The Sweet Fragrance of His Beloved

 

Song of Songs 5:1

I am come into my garden, my sister, [my] spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved

 

Recently I had the privilege of photographing a Praise and Worship session that is held once a week during the noon hour.  It is a time when saints gather for no other reason than to just praise and worship their Redeemer.  People come from all different denominations and background and from great distances just for this one sweet hour a week.  While I normally attend as a participant, this day I was in the place of the observer and I think I caught a glimpse of what Jesus must see.  These people don’t come to show off their spirituality.  There is no pretence, pride or thought about themselves.  They are there solely for Jesus, to glorify, honor and magnify Him.  You know that many of them are no doubt going through trials and hurts in their lives, but these outward things only press upon them to bring out the fragrance of love, dependence, and surrender as they lift up their hearts before the Lord.

It was like walking through the Lord’s Garden where the Spirit of the Lord was.  It has to be so precious to Him when His saints gather for no other reason than relationship with Him and a corporate expression of worship.   There must be such a sweet fragrance and incense that arises from that place to the nostrils of the Almighty.   How our Lord must be moved to love as He sees the heart of the Bride for Him.  When you behold the faces, the expressions, the postures, uplifted hands and the bowed down hearts, you see the true spirit of worship.  It is the release of our spirits unto Him, unashamedly and without pretense or guile.  It is a pure and holy thing.  It is a garden that the Lord can walk in and partake of the sweetness and goodness thereof.  There He can gather the myrrh and the spices.  There He can see the living sacrifices of lives that love Him wholly and completely.  There He can partake of the spiritual fruit, honeycomb with His honey and can drink of the wine of communion with His Beloved as He has relationship with Her.  There, true communion is experienced, as the many pieces become one loaf, one body and expression.  There the sweet wine of His blood is remembered and experienced as that blood is reverenced and so appreciated by the partakers and participants in that place.  Truly it is a garden set apart for the Lord’s honor as His presence is invited into His temple.

True saints of God are so hungry for this place and experience in their spiritual lives.  We enter into it on a personal level, but when a body of like-minded and hearted people can come together for that one purpose of expressing a pure corporate love back to Him you have a precious thing that is rare in the earth.  People come there from literally all nations and countries of the world, because they are so hungry to come into a pure expression of worship where they are one in spirit and purpose and there is no other agenda than lifting up the matchless name of Jesus.  This is the atmosphere where God can birth something out of Spirit and Truth.  This has to be a delight and sweet fragrance to Him.  So much of our religious experience is about putting our eyes on men, about us being entertained and inspired.  It is more about us than about Him.  What happens when the worship leader is yielded to the Holy Spirit and as the Spirit of God increases in that place, he decreases so that the Lord has sole possession of that gathering?  Oh, how we have needed this kind of worship experience for so long and this type of experience needs to fill our land and the whole world.  This is the garden where the Lord hears the love song of the Bride as she lifts up her lovesick voice to Him and expresses her deep passion and groaning within her spirit for Him.  This is the Song of Songs and the love story between our Lord and His beloved Bride.

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

Run at Your Enemy

December 27, 2019

 

Psalms 18:28-32

For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. [As for] God, his way [is] perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he [is] a buckler to all those that trust in him.  For who [is] God save the LORD? or who [is] a rock save our God? [It is] God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

 

Run at Your Enemy

 

There are times when we become fearful, beat down and afraid.  We simply want to coexist with our enemy and hopefully he will leave us alone.  The enemy is already winning the victory if he has gotten you in this place.  God hasn’t saved you for to be defeated and cast down before your enemies, He has called you to take courage, to put on the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the sword of truth, the helmet of salvation.  Put on your running shoes prepared with the gospel and the truth of Jesus Christ.  It is not a time to cower but to rise up in the might of your God, built up in the truth and the authority of His Word.  He has called you forth to triumph and prevail just as He did with David when he faced Goliath.  Goliath was a bully, an intimidator who used fear as his primary weapon.  David was just a boy, but he was not given over to fear, as was the rest of Israel’s army.  He was not intimidated by this giant of a man.  He knew the might, the power and the authority of His God that was resident in him.  David didn’t rely upon the flesh to defeat his enemy.  His might and his power were not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.  It was the Spirit of God that rested upon David that enabled David to not only face his enemies, but to run out to meet them.  On the day that David faced Goliath he wasn’t crawling out to him, we wasn’t even walking out to him, he was running out to meet him.  Even though David was just a boy his confidence and faith must have even taken Goliath back a little.

