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

Advertisements

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

Taking Love to the Next Level

December 20, 2017

Luke 6:32

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.

 

Taking Love to the Next Level

 

Most of us can get along with most people, most of the time, but there never fails to be those “irregular” people in your life that just rub you the wrong way.  Their attributes and characteristics may be many and varied, but bottom line, “its hard to really love them”.  In most cases we steer away from them in as much as it is possible, but like it or not, they are going to be there.  I think  Jesus was addressing our love for some of these irregular people when He spoke these words in Luke 6.  Let’s take a closer look at the context of what Jesus is saying here in Luke 6:27-36.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Jesus is calling us to a level of love that few have really walked in and put into daily practice.  We would like to think we are there, but how many of us truly love unconditionally?  When we love, it is human nature to want to have that love or goodness reciprocated.  How do we feel and react when it isn’t?  Looking at the divorce rate in our marriages, it obviously shows up there and just about as much in believers as non-believers.  That’s not to condemn anyone, because the point is very few of us are truly walking and responding in this level of love.  This is “agape” or God love.  It is this kind of love that is a decision, not just a feeling.  It is the kind of love that caused Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners and still His enemy.  It is the kind of love that gave us life, when we deserved death and saw past our faults to meet our need.  Is that the kind of love we are extending to the irregular people in our life?  Nothing has the power to change them like that kind of undeserved and unwarranted love.  What we often forget is that love is our greatest weapon against our enemies.  read how Romans 12:9-21 exhorts us to live and walk in love.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Isn’t interesting that this starts out with the phrase, “Love must be sincere” ?  A lot of us extend a pretense or token of love, but when it is pushed or tested it shows itself false or insincere.  I believe God wants to give us the grace of His nature to love the unlovely and to embrace the “irregular”.  Let’s learn to implement the weaponry of love.  Who is that irregular person or persons in your life.  Remember, we are not being asked just to extend our love, but God’s love through us.  Isn’t it time we take our love to the next level?  Supernatural love responds in supernatural ways.

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

Isaiah 3:10-13

Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. 11 Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done. 12 Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.

13 The LORD takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people.

 

A Word of the Lord for this Hour

 

My Word will not pass away until every jot and tittle has been fulfilled.  What I have spoken I will establish and bring to pass.  This day I speak unto you to put away childish things.   Gird up your loins.  Come and follow me.  For where I lead you few will follow unless they have a revelation and understanding of who they are in Me.  I will establish their ways and I will be a pillar of fire before them by night and cloud over them in the heat of the day.

Nay, says the Lord.  You have not walked as I have called you to walk.  You have not resisted sin unto blood.  You have lived a life at ease and do not truly know the discipline of tribulation.   It is not My heart to punish you, but to train up your hearts in righteousness.  You are my covenant people called from the foundation of the earth to represent and to demonstrate My name.  Do not say you are nothing when I have spoken that you are my people.  In Me you stand complete and have need of nothing.  For I am your provision, protection, blessing and your portion.  In Me you lack for nothing.  Yet, you wonder why you struggle and why you have not.  You have not, because you ask not and when you ask, you ask amiss, because it is directed at your will and purpose and not Mine, says the Lord.  I am your purpose.  I am the reason you live and move and have your being.  Come into my purpose and there you will find the center of My will and provision.

Storm clouds gather on the horizon, be not dismayed.  You are the provision I have made for the coming storm.  Many will find their refuge in you, because in you I have given the answers to life.  In you they will find their way into Me.  You have the hope they long for though many will many will be deluded and deceived by another.

I am preparing you as tents and places of refuge in the coming storm.  Pay attention to My purpose, for if you miss it, it will be you that is seeking refuge.  Set your hearts to know Me as you never have before.  Come into My presence and abide there with me that I may strengthen and establish you in what I have called you to be.  Have faith!  Do not look at you weakness and say, “I can’t”, look at my strength and say, “I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me!’”  You are my namesake, my royal diadem in the earth.  You are precious beyond measure in My eyes.  Do not grieve my Spirit with a spirit of unbelief.  You are my righteousness in Christ, My Son.  In Him you have all things provided that pertain to life and godliness.  He is your unending and unwavering resource.  He is able to meet all of your need according to My riches in glory.

Hold these words near to your heart.  Do not let them go or drop to the ground, for they a word of faith that I am speaking into your hearts to encourage and to strengthen and establish you for the days to come.  A mighty refuge and fortress is your God.  Know me in the shadow of my wings, for there I will cover you and hide you from the darkness to come.

