The Richness of Praise

September 20, 2018

 

The Richness of Praise

 

Psalms 42:11 & Psalms 43:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, [who is] the health of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 56:4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Psalm 63:3 Because thy lovingkindness [is] better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.

Psalm 106:12 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise

Psalms 107:8 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

Psalms 115:18 But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD

Psalms 146:2 While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being

 

Why so many verses?  A reference mentioned that in the book of Psalms from where these verses were taken there were 248 references to PRAISE in 216 verses.  This is but a small sprinkling of the many that are contained in the Word.  Something else that may be note worthy is the first place praise is used in the Word is in Genesis 29:35 when Leah gave birth to Judah who was the son of Jacob and one of the twelve tribes of Jacob.  His name means praise.  Isn’t it interesting that David who descended out of the Judah was the Bible’s chief proponent of Praise, the greatest King in Israel’s history, a man after God’s own heart and the line from which Jesus is born?  The list could go on, but the point is Praise is such an important component in our spiritual walk with the Lord and yet, is so often neglected.  Let’s define Praise here as incorporating rejoicing, thanksgiving and exaltation of God.  It has been my personal experience and I’m sure the experience of many of you that no one thing can bring us into relationship and closeness with the Lord like Praise can.   Over the past year and half as I have made Praise a more central and faithful part of my life, I am seeing the richness and change it is bringing to my spiritual walk and the closeness and greater sensitivity I have to the Holy Spirit.   What is sweeter to the nostrils of God than the sweet fragrance of the sacrifice and incense of praise and worship?  Psalms 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of Israel or His people.  Our Praise should rise up out of our spirits as we reflect and meditate on God’s rich goodness, awesome greatness, love and grace.  Even more so as we reflect on our Lord Jesus and His great sacrifice of Love on our behalf that we may receive forgiveness from our sins, be reconciled to God the Father, be made a part of His family and be partakers of divine and everlasting life.  Some may say, I agree with that, but I don’t always feel like praising God.  Praise is first an act of our will, not our feelings.  It must have it’s origin in our spirits, not our souls.  Feelings often accompany our praise and worship, but they are not the source of it.  God wants our worship and praise to come from spirit and truth.  That means they originate in our spirit as it is yielded to the Holy Spirit.  Most likely it is when we least feel like praising that we need to the most.  Life, circumstances and especially condemnation can all enter in to rob our joy and desire to praise.  Praise is a dimension of faith where, before the results are seen, the thanksgiving and worship are going forth.  (Read 2Chronicles 20 for a great example of this.)  Perhaps we fail to see the victory, because we fail to praise, rejoice and give thanks for that which we say we believe for.  The eyes and heart of faith acts on what is unseen, not on what is seen.  Praise should come before not just after the answer to prayer is revealed and manifested.

Time would fail us to touch on the richness and fullness of this subject.  More may be shared as the Lord directs.

Begin to make PRAISE the first order of your daily encounter with the Lord.  It is the means by which we approach Him and enter into His presence.  I often think of it as climbing up on the lap of Father God and putting my arms around Him just to tell Him how much I love and appreciate Him.  It is not coming with my expectations or problems.  It is a time I want to come just for Him, to worship Him and love Him for who He is not what He can do for me or give me.  He is so worthy of our praise brethren, let us not deny Him.  When we deny Him Praise we also rob ourselves of the richest fellowship we can have with the Father.  Experience the richness of Praise.

Blessings,

#kent

Advertisements

Shadows of Blessing

September 19, 2018

 

Shadows of Blessing

 

Song of Songs 4:6

Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.