1 Samuel 17:41-51 relates this familiar story, “41Goliath came toward David, walking behind the soldier who was carrying his shield. 42When Goliath saw that David was just a healthy, good-looking boy, he made fun of him. 43″Do you think I’m a dog?” Goliath asked. “Is that why you’ve come after me with a stick?” He cursed David in the name of the Philistine gods 44and shouted, “Come on! When I’m finished with you, I’ll feed you to the birds and wild animals!”

45David answered:

You’ve come out to fight me with a sword and a spear and a dagger. But I’ve come out to fight you in the name of the LORD All-Powerful. He is the God of Israel’s army, and you have insulted him too!

46Today the LORD will help me defeat you. I’ll knock you down and cut off your head, and I’ll feed the bodies of the other Philistine soldiers to the birds and wild animals. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a real God. 47Everybody here will see that the LORD doesn’t need swords or spears to save his people. The LORD always wins his battles, and he will help us defeat you.

48When Goliath started forward, David ran toward him. 49He put a rock in his sling and swung the sling around by its straps. When he let go of one strap, the rock flew out and hit Goliath on the forehead. It cracked his skull, and he fell facedown on the ground. 50David defeated Goliath with a sling and a rock. He killed him without even using a sword.

51David ran over and pulled out Goliath’s sword. Then he used it to cut off Goliath’s head.”

Maybe today is your day to become fed up with the enemies’ defiance of the living God in your life.  Today could be your day to rise up in the authority of Christ Jesus and say I am not going to take it any more and with faith in your heart run out to meet your enemy, no longer in your strength and confidence, but in His.  Christ has empowered us to rule, reign and have authority over our enemy.  It is the day to rise out of our shame and our defeat, put on the whole armor of God in Christ Jesus and run out to meet the adversary.  Our victory is in the Lord and by the power of His might and authority within us we can run through a troop and run over the walls of our opposition.

Blessings

#kent

Amber Alert

December 20, 2019

Amber Alert

 

Mark 10:14

But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

 

                We have instituted a wonderful system in this country, so that when a child is abducted or kidnapped or lost, announcements are made everywhere concerning their situation.  Information is gathered and distributed to allow people to be on the look out for the things that might identify this child or their abductor.  It is wonderful how there is information, coordination and cooperation on a wide and often national scale to recover our little children.

                If we were to look at this from a spiritual perspective for a moment, many of us recognize that there has been a mass abduction our children spiritually, mentally and morally.  We need a spiritual Amber Alert to awaken us to the fact that our society is being taken spiritual captive and it starts with our children.  Most of us realize the need to monitor the television that they watch, because it can be a strong instrument and influence to ungodly and wrong thinking.   We see agendas being promoted every day that have messages coming through every venue possible to dumb us down spiritually and morally to lifestyles and that are contrary to Biblical principles and values.  The innocent and inquisitive mind of a child is the most susceptible to the influence and the persuasion of the enemy.  Especially if we as parents and adults become careless and complacent concerning our duties to protect them and give them right values. 

                Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:

 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”  This exhortation still stands for us today.  It is so easy in our busy society and the demands of life to allow our children to go unguarded and unprotected simply from the lack of instruction and the influence we can have in their lives.  It is not practical to isolate our kids and keep them from any physical contact with the world.  We can’t practically do that even for ourselves, nor is that God’s intent.  He wants us to be lights in our world.  We must start by lighting a candle in our children, instructing them daily in the Word, and continually talking about the things of God and the goodness of God.  Don’t fall into the trap of using God and His Word like a big stick to threaten, condemn and coerce our children when they sin.  Let them know it is the sin that brings consequences for wrong actions and leads to our hurt.   Instruct them in who they are in Christ and help them daily to grow in a personal relationship with Him as we pray with them and teach them the Word.  Discuss with them these attitudes of the world they are hearing and give them sound Biblical principles as to why they are wrong and the consequences of what they bring. 

                We must have a spiritual Amber Alert sounding right now.  It has to start with us as adults recognizing and addressing the very real attacks and abductions that are taking place with our children everyday in all of the areas that influence them.  Their protection is in bringing them to Jesus and having them sit at His feet.  Instill that Word and the love of God in their hearts daily.  We must be their covering and protection through the influence we have over them.  If we don’t influence them, then we better know that someone else will.  1 Peter 5:8 says,”Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” Our children’s young innocent minds are prime targets for spiritual influences of darkness.  As parents, grandparents and adults that have influence in children’s lives, we must be the spiritual guardians of their souls and the protectors of their little spirits.  We want to wake up to the Amber Alert of the Spirit and take action to preserve and instruct our children in righteousness and the ways of Life. 

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

 

Building Blocks of Fulfilling God’s Purpose

 

2 Timothy 1:8-10

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Life in the Spirit

November 25, 2019

 

Life in the Spirit

 

John 6:63

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.”

 

We know all about that life in the Spirit.  We have heard it all before.  Then why do we spend so much time still in the flesh, operating out of fleshly mindsets, thinking and behavior?  What we have heard with our ears and received with our minds has it become revelation and truth to our hearts?  Are we going through the motions, but not experiencing and living out the reality of Spirit Life.  John 6:63 says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.” The Word of the Lord must become a quickening fire within us.  It must burn up the chaff and refuse, while at the same time replacing it with Kingdom principles for divine living.  Life change is brought about within us not just by a written word, but by a quickening word, one that brings about change of mind, thinking and doing.

“God, speak into our hearts change from the mundane, the ordinary, the routine and the way we have always done it.”  We need the fire of the Holy Spirit within our bellies; we need joy in our hearts and purpose in our walk.   We need God’s Word for our life and His Spirit power at work in us to bring it to pass.  We are like little ships floating about in the ocean. They need a captain, they need direction and they need purpose.  Some of us feel rather aimless in our lives because we are lacking some of these elements.  We may have prayed about them, but we may feel we are rather clueless as far as where God wants to take us and what He wants to do with us.  Don’t feel bad, that ship doesn’t know where it is going either, but if it has a good Captain, then He knows the destination.  The ship merely has to respond to the Captain’s direction and course.  Our functions and focus in life might change, but our purpose is always to be whatever and wherever our Captain directs for our use.  Where our ship gets in trouble is when mutiny or rebellion arises in our heart and we decide we want to determine our direction and purpose.  Because we have a will and the right to exercise it, we can do that, but then we go off course from where our Captain would take us and how He would use us.  He is the Captain for a reason, because His wisdom and purpose and abilities far exceed our own.

The only way that we can know the direction of the Captain is by being sensitive when He turns the wheel and redirects the rudder or when He increases or decreases our speed.  We have to be in tune with the Spirit, because that is where those directions come from.  God’s Word must be continually before us and the meditation of our hearts, because that is often the medium He uses to put His finger on certain areas He wants to refine or where He wants to increase our understanding or bring new direction into our lives.

Romans 8:10 says, “And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness” Our ship has lost if it’s former purpose which was only self-serving.  It now sails in the fleet of the Almighty, under the flag of righteousness and the blood of the Lamb.  The one thing we do know is our purpose is about Him and no longer about us.  “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)”

If we don’t fully know where we are going today, that is okay.  The important thing is that we have the right Captain running the ship.  He tells us in Proverbs 3:5-14, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son [in whom] he delighteth. Happy [is] the man [that] findeth wisdom, and the man [that] getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it [is] better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.”  The vessels of the Lord are destined to carry His merchandise and experience His gain.  Keep the vessel clean, keep it seaworthy and keep it yielded to the Captain of our salvation.

