Tell Them I Am Coming!

January 18, 2019

 

Tell Them I Am Coming!

 

2 Thessalonians 1:4-12

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. 11With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 12We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We experience tribulations and trials to varying degrees, but we see a level of persecution in the early church that most of us have not yet seen, nor do we hope too.  The truth of the matter is that when the body of Christ begins to move into her position of authority and begins to quit playing church and starts to fulfill her destiny being the church, she will meet again with tremendous opposition.  Currently, in this time and in this nation we see the church sometimes mocked and taunted, but with relatively little true persecution.  Maybe that is because we are viewed as just being another religious form of the world.

When the church truly awakens and comes out of her slumber, the door of true persecution will again be opened.  The reason is because there will be an increased polarization of good and evil.  Today we, the Church, live largely in a place of compromise where our values are not viewed so differently than the world.  Many live together outside of marriage, our divorce rate isn’t any better than that of the world, our integrity is often viewed as less than the world’s and we just project a form of godliness, but too many times with no substance. There is not the action of distinction that sets us apart from the world we live in, so our power and life has been neutralized.  We don’t really offer that much of a threat to the enemy, so why should there be much persecution.  We are often mocked by the world for the hypocrisy that they see in our midst when they see sin revealed and even some of our most prominent leaders fall.  Slowly, but surely we see the darkness overtaking our land as God is removed farther and father from our government and public life.  What we will soon wake up too is a very hostile foe, especially when we begin to stand for who we are in Christ.

Persecution and tribulation is often a sieve that sifts and strains out those who are fair weather Christians who follow Christ just for convenience and blessing from those who are truly committed to Christ in life and in death.

The Word teaches us that Christ is coming to be glorified in His saints and if we suffer with Him we will also be glorified with Him.  Many of us have the concept that when things start getting rough and nasty for Christianity, the Lord will come and rescue us out and take us away to glory.  As I read the Word, I see the pattern being that God will take His people through the fire, but He doesn’t necessarily rescue them out of it.

The exhortation and the encouragement of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians was that they were to be commended for their faithfulness in the midst of the tribulation that they endured.  They continued steadfast and it was their love and charity they had for one another that they were known by.  The Lord is coming soon, but are we the people of God that the Thessalonians were, that are patient and faithful in the midst of great tribulation?  The Lord is giving us many exhortations and warnings to prepare our hearts for the time of His presence.  2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 says, “1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”  Regardless of your theology concerning the Lord’s coming, if you are missing the Lord warning and telling you to prepare your heart and come into intimate relationship with Him you are missing the coming of Christ.  We are being called to prepare the temple for the full habitation of the King of Glory.  The Lord is coming.  Stand steadfast and rock solid in your faith, because it will most likely be shaken first.

Blessings,
#kent

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Thy Kingdom Come

January 17, 2019

Thy Kingdom Come

 

In Luke 11:20 Jesus says, “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.”  It is evident in this passage and others that Jesus was the kingdom of God come upon the earth.  If He was the kingdom come then why did He teach us to pray for it to come?  He was the dispensation of the kingdom of God in that age, but He was speaking to a greater dispensation of the kingdom of God in the earth, the manifestation of the Head and the body of Christ filling the earth.  In Luke 17:20-21 says, “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”  Even as the dispensation of God was seen through the life of Christ, our prayer should be that His kingdom come forth in this earth that we are and that His will be done in this earth as it is in heaven.  We are the light of God and the city set upon a hill.  The Kingdom of God comes not with observation, but the kingdom of God is within you.

Allow the King to be enthroned in your earth and His will to be done as it is in heaven, for Christ in you is the expression of His kingdom come.

Blessings,

#kent

What is this Grace?

January 16, 2019

 

What is this Grace?

 

Ephesians 2: 1-10

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 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. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