Listen and tune your ear to My voice.  In the stillness I will speak to you and in the noise you will know what to do.  Come apart and separate yourselves unto Me for I am about to raise up my people and establish a new thing.  It will no longer come through prominent men, but through those who have been hidden, those who are nobody in the world’s eyes or even in the church world.  My glory is revealed in weakness and My strength is established through those that are weak in the world’s eyes.  This is why you must have my vision and not your own.  This is why you must now see with the eyes of faith and not with the natural eyes of circumstances.  Know that I am mighty in you and I am about to do great exploits through you.  Be faithful and come apart unto Me that I may establish you in what I have called you to be.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Power of the Life Within

 

Romans 8:1-4

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

 

John 3: 17-18 says, “17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn man; He came into the world to condemn sin in man.  Man could never fulfill the righteousness requirements of the law because of sin, but Jesus through taking our sin upon Himself and paying the penalty disannulled the power of sin to condemn those who receive the righteousness which is in Christ Jesus by faith.  As long as a man chooses to live in sin, he lives under the condemnation of it, but now we have an alternative lifestyle whereby we might come out of sin and walk in the righteousness of the Son of God.  Jesus became the high priest and the administrator of a sinless life.  His holy priesthood is now about life, righteousness and godliness.  His intercession in that priestly position is in our behalf to bring us into the power and authority of His life.  Concerning the priesthood of Jesus Hebrews 7:15-19 says this, “And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is declared:

“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” 18The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

There is a dispensation of power that is brought unto those who believe through God the Father by way of His Son Christ Jesus.   We, who by faith, trust and obedience have embraced Christ, have received a calling to come up into this priestly calling of an endless and indestructible life.  That life now abides in us through His Spirit.  Romans 8:10-14 tells us, “And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. ¶ Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh, For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”  The Lord has called us to walk by the Spirit, for it is in the Spirit that we abide and walk in the life of God.

We have all heard the expression that ‘knowledge is power’.  The power to be partakers of the divine nature is in the knowledge of the Lord.  2 Peter 1:3-4 declares to us, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

The wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One and His precepts are what anchor us to His life and preserve us in a right way.  This morning, as we read Proverbs 4, it affirms this truth.  Verses 5-15 tells us, “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. 8 Esteem her and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. 9 She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.” 10 Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. 14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.”  Finally, in Ephesians 1:11-23 the Apostle Paul speaks these powerful words, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. 15For 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.

Today has been much scripture that I pray is speaking into our lives a revelation of what it is to know Him.  He has called us unto resurrection power and life.  For this power to work in us we must know Him, not in our heads, but in experience and in our hearts.  God has unleashed an unfathomable power toward us who believe to come forth in the power of His life, but it is only realized as we are caught up into His life by our daily walk and living.  This may seem rather out there and ultra spiritual to some of you reading, but I believe there is a dimension of God’s life that He has called us too and that we aren’t fully experiencing.  It is in the knowledge of Him.  He wants to bring us beyond a superficial knowledge into an intimate knowing of power and life.  It isn’t everyone that can hear this and not everyone that will press into it, but to him that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is speaking.

blessings,

#kent

Idolatry

December 6, 2017

Idolatry

Colossians 3:5

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

 

This is a subject that we often brush aside as Christians, thinking it only applies to worshipping statues or false gods.  While that is an application, idolatry is a sin that lives a lot closer to us than most of us are willing to admit.  Chances are you and I have both seen it at work in our lives and quite possibly it is still residing in the temple of our soul.

Let’s take a moment to break down the scripture that apostle Paul writes to the Colossians.  Mortify means to put to death.  We have talked about it before as being an act we do in conjunction with the Holy Spirit’s strength to help rid ourselves of the flesh.  Here, the “members of our flesh” he is talking to us about, aren’t statues.  The “fornication,” which can be any illicit sexual activity: adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, sexual activity with animals, close relatives, divorced men or women or participating in the sacrifice offered to idols.  I am giving you the definition of the words used here in the Greek so that we can see whether or not they apply.  These are often not words that we are fully familiar with in definition

“Uncleanness” of course, can apply outwardly, but foremost inwardly.  It applies in a moral sense of defilement or impurity, of lustful, luxurious and profligate (recklessly wasteful, wildly extravagant) living.  It deals with impure motives.  An impure motive is one not governed by the love and truth of Christ.

“Inordinate affections” deal with passionate deeds. In the New Testament it is most often used with regard to depraved or vile passions.

“Evil concupiscence” carries with it the unrighteous desire, craving, longing for what is forbidden.  In a word, lust.

Last, but not least is “covetousness” which is simply the greedy desire to have more or the desire to have what doesn’t belong to us.

Any and all of these things add up to be idolatry.  How does idolatry set with God?  The next verse in Colossians 3:6 says, “For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:” It means when we continue to harbor and participate in these things in our lives we are in direct rebellion to God.  Saul, the first king of Israel had a problem with this in his life: “For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king. (1 Samuel 15:23).”

