Spiritual Warfare

April 3, 2020

Spiritual Warfare

2 Corinthians 4:3-5

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh  (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

 

As believers in Christ we need to become warriors in the spirit.  So much of our lives have been focused and spent on the conventional weapons of the natural man to resolve problems.  It has been by the activism of the flesh that we have fought spiritual and moral battles. Many of those battles are the strongholds in our own personal lives that we war with constantly and so often defeat us.  This scripture says that we have divine power to demolish strongholds. We have really tried and resolved not to let these strongholds overtake us any longer.  We may have even prayed about it and asked God to help us in these areas, but we are still experiencing defeat and failure.  Most of our failures comes through the assault of our minds.  Our mind gets distracted and begins to entertain the things that we struggle with.  Usually it is not long till the body is following it in action.  Our first problem is that while we may spiritually ascend to the place that we don’t want the stronghold to have place in us, our mind, soul and body are still compromised because they have not been brought to the place of full surrender to the spirit in these areas.  The bottom line is the spirit man in us has to be the one in authority over our being and not our soul man, that which is of the mind, will and emotions.  We want to see the body and soul line up under the spirit, as the spirit is subject to the Holy Spirit.  When our lives are in the right order and alignment we walk and live as the spiritual men and women we are in Christ.  God wants to grow us up to the place where we truly know who we are in Christ and act out of the power and authority we have in Him.  We begin dealing with strongholds at their conception, not when they mature and bring us again under bondage.  This is where we guard our minds and are transformed through the renewing of our minds so that the Spirit and the Word are the guardians of our thought life.  James 1:13-15 says it like this: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  It is at this point of being tempted that we have to deal with it.  If we are still double-minded in our commitment to let the Spirit have full Lordship of our lives in any area then that compromise will carry over into our actions and failure to have victory.  We must take the authority of God’s Word to destroy the areas of strongholds in our lives at the point imaginations or thoughts or desires begin to raise a rebellious head against the knowledge of God and His ways.  Here is where we can’t be passive, but must act out of the Spirit in power and authority to crush every spirit that is not of God.  Satan is a subtle adversary and not one to be reasoned with, but to be taken authority over.  This same principle holds true over the other areas that impact our lives.  God has empowered us with spiritual weapons and authority in Christ to be more than conquerors and have the victory over sin and strongholds in our lives.

Blessings,

#kent

“So then, just as one trespass brought condemnation for all men, so also one act of righteousness brought justification and life for all men.  For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”                                                          Romans 5:18-19

Understanding the “Why” of Being

 

A created being can not know its place, its purpose or the fullness of its reason for being outside the One who created it.  Outside of that understanding it can still function and be, in the fractured sense of its own understanding, but that will always be perverted, distorted and imperfect outside of its true purpose and understanding for its being.  In order for one to truly know the reason for why something was created, one must go back to the creator who created it.  Only in his mind and reason are the answers for His creation.

A Creator creates a being in His image, having a spirit like His creator.  There is imparted to the created a gift of free will to choose to function within the design of the Creator, which is its highest purpose, or to function in another way of its choosing.  When the Creator breathed into its created, the breath of life, it was given the life of the Creator’s own Spirit.  As long as the created only ate of the fruit of the Creator’s design, it would abide, live and continue in the life and highter purpose that the Creator intended for it, but in the day that it chose to willfully disobey and step out of its higher life and purpose by eating of the fruit of self will and knowledge it would die to the higher Spirit life it had had the privilege of partaking of.

Within the design of the Creator. there exist a competitor to the creator; a preditor of His creation.  While he can’t destroy the creation, he seeks to possess it.  The only way he can legally possess it is to get the created to choose, by its own free will, the knowledge of good and evil.  He presents that knowledge of good and evil to the created in such a way that insinuates that the Creator is keeping something from them that would allow them to become like Him, when in fact they were already like Him.  He cloaks the death of this poison apple with the lie that they will live in a greater state than what they have known because they will know both good and evil.  To know what evil is, one must experience it.  One must step out of the light and into the darkness, to know what it is like not to see.  Through the free will consent of the created, to partake of this forbidden fruit, that would be the spiritual death of all of creation to follow, the competitor gained the legal access to control the Creator’s creation.  It was never the Creator’s choice, it was the creation’s choice.