Grace is one of those basic principles we tend to assume that we know all that it entails and quickly skip over it.  The definition I have always heard of grace is that it is ‘God’s undeserved favor’.  Indeed it is, but I sense the Holy Spirit saying you need to take a closer look at grace and the part that it plays in your life.  The very fact that we could not have even been cognizant and have come to Christ without His grace makes this quality something that deserves a closer look.  We might tend to acknowledge it and then quickly dismiss it as a fundamental of our faith.  It is kind of like breathing or your heart beating you don’t consciously have these take place, but I’ll guarantee you if they stop working you will be immediately be aware and concerned over it.  Grace is like the loving hands of the Father that caresses His humanity.  It is grace that provides us fellowship and relationship with our heavenly Father.  It was grace in the Father and the Son that extended the sacrifice of Christ’s holy life for our sinful ones.  All the benefits we enjoy in Christ we owe to grace.  The richness of our salvation is the product of God’s grace.  Even the incomparable riches of what God is going to do in and through us in the coming age are the benefits of His grace.  The riches of God’s grace are so much more than tangible elements could ever attain or express.  They are the fullness of God’s favor, His benefits, His mercies, His good will, loving kindness and His love.  Grace is an ocean of God’s blessing directed at mankind.  Like salvation, it is so shallow a small child can wade in it and so deep that the most profound and faithful of men will never sounds the depths of it.  What is contained in God’s grace is the fullness of Christ Himself.  What God has done in and through Christ He is doing in and through us, for the Lord Jesus is our prototype and the image after which our Father has called many sons to glory.  Even now the Word says that through grace working in us by faith, God has made us spiritually alive in Christ Jesus, but beyond that, He has raised us up with Christ and seated us in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Do we begin to catch a glimpse of the potential power and life of God at work in us even now through this grace that we have received?  Grace, by its very virtue, tells us that this is a gift and quality that we could never earn, deserve or merit in our own being.  Grace is all about God’s goodness, His undeserved favor and blessing.  The faith, that is not even what we possess, but that which He has placed in us, is the key to unlocking the riches of God’s grace.  Because God has enabled us to believe through faith in the marvelous thing He has done through Christ, we have the keys of His kingdom.  God is an extravagant giver and He has bestowed upon us such extravagant gifts that we still don’t fully comprehend and realize what we have and what has been so freely given to us.

It might be kind of like you bringing home and giving to your child a fully loaded Mercedes worth a $190,000.  He kind of looks it over and then goes back to playing with his Legos.  What we should be saying is Father, teach me how to drive.  I can never fully enjoy what God has given me until I know how to use it.  The process of our lives is God teaching us about how to drive, how to operate in this grace which He has so richly bestowed upon us.  Let us not be content with our Legos and simple toys of this life, when Father has given and promised us so much more.  Press in that you might know the riches of this grace through faith.

Verse 10 tells us the reason for God bestowing this grace upon us.  “10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  God has given us grace that He might have a people conformed to His image and the expression of the good works that are in Christ.  We are not only the products of God’s grace, we, like Christ, are becoming the expression of God’s grace to the rest of this world.  We are the favored of God to express the favor of God.  Grace has delivered us from the dimension of condemnation, death and the law.  It has brought us into the dimension of Life, liberty and freedom in Christ.  It is the freedom to live out of the life God rather than our former life dictated through lust and sin.  2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us, “And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work.”  Faith is all about the endeavor to operate this vehicle of God’s grace; for it is grace working in us that will abound to God’s glory and praise and honor.  It is grace working in us that shows forth God’s strength in the midst of our weakness.  Grace must be received in all humility for it not anything that we could ever boast in of ourselves.  It is not the product of our being or doing, but the product of God’s loving kindness and mercy.

God has called us out of this world and into the grace of Christ.  Live out of the richness of the grace, which He has bestowed upon us.  Allow that grace to have its perfect work in you.  Never take for granted the marvelous riches and wealth of the grace God has bestowed and that now works so wonderfully within us.

Blessings,

#kent

Spiritual Senses

January 15, 2019

 

Spiritual Senses

 

Hebrews 5:14

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

 

We live and move and a sensual world.  It is sensual in the respect of our natural senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell.   From the input of these five senses our minds are able to navigate, evaluate, make decisions and responses based on these sensual inputs.  While we grow up with these senses and most of the time we just take them for granted, it isn’t till we loose the use of one them that it really registers how important they are and how much we rely upon them.  We often see in cases where people are blind or deaf, that their other senses are developed more acutely to make up for that which was lost.

We have a sixth sense, if you will, a spiritual sense.  Now as with any of the senses it can be trained and developed.  For instance we can all taste, but it takes a connoisseur of wines to be able to fully distinguish and define them by taste.  We can all hear, but a blind person can often recognize people by the sound of their walk.  Something a person with sight takes for granted.