Dear saints there are many of us who love God, but we have areas in our lives where we love something else even more. We are unwilling to let it go, our affection for it is too great.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit is bringing things to mind and conviction in these areas as you read this.  We have to let the Holy Spirit in and allow Him to have permission to deal with these areas of our life.  We cannot compartmentalize ourselves and say this belongs to God and this belongs to me.  We are in an all or nothing deal.  God went the whole distance for us on Calvary and He requires no less of us in offering ourselves as living sacrifices.  Our obedience is paramount to our relationship with Him.  While I understand there may be love and affections in our lives we may feel we would rather die than let them go.  In affect we are making ourselves the enemies of God because we are not willing to yield it all to Him.  In Christ is liberty.  He knows your heart.  He loves you more than anyone else can.  Let go of idolatry, put it to death and let God have all of your heart and complete control of your life.  Repent of idolatry in your life before the consequences of sin overtake you.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Repeating Offenses and Failures

 

Romans 7:17-24

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.   Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. or I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

 

I don’t know that there are any of us that don’t struggle in our lives with our character flaws and weaknesses that seem to want to continue surfacing and have long been a source of consternation and dismay to us.  We don’t like these flaws, habits, strongholds, weaknesses and shortcomings; we hate them.  We know they don’t please God and yet we find ourselves again and again falling back into these snares.  We may even wonder if we could still be saved, as many times as we have failed, repented and then failed again.  This is where the rubber meets the road for many of us in our spiritual walk.  The latter part of Romans 7 deals, I believe, with this very issue.  It really boils down to a warring issue within our lives.  There are two laws that war in our members and while we serve the law of God in our mind, we find the law of sin, still wanting and seeking place in our bodies.  As we seek to ascend in our minds and spirits we have the flesh seeking to pull us back down, bringing condemnation and once again breaking and interrupting our spiritual fellowship with the Lord.  We, like Paul, cry out, ” O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Then he goes on to answer his own question, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”  What is he saying, that we can be divided and our mind serves God and our flesh serves sin?  No, he is saying that which ever one we give place too, that is the one we will serve.  Romans 8 really goes on to give the extension to the answer of our dilemma that he has addressed in Chapter 7.  Romans 8:1-2, ” [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  It is in grasping and laying hold of the higher law that now governs our lives that we begin to walk and live in a new mindset.  It is the mindset that is identified, not with our old man governed by the law of sin, but our new man which is governed by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  One of the greatest reasons for our prayer life and spending time in the Word is so that we can renew our minds in who we are in Christ.  We are no longer that old person, enslaved under the law of sin, subject to its bondage.  We have been set free; the Lord has broken those shackles off of us.  Does that mean that we will never be tempted or influenced by the former things?  Not at all, we know that the flesh, and that former mindset that wants to regain its strongholds in our lives, constantly assault us.  Our freedom is in Christ and in our walk in the Spirit.  Romans 8:5-10, “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. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.” If we are the ones still trying to conquer our weaknesses in our own strength then we are doomed for the failure we’ve experienced in the past.  It is the Spirit working in concert with our will and submission to Him that is our empowerment.  Romans 8:13, ” For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”  Our lives in the Spirit are a continual overcoming of our flesh and the law of sin that wars against our members.  Are we going to loose some battles, yes, we still fall short far too often, but we have set our course.  Our eyes are fixed upon our Savior and “it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me (Galatians 2:20).”  That old man was crucified with Christ on the cross, but daily we become a living sacrifice consecrated unto Him.  He is our victory and in Him we are more than conquerors.  Don’t be discouraged, for His blood washes and forgives our failures as we repent and turn back to Him.  The more Christ fills our hearts and minds the less room and place there is for sin as the Holy Spirit is given full place to govern over our souls.  Press on, identified with who you are in Christ.  The Holy Spirit is empowering us to be the sons of God He has called us to be.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Temptation

November 21, 2017

 

Temptation

Matthew 4:1

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

 

Temptation is an issue that we all deal with on a continual basis.  We are all tempted to go against God’s Word and principles.  It is with this issue that we spend a good deal of time, energy and prayer to overcome, especially if those temptations are ones that we tend to yield too on a far too frequent basis.  We should all know that the temptation itself is not sin, but it is what we do with it that allows it to become sin or not.  There are two primary sources of temptation. The first we see in the scripture above where we are tempted of the devil.  We see, often not soon enough, how with subtlety he works his way into our mind to draw us into disobedience to God.  Sometimes it is through another person that has also yielded their members to the tempter.

