Restoration

August 16, 2017

Jeremiah 31:18-20

“I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined.

Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God. 19 After I strayed, I repented;

after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

20 Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.

Restoration

Ephraim, for point of reference, was the younger one of the two sons of Joseph.  Jacob blessed him and his older brother Manasseh and the two were counted as one of the tribes of Israel.  Ephraim, though, he was the younger, Jacob blessed as the older, declaring that in him Israel would be blessed (Genesis 48).  Ephraim is often used as a name synonymous with Israel.  Jeremiah speaks this passage toward the end of Israel’s captivity in Babylon as they look forward to a time of freedom and restoration. 

It is the loving discipline of the Father that prevents us from reaping our own destruction.  If God tears down and destroys, He does it for the purpose of discipline, cleansing and restoration.  God’s discipline deals with the unruliness of our hearts as they stray from Him and forget His precepts and His ways.  It is God’s discipline that leads us to repentance and repentance leads us to restoration of fellowship and relationship lost through our sin and rebellion. 

God dealt very harshly with His nation Israel.  He allowed the destruction of their country, of their city, Jerusalem and even the glorious temple, which Solomon had built.  God will destroy the flesh, so that He may preserve the spirit.  Even in God’s anger, His love runs deep for His people.  We can readily see that in Jeremiah 31: 20 as God says, “Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.” 

God’s heart is for us even when we have sinned and turned away from Him.  He ever abides faithful, even when we have been faithless.  Hebrews 12:4-12 is such a rich encouragement to us as God’s children that God disciplines us out of His love and not His anger.  “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”  Many of us are already in a place of discipline or soon will be.  Judgement begins at the house of God.  God is disciplining and judging us so that His house may be in order before He judges the world.  It is our discipline and godly correction that will prepare our hearts and lives for a great ingathering of souls into the kingdom.  We are His sons and as much as Papa loves us, He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.  Let us faint not or feel condemned of the Lord.  God is dealing, exposing and judging us so that our repentance will lead us to a restoration into the fullness of His purpose and plan for our lives.  Father is all about our restoration and not our destruction, but sometimes old things have to be torn down that better things might be built.  If you are undergoing urban renewal in your life then rejoice, for the Father is at work in you to do His good will and pleasure.  You are the son of His love and the product of His restoration and grace.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Tell Them I Am Coming!

August 14, 2017

Tell Them I Am Coming!

2 Thessalonians 1:4-12

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Blessings,

#kent

Pattern Son

August 2, 2017

Pattern Son

Hebrews 8:5

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, [that] thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

When you look around you today what do you see, but never really think about?  Do you ever think about how we live in a world of patterns?  The tile, the carpet, the wall paper, the china, the cars, the houses, the appliances and on and on it goes.  Most of the things that surround our world are made from an original pattern and template.  What started as an original design is then reproduced in the same image as its original many times over. 

When God took Moses up on the mount it says that He gave Moses a plan, a blueprint, a template and a pattern of exactly what the tabernacle was to contain and how it was to be built down to the intricate details.  God then exhorted Moses to make it according to the pattern that He showed Him.  He wasn’t to deviate from that pattern at all.  Most all of us now know and have seen how this earthly tabernacle was a parallel to the spiritual tabernacle and how in every detail it spoke of Christ in some way.  

God has an original Son who is His pattern for us today.  What the pattern of the tabernacle foreshadowed, Christ came to fulfill.  In doing so He exemplified the pattern and template to which we all, as believers in Him, are to be conformed.  Christ walked out a life in this earth that demonstrated before us the divine expression and personality of God in fleshly form.  Jesus was someone we could touch, feel, see and wrap our natural as well as our spiritual minds around.  We could see how He responded to the daily pressures and demands of life.  We could see the relationship He had and maintained with the Father.  We could see how His life was a channel and conduit from heaven through which the power and love of God could flow into His humanity.  Again, God has given us a pattern after which to build our spiritual house and tabernacle.  Why do we want to spend so much time in God’s Word? Isn’t it because it contains all the details of how our spiritual house is to be built and how it is to function in this world? 

A pattern repeats itself.  When the ladies or men make a garment they are using a pattern or template to repeat and replicate the original design.  As we grow and follow Christ, in effect, our lives become a pattern which, other younger and less experienced ones are looking too in order to comprehend and help them be like the original.  How do children grow up and learn how to be adults and function in an adult world?  Their parents serve as the patterns for them to follow, mirror and learn the ways of adulthood.  They can only teach and bring their children to level they are at and then they must look to another more mature and experienced to take them further.  The apostle Paul acted as a spiritual parent to the early churches and to us to be an exsample of the life of Christ.  He says in 1 Timothy 1:16, “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”  In Titus 2:7 Paul exhorts Titus, who he describes as like his own son in the common faith, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine [shewing] uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”  Discipleship is about reproducing the life and example of Christ in others in order that they may grow up being conformed to Christ likeness.  In Luke 6:40 Jesus tells his disciples, “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.”  The word perfect in this passage carries the connotation of being mature.  We will never be above Christ, but it is God’s will and desire that we are conformed to be like Him.  We are without excuse in that we have the Word of God for a pattern; we have the lives of Christ and the apostles to see how a Christ life is to be lived out.  We have godly men, whom the Spirit has raised up to be examples to us in our Christian living and to whom He has placed in them His anointing and ministry to help the body of Christ to grow up in the unity of the faith.  Ephesians 4:11 tells us, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” May it be our purpose in life and daily living to become conformed to our Pattern Son, Christ Jesus.   Our purpose is that in all of our ways we might ‘come in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’.

 

Blessings,

#kent

More Precious than Gold

July 14, 2017

Psalms 19:7-14

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.

The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.

The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. 11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

More Precious than Gold

All of the keys of the kingdom are found in the King’s book.   His law, statutes, precepts, commands, the fear of the Lord and His ordinances.  All these things He has provided us that through them and His promises we might become partakers of the divine nature. 

Many of us know the value of education.  We have been taught from our youth up that it is education that will help you to get ahead in life and make you successful.   Knowledge alone is not what makes you successful, it is the proper application of the knowledge gained that gives you value in the marketplace.  Education only has value when it is acquired and applied.  This same principle holds true concerning these precepts that God has given to us.  As Christians they are all around us.  We hear them in church, we read them in the Word, we hear them through God’s people and we hear the Spirit speaking them into our heart, but do we have ownership of them?  I can be the most educated of men and still be a fool, because a fool is one who doesn’t apply knowledge.  Wisdom is only seen in those who apply wisdom.  The Father is giving us His wisdom here in these scriptures and is telling us these are more precious than gold, than even pure gold.  They are sweeter than honey straight from the honeycomb.  They are able to make you wise unto salvation.  Apply them and they will richly reward you.  Know them, neglect them and they will bear testimony against you.  You will be as the servant who buried his talent.  These precepts only have value and give increase when they are applied, practiced and used to put on the mind of Christ and carry out His will and purpose through you.  The knowledge of these precepts gives us warning, but in the keeping of them there is great reward. 

It is these precepts that show us the error of our ways.  It is the blood of Christ that can forgive our hidden faults as we openly confess them.  Often it is our willful sins that are the strongholds that we allow to rule over us. 

“Lord keep us from our willful sin that the precepts of your Word, statues, laws, commands, ordinances and the fear of You might be what rules and establishes our hearts and lives in righteousness.  If you cleanse us then are we clean indeed.  Make us blameless before you and innocent of great transgression.   May the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing and acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  Amen.”

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Well

July 10, 2017

John 4:8-17

So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” 15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” 28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

The Well

This morning as I was praying I envisioned an open well with a pulley hung over the center of it.  Through the pulley was a rope on one end of the rope was a rock tied on to it for a counterweight, but on the other end was a wet rock tied to where a bucket should have been attached.  As I pondered this, I thought of this Samaritan woman coming to this same well everyday to collect water that never satisfied, but always left her empty and coming back for more.  She came in the sixth hour, which speaks of man and his works. 

I think about how many times we go through life doing the same thing over and over again with the same results.  We have our religion, our routines, our secrets, our sins, our same old way of being.  Are we like that wet rock that I saw that keeps being lowered into the well, but has no capacity or ability to take within itself the life of the water, it only comes up wet?  It is the same as the one tied on the other end.  The rock is like our flesh and our soul, it can assist us in getting where we need to go, but it can never be the substance of life that will fill us and transform us.

After this woman had met Jesus and He had spoken to her heart about who she truly was and what He had for her.  He told her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  I wonder sometimes, “which well am I still drinking from?”  Am I still coming up empty and unsatisfied?  I have access to a water with which I will never thirst again, but if I am still thirsty then maybe it isn’t the water that is the problem, but what I am trying to collect it with.  Flesh will never beget Spirit, only Spirit can beget Spirit.  Maybe I need to trade out that rock for a spiritual bucket called faith, trust and obedience. 

After this Samaritan woman had spoken with Jesus it says she left her water pot and went into the city to share the news about Jesus.  I have a feeling that leaving your water pot is not something that you normally did.  The difference in this woman is that she got a revelation of who the real water of life was and she realized that the old water pot isn’t what she needed anymore.  It was the Christ that she now had drank from and that satisfied her soul till she was overflowing to share the wonderful news of the Messiah. 

The second thing that I saw or envisioned was a man with one hand tied to the rope where the bucket was normally tied, as he was lowered down into the well and in his other hand a large water pot.  I saw him being lowered into the well to draw from the deep waters and the cool water that it contained.  He had to become completely emerged in that water and he was a part of that means of collecting the water to bring it up and give it to those who thirst. 

God is speaking to our hearts to leave our old water pots, our old ways of doing things that continue to yield the same results.  Through Christ we are a container of His life.  We are a part of the distribution system of His grace and mercy.  We are the priest and the ministers of His salvation.  It is only new wineskins that can contain the new wine.  Leave your old water pots.  Cease from being a wet rock and begin to open up your spirit so that the Lord may enlarge your spirit to better contain and release Him. 

This woman was concerned about the right place to worship God.  Jesus was revealing to her that it isn’t so much the place, it is the attitude of worship with which you come before the Father.  He is looking for those that will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.  Those are the vessels that He desires to fill and make the fountains of His life.  Discard the old and renew your minds in the mind of Christ.  See your world through His eyes and with His heart.  Allow the Spirit to be the means with which you address your world rather than your flesh and your soul.  Envision yourself lost in Him.  You are simply the vessel of His life and presence.  Allow Him to increase your capacity, fill you and overflow with the life of God toward others around you.  He has called us to be the fountains of living water.   

 

Blessings,

#kent

Having the Same Mind

July 3, 2017

Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.

Having the Same Mind

I’m not sure any other married couples experience this, but I find that Sharon and I often don’t think alike.  Sometimes we’ve even wondered why the Lord put us together when we think so differently.  What makes practical and logical sense in my world is often totally foreign to what her thoughts are on the same subject.  Now it is not really about who is right or wrong, because everyone has their own perspective.  The important issue is how do we come to one mind in a matter? Just because we can have things the way we want them to be doesn’t mean that we are going to be happy because we do.  There is more to consider here than just me.  As I was thinking upon the ways I want to be a better husband the principle came to me this morning, “Remember that in pleasing a woman it is not thinking how you think, but thinking how she thinks.”  That can be kind of foreign to us guys, so it is something that we have to become sensitive too.  The reason we want to please our woman is first of all because we love her and second of all, a happy wife makes for a happy life.

The good thing about Sharon is that she is very honest and straightforward to let me know how she thinks or feels about something.  That is good for a slow-witted guy like me, because even at that I am often slow to get the message.  A lot of women often will say one thing with their mouth while feeling another way in their heart.  They think that he will somehow know how I really feel or what I really want and do it.  Then when he takes you at your word, he finds that you are upset and angry and he is not even sure what has done wrong.  Ladies, most of guys are kind of slow on some things that pertain to female logic.  Help us out by being honest about what you want. 

Let’s make a spiritual application to these principles. The Bible says that we don’t think as God thinks.  Romans 8:6-7 says, “The way a sinful person thinks leads to death. But the mind controlled by the Spirit brings life and peace. 7 The sinful mind is at war with God. It does not obey God’s law. It can’t. 8 Those who are controlled by their sinful nature can’t please God.”  We know that the natural minded thinking is not pleasing to God and when He called us unto Himself, He called us to change our mind to His way of thinking.  Now God’s way of thinking is in conformity and obedience to His Word of instruction and to listening and obeying the Holy Spirit within us.  It is the spiritual mind, which is pleasing to God.  That mind operates out of a faith that trusts in Him.  Romans 12:2 tells us, “Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.” 

Many of us still maintain a duality of thinking and being.  Often we give lip service to the Lord, saying all of the right spiritual words, but our hearts are not with Him.  They are set upon our own affections and desires.  We are still of our own mind.  We are as Proverbs 23:7 says, “7For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”  We say one thing outwardly, but in our hearts we feel another way.  The man in Christ must swallow up in ‘Life” that which the man in Adam lost in death.  Only by walking, thinking and being in Life can the Life swallow up the death that has corrupted our thinking and is in opposition to God.  In everything that we are and are becoming, we must have one mind.  Our mind is the mind of Christ, because we are in Him and the cross is at work crucifying that which is not in conformity with His Life.  Colossians 1:21-23 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” 

Our mind and our will are our own.  We can maintain and keep our old way of thinking, but it alienates us from the choice we made in Christ.  We can never have the full peace and blessing of God outside of our obedience to Him and the conformity of our minds to His.   We can’t have the glory without the cross.  They go together.  Our objective is to have the same mind as Christ.  Philippians 2:5-10 sums it up this way, “Think as Christ Jesus thought. 6 Jesus has always been as God is. But He did not hold to His rights as God. 7 He put aside everything that belonged to Him and made Himself the same as a servant who is owned by someone. He became human by being born as a man. 8 After He became a man, He gave up His important place and obeyed by dying on a cross. 9 Because of this, God lifted Jesus high above everything else. He gave Him a name that is greater than any other name. 10 So when the name of Jesus is spoken, everyone in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow down before Him. 11 And every tongue will say Jesus Christ is Lord. Everyone will give honor to God the Father.”  Aren’t you glad that you are loosing your mind? 

 

Bessings,

#kent

The Power of Touch

June 19, 2017

 

The Power of Touch

Luke 6:19

And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed [them] all.

What is contained in this sense we call touch?  We could make the argument that it was touch that actually caused mankind to die.  In Genesis 3:3 God told Adam and Eve, “’You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” Touch is a powerful thing both in a positive and negative sense.  Through the power of touch we can communicate life and death, healing and wounding, love and hate.  Touch is a sense that both gives and receives.  Touch also carries with it the connotation of how we affect others and how they affect us.  So we can actually touch or be touched without ever physically contacting another person. 

God knows the power of touch and because of that He set boundaries on the things we should not touch.  In these situations, to reach out and touch what God had prohibited could result in death, or in being unclean.  God has commanded us not to touch the things that would result in defilement and negative consequences.  Because of the nature and freewill of man, we have not always obeyed the Lord concerning these things and now we live with death and the consequences of our sin, disobedience and defilement. 

Christ had a ministry of touch.  He first touched this world when He created it through the spoken Word of the Father.  Still nothing has touched humanity more profoundly and eternally than when Christ came forth in the earth in Jesus.  This was like God’s personal loving touch upon the face of all flesh.  In Jesus we saw the manifest nature and purpose of God come among us.  We came to know and understand God in a more personal way than perhaps we ever had.  As Jesus began His ministry we saw Him healing and changing lives by the touch of His hand, but then we saw a little afflicted woman who said to herself, “if I can just touch the hem of His garment I know I will be healed.”  So it was that she reached out in faith and touched His garment she was healed.  After that people weren’t waiting for Jesus to just touch them, they were seeking the opportunity to touch Jesus for their need.  There are many people today that want to touch Jesus in a real and personal way. 

When God gave the commandment in the Garden not to touch or eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, disobedience to that command brought death into all of humanity.  When Jesus lived out the obedience to the Father, the sin of humanity nailed Him to an old rugged cross on Calvary.  That old rugged cross has become to mankind the tree of life and restoration back to relationship with our God.  If we desire life, salvation, healing and restoration we need to first come and first partake of that tree of life at Calvary, touching and laying hold of Christ in faith. 

Colossians 2 tells us that if we have come to Calvary we have also died to the rudiments and elements of this world.  We are no longer bound by the ordinances of taste not, touch not, handle not which all are to perish with the using after the commandments and doctrines of men.  We have now been touched and infected with His very Life.  Disease spreads to destroy and bring death, but the Life of Christ grows and spreads within us to bring life out of death.  In that embrace with Calvary we have touched heaven.  With our one hand touching heaven the Lord has told us to reach back with the other hand and touch earth.  Become the touch of Christ to those the Lord places within your life.  Be the channel and the hand of the Almighty to touch and communicate God’s love and grace to the world you live and exist in.  You are like the hem of the Lord’s garment, as people begin to see the power and love of Christ issuing from your life they will seek you as point of contact to help them receive what they need from the Lord.  Never underestimate the power of touch.  God wants to touch lives through you every day.  Are we a willing and supple hand, willing to stretch forth and offer life to all that we are with?  Touch someone’s life today with the power of the endless life that dwells within you.

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Potter’s Wheel

June 14, 2017

The Potter’s Wheel

Jeremiah 18:3-4

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make [it].

Today we are on the Potter’s wheel and He is shaping and molding our vessels.  Now there are many kinds of vessels.   The pot doesn’t tell the potter how to make it.  Romans 9:20-24 says,  “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour.

[What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”  While the Potter has power over the clay to shape it as He will, He has also given properties to the clay that can help determine the quality and purpose of the vessel.  2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  We see that the Lord’s heart is not for men to perish or to be cast off.  He has made this abundantly clear through sending His Son to reconcile us back to Himself so that He might form us into the vessels of honor that would glorify His name.  The reality is, not all will turn to the Lord.  Because we have a will we can harden our hearts against the Lord and choose to go our own way, forsaking His salvation or we can turn to Him, repent and be partakers of His salvation.   

In order to make fine pottery you need fine clay.  It has to be one that is free of all rocks and debris so that it will not be marred as it turns in the potter’s hands.  Now there can be vessels made that can serve a purpose that is not as pure, but they will not find their way into the place of the honored vessels.  The principle is that the finer and more pure the clay or the raw material the finer and more honorable the vessel that can be made.  If our hearts are reflective of the quality of the clay, selfishness and willful sin are the impurities that create the mars and flaws in our vessel that the Potter is shaping.  1 Timothy 2:19-21 says this, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work.” 

What kind of vessel are we becoming in the Father’s house today?  We don’t have control of how He has made us, but the Word implies that we do have input into the type of vessel that we can be, one of honor or one of dishonor.  If we want that place of honor, then the Lord is calling us to purity, to depart from all iniquity and to come to Him with a repentant heart that He might repair and remove all of the mars and blemishes that we have created through our sin and rebellion.  We must provide the Potter the right materials in our lives so that He can fashion a vessel of honor for His glory and for His house.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Alive

June 6, 2017

Romans 6:8-14

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Alive

How many of us are alive in Christ today?  I don’t mean going through the religious motions of Christianity, but are experiencing daily the quickening life of a resurrection Christ?  The scriptures use the analogy of life and death in a spiritual sense.  Death, spiritual death, is descriptive of our life before we died to death. 

Some may think, what do you mean died to death?  How can you do that?

Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Now these are the basic tenants of the Christian faith and most of us may already know this, but there is something more the Lord is wanting us to get  a hold of.  Because we were conceived in iniquity and all have sinned we grew up, outside of Christ, in a state of spiritual death.  We were dead to God and His Spirit.  Quite literally Christ, took upon His own sinless self the penalty and judgement of all of our sin and died for the death that indwells the unbeliever.  Sin and death were crucified upon that cross in His body. When we came into the light of the truth and gave our hearts to Jesus there was a death, to sin and death, that took place in us.  The spiritual reality of what was taking place is that we identified our former life in this sinful man with Jesus upon the cross.  We were spiritually crucified that day and identified with Christ upon the cross.  There we nailed that former man of sin, which we were, together with Christ upon the cross.  We died to sin and death. 

Through the practice of water baptism we are symbolizing our identification with the death of Christ as we die to the old, go under the water and are buried and then are raised up a new creation in Christ, being made alive in Him.  In that spiritual resurrection of our spirit man there needs to be a revelation and understanding that the former person we had been has ceased to exist and the new man we are is unified and identified in Christ who raised them from the dead. 

The Greek for the word alive here is “Zao”.  Some of its meanings are ” to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead), to enjoy real life, to have true life and worthy of the name, active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God.” You and I were dead in our trespasses and sin.  We were living in spiritual death headed for condemnation, judgement and hell.  Christ interrupted our death with the spiritual awakening of His truth.  In receiving that truth, which is Christ, by faith we were made alive and given the promise of the power of endless life with Him in glory. 

Paul says this again so eloquently in Ephesians 2:1-10, ” As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Now the point is this, if Christ has quickened our spirits and made us alive unto Him, why are we still partaking and living in the dead things that are unclean and defile our spirits?  There are areas in our life where we allowing death to be a cohabitant with life.  The Word says, “what fellowship hath light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).”  The Lord’s exhortation to us today is bathe our whole man in the light of His truth and righteousness.  The distinction between good and evil is quickly shrinking the gray areas of our life.  He is bringing us into the more radial distinction of His nature and character.  Allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts, quicken and make alive every part of who we are that we might be distinctly His.  We want to see the full salvation of the Lord, spirit, soul and body.  In order for us to experience the fullness of His life, we must experience the fullness of His death to the man of sin and death.  In Christ Jesus you have been made ALIVE!  Let us live fully alive in that Life!

 

Blessings,

#kent

Psalms 91

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

God wants to Reign in You

God has raised you up and it is He that will sustain you.  Even when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death He walks there with you and His presence overshadows you.   Many are the perils of the righteous, but the Lord sustains them through them all.  The place of rest is the place of total release and letting go into the arms of the Father.  It is so hard for us to stop clinging to human dependence and reason.  Everything in the natural screams if I let go of control I’ll fall to my death.  How can Father bear you up on eagles wings if you never jump with the wings of faith and trust.  Father is training His sons and daughters to soar in the heavenly places, but they can never know that freedom as long as they confine themselves to the nest.  Father is stirring up the nest.  He is making it rough and uncomfortable.  Where it was once a place of comfort and safety it is now a prickly and hard place.  One we can no longer rest in.  That is to cause us to launch out of our nest of self-dependence and world economy. 

Yes. we may flounder as we flap our inexperienced wings of faith, but even as we fall Father is there to bear us up and bring us again to that place of safety.  He is teaching us launch out.  He is coaxing us out of the nest that we might fly with Him in the heavenly places.  Fear is our greatest detriment to faith.  Once fear is overcome faith will abound.  We must learn to stop operating out of the nature of what we had been and start operating in the nature of who we now are in Christ Jesus.  Old habits die hard, but it is a day for a new paradigm in how we live life.  God gave us His life by investing the talent of His Son within us.  How will we invest and use what He has given us?  Will we bury it in the ground and go on with life as usual or will we invest it in faith in the lives of others till we see it increase and multiply?  Christ didn’t put the responsibility of saving souls upon our shoulders, but He did say, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto Myself.”  If we will be faithful to lift Him up the Holy Spirit will draw the souls to Himself.  Faith requires us to step into what we can not naturally see.  It requires us to believe what does not naturally exist.  It is making God’s Word the substance of those things we hope for and the evidence of what we do not see. 

It is by faith that we will go and will do as the Father leads us and as we hear the Good Shepherd’s voice.  In Him alone is our safety and our provision.  All that the world offers is so soon fading away.  Your only true place of rest is under the wings of the Almighty.  That rest can only be entered into by faith and obedience.  That is where we will find His highest and that is where we will find our peace.  Proverbs 18:10 says, ” The name of the LORD [is] a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”  Today, we as the people of the Most High God, stand, live, move and have our being out of Him and unto Him.  We are become the expression of His life and even as He breathed into unto us His image, we are exhaling in His very nature and life.  Now, unto the God who sits on the throne be glory and honor, power, majesty and dominion forever and ever.  Our God reigns and He will reign through His holy priesthood and His holy nation.  Rise up people of God and shout to the glory of God for He reigns in our hearts and His salvation is unto everlasting. 

Blessings,

#kent

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