The Bible doesn’t speak a great deal about senses, except in this one verse.  The context of sense here is having “faculty of the mind for perceiving, understanding and judging.” The writer here clearly spells out that this is a developed sense through use and exercise and its purpose is to discern both good and evil.  Now where does our sense of good and evil come from?  We might say our conscience.  The Word does teach us in Romans 2:14-15, “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.”  This bears out that there is an innate sense of right and wrong instilled in us from our Creator.  We also know that we can dull this sense through sin and perversion.  Romans 1:28 speaking of those which had become depraved and perverse in their practices, “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”  1 Timothy 4:1-2 again speaks of how this spiritual sense can be ignored, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”  Giving place to sin and spiritual influences of darkness will dull all feelings of spiritual conscience and feeling.  This is how we can sin and not feel the conscience or guilt of our sin.

Now as for those who are in Christ, the writer of Hebrews gives us a rebuke in that he tells us in verse 13, “For every one that useth milk [is] unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.”  The milk is when we continue to live and operate out of the basic principles of the Word and salvation.  Many of us never move much beyond our beginnings.  We are content to have someone always feeding us, nurturing us, and we never get much past the basic salvation message.  That will never develop your spiritual senses.  The spiritual senses are developed through exercise and practice.  They are developed through reading and studying the Word of God, through prayer and asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom and insight and last of all through practicing in daily life what we learn in our heads.  Spiritual substance has to be real in our lives not just in our heads and in our knowledge.  Otherwise we become hypocrites, having knowledge of the truth, but not practicing it; pretending to be something that we are not in word and deed.  Maturity in the Spirit is depth, not only of knowledge and understanding, but also of practice in walking the walk of Christ. It is truly discerning good and evil and choosing that which is good.  Maturity in Christ may be observed, even if the person never says a word.  Their life and actions will demonstrate their convictions and beliefs.  Their fruit will bear out what manner of tree they are from and the branches that bear the most fruit usually hang to lowest.

How acutely and diligently have we developed our spiritual senses today?  Could the writer of Hebrews share with us strong meat, because we are spiritually mature, discerning what is spiritual, right and good?  Let’s be diligent to develop the spiritual sensitivity that God desires we have.

Blessings,

#kent

The Footsteps of Service

January 14, 2019

 

The Footsteps of Service

 

John 13:1-17

1It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love, 2The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8″No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9″Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13″You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

 

 

Imagine the CEO of the most powerful company in the world taking off his jacket, tucking back his tie, rolling up his sleeves and washing the feet of his board of directors.  Imagine the president of the United States doing the same with his cabinet.  One by one he removes their shoes and socks, washes their feet and dries them.  We would think that was pretty odd and out of place for a person of their stature, power and authority to do such a thing.  That isn’t in the job description, is it?  For Jesus it was and He was far greater than even the men I have just described.

Through this servant act of foot washing Jesus was demonstrating the mission statement of the Kingdom, “Service out of love.”

Jesus gave us the bath when we accepted Him as our Savior.  We were washed by the blood of the Lamb and baptized into Him.  While His righteousness covers us, our feet still get dirty as we trod this earth.  We don’t live and walk through this world without getting tainted from it.  Sometimes our feet can get down right dirty and muddy.  They have to be washed.  Spiritually speaking, we need those feet of our spiritual walk cleansed as it says in Ephesians 5:26, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”

The principle of the natural world and natural man is to live for self.  Selfishness, in a person of God, defiles their walk and yet most all of us have that in us.  That is why Jesus gave us an example of washing one another’s feet with selfless acts of kindness and mercy.  That is why the Word tells us we are not to judge our brother, but seek to restore them in humility and love, taking heed that we don’t fall into disobedience.

We have talked about how our feet carry us through life and in the path that we choose to follow.  Our feet govern our walk in the natural and the spirit.  The only way the man of God knows how to walk is by the light of the Word of God.  Psalms 119:101 says, “I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.” And verse 105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  What Jesus taught His disciple on this last night before His death is a key principle of the kingdom.  It is like what He told his disciples when they were fussing over who would be the greatest in the kingdom.  In Mark 9:35 it tells us, “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all.” That is what our walk is all about and that is the economy of the kingdom, “service out of love.”  Our vision has to be, not to be served, but to serve.”  We have all been called into the ministry.  It is the ministry of service.”  I would expect to see a great many women promoted in heaven, because more of them have learned what it is to serve out of love.

There will be those who abuse your service.  There will be those whom you will wash their feet and they will turn and betray you, as Judas did Jesus.   Your greatness is not in your authority or riches or power or giftings; it is in your humility, your love and your service to others.  Humility is simply strength under control.

Listen to Paul’s philosophy of his ministry in 1 Corinthians 10:31-33, “31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”  You see, many of us are walking in a wrong way of thinking; it is about us and what we can accomplish.  We may have the pretense and delusion that it is for the Lord’s glory, when really it is for ours.

Will you wash someone’s feet today?  Will you serve them, love them, minister the Word of God to them, not in condemnation and judgement, but in love.  Will you help someone find their way and set their feet on the path of the kingdom of heaven?  Your greatness is in your love and your ability to serve others.  Everyday we can wash someone’s feet.  How great are we?

Blessings,

#kent

In the Beginning

January 11, 2019

 

In the Beginning

 

 

Genesis 1:1-4

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

 

“In the beginning, God…” Think back to that day when God started a new beginning in you.  Do you remember the day when God said “let their be light in the midst of your soul” and you agreed and said yes.  Do you remember how He took you when you were formless, void and dwelling in darkness and He caused the light of Jesus Christ to dawn upon your soul?  The Lord began a new day in you that separated light and darkness.

John picks up on this theme in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  Christ is the express Word of God, the expression of all of creation, the breath of God’s own life, the light of His glory and countenance.  Christ is that light of the world and the author of life to all of its inhabitance.  The light is never a part of the darkness, but rather it always dispels darkness relative to the intensity with which it is present.  Darkness cannot comprehend light because it is contrary and opposite in nature to light.  Isn’t it only God’s grace and the opening of our understanding by His Spirit that we begin to comprehend the Light of the World?  Every candle has a wick, but until it is lit, it remains an object of darkness.  Hearing the Word of God, coupled with a quickening of understanding by the Holy Spirit gave us the empowerment to light the candle of faith that burns within our hearts.  This light of faith, that flickers and burns within us is of the same nature and characteristic as that which burns in the Light of the World.  He has placed His light in us.  He has called us to a new day and to walk in the light of the knowledge and revelation of God that He has imparted to us in the Word and through His manifest presence.  When lights gather together they grow in intensity, greater dispelling the darkness and lighting the place with His glory.  What’s more, is that now, as we walk and dwell in this light, we have fellowship with the author of light and life.

1 John 1:1, John carries on this theme of the beginning, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”  Because we have embraced this life, John 1:12 – 13 tells us that now we have a right to become the sons of God, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  When you are born of God you are given the right to fellowship and commune with God.  You are given the privilege and the mandate to live to the praise and glory of Him who now indwells you.  You are given entrance and fellowship into His presence with others of like faith.  From this beginning we become children of the day who walk in the light, as He is in the light.  We become the living signposts, the neon lights that show and direct others to the author of light and life, so that they also might experience a new beginning.  We have the fellowship and relationship with the Lord that it speaks of in 1John 1:5-10, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”  When we embrace the day and choose to walk in the light, as He is in the light, then we live and dwell in the power and love of God’s forgiveness and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our darkness and sin.  We know that we have all had darkness and sin in our lives and in fact we are still struggling with its temptations, but as we continually turn our faces into the light and away from darkness, the power of the blood dispels the darkness with its light and life.

Christ is the beginning and the end, the first and the last and He wants to be that to us throughout all of our existence, both in this life and that which is to come.  Continue on in the light of the good work that God began in you from your beginning.  Bathe yourself continually in the light of His countenance and glory and that light wherewith He has lit our souls, let is so shine to be a light and a beginning for others.

 

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Finger of God

January 10, 2019

 

The Finger of God

 

Exodus 8:18-19

And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This [is] the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

 

None of us, I don’t believe, would aspire to be like the Pharaoh of Moses’ day.  When we read this account we think how could that man be so stubborn and why would he continue to harden His heart when, without a doubt, the finger of God was moving in these judgements.  Pharaoh could well be looked at as the god or ruler of “Self”.  We have a pharaoh that still wants to set upon the throne of our hearts and be god.  He doesn’t want to relinquish his place and lordship to the Almighty.  We could also say it is a type of satan, but where it affects us personally is in the dominion of our own souls.

If we were to get totally real and honest, just between God and us, most of us could probably identify an area or areas in our lives that we really struggle to relinquish control of.  There are strongholds and bastions of self that still want to bow their neck to the cross.  Our spirit may grieve over them and surely we wrestle with them, but we don’t want to really let go of them even though the finger of God may be upon them and the Holy Spirit is convicting us of them.