Blessings,

#kent

Green Pastures

November 21, 2019

 

Green Pastures

 

Psalms 23:2

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Spiritual Ignorance

November 12, 2019

Ephesians 4:17-19

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

 

Spiritual Ignorance

 

What causes spiritual ignorance?  This passage in Ephesians gives us a pretty clear understanding that spiritual ignorance is a symptom of the hardening of the heart.  When a life is given over to sin, impurity, sensuality and continual lust for more it brings with it a darkness.  The heart becomes callused and insensitive to the Spirit of God and spiritual truth.  It becomes enveloped in a darkness and perversion of understanding concerning spiritual matters.  This spiritual ignorance is the bondage of sin and strongholds that keeps us captive to the world system of sin and death.  We only know how to operate under that law and paradigm.  We learn here that even for us a Christians whom Christ has delivered out of this darkness that this must no longer be our paradigm or way of thinking and living.  When we let the world come into our lives it will bring with it that veil of spiritual darkness and ignorance.  It will make our hearts insensitive to the moving and speaking of the Holy Spirit.  The apostle Paul strongly exhorts and commands us as the body of Christ to no longer be partakers of this mindset and lifestyle.  We are like fish that have been released from the hook and lure of sin, but if we don’t learn from that and turn away, we will be hooked again.  Once a fish is hooked it loses its ability to chose its own direction, but is led by the angler that has it captive.  Satan still wants to get his hooks in you, but the Word is exhorting us to not even be a part of that pond that is polluted with darkness and impurity.

We have been released through the blood of Jesus to swim in the living waters of God’s life and righteousness.  These waters are washing and cleansing our paradigm of thinking and believing till we come into the fullness of Christ likeness and being.

Ephesians 4:20-32 tells us what that looks like.  “You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

We are exhorted here to allow the Holy Spirit  to take us through a transformation process by swimming away from the polluted pond that we once swam in; turning away from those former things that had us in spiritual ignorance and darkness concerning the will and purposes of God for our lives.  All those former strongholds and tendencies we are turning our back on and we are no longer allowing them to exist in the landscape of our lives.

We start by dealing with very practical issues that confront us in our daily lives.  We no longer react out of a fallen nature, but now we choose to respond out of Christ’s nature of holiness and righteousness.  We no longer looks at life through our fallen state of ignorance, but through the illuminating and transforming truth of God’s Words and the nature of Jesus.  The ways of Jesus don’t make sense to this world, because He is not of this world, and now, no longer are we.

As we come into the light of God’s truth and salvation our minds begin to be cleared of the former darkness we lived under and our hearts start to become sensitive again to the moving and prompting of the Holy Spirit so that we don’t continue in those former things.  We are living out of a new nature and new attitude of mind.  We are putting on the new self or person, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”   We know longer walk in spiritual darkness and ignorance as before, but in the truth of His Word and the holiness of His ways.

Blessings,

#kent

Balance

November 11, 2019

 

Balance

 

Exodus 34:21

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

 

One thing my wife is always telling me is that I need balance in my life.  Work and the demands of life can often so consume us that pretty soon, that is all we know and do.  It seems a noble pursuit.  We are trying to work for all of the right reasons, but soon those very reasons can become lost in pursuit of prosperity and success.  This seems especially true since I started my own business.  At least before you generally had the weekends off, but now it seems the demands are greater than ever and so it turns into the proverbial “you don’t run your business, your business runs you.”

The Word of God commends diligence and hard work, but it also sets some limitations and balance.  The Lord instituted the Sabbath for the very reason that man should take a break and rest.  I believe it is also a time for us to regain perspective and remember what each day of our lives is about.  Each day should incorporate some Sabbath time when we can get quite before the Lord and have time to worship, pray and acknowledge Him in all of our ways.  Our work is an important and often demanding aspect of our lives, but we must not allow it to become our god or our taskmaster.  It is interesting that the Lord commands that even in the busiest times of the year, during harvest and plowing, that there is still to be that time of rest.  In the Mosaic Law the penalty for not honoring the Sabbath and resting was death.

It is important that we endeavor to maintain a right balance in our lives and make time for the important things, the first of which is the Lord and the second is our families.  I know how hard it is to try and get everything done and to keep up with all of the demands, but if you or I were gone tomorrow would the earth stop or would things cease from going on.  We have but one life upon this earth and we won’t pass this way again.  Let’s make sure to balance our lives so that we don’t fail ourselves and even more importantly the ones that we love and cherish the most.  Cease the day, but don’t allow the day to cease you.  Let us live with the purpose and direction that God intended for us.

Blessings,

#kent

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