gate through Christ our Lord.  It also means that in so doing we have the privilege of in turn becoming a blessing to the nations as we share our faith and bring others into that covenant relationship with Christ.  It is a perpetual blessing that flows through Christ and through His body.  It is much as Paul brings out in Romans 5:19, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”  As Abraham was obedient to be willing to offer his son and as Jesus was obedient as God’s Son to the cross, that act of obedience was our deliverance from the curse of one man’s act of disobedience that brought all of humanity under the curse.

The other part of the promise given in Galatians 3:14 is that  “we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  It is the fulfillment of the promise to give us the Holy Spirit that empowers us to receive and complete the rest of Abraham’s promise, that in him and his “Seed”, Christ Jesus, all of the nations would be blessed.  The Holy Spirit we have received through faith in Christ is our empowerment and provision to go forth and do the works that Christ did and fulfill the Great Commission that Christ gave the Church to go forth into all of the world and declare the Gospel.

We are the recipients of a great and wonderful blessing today.  It is a blessing that is still seeing its completion through us by our faith in Christ.  As we are partakers of such a great inheritance and blessing in Christ Jesus, let us become the fulfillment of that blessing through overcoming lives that bring the light of Christ and His blessing to the world in which we live.

Blessings,

#kent

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