There was another young man in Jesus’ day, who truly loved the Lord, but he struggled with this same issue in Luke 18:18-25.  “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none [is] good, save one, [that is], God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”  Here was a godly man.  Clearly, he loved God and desired to follow Christ, but what happened when the finger of God touched that area that was not submitted to God?  Jesus put His finger on the Pharaoh in His life, the area that would harden in resistance to God.  It says he was very sorrowful.  This word means to be exceedingly sorry, one definition says, “overcome with sorrow so much as to cause one’s death”.  It is the same Greek word used to describe Jesus’ condition in the Garden as He prayed before the crucifixion.  The difference is Jesus faced a Pharaoh of self-preservation as well.  He even prayed, “Father, if there be any way let this cup pass from me.”  Jesus struggled till great drops of blood dripped from Him as sweat, but He overcame His Pharaoh.  He relinquished and laid self upon the altar and said, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.”  The young ruler didn’t experience such a break through, though he loved the Lord immensely, there was something in his life that had a greater hold on him than his love for God.  Do any of us struggle with a similar issue like that today?  Is there anything we aren’t willing to bring to the altar and give totally to the Lord?  We can never be totally free until everything is His.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 says, “3Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness  is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”  Most of us see this as satan or the man of sin, but what about the man of lawlessness that wants to set himself up in our hearts proclaiming himself as god.  He wants to usurp what belongs only to Christ.  2 Thessalonians 2:8 says, “8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.”  How can this lawless one, this Pharaoh, this usurper of God’s throne in our spirit be dealt with?  It is by the breath of His mouth, the Word of God, the Sword of Truth.  As we call Christ forth in our lives, He is the Lord of the battle.  The Spirit of Christ is the warrior that must rise up within us and come forth in the authority of the Word of God to overthrow this man of sin.  It is a spiritual battle and one that is possible to win as we are “in” Christ.  We also, have the power to overcome even as Jesus did in the Garden.  He is able to turn our sorrow into joy as we gain the victory and give place to the finger of God.

Blessings,

#kent

Greater Love

January 9, 2019

Greater Love

 

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

 

The major nervous system of God’s nature is Love.  Everything that God is and all that He does is birthed out of Love.  No other one thing so expresses the nature and heart of God as Love.

At the heart of all that God commands us to do is Love.  If you love God with all your heart and mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as you love yourself you have fulfilled God’s law.  It is all summed up in Love.  Jesus says if you love me, you will keep my commandments.  His commandments are rooted in love.  “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

Love is an entity that is greater than physical life.  A parent, without thought of personal safety, will often risk or sacrifice their life for that of their child’s if it is in danger of death.  That willingness comes out of the love that the parent has for the child.  That child is the expression of their love and is to be preserved at any cost.  As God matures us in His Love, our focus, our heart, our passion will not be about our life, but it will become the passion of God’s heart for others.  They are lost and dying in spiritual ignorance and sin that is leading them to spiritual death and separation from God.  God’s heart is for His creation, for His people.  What Jesus was willing to do on the Cross for all of us was motivated by the greatest expression of Love ever given and demonstrated.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).   If Christ has loved me to the point of laying down His life for me, to what extent does He want me to love others?

His heart is that we, His children become, the extension and continuation of His Love, even to the point of laying down our lives for others.  This is the heart of the King and Love is the essence and substance of His Kingdom.

Blessings,

#kent

Tired?

January 8, 2019

 

Tired?

 

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

 

There are times on our journey through life that we just get tired.  We get emotionally, physically and spiritually weary; in those times our excitement and exuberance wanes.  Our desire ceases in its passion and we just want to turn away, escape and turn off all the demands and challenges that are present in our life.

Perhaps you’re tired of fighting the battles in your life.  You know you need to get up and go, but your body is saying, “no, just let me sleep,” or your mind and emotions are saying, “I just can’t deal with it any longer.”

Our lives have many demands, pressures and expectations placed upon them.  Some of them are of our own choosing and many just go with the territory.  Without the proper rest, these issues and trials of life will tend to burn us out.  Maybe some of you are feeling that way even as you read this.  In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.”  Sometimes we think, “how can this be, when it is all of this trying to live right and do right that has gotten me to this place of exhaustion.”  Maybe we are trying to be everything to everybody and we just feel spent.  I think women in particular experience this because of all the emotional and physical demands they carry with family, career, household and a social life.

Most of us know that a lot is often riding on our being able to keep up the pace and perform our duties.  Even though we feel the strain and exhaustion we keep on pushing.  Where is our rest?

Do you ever find that even if you could rest, you can’t?  Your mind is always racing with all of the things that need to be done.  It is like juggling, you are afraid that if you rest from your concentration you will start dropping the balls and your world will fall apart.  In our drive for success we often create our own mousetraps that keep us running.  But the issue is you need rest!

Jesus is telling us that He has not come to heap more on to our already overflowing plate, but He has come to give our life perspective, meaning and purpose.  Maybe we think we already have all of that, but when we look at all that we do in the light of eternity and what it really means to the sum of our life, how much of it is still as meaningful?

When we come into the rest that Jesus has for us we find that place where we are not carrying the entire burden of life.  The issues and trials of life we now share with our Savior.  Our reliance is now shifted from our ability to His ability and strength in us.  The Lord doesn’t require of us what He has not provided the resources to do.  Our scripture from Isaiah says, “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”  That waiting is the hope and expectation we have in God, in His Word and promises.  Our strength, our rest, our renewal is in laying hold of the life of Christ in us.  The Word says, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.”  The Lord is my place of rest and strength.  When I’m tired and weary, when my natural man doesn’t feel it can keep going on, it is like that story of “Footprints in the Sand”, the Lord has not deserted us, but as we come into His rest we find that He is carrying us.  When we are tired we need to crawl up on our Daddy God’s lap and just rest.  Let Him have all your burdens, all your cares, worries and pressures.  The Lord is your rest and in Him you will find the encouragement, the hope and strength you need to carry on.

Blessings,

#kent

Walking as Jesus Did

January 7, 2019

1 John 2:1-6

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

 

3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

 

Walking as Jesus Did

 

Our purpose as a Christian believers is not what a lot of us made it or thought it to be.  Our purpose as Christians and believers is to “walk as Jesus did.”  As believers, Christ has delivered us out of the law of sin and death with its ordinances and commandments.  When He brought us into the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus He gave us but one law, the law of LOVE.  He taught us that when you truly walk in that law, all the others will be fulfilled.

Love honors its object whether it is God or man.  Honor holds in highest regard.  Obedience to the Word of God is the love and honor to Jesus and the Father.  When we honor Jesus, we honor Father.  When we obey the Word of God, then we walk in the love of God.

Meditate carefully on this previous paragraph, because it is the meat of our Christian faith.  Now, John lets us know this so that we won’t make sin any more a choice or a lifestyle.  But “if” we sin we have our Jesus who stands in the gap for us and atones for our sin.  Sin is the object of God’s wrath,  we are the objects of His mercy and grace.  If we choose to allow sin to abide in us we harbor that which is at enmity with God and that is not love, it is selfishness. Jesus paid everything and suffered everything to separate God’s wrath from our sin.  He became that sin for us and took that wrath for us, upon His own person.  What manner of love and honor do we have for our Jesus if after knowing and receiving this we would continue in sin?

Our objective as believers is no longer about sin and self, it is about honoring the Father by obedience to the Word and living as Jesus did.   Some of us are of the opinion that this isn’t possible.  All things are possible to him that believes and walks no longer after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  Holy Spirit is your guide to walk as Jesus walked and even to do the things that Jesus did.  Even as we endeavor to walk this way we stumble and we hit pitfalls.  God is never there to bring us again under condemnation, but always the blood of Jesus is there to wash away our sins through repentance and keep us in a place of restored fellowship and relationship.

Jesus never asked us to earn His goodness or favor.  He freely gave that to us.  He simply asked us to believe in Him who is the Word and obey the things He taught us.  Jesus says in John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”  Our relationship with God is built on faith in Christ and the Word and our obedience to it.  Through this we demonstrate our love and honor to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  He is the very one that enables us to do this as we trust and rely wholly upon Him.  If we are not in this place of trust and obedience then we can’t say that we really know Him.  To know Him is to become like Him in all of our ways.  When we are in this place then it should be easy for others to recognize the Christ in us, because our life will be about Him, no matter what our occupation or what we are doing.  He is the object of our love as we are the object of His.  In that place we honor Him by our obedience and by walking as Jesus did.  This is the love and calling of God concerning us.

Blessings,

#kent

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