God’s Good Pleasure

June 4, 2020

God’s Good Pleasure

Philippians 2:12-13

 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure

Aren’t you glad that it is God that puts His desires in our hearts and gives us the abilities to carry them out?  I know the heart of my natural man and it is deceitfully wicked.  It won’t choose God’s ways; it will choose the ways of selfishness and follow after it’s own desires and feelings.  There is no enemy of my soul greater than my own self.  That is why I make this scripture a continual part of my prayer life.  “God, put within me and work within me the will and the do of your good pleasure.”  That is the cry of the spirit man within me.  I know that without God’s Holy Spirit at work in me I can do nothing and I would be doomed to failure, because I can’t produce His life and His nature, but I can submit in obedience to the Holy Spirit, even as He strengthens and helps me.  I can desire and cry out for the Holy Spirit’s help and strength in my weakness. 

               Paul says in Philippians 12:13, “work out own your salvation with fear and trembling.”  What do you mean work out my own salvation?  I thought that got worked out when I asked Christ into my heart?  He would probably say, ‘no, that was just where it began.’  You didn’t come to full adulthood when you were born; it was a process of time and growth.  Likewise, we don’t fully appear in the image of God when we are born again, but it is a process of maturing and being conformed to the image of Christ, spirit, soul and body. 1Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 8 is a great chapter to read to better understand this process.   

               The key I believe the Lord would have us grasp here is that He has began a good work in us and He will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).   Like the loving Father and parent that He is, He is changing us and exchanging our old heart of stone for a heart of flesh with His laws written upon it.  Our joy is in submission and obedience.  Our transformation takes place much quicker with an attitude of humility and brokeness.   We find the desire to will and to do God’s good pleasure is so much more real and close to our hearts as we seek that place of intimate fellowship and relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit.  In that place He truly becomes that desire of our hearts.

               May God grant each of us, each and every day, to will and to do His good pleasure.

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

Core Values

April 30, 2020

 

Core Values

 

Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

 

There are those time of introspection when we look at our lives and evaluate what they have meant, what we have accomplished and where we are in relation to the values we place on our lives.  Some of us can be very proud of what we have accomplished in the world with regards to success.  Many of us are mediocre, having done moderately well, and others of us may feel and see our lives as failures or falling short of what we hoped and dreamed.  We can be either encouraged or discouraged by what we see as success in our lives.  Most of us who are in Christ know that, when all is said and done, it won’t be earthly success or failure that determines the worth and value of our lives.  What it comes down to is the core values of what kind of a relationship did we have with our God and how was that lived out in relationship with others.  In modern day, many of us can look at an individual such as Mother Teresa and admire the epitome of self-sacrifice, love for her fellow man and dedication to her God.  She demonstrated through her life the core values of what life had come to mean to her and yet, by the world standards of success, she was poor.  Her reputation came not from self-promotion, but from the extreme example of her piety and godly life.

The focus of all that we discuss and talk about here is centered in what our core values are and how we are living them out in our lives.  The hope is, that even if I am a failure by the world’s standards, I can still be of great success by God’s standards, but for that to happen He has to be at the forefront of all that I am and the motivation and direction of all that I do.

We used to see the bumper sticker a lot that said, “God is my copilot”.  Quite honestly, that is true of most of us as Christians.  We take God along for the ride to wherever we decide we are going.  We ask His assistance, guidance and blessing, but we don’t really relinquish the control of our life entirely to Him.  He is just there to help us out.  When we ever come to that place where He is truly the pilot of our lives, then we take the supportive role as we endeavor to move and live according to His direction and plan for us.  We know that God is well able to always reach His destination, but with us it may well be questionable.

After walking us through the many lives and examples of men and women of faith, Hebrews 12:1-3 starts out by giving us a strong exhortation.  “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”  We have to keep our core values central in our lives and pursue them with all our hearts.  Christ in us, is like our heart to the natural man.  Through careless living it can become clogged and restricted with fat and plaque, restricting the life flow through our spiritual man.  Many of have heart disease today, because we have misplaced our core values.  Paul defined our core value well when he made the statement 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.”  Can we make this statement along with Paul?  Are we living successfully our core values?

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

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

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

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

 

Building Blocks of Fulfilling God’s Purpose

 

2 Timothy 1:8-10

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel

 

Back in the times of the gold rush there were a few men that discovered gold just lying on the surface of the ground or in the water.  Word spread that you could become rich and all that you had to do was just pick it up.  It was just there for the taking.  Men would come from far and wide with the idea of getting rich quick.  They would leave behind all that had been important to them before to come and pursue the gold.  They caught a vision and they believed in a dream.  Some did find the riches that they sought, some met with limited success and many found nothing at all.

When God revealed Himself in His Son Jesus Christ and manifested the riches of His glory in human flesh.  Men saw the gold of God revealed.   God had given nuggets and revelations of His gold throughout the ages that led up to Christ, but now His gold is revealed as He fully unveils His purpose of salvation through faith in His Son.  Suddenly it begins to become apparent that we can become partakers of the riches of an inheritance in Christ Jesus.  Jesus, and His disciples that followed, laid out the way and the plan for us to become rich.  We have the treasure map of those riches laid out for us in the Word of God.  Many embraced Christ thinking that it was the quick way to having all of their needs met and realizing heaven on earth.  Many have become disillusioned because Christianity wasn’t the quick fix to all their problems, wants and needs.  While the Lord has revealed some nuggets and gold on the surface and has given us the earnest of our inheritance and riches through the Holy Spirit, the greatest treasure realized is through a lifetime of mining into the vein of God’s nature and purpose.

Some of us may have thought that in a few short years we were going to walk into the fullness of Christ and do all that He did.  It is not to say that God can’t and won’t do that through some people, but time isn’t as important an element to God as it is to us.  What most of us come to find, is that the nuggets of God’s truth and purpose need to mined and sought after one day at a time.

A purpose is made up of a reason and goal in mind.  God’s purpose is to apprehend us for His family and for His glory.  Our purpose is to apprehend Him that we might lay hold of a transformed life and be partakers of His divine nature.  Our purpose and goal are met through a lifetime of building blocks; each day is a process and a development into God’s purpose.  Sometimes we may feel there is more tearing down going on in our lives than building up, but sometimes for God’s purposes to be realized the old has to be done away with so that the new can take its place.

The important thing about purpose is to never loose the vision of what your purpose is.  Ephesians 1: 3-14 is one passage the lays out for us God’s purpose. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

You and I may not find ourselves possessing in outward manifestation all the fullness of Christ that we had hoped would be evident by this time in our lives and in our walk with the Lord, but don’t despair.  The important thing is that we run the race well, staying on course and keeping the finish line in sight.  Even if our expectations haven’t been met, it doesn’t mean that His have been thwarted.  Purpose is fulfilled in faithfully living out one day at a time, through His grace and strength, lives that are yielded to God’s purpose.  It as Paul says in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Never loose your vision and never forget your purpose.  Everyday that you walk in the faith of Christ Jesus your purpose is being fulfilled.

Blessings,

#kent

Green Pastures

November 21, 2019

 

Green Pastures

 

Psalms 23:2

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 

There is a place in the Lord where He is leading us and causing us to rest.  It is the green pastures of His rest.  There He causes us to lie down as we feed upon His life and truth.  There He keeps us safely under His watchful eye.

Some of us are still searching for this green pasture.  It seems all we have known is the wilderness, living from blade of grass to blade of grass, thirsting for the waters of life.   Our outlook and attitude is usually dim and pessimistic as we trudge on, one foot in front of the other.

It is interesting that the children of Israel were not so unlike a great flock of sheep whom the Lord brought out of Egypt.  Often they were so taken by their circumstances and what they saw as their lack that they failed to recognize, acknowledge and reverence the hand of the Great Shepherd that was over them.  When God does not meet our need in the way and time frame of our thinking our first inclination is to begin to murmur and complain.  Our minds become filled with the thoughts that God is not faithful.  ‘He has led us out here to let us die.  We should have never trusted Him.  We should have stayed where we were; at least there in Egypt or the world, we knew what we had.’  Perhaps God has you and I in that place today where, like the children of Israel, He is proving what is in our hearts.   In Exodus 15, after a mighty deliverance, God led the people of Israel to the waters of Marah.  The waters were bitter and the people could not drink.  Have we ever tried to trust God through a situation and it seemed that He had led us to a place where we worse off than before and everything seemed to be against us?  Instead of His blessing, it may have seemed we had been cursed.  Perhaps these are our waters of Marah or bitterness where He is proving what is in our hearts.  Exodus 15:25, says, “And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, [which] when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.” Can we find the rest of His green pastures even in those times of trial and testing?  Can we find the pools of still water in the midst of the turbulent rapids that are swirling around our lives?  Do we get anxious and panic?   Do we get angry, frustrated and murmur against God, because it appears He has forsaken us and failed us in our time of need.  Those are the places where He wants us to find the green pastures of His rest.   Calvary provides the only tree that can make the waters sweet again.  Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”  Those green pastures speak of His life.  That is the substance of what we must feed from? Isn’t it His Word and His Truth?

When we go out to buy a used car won’t we walk around it, look it over real good, kick the tires and test drive it?  We are testing it for integrity and service.  We want to know that it is reliable and won’t fail us in our time of need and dependency.  God often proves our faith the same way.  He is not just looking at the paint job and the high gloss wax; He is proving the inward parts.  He wants to know the overall integrity and faithfulness of our hearts.  Not only does He want to know, but also more importantly we need to know who we are in Him.  It is through our travels of faith in Him, He often leads us to these waters of Marah or bitterness, where we are tested, but oh how sweet it is when we finally pass the test.  When we hold fast to His Word and His promise through the time of testing and trial and then we see His deliverance and provision.  It is in those times that we experience the green pastures of our rest where we have just laid down in Him, where we have snuggled up in His faithful arms and just declared God, you are God in my circumstances.  No matter what happens, You change not, You are no less God and You are no less faithful.

Perhaps the green pastures of His rest are there, but with our natural eyes all we are seeing is desolation and wilderness.  Faith is what leads us into those green pastures where we lie down beside the still waters, because our rest and our completion are in Him and not in us or the world around us.   Psalm 23:3-6 goes on to say, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Our security and our rest are not in this world or in our circumstances, but only in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

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