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

The Choice of Forgiveness

January 27, 2020

The Choice of Forgiveness

 

Mat 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

 

Mat 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

 

The spirit of love and unity is like the wall of a fortress.  When relationships are in harmony and working through their differences in love and unselfishness, there is a strength and peace of God that abides in that place.  When offence comes through someone, and it will, how we deal with it is critical to maintaining that wall that keeps out the enemy and helps maintain the peace and community we have in right relationships.  Obviously if the enemy can tear down the walls of love and unity he can storm the fortress and destroy the community.  Therefore forgiveness is so critical.  Perhaps no one thing separates us more from one another and our relationship with the Father as unforgiveness.  It is a cancer, that if left untreated, will undermine and destroy not only our natural relationships but our spiritual life as well.

Jesus taught, ” Mar 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mar 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

The Father has forgiven us more than we could ever hope for or expect if we have but come to Him,

confessed our sins and ask for His forgiveness.  If He is willing to forgive us of so great a debt, then

He expects no less of us, His children, in our forgiveness of others.  When Jesus tells us if a man takes

your coat, give him your cloak also or if he strike you on the one cheek turn to him the other.  Are

not these the principles of forgiveness that go far beyond the world’s standards.  They are principles

that say love is greater than another man’s offense and forgiveness can have no limitations whenever

there is true repentance.  When there is an offense between us and another it places a barrier in our

fellowship and relationship with the Father.  That is why Jesus exhorts us, “Luk 17:3 Take heed to

yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.  Luk 17:4 And if

he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. ”

Is it any wonder the fruit of the Spirit, manifest themselves in our selfless giving and dealings with others.  Life is going to contain many offenses.  What will we do with them?  Will we let them destroy our relationships and bring division with God and man or will we learn the higher way of love and forgiveness to maintain a fortress of unity?

Blessings,

#kent

The Spirit of Mourning

January 17, 2020

 

The Spirit of Mourning

 

Matthew 5:3-12

Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth

Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

When we as the people of God approach the presence of God in prayer there is an attitude that we should bring with us.  This attitude works in and out of the prayer closet, but it is an attitude that Jesus lays out for those of us that receivs the blessing o f God.  These are the “BE” Attitudes.  It is a condition of the heart that is in right standing or coming into right relationship with the Lord.  There is an attitude of heart that prepares us for God’s presence and working in our lives.

We have talked about how we enter into the presence of God with the attitude of praise, worship, rejoicing and thanksgiving.  Yet here Jesus is saying, “Blessed are they that mourn: they shall be comforted.”  This is a specific area that the Lord wants to deal with today.  Why do we mourn, lament, wail and are sorrowful?   For many of us, we come by this naturally through the brokeness and disappointments of life.  There is no doubt that there are those who are reading this today who are inwardly grieving and broken.  The hurts of this present world and life’s circumstance are heavy upon your heart and you have come with this attitude of mourning before the Lord.  Central in the heart of Jesus and the ministry of Christ to His people, was the broken-hearted.  Isaiah 61:1 says, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound.”  It is interesting that the ministry of the Christ was addressed to many of the attitudes, which are addressed here in Matthew 5.   Jesus is very compassionate and is there to put His arms around those whose spirits have been broken and mourn in the natural sense.

There is another reason for mourning and it deals with our spiritual condition.  When we come to a real revelation of ourselves in the light of God’s holiness and calling we can truly be undone.  Some of us have never really come to that place where we have fully comprehended our state of wretchedness and depravity outside of God and His righteousness.  If we have then we know what it is to mourn spiritually.  Many of us know the element of grieving that we carry daily because of our sin and failures in fully walking in uprightness and purity.  We know what it is to be poor in spirit, because we realize how utterly bankrupt we are in ourselves.  Until we have a true revelation of this in our spirits, we will continue on, thinking somehow there is some good or righteousness in us outside of Christ.  A revelation of the true state of our heart and being will make way for the Holy Spirit to really perform His daily work of grace in us.  As we despair of all that is of ourselves and cling and long for the Lord to move and work in all of the areas of our lives that are not subject to His Lordship.  Many of as Christians may have once experienced this, but now we have grown complacent in our lifestyles that cater so much to our flesh and natural man.  Jesus gives us warning in Luke 6:24-26, “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”  It is imperative that our heart remains in a right and prostrate attitude toward the Lord.  When we cease to fear and reverence Him, when we become lifted up in ourselves, then we set ourselves on a course of separation rather than reconciliation toward the Lord.  Again James 4:4-10 exhorts us, “4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?  6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Today the Lord is concerned with our posture and attitude towards Him.  It is hard for all of us who live in these prosperous times and in the country that we do, not to be caught up in a lot of its ways.  The Lord is clear that we will mourn either in a spirit of repentance or in judgement.  This is a day we must get right within our hearts towards the Lord.  It is a day to mourn over the place we are missing and failing our Lord in our commitment and lives for Him.  It is a day to draw near to Him in brokeness, contriteness of heart and mourning of our sin.  “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.”

Blessings,

#kent

Compromise

January 9, 2020

 

Compromise

 

Proverbs 7:24-27

Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong [men] have been slain by her. Her house [is] the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

 

Compromise

 

There was a boy, who walked a line along the river’s edge,

He was told to stay back away from it because of it slippery ledge.

But time and again he walked the line because he wanted too,

And more than once he came back home with wet and muddy shoes.

 

Many times, he was corrected and told to stay away,

But he was drawn by strong desire and by its edge would play.

He thought I’m too skilled to fall in, it was as if he were driven,

So he scoffed and heeded not all the warnings that were given.

 

As you might guess one day he didn’t show up at the door,

They searched and found him washed up along the river’s shore.

With grief they all talked and cried of this young man’s sad demise,

And how he wouldn’t stay away from that river called Compromise.

Blessings,

#kent

Retrospect

December 31, 2019

 

Retrospect

 

1 Corinthians 11:31

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

 

As a general rule I believe the Word of God discourages us from living in the past, but there are times when it is good for all of us to take stock of our lives, past, present and future.  Typically it is something we seem to think more about as we come to the end of one year and are beginning a new one.  That is when we think about making all of our resolutions, about what we are going to change and how we are going to be different than the year before.  It is good for all of us to occasionally take a good honest and introspective look at ourselves in the light of God’s Word and what we know to be truth.  As we shine that light upon hearts we may feel really convicted or condemned if there are areas that we are failing in and missing the mark or we may be little puffed up if we feel we are living an exemplary life.   The point of truly judging our hearts and lives is to take some bearings on where we are and where we are going.  When ship captains sail their ships they occasionally take bearings on their location and heading.  They don’t do it to determine if they are a good or a poor captain, but to keep their bearings and their heading correct.  Obviously, a bad captain would be one that never took stock of his heading or where he was going.  We can all get in that category of complacency where ‘we are doing most things right, so everything must be okay’.  That is usually the mindset we are in when we suddenly find out the ship is sinking and we hadn’t done anything to prevent it.  It is good that we take those times where we evaluate ourselves, both with our human relationships and heavenly ones.    Are we on course with God’s purpose and will in our lives?  Are we in right relationship with both God and man?  What do we need to do make those relationships right and better?  Are we continuing to press more into Christ with each day, listening and obeying the voice of the Spirit, meditating and conforming our hearts to the Word of God and setting our attention and affections upon the things above rather than the things below?  The Word says, “if we judge ourselves, we should not be judged”.   Isn’t it better when I can correct my actions rather than God needing to discipline and correct me?  We all can justify and rationalize a lot of things, but we all know that we aren’t going to snow God.  We may fool ourselves, but we aren’t going to fool Him.  We must use what He has given us to judge and evaluate ourselves.  I know it’s much easier to do that for others, but God’s more concerned about you seeing the changes that are needed in your life, regardless of where others are or what they are doing.  While we evaluate ourselves from our past and present we don’t live there or set up our camp there.  We know that we are sojourners in this earth and we are on a journey to spiritual Jerusalem.  Thus we live with our eyes always looking forward and hearts pressing onward into Him who has called us.  Everything else becomes secondary to that goal and purpose.  We must take care that we do not grow weary or complacent and build our home and our affections here in this place.  For we know that this place will perish with the using and we don’t wish to perish with it no matter how beautiful it looks today.

When we can come to that place where we can honestly judge in ourselves what we are doing right and what we need to make right then we can set our course.  We can begin to set actions that will help us to arrive at our desired port and accomplish the changes we need to make.  We are destined for a purpose and it is important that we stay on course to fulfilling our destiny and calling in Christ.  So I leave you with that oft quoted scripture from Philippians by the Apostle Paul in 3:7-15, “7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”

Happy New Year!

Blessing!

#kent

Integrity

December 11, 2019

Integrity

 

Proverbs 11:3

The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

 

A man or woman of integrity is a principled person of upright character.  Like a building or structure that has integrity, they have soundness and completeness in their lives.  They are whole and undivided in their steadfast commitment to a way of life and living that is simple and innocent.

This is a characteristic we don’t see as much of anymore as we used to.  Society has changed a good deal over the years in the way it does business, because of the lack of integrity in people.  There was time when a man’s word was his bond and on a word and a handshake multi-million dollar deals were made.  Your credit was good on your word and you didn’t have to be I.D.’d and fingerprinted for every transaction you made.  There was an ethical code of conduct generally among people that was honest and forthright…  You still had bad apples, but they were the exception and not the rule.  Today we live in a rationalized society where if people have any integrity they compartmentalize it to just certain aspects of their lives.  We, society as a whole, are not consistent with our character.  We act one way at work, another way at home, another way at church, another way in conducting business and still another way in our private lives.  We are fragmented in our ethical and moral character, without soundness or completeness or consistency in our daily lives.  Therefore we have become a people without integrity.

We would like to think this is not true of the church, but, unfortunately, we are seen as some of the worst offenders, by the world at large and by our fellow believers.  There are a lot of people who would rather do business with a non-believer than a believer.  At least they know that what they see is what they get.  With a believer, they can talk all the right language and wear the religious garb of piety, but then turn and act in total contradiction to the character they outwardly portray.  Do you suppose this has anything to do with why the world in general often sees Christians as a bunch of hypocrites and that is why they don’t want to have anything to do with us.  They judge God by what they see in us and God is getting a bad rap.  Brethren, these things ought not to be so.

Surprisingly, “integrity” is an Old Testament word and is not used in the New Testament, but integrity can be seen in its purist form in Christ Jesus.  Integrity means to be perfect and in Matthew 5:48 after Jesus has conveyed a higher standard for His followers he says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  Live a life of love and integrity built upon the standards and principles of the Word of God.  Jesus raised the bar for us who are His disciples and bear His name.  Our lives must be centered on giving and not getting.  If Christ is in us, then His character and nature must be seen consistently through our words and actions.  We must be people of our word and act honorably toward all men.  There is a need for a standard of righteousness that people can depend upon in the lives of Christians.  By the power of Christ in us we must bear that standard before men and, lift up, not dishonor, the name of Christ.  Let us be consistent in Christian character in all aspects of our lives.  For He is Lord of all, not just part of us

Blessings,

#kent

Surrender

December 9, 2019

 

 

Surrender

 

Romans 6:16

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

 

Surrender is what we give up or yield ourselves over too.  How many of us try and piecemeal our surrender to Christ.  We’ve heard the truth of the gospel; we’ve embraced its truth, now comes the hard part, surrendering to it.  Oh how hard it is to give up our will and let it become “His will be done.”  I’ve read about a number of great men of God who in their earlier years struggled so hard to find God.  They put themselves through all kinds of separations, disciplines, self-affliction and legalism, only to finally arrive at the simple truth that nothing they did could produce the peace of God until they finally just surrendered themselves to what He had already done.  Once these men finally came to the end of themselves their self-efforts at salvation and pleasing God, they were set free.  Once they threw up their hands said I give up, only you can do it God, they received the peace of God and discovered what grace was all about.

Living a life under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus is living in that place of surrender of our self and our will to His.  Our delight, our joy, our peace comes in finding what delights Him.  Sure, we still have a life with ambitions and dreams, but all of it is filtered through the surrender we have to Christ.  Our delight is in His service no matter in what capacity that is.

The Word says whomever we obey, that is whose servants we are.  Is our obedience and surrender fully to Christ?  The Holy Spirit is so faithful to us when we surrender to Him to reveal the areas of our lives that we are holding out in.  As He does we present ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto Him, which is our expected service. We are not to be conformed to the world, but transformed through the renewing of our minds, so that we can prove what is God’s good, acceptable and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).  In our minds we often think of surrender as giving up our wants and desires and it is, if they are running contrary to the will of God, but when we begin to fully surrender all to Christ, we find a place of heaven on earth.  It is a place of joy, peace and contentment in the Holy Spirit that the world cannot offer.

How many times I remember singing the choruses of “I Surrender All.”  I had never really thought about how they apply to the believer as much or more than the unbeliever.  Let us freely give all to Him that we may experience His rest and His best.

Blessings,

#kent

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