 

Shadows are cast by other objects or persons.  They are often not clearly distinct but can give some semblance of the real object they are cast from.  All through the Word of God, God has used types and shadows to signify and represent the reality which was yet to be revealed.  God uses natural things or shadows to show forth the image of the heavenly things which we haven’t been able to fully grasp and lay hold of.  Old Testament types and shadows symbolized in many ways, dimensions and facets of the life and salvation through Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is seen in His presence in three facets, what was, what is and what is to come.  The Old Testament represented “what was”, the sin, the law and righteousness of God and the sacrifice and atonement for sin.  As God’s plan of the ages unfolds in the fullness of Christ we see it in these stages.  The New Testament brought us Christ revealed in the flesh, “what is”, the New Covenant sealed in the blood of the Lamb of God. There we met God face to face in a human and natural sense.  There we saw the reality of many of the Old Testament prophesies, types and shadows fulfilled and revealed in the person of Christ and the birth of the Church, His Bride.  But still we are looking for “what is to come”; the final revelation of Christ in all of His majesty and glory.  We are looking for His “parousia”, presence or coming when we are fully caught up into Him and revealed with Him in His glory.  This is the day break when all the shadows will flee away and Christ shall be revealed in all of His fullness, splendor and glory.   2 Peter 1:19 exhorts us, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”  The Word of God and the Holy Spirit are our illumination and understanding in the shadow lands of our spiritual understanding.  It is what is pointing us forward, instilling hope and faith to look unto the fullness of the day when Christ arises as the morning star in our hearts and is manifest in His holy nature within our beings.  It will be as 2 Thessalonians 1:10 puts it, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”  Christ is not only revealed outwardly, but within us… His saints, His holy temple, His bride. 

            Meanwhile, where is this Christ that we await in His glory and splendor?  I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”  The myrrh and frankincense were elements used in the holy anointing oil and in the incense.  They sought to give myrrh to Jesus on the cross and gold, frankincense and myrrh were the gifts the wise men brought Him in His youth.  Here again we see in shadow that Jesus is dwelling in the heavenlies of our spirit man.  He inhabits that place where we are filling up the sufferings of Jesus through a life poured out in living sacrifice to Him.  It is in the place of spiritual praise where we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth and He inhabits the praises of His people.  It is in the place where we operate out of His life and anointing in our daily lives and ministry. 

            Men, in the Old Testament, like Joseph and David, were men destined for rulership and spiritual leadership. They were men of outstanding blessing and anointed of the Lord.  Through much of their lives they lived only in the shadow of that blessing; through faithfulness, obedience and a vision that wouldn’t fail, there came a day when they entered into the fullness of their calling and inheritance as we will enter into ours if we faint not in the shadow of our blessing.

Blessings

#kent

The Wounded and Broken

September 18, 2018

Deuteronomy 32:39

See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand.

 

The Wounded and Broken

 

In the Garden of Eden were two trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.  Choices were given to man as to which way he would come to know God and walk with Him.  When wrong choices were made, consequences ensued that brought darkness, sin and death into our world and all of creation.  We must know that this came as no surprise to God and that His plan was before the foundation of this world.  Life and death have become the cycles of life that have carried down since the beginning.   In between that cycle of life and death many things touch our lives.  Life can bring much joy and blessing, but it can also bring us much heartache and pain.  Many of us today bear in our lives the marks of pain and suffering.  That can take many forms, mental, physical, psychological and even spiritual.  Pain has many avenues.  Many times it comes as consequences of what we sow knowingly or unknowingly into our lives, bodies and minds.  Sometimes our pain comes from the consequences and actions of others.  Sometimes it comes as part of the fallen world that we live in.  However it comes, we are left to endure.

Now as unpleasant as pain is, it is not all bad.  It often works in us what no amount of blessings could.  It is much like our enemies, as unpleasant as they are; they can touch areas in our lives that friends never will.  Often we wonder, “God why all of the unpleasantness?  Why all of this pain and suffering?  Why do our enemies persecute us?  God why must I suffer?”  Joseph, in the book of Genesis 50:20 reveals it so well, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.”  We have an enemy of our soul that perpetrates evil upon us, but what he has thought for evil, God has meant for good.

How can this be good?

Romans 8:18-25 helps us to see into the eternal and far reaching purposes of God. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  The Word says that God is the one that subjected creation to this frustration, but in hope, hope of what?  “That the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage and decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children or the sons of God.”