The competitor rejoiced in that day, because now he could begin his work of stealing the true identity of the Creator’s creation, of cloaking the created’s understanding in darkness, perversion, self-will, self-worship.  He could bring the Creator’s creation into the kingdom realms of sin and death.  There it would know wars, famine, suffering, sickness, disease, poverty, fear, bondage and death.  Such was the fruit the Creator had endeavored to prevent His creation from having to partake of.

Since this was a legal transacton of the created’s free-will to partake of this knowledge of good and evil, the Creator could not violate His own decree and gift, to keep his created from the consequences of its choice.  It appeared as if the Creator’s competior had stolen and taken captive His creation.  Yet, even in this bleak moment, when now, the competitor controlled the world, the created still had the freedom to choose. The Creator planted the seed of His truth and light even in the midst of that field of darkness.  Through that seed He would insure that His light and presence were still known and present in this place.  He would show Himself strong in the midst of those that welcomed Him and put their faith and trust in Him by their choice.

The sins of the created could only be placated and satisified by the shedding of blood and the giving of a life.  There could be no attonement for sin outside the life-giving sacrifice.  This spoke to a greater sacrifice of which all others were but a type and shadow.  The sacrifice of the Creator’s own Son to attone for the choice of

death and provide opportunity, through the Son, to choose the path back to the Creator’s original intent for His creation and why they were created.

Blessing,

#kent

Fear in the Mind

March 19, 2020

 

Fear in the Mind

 

1 John 4:14-17

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.

 

 

After this article on “Face your Fears” another writing was shared with me that gave the inclination we needed to go a little bit further with this subject.  Our scripture today is somewhat of a mystery and would appear to be a contradiction to what we have shared about the fear of God.  What we need to understand about the fear of God is that it is what compels us into the nature of God.  The fear of God is one of the spiritual attributes that Christ possessed.  Isaiah 11:2, speaking of Christ and those of Him, says, “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” Fear is something that compels us away from something we are afraid of.  In God, that fear abhors evil and cleaves to what is good.  The aspect we identify with fear gives place to love in relationship with God in Christ Jesus.  The blood of Christ removes all fear of judgement, for it has atoned for our sins and we have right standing and relationship with God because we are “in” Christ.  What we must lay hold of is the strategy of the enemy is always to unsettle us from this place of trust, rest and love we have with Father.  We have come into this place by faith and trust, not by any acts of righteousness on our part.  “We love Him, because He first loved us.”

We said before that while the fear of the Lord draws us into relationship and assurance in Christ, the fear generated in the natural and by our adversary, the devil, draws us out of relationship and rest in Christ.  Mark 4:16-17 says, “And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.”  What one sister brought out in her writing was the distress that so many of us endure through mental persecution.  She found that this word persecution carried with it the meaning and connotation of dread, timidity, faithless and fearful.  We know that the greatest battleground we face in our Christian walk is fought in the mind.  We are constantly assaulted in our minds with doubts, fears, and feelings of inadequacy, failure, questionings and unbelief.  We can feel so solid and confident in an aspect of our faith and relationship with God and after a barrage of mental assaults by the enemy; we can suddenly find ourselves wondering if there is a God.   This mental persecution is an assault of fear.  This fear will rob our faith, it will rob our joy and peace, and it will destroy us if left unchecked.  What preserves us is our root or our putting on the whole armor of God.  We see the example of Jesus as He is led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit and the devil begins his series of mental persecutions and temptations, but he couldn’t unsettle Jesus, even in His weakest state, because He was rooted in the Word of God.  While the devil tried to pervert the scripture to unsettle Jesus from His faith, Jesus would give back the Word of God in truth, as His rebuttal.

Many of us struggle in our faith because we are succumbing to the circumstantial reasoning and mental persecutions.  For satan to undermine your faith and confidence in Christ, by first always getting your focus on you apart from Christ is His first and primary strategy for your defeat.  Every time we are dwelling on us, outside of who we are in Christ, it is going to bring us into defeat.  Our victory is in who we are “in Christ”, He is our hiding place, more importantly, our identification, because He has given us His name.  God allows us to be shaken, so that once we are shaken enough, we will become settled in the truth and will be shakable no more.  Hebrews 12:27-29 tells us, “And this [word], Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God [is] a consuming fire.” The fear of the Lord empowers us with the boldness and authority of the Word and the God who wrote it.  It is the day to break free of the death shrouds of our timidity and fearfulness and a day to walk and live in the authority of who each of are in Christ Jesus.  “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)”

Blessings,

#kent

Where We Live

March 16, 2020

John 14:1-4

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.”

 

Where We Live

 

Where is the Father’s house and what is the Father’s house?  We know that a house is an abiding place.  Jesus said in John 2: 19-21, “Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” 19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” 20The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body.”  Jesus is the house and the habitation of the Father.  Jesus says in John 17:20-26, “”My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24″Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25″Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.””

So many of us have grown up with a concept that when we die, if we believe in Jesus, we will go to heaven and there will be this beautiful mansion that the Lord has prepared for us.  Well, I have not yet been to heaven so I can’t speak to the fact of whether there is or isn’t a physical mansion.  What I do know is that there is a much deeper and richer meaning here than just a physical structure.  Jesus is talking about an abiding place, a place where we live and hang out.  Through these scriptures we can see that Jesus is the temple of the Father and that the Father inhabits and indwells Him, just as Jesus lives in and through the Father.  What Jesus has done for us through the cross is to provide for us this same relationship and access that He has with the Father.  As we embrace the truth of the cross and our salvation that is complete in Christ we receive the Holy Spirit and the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now dwells in us.

The mansion or the room that I am looking for, that Christ has prepared for me, is the one where I am dwelling and abiding in His presence and moving in the office and purpose for which He has prepared me.  Each of us has that place of abiding available to us in the sense that Christ has come back by His Spirit and has indwelt us, He is able to bring us into this abiding place, room, mansion, in other words, our place in Him.   He says in John 14:4, “You know the way to the place where I am going.”  We know the way, because ‘He is the way, the truth and the light.  No man comes to the Father except through Him.’

There is a place that is prepared for you right now in your habitation in Christ Jesus.  Let us get our eyes off of “over yonder” and begin to see who we are in Christ today and where He wants us to be abiding today!  Just as you abide in Him, He abides in you and is with you.  Begin to truly grasp and identify with who you are in Christ.  It has nothing to do with who you used to be or even with much of what you identify yourself with being today.  Begin to see the old man passed away and the new creation you are in Christ Jesus.  Live out of the truth of that new creation man.  This man abides and has his being in the Father’s house, which is Christ Jesus.  He moves and lives out of the gifts, abilities and purpose that the Father has gifted him with and in all of his ways he growing and being transformed from glory to glory into Him.  This is where we are to live.  This is our mansion and abiding place.

Blessings,

#kent

Let This Mind be in You

March 12, 2020

 

Let This Mind be in You

 

Philippians 2:1-5

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

 

 

The Lord is developing a mindset in us as He transforms us into the image of His Son.  All that the Holy Spirit is working in us is to bring us to the place of being like-minded.  Most of us experience a good deal of strife in our lives and most of it comes from our self-will conflicting with another’s self-will.  So what am I saying, “just roll over and play dead?”  “No, roll over and let Christ live.”    We have to roll over that former mindset that is set on ourselves, getting our way, having our rights and looking out for number one.  Don’t most of us still hold on to a lot of that mentality?  Jesus made the statement, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Use that same protective, self serving and preserving instinct that is in you for others.  But it is hard to use it for others and us also, because then there is the conflict of who comes first, them or me?  Somebody has to give way to somebody else.

Where do we experience probably the greatest conflicts in our lives?  It is usually within our own families.  We are more real there than any other place.  We kind of subconsciously expect that they just have to love us for who we are just like we are expected to love them for who they are.  When we see these principles of putting others first operating in our families then we will probably see them operating in other areas of our life as well.  Rarely does anyone have to fulfill this role of self-sacrifice more than mom does.  We shouldn’t be surprised to see a lot more women at the forefront of heaven than men, simply because they are called to a life of self-sacrifice.  They must continually lay down their lives for their husband and children.  Most of them do it as a labor of love.  It is that same spirit of love that we must learn to carry out into our world and among other believers.   The home is often a good proving ground and reflection to us of where we are at with this mind of Christ.  No one can seem to push our buttons like our loved ones and the only reason they can is because we still have buttons that can be pushed.

Christ, who is our example and model and whose mindset we desire to have, had it all.  He was ruling and reigning in heaven; everything was already His, except that He saw a need.  Now, because of His nature, He wants to respond to that need.  There is a humanity that is dying in trespasses and sin.  There was none that could save them except for Him.  Christ, acting out of His great love for us, moved through the plan of God to fulfill Philippians 2:6-11, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  The love that constitutes His nature compelled him to identify with us and take upon Himself the weakness of our form, but not our sin nature.  It was for our sin nature that He sacrificed His sinless life for us.  In that wondrous sacrifice He then took upon Himself the sin of all humanity to pay the consequences for it.  Christ was God and yet he was a servant willing to give all and sacrifice all for the good of all.  Through the suffering He became partaker of all the glory, for God highly exalted Him above every name that is named in heaven and in earth.  It is this mindset that takes us along the same path of God’s love where we are laying down our lives for the good of others.  It is true that many times we will be despised, unappreciated, and taken for granted, but our service is first to Him who has called us unto Himself.  Just as His love was not conditional upon our response to Him, the love that Christ is perfecting in us is not conditional upon the response of others to us.  It is that love of sacrifice and giving that exemplifies that nature and mind of Christ in us.  “By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35)”.

Blessings,

#kent

My Self

March 10, 2020

My Self

 

Luke 10:27

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

 

            The Word teaches us that the greatest commandment besides loving the Lord our God with all of our heart is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  It stands to reason that for you to be productive in loving others you have to have a right attitude toward yourself.  There would appear to be a balance that God wants us to have wherein we don’t hate or despise who we are, nor do we allow ourselves to be all that we are about.  How do you feel about yourself?  For us as Christians, who are hopefully maturing and growing up into Christ, we would want it to be our goal, purpose and desire that self gives way to our identification with Christ.  Paul put self into perspective for us this way in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.“  With this biblical perspective we see that our old self is identified with the cross and we are a new creation in Christ Jesus, now living for His purpose and no longer our own. 

            I would say the majority of us haven’t quite grasped that concept.  For a lot of us, life is still pretty much about us.  If we are all dead to self then why do we have so much conflict, divorce and dissention, even among us as Christians?  Why does the world have such a perception of much of Christianity as a bunch of hypocrites?  You see, it is still our opinions, our preferences, and our passions that matter.  We don’t take kindly when others go against our grain.  Self is a pretty die hard critter, unless the axe is really laid to the root, it will keep springing up just like an old weed.  It will adapt itself, it will camouflage itself, it will compromise, it will do almost anything, but it doesn’t want to die. 

            Notice the scripture says we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Most of us are so caught up in the love affair with ourselves that, to heck with the neighbors.  What honestly are our priorities in life?  Is it really God first, others second and me last, or the other way around?  If I am asking myself these questions, then there are a whole lot of areas in my life I do not really like the answer I am coming up with.  When we get passive, when we get complacent, when Christ becomes less than our passion and life, self is there to take over.  How are you doing with yourself today?  Who really lives in you and directs your life?  Do you and I really love our neighbor as we love ourselves?

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Righteous shall not be Forsaken

 

Psalms 37:25

I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

 

Often times the walk of righteousness is not an easy walk.  As we draw near to God and more and more relinquish our life for His, we sometimes can be become discouraged and disheartened.   All around us the wicked and the ungodly seem to be prospering and enjoying life while it seems we are facing one struggle after another.  While life is an uphill battle for us, it seems to often be a roller coaster ride for others and we may be tempted to mummer, “This is unfair Lord.”  The psalmist saw the same thing in his day.  He gives an account in Psalms 73 of how he envied the prosperity of the wicked.  “For I was envious at the foolish, [when] I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Psalms 73:3).” Do we ever get discouraged and think I’m tired of this walk of righteousness.  Everyone is prospering and enjoying life and I’m trying to be godly and yet I’m struggling through life.  Where is the equity God?  The psalmist goes on to explain what he discovered and the folly of his reasoning.  “This is what the wicked are like- always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.  If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies (Psalms 73:12-20).”   Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.”  There are times when our vision becomes obscure when we start to look back at the world instead of steadfastly upon the Lord.   The enemy would begin to coax our minds and hearts into thinking that the way of the world is far better.  He is only able to do this as we get our eyes off of Jesus.  We only need to enter into the sanctuary of His holy awesome presence to be reminded of what the end and the destiny is for the wicked and unbelieving.  God is not withholding His good from the righteous, He is raising up His righteous to possess and rule all things.  In order to do that the “things” cannot possess us.  Only He, The Lord God, Pure and Holy, must possess us.  Our destiny is not of this world, for this world and all of it goods soon are to pass away and perish with the using, but the possession we have in Christ is eternal and only increases from glory to glory.

Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged by the struggles you have in this world.  It is by patience and steadfast faithfulness that we enter in and possess the greatest prize of all, God’s holy nature and manifest presence in our lives.  What our God desires to give us is unmatchable by anything in this natural world.  We must have the vision of what God’s heart and desire for us is lest we perish in the wilderness, failing to enter in and possess our inheritance by unbelief.

Let us take heart and faint not, knowing that the fullness of our salvation is near at hand.  We can know that Paul was right when he said, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:16-19).”  We don’t need what the world has.  They need what we have, for the scripture declares that the sons of God will the instruments of God’s restoration and restitution in the earth.  The outward apparel does not always reveal the wealthy man.  The righteous is being purified to be the containers of God’s wealth and blessing.  The blessing that seeks not it’s own, but is the dispenser of the life and love of God even as Jesus, the pattern Son.

If we want renewed vision and purpose we need only draw near by the blood of Jesus and enter the sanctuary of His presence.  When we experience the richness of His manifest presence we will know without a doubt that there is nothing in this earth richer or more satisfying than Christ is Himself.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Tales of Jealousy, Betrayal and Revenge

 

Matthew 26:6-14

 

6While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

8When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9″This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

14Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 16From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

 

The Lord began to open up some interesting parallels in the Word concerning jealousy, betrayal and revenge.  As I read the above scripture I believe it was no accident that the story of the woman anointing Jesus’ feet and the decision of Judas to betray Jesus are sequential.  It brought to mind the story of Cain and Abel.  Genesis 4:2-8 gives us this account, “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.”

The parallel we see here is that, as the woman was presenting her sacrifice of tears, precious perfume and the washing with her hair, Judas was despising her offering and John 12:4-8 shows his heart as he suggests a better sacrifice and offering than wasting the perfume on Jesus.  “But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5″Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages” 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7″Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. ” It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” It may be conjecture, but it seems to me that Jesus’ rebuke to Judas created an offence in his heart much like the rejection of Cain’s sacrifice.  Whenever we hold an offence in our hearts of bitterness, jealousy, and rejection we open our spirit up to the darkness that is waiting to enter in.  Suddenly there is anger, the desire for revenge and the seeds of murder.  What Cain and Judas share in common is a heart that was self seeking and unwilling to give its best and its all to God.  God even spoke and pointed out to Cain the problem with his attitude, “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Had Cain or Judas or the other examples we could give, such as Saul and David, been willing to humble themselves and acknowledge a wrong spirit and attitude in their hearts and repent of it they could have been accepted.  Humility and repentance are the mastery of sin.  These characters chose to hold on to the offense and then act out their anger; giving place to murder in their hearts.

What is the lesson God is speaking?  Offense and unforgiveness in our hearts, that goes unrepented of, will open up our spirit to the darkness of revenge and even murder.  That murder may not be physical, it could come in the form of the words we speak, slander, gossip, betrayal or undermining another in some other way.

There are times in our life we feel rejected, slighted, passed over and we feel it is so unfair and maybe it is, but watch your attitude.  Humble yourself before the Lord and allow Him to show you what is acceptable and good.  When I look back over my life and the times I didn’t get the promotion or I applied for jobs and was rejected, I can see now that God wasn’t rejecting me, He was protecting me and leading me in the way that was best for me.  I can see how through times that I was rejected, in time it led to even better things and greater opportunity when God did open the door.

Let go of any offenses or jealousies that you are harboring in your heart.  Repent of them and trust God, rest in Him, He will show you the acceptable way.

Blessings,

#kent

February 5, 2020

 

Almost There

 

2 Timothy 4:5-8

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

 

 

The apostle Paul has been a mentor and an inspiration to millions of believers over the years since he penned so many of the books of the New Testament.  As we are traveling our road of faith and as we are running our course in this life sometimes it gets pretty rough and hard. We want to give up.  We get tired, we get discouraged and we get worn down through trials and tribulations to the point where we would entertain the thoughts of forsaking our faith and just go with the flow of the world.

We see an example of one who almost gave up and actually did for a time.  His name was John Mark.  Acts 12:25 tells us, “And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled [their] ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.”  We gather from what is previously written that he has grown up in a strong household of faith.  We know that a least his mother, Mary, was a devout Christian; for it was her house that the saints had gathered to pray when Peter was in prison.  It was her house that Peter came too after the angel released him from his shackles and imprisonment and they could scarcely believe it was he.  We can see John Mark as having a lot of fervor and sense of adventure, but not a lot of experience when it came to walking in the ways of the apostles.  When he was allowed to travel with Paul and Barnabus he began to experience hardships he had never known.  Trials and persecutions threatened his very life.  He found the walk of these committed men of God was one unto death.  Their safety and well being was not at the forefront of their ministry and walk with the Lord.  We see this becoming a little too much for John Mark.  In Acts 15 we read of this sharp contention that arose between Barnabas and Paul, because Barnabus wanted to take John Mark again.  We read where John Mark had deserted them at Pamphylia, so to Paul, he had disqualified himself and Paul was no longer willing to take him along.  Paul and Barnabus separated and Paul took Silas and Barnabus took John Mark.

I think a lot of us can see ourselves in John Mark.  We start out fervent and are going to win the world for Christ, but after we have warred and walked against the enemy of our souls long enough, sometimes we want too and sometimes we do, desert our calling or our confidence in the Lord.  We find ourselves releasing our grip on the anchor of our souls and drifting back into that which we have been delivered out of.  The thing is, if we have been truly born again we will not be content with this back-slidden or separated state.  The good news is that Jesus is a Barnabus as well as a Paul.  He is a God of second chances.  He will still love and receive us back to Himself even if we have strayed or fallen short along the way.  God placed Barnabus there to come along side John Mark, to encourage him and help him to become again the man of God he was called to be.  We find that even Paul, in time, softens to John Mark and finds him useful. In 2 Timothy 4:11 we read from Paul’s hand, “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”  We find that it is this John Mark who penned the gospel of Mark.

Even if we stumble in our walk and commitment to Christ, never underestimate God’s ability to take your failures and turn them for your good.  Sometimes when it is darkest and most difficult, we may well be at that threshold of our breakthrough.  Hold fast and confident in your faith.  Don’t allow your discouragement and trials to overtake you, but even if they should, the Father has not cast you off, but longs for you to return to Him and again run the good race of your faith.  Repentance and reconciliation are the doorways to restoration in our relationship with our Father.  You’re almost there!  Don’t give up and don’t give in, in all your ways acknowledge Him and follow His ways.

Blessings,

#kent

Yielded to Whom?

January 30, 2020

 

Yielded to Whom?

 

Romans 6:12-14

 

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

 

Imagine when you receive Christ as your Savior and the Holy Spirit comes to abide in you.  Before that, you are in this chaotic marketplace of humanity.  It is loud with its music.  There are voices all around you calling you and enticing you to come and partake of their merchandise, while they make all of their promises of how it will fulfill you and satisfy your needs and wants.  Come buy this desire, buy this experience, if you only have this then you will have peace and contentment.  Many of us have spent a good deal of our lives in that marketplace of worldliness and ungodliness.  We have partaken of many of it wares and merchandise, but always we came up lacking, always there was this same emptiness inside.  What brought happiness and pleasure for the moment was always fleeting and temporal, never eternal and continual.

Then, one day, we heard about this Jesus, who was the Son of God.  We heard He could take away all of our sin and bring us into a right relationship with God the Father.  As we listened about this Jesus, it was different than all of the other religions we heard about before where it was up to our goodness and works to get us to heaven.  This Jesus said He did it all for us, not only did he take away our sins and give His life for all our bad, but in its place He gave us all His good.  All we had to do was believe on Him and ask Him to now come in and be the Lord and King of our hearts.  We felt this tugging and drawing in our hearts.  Something in us was saying, “this is right, this is true, I need to do this.”  Yet, there was a part of you that wanted hold back.  It was saying you don’t want to do this, then you will be obligated to live for this Jesus and you won’t be able to buy and sell in the marketplace of humanity like you did before.  There is a lot of good merchandise out there; are you sure you want to give all of that up?  Yet something greater rises up in you, that is greater that the reasoning of your natural mind.  Something in you says, “I need this, this is what I have really been looking for all of my life in all of these other things that never fulfilled their promise to satisfy and give me the peace and contentment I’ve been searching for so long. ”

Suddenly you make the decision and you step forward, by faith, embracing and receiving into your heart this new Savior.  It is like you stepped out of this marketplace of the world and into this sphere, this dimension, this place where the peace and love of God filled the room of your soul.  Suddenly this tremendous weight of sin and condemnation was lifted off of you, your heart and life felt clean and pure again.  You thought, I will never leave this place, this is what I have been looking and searching for.   While the brightness of that experience fills the room it is like the walls or the sides of that tent are somewhat transparent and outside of it you are aware that the former world and marketplace exist.  Over time, as you again are forced to walk and live around the marketplace, its spirit and influences begin to return with their enticing voices seeking to lure you again into its dominion and darkness.

Here is where you can lose sight of who you are and what you have become.  The Lord shows you that you were never just your own.  You were always a slave and a servant; the big difference was who your master was.  When you came through that door of salvation you, by faith, placed your self-life of sin upon that Cross with Jesus.  When it died you traded the master of sin and death for the master of righteousness and life.  Perhaps you, like most of us, are hearing voices from the grave of your old man as he may be trying to resurrect himself in your life.  On one thing you must be clear.  The life of Christ is one that is built upon His Word with absolute faith that He is true.  The sense realm of the natural man will always perceive this outer world as real.  The reality of who you are in Christ is said here in Romans 6:22-23, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: