Runaway

June 18, 2020

Runaway

Matthew 5:25

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Foundation for Faith

June 16, 2020

Foundation for Faith

Psalms 18:2

The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower.

              We find in life that often we are a self-filling prophecy.  We become and are shaped in the image of whom we think and believe that we are.  Maybe we started out in our lives doubtful, fearful, with a lack of confidence and very little faith in ourselves that we could do much of anything or be anything.  As long as we hold on to that mindset and it is coming through in our outward demeanor, do you think we will see much success in our lives?  If we don’t believe in ourselves, then how could we expect others to believe in us?  What if, on the other hand, we dare to believe all that God says about us and dare to believe all that He said He would be for us?  Now we have a foundation for success.  As we believe and then act upon that premise by faith and those beliefs, will our life change? 

              King David was a man who is a prime example of one who spoke, sang and wrote what God was to His life.  Even in the deepest valleys of his life he dared not trust his soul, but rather He spoke out of His spirit and ministered to His soul the truths and the realities of God’s Word.  He was constantly meditating and reminding Himself of the goodness of God, His faithfulness, His power, His salvation and all of the attributes and benefits of God and His nature.  This is what makes the Psalms so powerful.  They are Spirit anointed sonnets and songs of who God is and why life is worth the living because He is in it.  David would recite the Word of God and encourage His soul.  His faith would then lay hold of the truth that He spoke and begin to act upon it. 

              Many of us see ourselves as weak, untalented, insignificant people.  That may be you and I outside of Christ, but what can we be in Christ?  Are there any limitation to what God can do in and through us, except in our own mind and thinking?   The foundation of faith is wrapping our mind and heart around God’s Word, assimilating it into our hearts and speaking into our doubtful and fearful souls.  It is so often good just to pray the Psalms, reading and speaking them to God as if they were your own.  It will inspire faith in your heart and courage to your soul as it did for David. 

              Who is the Lord and what is that to me?  When we answer that question we find the foundation for our faith.  Upon that foundation we can build a successful life, for our confidence is in Him who is able to do abundantly more than we can even ask or think. 

              What is the foundation of your life today?   Is it the Rock or is it the sand?

Blessings,

#kent

Good Souls Hiding in Ugly People

Luke 19:1-10

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Intent

April 24, 2020

 

God’s Intent

 

Romans 8:28-31

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?

 

God says His intentions for His people are to conform them to the image of His Son.  Jesus is the pattern and prototype, the standard and the likeness of what we are becoming.  All things in our lives should be working to this end that in all things we are like minded with Christ.  The Lord Jesus sits in heaven’s throne, not idly, but as the High Priest of our confession, ever living to make intercession on our behalf.  All that Christ has done and is still doing is to bring us into the likeness of who He is.  The Holy Spirit is working out those intercessions to accomplish in us the good and perfect will of the Father.  Thus, it says, “that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and to them that are called according to His purpose.”  Most of us have circumstances and times in our lives when we struggle with the fact that this can actually be working together for our good.  Then, we have to understand that life is not just about good things happening to us, but whatever does happen to us God is working it to do a work of goodness in us.  Often it is the most negative things that work the greatest positive in us.

God has called us out of darkness and predestined that we should be the children of light.  We are the vessels through whom His divine light would shine.  As Jesus revealed God to humanity, so we reveal Christ to our world.  Though we were lost in sin, now Christ has justified us, made us just as if we had never sinned.  After that justification is complete then He will glorify us, even to the image and likeness of Himself.

Though the forces of hell and death come against us nothing or no one is able to separate us from the Love of God.  We are not in this battle alone.  It is God that is determining our victory as we pursue His purposes in hope and faith.

Be encouraged today wherever you find yourself in your spiritual walk.  These may be dark days or blessed days, but wherever we are, even in the face of death, our God stands with us.  The Romans that Paul wrote this letter to were standing at death’s door for the sake of their faith and we may one-day stand there with them.  Romans 8:32-39 goes on to encourage us in such a powerful way, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?   Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth. Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It doesn’t matter who condemns us, belittles us, and tries to intimidate, criticize and ridicule us.  It doesn’t matter who robs our possessions or takes away our livelihood.  God Almighty is for us!!!  God” spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?  We are destined for greatness.  We are destined for the fullness of God.  We are His children that are being made conformable to His likeness.  All the curses of hell and death may come against us and we may lay down our lives for our faith, but nothing is powerful enough to separate us from our God.  “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that has loved us.” Our DADDY is stronger than anybody else’s and our security, love and completeness is sealed in Him.  It doesn’t matter what our circumstances, just as it looked like Jesus was defeated when they nailed Him to the cross.  His death became life and victory and power.  The death that works in this life can only work the power of the resurrection life in us as we fix our eyes on Him “who is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).”

Take heart that He is working in you and I so much more than we will ever see come from what this world and what its goods have to offer.   We are a Kingdom People set apart for Kingdom purposes.  Hold fast to your confession of faith and waiver not in your commitment, no matter what obstacles come against you.  He will see you through and bless your latter end even more than your former.  Nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Blessings,

#kent

Spiritual Mindset

April 14, 2020

 

Spiritual Mindset

 

Romans 8:5

5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

 

            If we ask ourselves today, “what is my mind most often filled with, what are the predominate thoughts that are foremost in my heart?”  Take just a minute to meditate on that question and try and arrive at an honest answer.  Generally, it will be about what we are most passionate about, whether it is our family, our job, our spouse, our sports, hobbies or pleasures.  The spiritual man may enjoy and appreciate a lot of things, but the one thing he is passionate about is God.  His or her heart will continually be in state of meditation, thinking, singing, praising, worshipping and fellowship with the Lord.  The Lord is the lover of the spirit’s heart.   When we read the Song of Songs we are reading a love story, a passion story of the soul in pursuit of Christ.  If He is not fully the passion of our hearts and souls, then He must become so.  Nothing will ever do more to deliver us from sin and conform us to His nature than continually abiding in His presence.  Psalms 16:11 declares, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.”  The richest place of contentment, joy and fulfillment is in the Lord’s presence.   When we truly taste of His presence, we understand that there is not a replacement for it on earth.  Nothing can take us higher, nothing can bring us greater joy, and nothing can have as great an emotional and spiritual impact as encountering His presence.  It can be somewhat elusive as it was for the Shulamite maid in pursuit of her lover, but once she found His love, she would settle for no less, nor no other. She would pursue Him, no matter how far or what the cost.  Songs 6:3 says, “I [am] my beloved’s, and my beloved [is] mine: he feedeth among the lilies.”  For us the lily has become a symbol of resurrection life and that is exactly where we find Christ.  We want to feed and eat with Him in that place of resurrection, Spirit Life.  Songs 7:10 reveals to us, “I [am] my beloved’s, and his desire [is] toward me.”  As much as we may desire Him, He desires us more.  He is passionately in love with us and is wooing us into His bedchamber.  He desires to impart into us His divine life; the life that lifts us above the natural realms of earth and living into the realms of His glory and presence. 

            We so often think of spiritual life in terms of life and death.  “When I die and go to heaven then I will be with Jesus.”  Why are we waiting for death, when we can press into Life now?  Jesus never taught that we had to die before we could become spiritual.  He taught us that when we came to Him we already died; we already became identified with that cross and at the same time we became identified with His Life.  We stepped out of natural thinking, living, being, into a new creature formed in His image and likeness.  His desire is that we unwrap its mystery and begin to taste of it now.

            The Lord has called us to a spiritual mindset where our minds, our hearts, our souls are continually in love and pursuit of Him.  Do we love Him like He loves us?  Are we willing to give our all for Him as He did for us?  This is the place of abiding in Him; this is the place fellowship and relationship.  We will never find the intimacy with Christ that we desire in the midst of other lovers.  Will He still love us?  Yes, always and forever, but He is looking and earnestly desiring the soul whose heart is single toward Him, who has forsaken all other lovers and He is the sole passion and love of their hearts.  Are we that person?  Is Christ really everything to us, our all in all? Are we the ones “who live in accordance with the Spirit and have their minds set on what the Spirit desires”?  Do we find ourselves falling short of the love relationship Jesus desires with us?  I think, in truth, most all of us fall so short of the spiritual men and women that He has called us to be.  We are but a phantom of the real.  We don’t have to stay that way.  Look into the yearning eyes of your loving Lord.  He is calling us unto His heart and bosom today.  He is calling us to come up higher, to be a partaker of His divine life, to be the spiritual men and women who walk and live in the Spirit. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

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

Spiritual Warfare

April 3, 2020

Spiritual Warfare

2 Corinthians 4:3-5

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

 

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

Blessings,

#kent

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

 

Tales of Jealousy, Betrayal and Revenge

 

Matthew 26:6-14

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

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