Jesus Christ was the prototype and firstfruits of this glorious liberation.  What did He say His purpose was?  It says of Jesus in Luke 4:14-20, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18″The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.””  The people were murmuring, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”  This was a proclamation that Jesus had stepped out of the earthly paradigm of humanity into His divine purpose of eternity.  What was begun in the headship of Jesus, He will complete in and through His body, the church, which Ephesians 1:23 declares is, “…the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”

Pain and suffering can rend our hearts and bodies like few things can.  They are processing tools that bring us into the purposes of God if we catch that revelation.  They are areas we can see God work supernaturally in, both in the areas of healing and deliverance, but also in the areas of tribulation, patience and longsuffering.  Job certainly wanted to be free from his pain that he felt unjustly afflicted with, but it was a process that brought him into a double portion anointing and priesthood ministry that he would have never experienced without it.  David would certainly have not chosen to be fleeing his enemies that sought for years His life, but it was preparation for kingship.  Joseph wouldn’t have chosen captivity, slavery and prison, but it prepared him to rule and reign.  Even of Jesus it says in Hebrews 5:7-9, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”  We, like our Savior have been called to a royal priest hood.  We also will pass through our seasons of suffering.  When we pass through these valleys, for however long we must endure them, let them have their perfect work in us.  Allow them not to discourage you, but to encourage you that, “whom the Lord loves He chastens.”  He doesn’t discipline bastards or illegitimate ones, he disciplines His sons that in due time it might work the peaceable fruits of righteousness (Hebrews 12).   God is preparing us for greatness and what the evil one has meant for evil, God has meant for good

Blessings,

#kent

How do I Know that I Know Him?

September 17, 2018

 

How do I Know that I Know Him?

 

1 John 2:1-6

1My 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.

 

Have you ever been around someone, who says they go to church and they claim to be a Christian, but their attitudes, their morals, their integrity and their language all testify against them?  Now the truth is we all fall short of the glory of God and we know that if we sin, Jesus has paid the price and offers us forgiveness when we confess our sins and ask for it.  When we behold Jesus, when we see His life and listen to His Words, is He what you really want to be like? Now our church mentality wants to say, “Oh yes, that’s what I want.  I want to be like Jesus.”  What does your heart say?  What is more important is, what are our lives saying?

Have you ever noticed in life that you tend to excel at what your passion is?  When you are passionate about something it is not work, or a burden to you, it is your desire and it is what fulfills you.  If we are trying to serve God out of obligation and duty then we probably won’t do exceptionally well at it, because it is not in our heart.  On the other hand, if Christ is our passion, our love and our desire, then keeping His commandments isn’t that hard.  That’s who we are and what we want to be.  It is our passion and our love, so to do the contrary to that grieves us and steals our joy.  That is why Christ is all about relationship; when we love Him and when we are intimately connected to Him then He is who we desire to please.  His commands aren’t grievous to us, but joyous, because our obedience to them reflect our love for Him and desire to be well pleasing in His sight.  Our obedience is our expression of love back to the Lord.

Remember your first love?  We could not do enough to try and please that significant other.  They were in our hearts, our thoughts and our conversation; we would doodle their name, we talked to our friends about them, they were the passion and joy of our life.  That is what many of us have had with Jesus, but like that first love, the more familiar it became, the more common it became until it wasn’t so special anymore, it was just another part of life.  Many of us have seen this happen in our marriages and we have seen it happen with our relationship with the Lord.  We still love, but we’ve slipped into a routine of mediocrity.  We are faithful, but our hearts aren’t in it like before.  This condition can and does happen to many of us both in the natural and in the spirit.  In Revelation 2 the Holy Spirit is addressing the seven churches.  When He comes to the Church of Ephesus, He says this, “3I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary. 4But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love]. 5Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.”  How many of our marriages have had their lampstand removed for this very reason, we forsook our first love?  We lost our passion for love and relationship?  What we have done in the natural, we are doing in the Spirit.  The joy of obedience and service is in love.  When we loose that love, the joy goes with it.  We have to recapture that first love we had for Christ.  Can you remember when He filled your spirit with His Spirit till your joy was too overflowing?

While we may be faithful with our bodies or our spirits, our minds and hearts have wandered off to pursue other lovers, but all they are really doing is robbing us of our first love and joy, and they never offer us any long-term fulfillment or faithfulness.  They destroy what we did have to give and leave us nothing but heartache and sorrow.  We are like Israel of old and like Homer, the harlot wife of Hosea.  Hosea writes in Hosea 2:7, “And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.”  Beloved we need to lay hold of her revelation.  We need to return to our first husband, our first love and our first passion.  This can be said to us both naturally and spiritually.  We have to rekindle those fires of friendship and relationship, both with Christ and with our spouses.  Who can measure how much richer our lives will become if we set our hearts to do that.  I know that my wife would say amen to that, how about yours?

How do you know that you Know Christ?  The knowing is in the intimacy of relationship that stems out of love and commitment.  It is a dynamic that cannot become stagnant or static or it will wither and die.  Complacency and mediocrity will kill it.  We love Him, because He first loved us.  His passion and His love for us hasn’t changed, if something has changed in our relationship then the problem is with us and not with Him.  Let’s return to our first love.  God’s love is made complete in us through our obedience.

Blessings,

#kent

Joy Cometh in the Morning

September 14, 2018

 

Joy Cometh in the Morning

 

Psalms 30:5

For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

 

Where is your life spiritually today?  Would you characterize it as nighttime or daytime?  Most all of us, who have been walking in Christ for a time, know that we go through seasons in a spiritual sense.  There are times we go through such close intimate times with our Lord and sense His presence and love in such a wonderful way and then there are those nighttime experiences.  It may come as a result of allowing sin to come into our lives.  It may be the result of God’s chastening or dealings in our lives.  It may be through persecution or tribulation.   Whatever the reason it is nighttime experience, one in which we fail to sense God’s presence in our soul.  Our prayers may seem hollow and of none effect.  These are times when spiritually we cry out for God, perhaps it is in these times we really begin to seek God’s help, His presence, His deliverance through a trial or tribulation we are facing.  There are times our lives can feel pretty bleak.  Our circumstances are overtaking us.  Where is God?

King David experienced this nighttime ordeal before He became King.  Psalm 30:7-9 says, ”

LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, [and] I was troubled. I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.  What profit [is there] in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.”  Perhaps you and I have prayed prayers similar to this.  One thing that is so admirable about David and I think a spiritual key to us overcoming in these dark times is that David, no matter how low, remembered the goodness and the faithfulness of GodHe continually brought God’s promises and His benefits before the Lord in his prayers and psalms.   And he never ceased to praise and thank God even in those dark times.  He was quite honest with God about what he was going through and the emotions that wanted to overtake him, but he always brought his thoughts and focus back to a place of faith in the faithfulness of God.  We may go through some long nights that may go for years, but learn those principles that David learned.  They will sustain you in those times. David even says an interesting thing in this passage, he says, ” by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face.”  Have you ever thought of your mountain as favor from God?  Remember that what God is allowing in your life is designed to press you into Him.  He wants us to learn and trust Him for who He is, not what He can do for us.  This is the place of maturing faith where the rubber meets the road.  God has to become very real to us or we give up and turn away.  God is processing us through the hardships of our life.   “The trial of your faith is much more precious than Gold” (1 Peter 1:7a)

In this scripture David says “joy does come in the morning”, our trials, darkness and seeming separation from God won’t last forever.  He is faithful to bring us through if we faithfully hold fast to Him.  David’s next expression after talking of how severe the trial says, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”

If you are in your night season, don’t be discouraged, have hope, God has not forsaken you.  He is proving you and bringing you into whom you really are in Him.  Stand the test, stay the course, for joy comes in the morning.

Blessings,

#kent

They that Wait upon the Lord

September 13, 2018

They that Wait upon the Lord

 

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.

 

What does it mean for us to wait upon the Lord?  The concordance says this phrase means to look for, hope, expect, to wait, linger or look eagerly for.  Those that have grown mature and rich in the Lord can tell you they have done so with much waiting upon the Lord.  As we wait for the Lord it is done with a heart of desire, expectation, longing, pursuing through prayer, worship, praise, thanksgiving and studying and searching of God’s Word.  They have invested their lives to know Him on a more intimate basis, so they know His voice and are full of the treasures of His truth.  The Lord most often doesn’t come to us on our timetable.  He can often seem illusive and distant, slow to answer by our estimation.  Do you suppose God is searching our hearts in this to find out how determined and in love with Him we truly are?