The second source of temptation is the lust, craving and desires of our own hearts and minds.  James 4:1 says, ” From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members.” Are we not in a constant battle to bring this body and its related attitudes, feelings, and desires under subjection and obedience to the lordship of Christ?  This is our constant dealing with temptation.   Roman 7:22-25 and the passage prior to it discusses the battle we struggle within our bodies against sin:  “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.   O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”   Haven’t we all cried out, on probably more than one occasion, “O wretched man that I am? Who shall deliver me from this body of death?”  Many of us hate the sin that is in us.  And all of us have areas of weakness in us that are more prone to yielding to temptation than others.  But, then Paul in the next sentence declares the answer to our cry; “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Notice he doesn’t say, praise God, I’ll try harder next time.  If you could overcome that sin and temptation, wouldn’t you have already done it?  One of our biggest sources of failure is reliance upon our own strength to fix the problem.  The fix is in Christ not in us.  But you say “I prayed and it didn’t help.”

Some of us have become so guilt ridden and condemned by our sin that we have given up and said “it is no use, I can’t change and God can’t possibly love me like this.”  GOD DOES STILL LOVE YOU AND HE HASN’T GIVEN UP ON YOU!  This is why you need a savior, because you are unable of yourself to change yourself.  The change and deliverance we seek comes from us working in concert and cooperation with the Holy Spirit.

In Romans 8 Paul starts out by saying, “There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus.  Our faith in Christ has brought us into Him.  In Christ is where we now reside and live out our lives by the Spirit, not in the flesh.  Does that mean it’s okay to sin since there is no more condemnation.  No, it is telling us that our mind and heart are no longer set on the former attitudes and desires for sin.  We are “in Christ”, so our heart is to please Him.  It is not “I’ve got to do this and this and not do that.”  It is by setting my eyes and my heart on Christ.  “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20.  Paul says there are two spiritual laws at work here.  “For the law of the Spirit of Life has set me free from the law of sin and death.” We who are in Christ now live by a higher law, “the law of the Spirit of Life.”   In this law it is not in our self-efforts we overcome temptation, it as we walk in the Spirit (the higher law) that we put to death the deeds of the flesh.  “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”  Overcoming the flesh is then turning inward to the Spirit of God, into Christ, allowing the Spirit of God to have His expression through us as He becomes everything to us.  We are exchanging our old nature for His divine nature.  We are transformed as we renew our minds to line up with the Word of God in our thinking and walk in the revelation of who we are in Christ.  If the monster of temptation is not fed he starves and withers away.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Take Responsibility

November 2, 2017

Take Responsibility

Genesis 3:11-13

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Even from the beginning of time people have not wanted to take responsibility for their own actions and consequences.  Even as we see Adam and Eve passing the blame for disobedience to someone else, so it continues today.   We are continually reading about lawsuits that people actually win where it is obvious that there own negligence, ignorance or stupidity was to blame, but someone else has to pay for it.  We obviously want to assume as little responsibility and accountability for our actions as is humanly possible.  As a result of the sue-happy society that we live in, insurance companies get rich on malpractice and liability insurance because any little thing gone wrong could result in a lawsuit and someone’s bankruptcy.  Obviously there are many occasions when someone’s omission or commission causes harm or loss to another.   That is where they need to take responsibility for their action or mistakes. 

How does that affect us as Christians?  Do we carry the same mindset and practice of the world?  Jesus gives us principles in the Word that definitely are contrary to the standards and responses of the world.  He says in Matthew 5:38-42, “”You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” “  The standard that Jesus gave was to go beyond what is required to give and forgive.  That pretty much flies in the face of our human nature that wants to do just the opposite and yet that it is a Christ standard of behavior. 

Most of us would say, but don’t you know if you do that you are just going to be a door mat for others to walk all over you?  You have to stand up and fight for your rights.  Is that what Christ taught us?  It doesn’t mean we are without principles and that we don’t stand for our beliefs, but when we go beyond the expected we become empowered because we choose to give beyond what was required. 

Paul addresses an even more disturbing situation that still exists among the church today.  It concerns the lawsuits among believers in 1Corinthians 5:1-11: “1If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!  5I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!

7The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”  It is a sad state when brother defruads brother or when we have to go into the world’s court system to seek the world’s justice.  Matters of difference should be arbitrated by the church if, not forgiven altogether. 

Many of us still operate our lives by the natural laws that govern men.  Christ has given us an even higher standard to follow and it is one our flesh probably isn’t going to like, but we need to exercise godly principles.  Maybe you have a legitimate complaint against another but forgiveness needs to be the order of the day, because Christ first forgave us and gave us what we did not deserve and could not earn.  That is the heart He wants for us to live out of.  This is a foreign concept to many of us and not the way we have been brought up to think and believe.  Jesus practiced this principal most of effectively on the cross.  He took responsibility and paid the price for a debt that was not His own.  We will have our crucifixion experiences as well if we are in Him, because “as He is so are we in this world. “  Are we willing to take the responsibility for our actions while at the same time often forgiving the faults and sins of others against ourselves?  Such is the law of Christ.    

 

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: