Runaway

June 18, 2020

Runaway

Matthew 5:25

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

              Perhaps one of our greatest downfalls is not dealing with something while it is a small matter.  Given time and left to itself, what started out as something that could have been controlled or averted gets out of control and results in a destination for catastrophe. 

              When I was in my teens I was working one summer at a grain elevator during harvest.  Railroad cars would sometimes be dropped off and we would block the wheels with a 2×4 so that they would not take off.  I remember one day for some reason one of cars started rolling.  I saw it and first tried to stop it by putting a 2×4 behind the moving wheel.   It wasn’t moving fast yet, but there was enough weight and momentum that it ran over that 2×4 like a toothpick.  After a couple of attempts and seeing that this was not going to work I instinctively climbed aboard the moving car and turned the brake wheel to bring it to a stop.  Because we were able to catch the moving car and deal with the potential problem quickly there were no adverse consequences, but what if that car had kept moving and picking up speed as it went?  What if it had become a runaway train car speeding out of control?  This is much how temptations and problems that arise in our life go.  Dealt with and averted early they can usually be resolved before they become out of control and are on a crash course with disaster. 

              When we let those little sins into our life, that are small and seem quite harmless at the time, and don’t deal with them, but perhaps hide them in darkness, they have time to germinate, grow and before we know it they are out of our control.  Sometimes we don’t know how to deal with them, but we won’t get help.  We keep thinking we can handle it while in reality it continues to pick up momentum taking us down the track to judgement and growing consequences.  Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He gave this parable in Matthew 5.  Our adversary is anything, that left unchecked and dealt with, will bring us to consequences and judgements that we don’t want to face. 

Perhaps there are areas that are moving out of control in our lives today.  Take a look down the tracks and see the potential disaster this runaway train can take you too.  Deal with it quickly, before it is too late and the consequences are too great.

Blessings,

#kent

Good Souls Hiding in Ugly People

Luke 19:1-10

And [Jesus] entered and passed through Jericho And, behold, [there was] a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that [way]. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw [it], they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore [him] fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

               There are a lot of people in this world, and perhaps in some degree or another we are some of them, who are living out a life of ugliness and sin that they don’t really want to be inside.  Perhaps they have been caught up in a lifestyle, or addictions, or behaviors that they really hate in themselves, but seemed trapped and unable to change.  There are a lot of people who really don’t like who they are or the ugliness that they can manifest through their actions.  Zacchaeus was such a man.  He was the chief of the publicans or the tax collectors the most despised and hated of people among his countrymen.  He was a little man in a big position, but it wasn’t where he was happy.  He had wealth and position, but He didn’t like who he was.  He was unhappy because he was living contrary to the nature that God had intended for him.  I looked up the meaning of Zacchaeus and it means, “pure or innocent”.  Now it is not hard to see that Zacchaeus’ life was anything, but that.  He had heard everyone talking about this Jesus and the extraordinary man that He was.  Something stirred in Zacchaeus’ heart as he sought to try and see this man.  Sometimes it is hard for us to see Jesus, because our stature has become so low, but he didn’t let this detour him. Even though the crowds of people who knew and hated him tried to prevent him from pressing through he was determined that he would see Jesus.  We are often crowded out by condemnation that says we are not even worthy of seeing Jesus.  The first step in changing the ugliness of who we are is seeking higher ground.  It is in seeking a higher vantagepoint where we can see Jesus and where he can see us.  There needs to be a determination to seek out the one who can change what we hate in ourselves.  God had created Zacchaeus to have a pure and innocent nature, as He has created us, but it had become perverted through sin, greed and the world.  When Jesus passed by and looked up in that tree where Zacchaeus was hanging out, He didn’t see that ugly little chief tax collector that everyone else saw.  He saw a man that needed to be returned to the nature of who he really was, pure and innocent.  Jesus basically invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house.  Now Zacchaeus could have said no, but like many of us we so desperately want to be different and changed from what we have become into what He has created us to be, we know that we need to accept His invitation. It is our only hope.

               It was the fellowship and the communion with Jesus that transformed Zacchaeus’ heart.  After He had been with Jesus, he recognized what had been missing out of His life.  Position, power, authority were no longer the compelling issues with Zacchaeus.  He just knew he wanted to be right with God and he was gladly willing to give up or restore whatever was necessary to maintain that relationship that he found with Christ that day.  It is in the presence and relationship with Jesus that our ugliness will be transformed.  As we are conformed not to the world, but transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus, we see change.  When Jesus becomes the sole object of our communion and companionship our lives will change from the inside out.  We are always trying to change the outward things, but until the inward attitudes of the heart and soul come into spiritual alignment with God’s heavenly purpose the rest of us can’t really change. 

               If you feel like that ugly person without, not necessarily in looks, but in attitude and disposition then seek higher ground.  Jesus is looking at you and seeing the inward man of the heart, that good and precious soul that He created in His image.  Come into His presence and give your life to Him so that God, by the Holy Spirit, can transform you into who you really are.  Come to repentance and make things right with God and with others.  Today God wants to truly bring salvation into your house and into your soul.  He wants to transform that ugliness into the beauty and the purity of soul that He has created you to be.

Blessings,

#kent

Is Christ at Home?

June 1, 2020

Is Christ at Home?

1 John 3:22-24

22And we receive from Him whatever we ask, because we [watchfully] obey His orders [observe His suggestions and injunctions, follow His plan for us] and [habitually] practice what is pleasing to Him.

23And this is His order (His command, His injunction): that we should believe in (put our faith and trust in and adhere to and rely on) the name of His Son Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and that we should love one another, just as He has commanded us.

24All who keep His commandments [who obey His orders and follow His plan, live and continue to live, to stay and] abide in Him, and He in them. [They let Christ be a home to them and they are the home of Christ.] And by this we know and understand and have the proof that He [really] lives and makes His home in us: by the [Holy] Spirit Whom He has given us. (Amplified)

               What is the area that we most struggle with in living for Christ?  For most of us, generally speaking, it would probably be the area of obedience.  Why? It is because we quickly loose touch with who we are and what our mission is.  Most of us struggle with continuing to fall back in the same old ruts of selfishness and self-reliance.  It takes reliance on the Holy Spirit, submission to His discipline and a continued focus and re-focus on Christ.  The power of our life in Christ is not about us just belonging to Jesus; it is about us abiding “in Christ”.  One of the areas that distance God from us is the perspective that perceives Christ somewhere up and away from us in an invisible heaven we can’t fully relate with and us down here on earth trying to live the best we can.  What we must understand is that this is an anti-Christ or Christ separating mentality.  That is not to say that you’re of the devil if you have had that way of thinking, but it is void of power.  The power of the Christian life is in one’s identification with who they are “in Christ”, not who they are apart from Him.  Much of the theme we get from the apostle John is the importance of understanding relationship and connection with Christ.  In John 15:5-8 Jesus brings out this about abiding relationship and what it produces.   “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”  That connection, that life flow between the branches and the vine is faith and obedience.  When we look at a tree do we view it in our minds as two different things; oh, this part is the tree and this part is the branches?  No, we see it as one unit.  We understand that it has a root system, a trunk, branches, leaves and even fruit, but we don’t see them separately we see them as one because that is how they function, as one organism.  That is what Christ is.  Jesus is the source the head of His body, but we are inseparably joined to Him and part of Him by His blood and by the Spirit.  As His body, as His parts, as His branches we must operate out of His mind and not ours.  We must become attuned to “who I am in Christ”.  This is the transformation and the renewing of your mind.  All that I am in Christ, I can ascertain through His Word as it is revealed and quicken by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is that Spirit of Christ in me that is helping my life to come into conformity with His. 

As we live and abide in obedience, seeking first His will and good pleasure, then are we empowered in our prayer life.  “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. (John 15:7)” “And we receive from Him whatever we ask, because we [watchfully] obey His orders [observe His suggestions and injunctions, follow His plan for us] and [habitually] practice what is pleasing to Him. (1 John 3:22)” The line of communication and empowerment is established when we covet what God covets, when our desires and will are one with His.  Even Jesus in His earthly ministry said He did nothing apart from what the Father spoke to Him.  There was that perfect flow of faith and obedience. 

               We are the home where Christ abides.  We are His temple and His residence, as He must be ours.  If Christ isn’t at home it is because we have become disconnected in our faith, in our thinking and in our obedience.  Paul speaks in Galatians 2:20 what must be the theme of our lives, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  We must become comfortable within the skin of who we are in Christ.  He is our home, our power, and our life; “in Him we live and move and have our being.”  Ephesians 4:17 says,” So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.”  We must come out of the futility of our thinking where we continue to view ourselves apart from Christ.  ‘What God has joined let no man put asunder.’  We are one body and one flesh.  Is Christ at home in you and you in Him?

Blessings,

#kent

Pray for One Another

May 4, 2020

 

Pray for One Another

 

James 5:16

Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

One of the most tremendous assets we have as a believer, functioning in the body of Christ, is each other.  Because Christ is in us and His power and grace can flow through us, there is a wealth of blessing, power and grace to be found in one another.  Each of us has different gifts and ministries that can help in different areas and situations in our lives.  Each of us has the power and the access to the throne of God to pray and intercede for others.

Yesterday, it struck me, as I had the privilege of sharing with several of my brothers and sisters, the fellowship and ministry we can have on different levels with others.  What a blessing to have them share with me about how they stand in a place of intercession and prayer for us and how they are standing in a place of faith, believing God not just for themselves, but for us as well.  It was wonderful to share the words of life with a brother over breakfast and talk about the things God is doing in our lives, our families and our careers.  We were able to break the Bread of Life and share in a real and personal way, not just our successes, but also our struggles and our weaknesses.  Through that exchange we could know better how to pray for one another.  We all go through our struggles in life, but sometimes there is just encouragement with others who empathize from a position of like struggles.  You end up building each other up in faith and confidence in God.

Some believers you may relate with on a less spiritual level, but nevertheless you, break bread together, share fellowship, friendship with and are blessed in the communion you have with them.  Still others target you in their prayers, intercede for you and call just to encourage and build you up.

It made me think, do we really tap into the resource we have in each other?  Is each of us ministering and effecting the lives, not only of non-believers, but the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ?  When we have those that we are investing our life, time and prayers into and they are doing the same for us, we mutually garden each others spiritual lives.  We have accountability to one another that helps us not to stray off into sin.  We need others to help balance us and us them.  We have a communion of body life where we are not just looking to one man to feed us and teach us, but we are actively ministering, teaching, exhorting, encouraging and praying for one another.  We are gathering and eating the manna and revelation that God is personally speaking into our lives through our time spent with Him and in turn we feed one another from that same manna.

This is a concept some may practice and experience more than others, but certainly one that we all need to be involved in.  Many or our churches are large and while we might be blessed in corporate worship and teaching, we need those daily interactions with our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us all live more productively and faithfully to Christ.  When we have that love of Christ in our hearts for one another, when there is sensitivity in our spirits to the needs of our brethren, then we can be unique and diversified channels of various blessings into their lives.   Perhaps our greatest downfall is that we tend to like to do our work and then hibernate in our own ceiled houses.  We become guilty of what the prophet Haggai said in Haggai 1:2-5, “2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ ”

3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.””  Don’t we often rob God and His people because we are content to do our own thing while the house of God lies in ruin?  What is worse is that we are robbing ourselves and our very lack may be do to the fact that we aren’t the channels of God’s blessing that we are to be in God’s house.  We know that God’s house is a people and not a building.  1Peter 2:5 says, ” Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” How much stronger could God’s house be and how much greater could it be built up if we are all are faithful to invest in one another’s lives.   Are we fulfilling our calling of ministry to impart our gifts, our lives and prayers into one another?  The body of Christ must be strong and living the standard of God’s righteousness, so that we can be a light in the world and have lives seasoned with salt.  That can start by us having the willingness and the commitment to invest in one another.  This is the way a truely healthy body functions.  Bless somebody’s life today, be their answer to prayer or even pray on their behalf.  We need the Christ in one another.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Reception, Perception and Installation

 

Matthew 13:14-17

And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them].

 

We are a very blessed people in this nation.  We are rich and wealthy in many things.  One of the things we are wealthy in, is the rich knowledge and understanding we have of the Word of God.  We think of places like China and countries where the Bible has been outlawed and how hungry the saints of God there are for a fraction of what we have and take for granted.  My concern is the responsibility for what I do know and understand.

The nation of Israel was not so different.  They had the law and the prophets.  They were the richest nation on earth concerning spiritual knowledge and understanding of who God is.  They were the source of true spiritual life to the nations.  Unfortunately, here is Christ in there very midst and they don’t even perceive Him for who He is.

When we talk about reception, we talk about taking in or receiving something.  Many of us have taken in spiritual information over a great deal of our lives; some of us not near so long.  What are we doing with what we receive?  Do we use it to condemn and judge others who don’t have what we have?  Do we simply retain this knowledge in our hearts and minds, but it is having no real affect in changing our lives?  Israel, like many of us, learned to go through all of the spiritual and religious motions of honoring God and keeping ceremony, but what happened to their spiritual senses and the application of the life changing principles that they had knowledge of?

I become concerned when I look at my life and think, am I just talking about these things of God, passing on what He has made known and real to me, but not really installing them into every aspect of my own life.  Often I don’t perceive these principles manifest in my personal walk as I know they ought to be.  If I know them, then I can’t claim ignorance.  I am without excuse.  This is where I find that knowledge alone is not enough.  What I know and what I live can be two totally different things.  If what I hear and know and see doesn’t affect a heart change then I may be puffed up with knowledge, but void true spiritual life.  Jesus didn’t come just to give us more information about who God is; He came to be the life changing information that can transform you and me from the hopeless lost individuals that we were into the sons and daughters of the Most High God, bearing His standard and nature.  The Lord has given us His Holy Spirit to take this information and put His finger on the areas of our heart that need change and transformation.  We can bow our necks as Israel is indited of doing here, dulling our spiritual senses so that while there may be knowledge, there is no true revelation and change taking place in our hearts.  Thus, we continue our walk through life projecting a spiritual and religious front, while inwardly we are void of true Spirit and Life.

Do we all have doubts and questionings at times about God and our faith, of course we do.  If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be walking by faith.  It is “the knowing” that Christ has placed in our hearts, that continues to raise a standard of confidence against such doubts.  We can’t say we always understand why things are as they are, or happen as they happen, but we have an assurance in our hearts that God is God and forever sets upon the throne having dominion over all things.  In that confidence we rest knowing that nothing can separate us from His love.

The installation of that which we spiritually perceive and understand is a lifelong and continual process.  Our greatest danger is falling into complacency and apathy along the way.  We must never take our spiritual relationship with Christ for granted.  Like our marriages, it needs continual nurturing, fellowship, relationship and commitment.   Otherwise it will be said of us, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

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

 

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

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

Trust

January 29, 2020

 

Trust

 

Proverbs 3:5-8

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.   In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

 

Trust is the sense of confidence in that which we don’t fully know and understand.  In everyday life we put our trust in many things and never give it a second thought.  We trust our utilities will work, our car will take us where we want to go, an elevator will take us to the highest floor of a building and numerous other examples where trust is an everyday occurrence of our lives.  While we trust in so many things that man has made and even in the works of our own hands, we so often shrink back from trusting God?

I found it interesting that as I looked over the scriptures on trust, in a number of them it referred to God as a buckler, a shield, a mighty fortress.  “But [it is] good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. (Psalms 73:28)”  “I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (Psalms 91:2)”  “O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he [is] their help and their shield. (Psalms 115:9)” The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower. (Psalms 18:2)”  “[As for] God, his way [is] perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he [is] a buckler to all those that trust in him. (Psalms 18:30)” We begin to get a picture of how great our God is to defend those who trust Him.  Trust is simply the exercise of faith.  Faith is described in Ephesians 6:16 as a part of the believers armor designed for his defense, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”

Some of us get the idea that because we are Christians and God loves us, He should just make our life bliss and take away all of our trials and troubles.  Some of us get discouraged when we begin to try and really walk in the things of God and find ourselves spiritually assaulted and so many natural things seem to start to come against us.  Our mighty God does not want to raise up a bunch of wimpy whiney children.  He is raising up a company and army of saints that have their hands trained in spiritual warfare, who know how to put on and apply their spiritual armor.  One of the foundational keys to overcoming and victory is “trust in God”.  It often takes a lot of repetitious exercise to train us not to trust in ourselves or in the arm of the flesh, but to trust in God.  Psalms118:8 instructs us, “[It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”  Fear and unbelief are the natural enemies of faith and trust.  What makes trust hard for us is the fact that it causes us to step out of the comfort zone of having control and being safe in what we know, what we can see naturally and understand.  When we step out in full faith and confidence in God, it is often like jumping off a cliff. It is like a bird falling from the nest with untried and unproven wings.  That bird will never know to what heights he can soar until he first begins to flap and prove those wings that they will bear him up and not allow him to crash.  Deuteronomy 32:11-13 gives us a picture of this concerning the people of God, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:  [So] the LORD alone did lead him, and [there was] no strange god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.”

Our Father is taking us to places and heights we have not been before.  In order to go there we must trust Him.  Often that requires us to lay aside the security of our natural man as we partake of the adventure of faith.  Those who truly live in faith are never bored with life because they are on the cutting edge of what God is unfolding new and fresh in their lives everyday.  Trust is the challenge to overcome our fears, reservations and phobia.  It is God’s frontier and we are called of Him to come in and possess the land.  “Trust in God” is what pleases Him and moves His hand on our behalf.

Blessings,

#kent

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