The society we live in wants everything instantly.  We don’t have time to wait.  Our lives are busy with many demands as we are pulled in so many directions.  It is so difficult for us to make that time just for the Lord.  I believe God sees the demands that are upon us and is not insensitive to commitments we must respond to.  But what about all the hours of leisure time we spend in watching television or our own pursuits.  We don’t think so much about waiting upon God then.

Jesus gives us some very interesting parables in Matthew 24 and 25 in the light of waiting upon the Lord and looking for His coming.  In Matthew 25 Jesus talks about the ten virgins who took their lamps.   Five took oil (But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.) and five didn’t.  They all slumbered and slept.  There is time for resting and sleeping for all of us.  The difference comes in the preparation of the five wise.  Matthew 25:5-13, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, [Not so]; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”   We are the lamps of the Lord.  Our lives must be able to illuminate our world through the Spirit and Life that is within us.  If we have not taken the time to wait upon the Lord in the many ways that we build an intimate relationship with Him we’ve missed what it is to get oil for our lamps.  Many may sit in church every Sunday and hear the Word of God, but if it is just a head thing and not a heart thing where that Word gets down into our hearts and transforms us as we apply it, we’ve missed it.  The waiting on the Lord through spiritual acts of pursuit is what gives us the oil for our vessels.  It is in those times that the Holy Spirit comes to quicken God’s Word to our heart and make Himself known in ways we don’t always see outwardly.  The Lord reveals in this passage that He came for the ones who knew Him.  They may have all been virgins or Christians, but if the Lord says, “I never knew you” then you have never come into that place of intimacy that goes beyond a surface knowledge and relationship and into a covenant relationship.  That place where you share His Life, where He becomes the source, strength and dependence of your life.

Waiting upon the Lord is working and living in concert with the Holy Spirit.  If we are not waiting then we are either running ahead of the Lord or we are distracted to other things.  To wait upon the Lord is spend time in the Lord’s presence coming to know Him in the secret place.  It is a place we renew our strength and indeed find strength and abilities that rise above our natural ones.  Let’s find the wisdom of waiting on the Lord.  It is an eternally rewarding experience.

Blessings,

#kent

Hope

September 12, 2018

Hope

Psalms 42:5

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and [why] art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him [for] the help of his countenance.

 

Hope is an essential element in our lives.  It gives us vision and purpose.  It is something we don’t have yet, but we look forward too.  It is an expectation and something worth pursuing and waiting for.  If you take away a person’s hope it is like you unplug the soul, because the soul is generated not by what it has, but what it has to live for and hope that is realized is no longer a hope.  Some people may find themselves in a state of hopelessness, which leads to despair of life.  Life has dealt you some severe blows and the loss has robbed your hope.

The Word says in Ecclesiastes 9:4 ‘that as long as there is life there is still hope, for even it is better to be a living dog than a dead lion’.   So even if a hope or expectation has been crushed you have not lost the greatest hope in your life which is Christ.  God ever stands as a beacon and lighthouse in the dark times of our lives to offer us hope and reason for living.

David, when he was fleeing from King Saul who was pursuing him to take his life, found those times of discouragement and despair when his soul wanted to give up.  It was the Spirit of God within David that spoke to his soul words of encouragement and faith.  The Spirit of God within him was telling him, “why are you so down and discouraged soul, you can’t give up, HOPE in God.”  He is your sustainer; He is the glory and the lifter of your head.  His countenance and presence is still here to help you and give meaning and purpose to your life.  Soul, begin to praise the Lord, let faith arise in your heart, forget not all of His benefits, forget not all of His promises.  Don’t forget that He promises never to leave you or forsake you and remember that nothing can separate you from the love of God.  He is your eternal hope and the true reason you live and move and have your being.

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” 1 Peter 1:13.

Blessings,

#kent

Everything We Need

September 11, 2018

 

Everything We Need

2 Peter 1:3-4

            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.

 

It goes without saying that we as people and as children of God specifically, all struggle with our problems and issues.  They can come in many shapes, sizes, colors and varieties.  As many and varied as they can be, God’s has an answer for them.  When you meditate upon our scripture today, the power and potential of what is said here is almost unimaginable. 

I have to admit that far too many times I am an expert at seeing my glass half empty.  I can see all of the reasons why something won’t work or why I can’t accomplish it, but that is a pessimistic point of view.  We can look at our lives and problems much the same way and determine this is just the cross I have to bear or we can begin to lay hold of the potential powerhouse of the God that has given us all that we need  for life and godliness and that Christ has already hung on the cross for us to provide us with the very great and precious promises that are ours in Him.

How do we lay hold of that “all that we need”?  It says it is “through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness”.  In order for us to truly comprehend and lay hold of who we are and what we have, we have to have knowledge (precise and correct knowledge of those things ethical and divine) of Him. 

            You get a flat tire going down the road, you are in the middle of nowhere and no one else is around.  Now if you don’t know that you have a jack and spare tire, then you are stuck where you are at.  And even if you know that you have it, but you don’t have the slightest idea of how to use it, then you are really no better off.  We have heard that we all have these things that pertain to life and godliness and yet many of us have little clue as to how we can lay hold of them and apply them to our life situations.  As a result we get stuck in our ruts and our problems never get resolved.  How many of us are setting along the roadside of life with flat tires?  The thing is we have the resources to fix the problem, but we need the knowledge of how to do it.  We have the Holy Spirit of God inside of us and within the short reach of most of us there is a Holy Bible, the instruction manual of God’s Word.  If I don’t know how to change a tire, but I have an owners manual that will walk me through it and give me examples and illustrations, then I’m pretty much a fool if I don’t attempt to try to put that knowledge into practice and resolve my problem.  On the other hand I may say, “I don’t understand that stuff”, besides that, “it’s not really even my car, it’s my husband’s car, “besides that “I have my good clothes on” and besides that, “I’ll just pray and ask God to send somebody else to do it for me.”  In affect, isn’t that how we approach a good many of our problems in life?  If we don’t want to solve our problems, God says it isn’t because I haven’t given you the resources; they are all yours, but you have to Know Me to know how to put them into affect.  Along with that knowledge we need the “will and do” of His good desire for us.  The more we know the Lord, not only are we going to know what we have, but who we are.   What does this knowledge of Him empower us to do and be?  “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.”  He is saying that He has given you and I the power to put on Christ, the divine nature, and put off sin, the corruption of the world caused by evil desires.  The basics of being a successful Christian is in knowing who you are and what you have.  That comes through knowledge, gained through intimate relationship and understanding, both mentally and spiritually of who you are in Christ.  The biggest reason we are broken down beside the road is because we still haven’t really traded that old Junker in for the vehicle that God wants to put us in.  His vehicle runs on a whole different set of laws and dynamics than the old one and you need to “know Him” to understand how they work.  We have all that we need, we just need to know and learn how to use it.

Blessings,

#kent

Wild Grapes

September 10, 2018

Wild Grapes

Isaiah 5:1-7

Now will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; [and] break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts [is] the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

 

This scripture could be as applicable to the Church today as it was of Israel of old.  We are His vineyard and are to be the fruit of His vine.  It is to be His life and the sweetness of His nature that is in us.  Would He say today of His vineyard that it brought forth wild grapes.  Are we seeing the true nature and character of Christ in the Church today?  Are we seeing justice, mercy and righteousness as the fruit of our works and lives?  Are we still double-minded and two-faced toward our Beloved, the keeper of the vineyard?  Does it ever amaze us how we can be spiritual around religious or spiritual settings, but then we see all of this worldly talk and attitudes coming out of us when we are around those in the world.  Would the world around us comprehend that we were truly a different type of grape; one that always tasted of the sweetness and flavor of Christ?

In Isaiah 5:11-13 it goes on to say, “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, [that] they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, [till] wine inflame them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because [they have] no knowledge: and their honourable men [are] famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.” Is it possible that we still live this double life where we are for God on Sunday and certain occasions, but then we want to party and live the life of the world the rest of the time?  One day we wake up and find ourselves in spiritual bondage and oppression to the spirits of this world.  We find strongholds over our lives that we can’t seem to break out of and we are there because we have become wild grapes.  It says, “my people are gone into captivity, because of lack of knowledge.”  If we are not always focused on the purpose and calling we have in Christ then we will find ourselves drifting off course and left to drift off course we will find ourselves slowly drawn into that great maelstrom or whirlpool that draws us, slowly at first, but then faster and faster circling the drain of the destruction of sin.  “If the honorable men are famished and the multitude dried up with thirst ” what is that saying?  We are in spiritual drought; our spirit is languishing for lack of life and knowledge of God and His ways.  We must catch the vision of where God is going and what our part is in the journey.  We have to have knowledge and revelation of Him.  We have to know who we are and what we are becoming.  Are we becoming what Christ has planted in us?  Are we becoming the sweet grapes of His nature and character or are we becoming wild grapes that have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof?   Matthew 24:12 says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  Sin will always bring separation from God because it draws us away from His presence and fellowship.  On the other hand when we are pressing in to know Him and drawing near to Him, His presence will consume the sin in our lives and purify our hearts.

James 4:1-10 sums it up in a very practical way, “1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

What kind of grapes are we becoming today; the true fruit of His vine or wild grapes?

Blessings,
#kent

Dusty Walk, Clean Feet

September 7, 2018

 

Dusty Walk, Clean Feet

 

John 13:4-10

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe [them] with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also [my] hands and [my] head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash [his] feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

 

In the days of Jesus the roads were dusty and dirty.  Imagine walking for miles down a dry and dusty road in your sandals.  Imagine how darkened with dirt your feet would be from your journey.  In the days of Jesus it was customary when coming into a home that not only would you kick off your sandals, but that a servant would meet you with a basin of water and a towel to wash your feet.  This was the task of a slave or servant, but on this day, it was Jesus, the Master, that put off his garment, girded himself with a towel and began to wash the disciple’s feet.  We can only imagine how uncomfortable and embarrassing this must have been to the disciples for Jesus, their Master, to be washing their feet.  Peter, the outspoken one of the disciples, probably expressed what was in all of their hearts.  At first he ardently objects to Jesus washing his feet.  When Jesus tells him if He does not wash his feet, he has not part with Him; Peter goes to the other extreme.  “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands, and my head.”  Jesus told him he was already washed; all he needed to clean was his feet.

The Lord reminds of this today and of what He went on to say, “If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” Obviously we don’t visit too many Christian homes today where it is customary for the people of the household to wash our feet.  There is a lesson and message that goes beyond the ceremonial and outward washing of feet.  Our feet represent our walk.  When we come into Christ and He washes us in His blood.  Jesus, with His blood, does for us what He relates to Peter, He cleans us within.  There is still the principle that we all continually walk the dusty roads of our earthly existence.  We are darkened and our feet dirtied by the sin and death that fills the earth in which we live.  As daily we walk through life, it is difficult for us not become dirtied by all that touches our lives.  It doesn’t mean that the blood of Jesus hasn’t cleansed us from our sins or that we need to be re-saved; it does mean that we still frequently need our feet washed.  We need our walk washed by the water of the Word.  We need our hearts and minds renewed and need to be reminded of whom we are, what we are and where we are going.  If our feet are not constantly washed our walk, can become polluted, unclean and defiled.

Jesus teaches us in this example that it is the responsibility of each of us to wash one another’s feet.  As you read this word this morning, perhaps the Lord is using it to wash your feet as you are exhorted and encouraged in Him and your relationship with Him.  God has given us all unique gifts and abilities by which we can wash one another’s feet as we serve in the capacities that He has given each of us.  When we wash one another’s feet, we have accountability to one another to help each other to continue on from each other’s presence in a pure and holy walk.  This requires that we are not ignoring or neglecting the gift that the Lord has given and placed within us.  It requires that we are sensitive even to the least, perhaps even the most undesirable.  Jesus was not a respecter of persons; He was as willing to wash the feet of Judas as He was of Peter.

Are we following the Lord’s example and commandment today, to wash one another’s feet?  Do we greet one another and speak to one another words of encouragement, hope, life and love?  Perhaps the Lord will bring some dirty feet across your path today.  Take the time to wash them in the love and mercies of Jesus.  As we wash one another’s feet it helps each of us to be encouraged and continue walking in the things of God with clean feet and a righteous walk.

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: