The Richness of Praise

September 20, 2018

 

The Richness of Praise

 

Psalms 42:11 & Psalms 43:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, [who is] the health of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 56:4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Psalm 63:3 Because thy lovingkindness [is] better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.

Psalm 106:12 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise

Psalms 107:8 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

Psalms 115:18 But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD

Psalms 146:2 While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being

 

Why so many verses?  A reference mentioned that in the book of Psalms from where these verses were taken there were 248 references to PRAISE in 216 verses.  This is but a small sprinkling of the many that are contained in the Word.  Something else that may be note worthy is the first place praise is used in the Word is in Genesis 29:35 when Leah gave birth to Judah who was the son of Jacob and one of the twelve tribes of Jacob.  His name means praise.  Isn’t it interesting that David who descended out of the Judah was the Bible’s chief proponent of Praise, the greatest King in Israel’s history, a man after God’s own heart and the line from which Jesus is born?  The list could go on, but the point is Praise is such an important component in our spiritual walk with the Lord and yet, is so often neglected.  Let’s define Praise here as incorporating rejoicing, thanksgiving and exaltation of God.  It has been my personal experience and I’m sure the experience of many of you that no one thing can bring us into relationship and closeness with the Lord like Praise can.   Over the past year and half as I have made Praise a more central and faithful part of my life, I am seeing the richness and change it is bringing to my spiritual walk and the closeness and greater sensitivity I have to the Holy Spirit.   What is sweeter to the nostrils of God than the sweet fragrance of the sacrifice and incense of praise and worship?  Psalms 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of Israel or His people.  Our Praise should rise up out of our spirits as we reflect and meditate on God’s rich goodness, awesome greatness, love and grace.  Even more so as we reflect on our Lord Jesus and His great sacrifice of Love on our behalf that we may receive forgiveness from our sins, be reconciled to God the Father, be made a part of His family and be partakers of divine and everlasting life.  Some may say, I agree with that, but I don’t always feel like praising God.  Praise is first an act of our will, not our feelings.  It must have it’s origin in our spirits, not our souls.  Feelings often accompany our praise and worship, but they are not the source of it.  God wants our worship and praise to come from spirit and truth.  That means they originate in our spirit as it is yielded to the Holy Spirit.  Most likely it is when we least feel like praising that we need to the most.  Life, circumstances and especially condemnation can all enter in to rob our joy and desire to praise.  Praise is a dimension of faith where, before the results are seen, the thanksgiving and worship are going forth.  (Read 2Chronicles 20 for a great example of this.)  Perhaps we fail to see the victory, because we fail to praise, rejoice and give thanks for that which we say we believe for.  The eyes and heart of faith acts on what is unseen, not on what is seen.  Praise should come before not just after the answer to prayer is revealed and manifested.

Time would fail us to touch on the richness and fullness of this subject.  More may be shared as the Lord directs.

Begin to make PRAISE the first order of your daily encounter with the Lord.  It is the means by which we approach Him and enter into His presence.  I often think of it as climbing up on the lap of Father God and putting my arms around Him just to tell Him how much I love and appreciate Him.  It is not coming with my expectations or problems.  It is a time I want to come just for Him, to worship Him and love Him for who He is not what He can do for me or give me.  He is so worthy of our praise brethren, let us not deny Him.  When we deny Him Praise we also rob ourselves of the richest fellowship we can have with the Father.  Experience the richness of Praise.

Blessings,

#kent

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Shadows of Blessing

September 19, 2018

 

Shadows of Blessing

 

Song of Songs 4:6

Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.

 

Shadows are cast by other objects or persons.  They are often not clearly distinct but can give some semblance of the real object they are cast from.  All through the Word of God, God has used types and shadows to signify and represent the reality which was yet to be revealed.  God uses natural things or shadows to show forth the image of the heavenly things which we haven’t been able to fully grasp and lay hold of.  Old Testament types and shadows symbolized in many ways, dimensions and facets of the life and salvation through Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is seen in His presence in three facets, what was, what is and what is to come.  The Old Testament represented “what was”, the sin, the law and righteousness of God and the sacrifice and atonement for sin.  As God’s plan of the ages unfolds in the fullness of Christ we see it in these stages.  The New Testament brought us Christ revealed in the flesh, “what is”, the New Covenant sealed in the blood of the Lamb of God. There we met God face to face in a human and natural sense.  There we saw the reality of many of the Old Testament prophesies, types and shadows fulfilled and revealed in the person of Christ and the birth of the Church, His Bride.  But still we are looking for “what is to come”; the final revelation of Christ in all of His majesty and glory.  We are looking for His “parousia”, presence or coming when we are fully caught up into Him and revealed with Him in His glory.  This is the day break when all the shadows will flee away and Christ shall be revealed in all of His fullness, splendor and glory.   2 Peter 1:19 exhorts us, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”  The Word of God and the Holy Spirit are our illumination and understanding in the shadow lands of our spiritual understanding.  It is what is pointing us forward, instilling hope and faith to look unto the fullness of the day when Christ arises as the morning star in our hearts and is manifest in His holy nature within our beings.  It will be as 2 Thessalonians 1:10 puts it, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”  Christ is not only revealed outwardly, but within us… His saints, His holy temple, His bride. 

            Meanwhile, where is this Christ that we await in His glory and splendor?  I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”  The myrrh and frankincense were elements used in the holy anointing oil and in the incense.  They sought to give myrrh to Jesus on the cross and gold, frankincense and myrrh were the gifts the wise men brought Him in His youth.  Here again we see in shadow that Jesus is dwelling in the heavenlies of our spirit man.  He inhabits that place where we are filling up the sufferings of Jesus through a life poured out in living sacrifice to Him.  It is in the place of spiritual praise where we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth and He inhabits the praises of His people.  It is in the place where we operate out of His life and anointing in our daily lives and ministry. 

            Men, in the Old Testament, like Joseph and David, were men destined for rulership and spiritual leadership. They were men of outstanding blessing and anointed of the Lord.  Through much of their lives they lived only in the shadow of that blessing; through faithfulness, obedience and a vision that wouldn’t fail, there came a day when they entered into the fullness of their calling and inheritance as we will enter into ours if we faint not in the shadow of our blessing.

Blessings

#kent

Joy Cometh in the Morning

September 14, 2018

 

Joy Cometh in the Morning

 

Psalms 30:5

For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

 

Where is your life spiritually today?  Would you characterize it as nighttime or daytime?  Most all of us, who have been walking in Christ for a time, know that we go through seasons in a spiritual sense.  There are times we go through such close intimate times with our Lord and sense His presence and love in such a wonderful way and then there are those nighttime experiences.  It may come as a result of allowing sin to come into our lives.  It may be the result of God’s chastening or dealings in our lives.  It may be through persecution or tribulation.   Whatever the reason it is nighttime experience, one in which we fail to sense God’s presence in our soul.  Our prayers may seem hollow and of none effect.  These are times when spiritually we cry out for God, perhaps it is in these times we really begin to seek God’s help, His presence, His deliverance through a trial or tribulation we are facing.  There are times our lives can feel pretty bleak.  Our circumstances are overtaking us.  Where is God?

King David experienced this nighttime ordeal before He became King.  Psalm 30:7-9 says, ”

LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, [and] I was troubled. I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.  What profit [is there] in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.”  Perhaps you and I have prayed prayers similar to this.  One thing that is so admirable about David and I think a spiritual key to us overcoming in these dark times is that David, no matter how low, remembered the goodness and the faithfulness of GodHe continually brought God’s promises and His benefits before the Lord in his prayers and psalms.   And he never ceased to praise and thank God even in those dark times.  He was quite honest with God about what he was going through and the emotions that wanted to overtake him, but he always brought his thoughts and focus back to a place of faith in the faithfulness of God.  We may go through some long nights that may go for years, but learn those principles that David learned.  They will sustain you in those times. David even says an interesting thing in this passage, he says, ” by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face.”  Have you ever thought of your mountain as favor from God?  Remember that what God is allowing in your life is designed to press you into Him.  He wants us to learn and trust Him for who He is, not what He can do for us.  This is the place of maturing faith where the rubber meets the road.  God has to become very real to us or we give up and turn away.  God is processing us through the hardships of our life.   “The trial of your faith is much more precious than Gold” (1 Peter 1:7a)

In this scripture David says “joy does come in the morning”, our trials, darkness and seeming separation from God won’t last forever.  He is faithful to bring us through if we faithfully hold fast to Him.  David’s next expression after talking of how severe the trial says, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”

If you are in your night season, don’t be discouraged, have hope, God has not forsaken you.  He is proving you and bringing you into whom you really are in Him.  Stand the test, stay the course, for joy comes in the morning.

Blessings,

#kent

Wild Grapes

September 10, 2018

Wild Grapes

Isaiah 5:1-7

Now will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; [and] break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts [is] the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

 

This scripture could be as applicable to the Church today as it was of Israel of old.  We are His vineyard and are to be the fruit of His vine.  It is to be His life and the sweetness of His nature that is in us.  Would He say today of His vineyard that it brought forth wild grapes.  Are we seeing the true nature and character of Christ in the Church today?  Are we seeing justice, mercy and righteousness as the fruit of our works and lives?  Are we still double-minded and two-faced toward our Beloved, the keeper of the vineyard?  Does it ever amaze us how we can be spiritual around religious or spiritual settings, but then we see all of this worldly talk and attitudes coming out of us when we are around those in the world.  Would the world around us comprehend that we were truly a different type of grape; one that always tasted of the sweetness and flavor of Christ?

In Isaiah 5:11-13 it goes on to say, “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, [that] they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, [till] wine inflame them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because [they have] no knowledge: and their honourable men [are] famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.” Is it possible that we still live this double life where we are for God on Sunday and certain occasions, but then we want to party and live the life of the world the rest of the time?  One day we wake up and find ourselves in spiritual bondage and oppression to the spirits of this world.  We find strongholds over our lives that we can’t seem to break out of and we are there because we have become wild grapes.  It says, “my people are gone into captivity, because of lack of knowledge.”  If we are not always focused on the purpose and calling we have in Christ then we will find ourselves drifting off course and left to drift off course we will find ourselves slowly drawn into that great maelstrom or whirlpool that draws us, slowly at first, but then faster and faster circling the drain of the destruction of sin.  “If the honorable men are famished and the multitude dried up with thirst ” what is that saying?  We are in spiritual drought; our spirit is languishing for lack of life and knowledge of God and His ways.  We must catch the vision of where God is going and what our part is in the journey.  We have to have knowledge and revelation of Him.  We have to know who we are and what we are becoming.  Are we becoming what Christ has planted in us?  Are we becoming the sweet grapes of His nature and character or are we becoming wild grapes that have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof?   Matthew 24:12 says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  Sin will always bring separation from God because it draws us away from His presence and fellowship.  On the other hand when we are pressing in to know Him and drawing near to Him, His presence will consume the sin in our lives and purify our hearts.

James 4:1-10 sums it up in a very practical way, “1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

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.”

What kind of grapes are we becoming today; the true fruit of His vine or wild grapes?

Blessings,
#kent

Activation

September 3, 2018

Acts 2:1-3

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tonguesa as the Spirit enabled them.

 

Activation

 

At the beginning of this year, what I was hearing the Spirit say was that this is a year of activation in body of Christ.  Quite honestly I haven’t yet seen the level of activation that I had hoped for in myself or others.  I was asking the question, “what brings about activation?”.  I was reminded that the body of Christ, the Church was activated at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 in the upper room in Jerusalem.  We see God activating these ordinary faithful believers in a supernatural way.  Now I don’t think activation for today is about getting goose bumps, and all worked up in our emotions.  I think it is when God really shows up in us.  When the Holy Spirit really shows up in us, things go from the ordinary to extraordinary, because He is an extraordinary God.

When I look at Pentecost I don’t see an organization, a protocol, a program or any one man or group dictating what all the others should do or how they should worship.  I see a 120 people, in obedience to the command of Jesus, going and waiting upon the Holy Spirit to show up.  How many of us ever go to church and wait for that to happen.  No, everyone might get bored and leave or if the Holy Spirit did show up things might get out of control and it could get messy.

What does that say about our desire and hunger for God?  What does it say about our willingness to trust God to show up in us as believers and activate the body again into what it was birthed to be, the living expression of Christ in all of His members.

Yes, I am tired of church, man’s order, man’s ways, one man shows and ministries.  I am so ready to see the body of Christ rise up, be activated and be the Church, the expression of Christ, activated, governed and led by the Spirit of God.  I don’t want to just see another move of God.  I want to see His kingdom come and His will done on earth as it is in heaven.

Please excuse me while I am venting a little of my passion today.  I am just so ready for the real thing manifested in power and love through the body of Christ, where it is not about big names or “the ministry”, because that is who we all should be.  I am tired of the impotence that I feel in myself and in the rest of the body.  I am tired of just sitting on a seat or in a pew on Sunday morning.  If I am tired of it, maybe God is tired of it too.  Maybe it is time to take church out of the building and into the streets, the neighborhoods, the nursing homes and even the bars.  Maybe it is time we exercise our faith and all the information that we have been assimilating for all of these years.  Maybe we need to quit waiting for someone to tell us what to do and start being and doing what Christ called us too.

A revolution comes when people become tired enough of the way things have been and are willing to activate to create a change.  That activation first has to happen in our heart and then that fire has to find expression through our actions.  It is time for the Church to look different than it has for so many years.  It was never put in place to just be a social organization where we could all get together and feel good.  It was birthed to change the world and touch the lives of all around it.

This is not to incite you against your pastor or your church, because they probably are as frustrated as we are.  It is time to change our paradigm of what Church looks like if we want to become activated into what God is doing in this hour.  Maybe we need to ask God what that looks like outside of the four walls of a building.  How do we go from ordinary to extraordinary unless we are willing, like the 120, to wait upon the Lord, seek His face and cry out for Him to activate us into who He desires us to be.  I think, that for many of us, this has been our cry and yearning of our hearts.

Father, hear our heart’s cry to be activated into the living organism of Holy Spirit expression that you have created us to be.   Tear down our traditions and remove the complacency of our hearts and all the habits that keep us tied to the old dead ways of our doing things.  Set us free individually and corporately to find afresh the joy of Your presence and the activation of Your Spirit. Amen.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Never take your Blessing for Granted

 

 

Deuteronomy 8:11-14

Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest [when] thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein]; And [when] thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;

 

This is the condition we find our county in today.  We are a very blessed nation, like no other in the world.  Those of us, who know our historical roots, know that God has had his hand upon the establishment of this country and even the government that has been put in place.  We have been an example and demonstration of God’s goodness, provision and blessing.  We have been like the new Israel and many early settlers viewed it exactly that way.  God has shown His faithfulness to us time after time as He has kept this nation by the power of His loving hand.

Isn’t it ironic now, that the land of religious freedom and expression can’t even post the Ten Commandments in public places, have Bibles or talk about God in the schools in this country, but they can and now do these things in Russia, a land so long under religious tyranny and oppression?  What abomination is it that has taken hold of us that now we can’t even pray out loud or openly proclaim the God that established and blessed this nation.  Further, we see the efforts to remove, “In God We Trust” from our currency and “One nation under God” from our pledge of allegiance.  What spirit of darkness has come over our land that we legally kill our unwanted babies and want to recognize and sanctify homosexual marriages?   What spiritual blindness has gripped our hearts that we want to call good evil and evil good?  Supposedly we are a people ruled by the majority and polls tell us that there is still a majority in this country that believes in God.  How is it that we are not upholding His values and morals?   Have our hearts become so lifted up, as the scripture warns us, that we have forgotten our God?  Will we have to receive God’s firm correction and judgement because we have allowed our land to become polluted and defiled with ungodliness?  While many of us as Christians don’t like or agree with what we see going on, we are guilty of not becoming actively involved in raising up a voice and an outcry against such things.  Certainly we need godly men that can step into the places of leadership throughout our society and uphold a standard of righteousness and moral integrity.  Let us not be guilty of not participating in a democratic process that God has helped establish to make our voice known.  When we fail to act in righteousness, evil comes in by default.  A quote given by Edmond Burke an eighteenth century British statesman says, “”For evil to triumph it is enough only that good men do nothing”.   Is that about to be our epitaph?  God blessed us in our last election by placing a president in office that upholds these godly values and principles, but no man can do it alone.  We, as a people of God, we must raise up a standard against the spirit of wickedness that pervades our land.  Our complacency will be our demise and the loss of all that we hold dear.  We must establish again our Lord God, as the Lord and sovereign of our hearts and our nation.  Our family units must be preserved at all cost if we are to survive as a nation.  Marriage must again find its place of sanctity and respect that it once held.  We must become a nation that learns again what unselfishness and self- sacrifice is about if we want to our families preserved.  Our selfishness is proving to be our undoing.

With prayer and supplication our request must be made known before God for the state of our nation.  The battle is a spiritual battle, but it is played out in the natural arena of our daily lives, society and government.  James says that, “faith without works is dead.”  It is not just what we believe that is important, it is what we act on.  Each one of us has a vote and say.  Each one of us has representatives that are suppose to be listening to the voice of their constituents.  Are they hearing our voice or are we silent, doing nothing, allowing evil to triumph?

I am not one that is big on politics, but I feel the heart of God is that we need to stand up and be counted.  We have far too long let the voice of evil be vocal and consequently we have lost our spiritual heritage through our silence and passivity.  Dare to take up the weapons of spiritual warfare and fight the good fight both in the spiritual and natural realms.  We can no longer afford to be a silent majority unless we want to be an oppressed majority.

Blessings,

#kent

LOVE

August 22, 2018

1 Corthinians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

 

LOVE

 

Love often walks a difficult path,

For it does not seek its will or own.

It empties itself of all it hath,

To richly furnish another’s home.

 

Love patiently endures trying times,

It is longsuffering with the difficult ones,

Even when pressed it is always kind.

It loves in spite of the offenses done.

 

Love does not covet another’s goods,

Or resent another for what it does not have.

It does not boast though it could,

Instead it chooses to be a healing salve.

 

Love is not rude though it is often wronged,

It is not easily angered by those who offend,

It chooses forgiveness as its daily song,

Grace and truth are the message it sends.

 

Love does not delight in another’s hurt.

It protects the weaker and gives to the poor.

For the downtrodden, truth and justice it asserts,

Upon their aggressors it shuts the door.

 

Love never loses faith, hope or trust,

It perseveres with wind in its sails,

It is not defamed by its impotent rival, lust.

Though all else passes away, love never fails.

 

Kent Stuck

Blessings,

#kent

Resurrection Life

August 21, 2018

John 11:40-46 (Amplified)

Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?

41So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 2Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this on account of and for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me [that You have made Me Your Messenger].

43When He had said this, He shouted with a loud voice, Lazarus, come out!

44And out walked the man who had been dead, his hands and feet wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] napkin bound around his face. Jesus said to them, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go.

45Upon seeing what Jesus had done, many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Him. [They trusted in Him and adhered to Him and relied on Him.]

46But some of them went back to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

 

Resurrection Life

 

We have been speaking about the death of Lazarus of Bethany.  He had fallen sick.  The sisters of Lazarus had sent for Jesus, but we see that Jesus didn’t drop what he was doing to rush back and heal Lazarus.  There is a much greater truth that He is about to show forth.  John 11:4-6 says, “When Jesus received the message, He said, This sickness is not to end in death; but [on the contrary] it is to honor God and to promote His glory, that the Son of God may be glorified through (by) it.

5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. [They were His dear friends, and He held them in loving esteem.] 6Therefore [even] when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He still stayed two days longer in the same place where He was.”  Jesus has spoken that this sickness is not to end in death, but like so many times we can’t really hear and receive what the word of the Lord is because our natural mind and circumstances are telling us something contrary to what He is saying.  In this passage and story of Lazarus we see Jesus not revealing Himself as the healer, but He is revealed as the resurrection and the life.  I believe this is a window to see the greater workings of Christ in us.  Many of us have experienced Christ the healer, but have we experienced Him as the resurrection and the life.  There is both physical and spiritual significance to this.  Lazarus had been dead for four days.  Four is the number of creation.   What Jesus is doing in Lazarus is setting creation free.

Romans 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.”  Verses 17-23 go on to say, “17And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory. 18[But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!

19For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship].

20For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it–[yet] with the hope

21That nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22We know that the whole creation [of irrational creatures] has been moaning together in the pains of labor until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves too, who have and enjoy the firstfruits of the [Holy] Spirit [a foretaste of the blissful things to come] groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies [from sensuality and the grave, which will reveal] our adoption (our manifestation as God’s sons).  Lazarus represents creation man subject to death and the grave.  In the body we see him dying, but we also know that he is a believer in Christ and loves Him.  We see the groaning and travailing of creation in Mary, Martha and the mourners.  ‘The Father subjected this creation to frailty not by any fault of its part, but subjected it in hope.’  The manifestation of Christ is that hope realized.

Lazarus has died in his body.  He has been wrapped with burial cloths.  We might see these as the traditions, religions and the mindsets of man.  His natural reasoning and thinking because this the way it has always been.

Jesus commands that the stone be rolled away from the tomb.  It is time to take the lid off of our stinking thinking that has produced and contained nothing but death.  Jesus shouts, in a loud voice, one of all authority and dominion, “Lazarus come forth.”  This is the Word that Christ is speaking to our spirit man, “Man of God, Come forth out of the tomb of your old creation man.”  Yes when we roll away the stone there may be some foul smells that come forth, but it isn’t till the stone of ignorance, fear and unbelief are rolled away that the stench of death can be replaced with the fragrance of life.  After Jesus had shouted, out walked a man, who had been dead and now lives, wrapped with the burial cloths of his death.  The next words out of the mouth of Jesus are, “Free him from the burial wrappings and let him go.”  This is Lazarus now, symbolically, the new creation man raised from the dead and set free from the law of sin and death.  Lazarus is no longer an old creation man, but a resurrection man to the glory of Jesus Christ and God the Father.  The Spirit of Life has conquered the spirit of sin and death.  Praise the Lord Jesus all Victorious!  He is setting creation free and what He will do in us; He will do through us for all of creation.  This is the glorious liberty of the Sons of God.

Now some who saw this believed on Jesus, but others went back to tell the Pharisee’s.  Religion hates the true Spirit and Anointing, because it upsets the apple cart of traditional thinking and believing.  It breaks the mold of the old that was able to control people through fear, ignorance, intimidation and condemnation.   Just as Saul endeavored to kill the anointing that was in David, so traditional religion will seek to kill the true anointing and moving of God.  God is not a monument, but an ever moving and expanding river of Truth.  Today, He is setting us free in resurrection life and a fresh revelation of who He is as the Resurrection and the Life.

Blessings,

#kent

Sheep or Goat

August 9, 2018

 

Sheep or Goat

 

Matthew 25:32-46

“All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them [the people] from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats; 33And He will cause the sheep to stand at His right hand, but the goats at His left. 34Then the King will say to those at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me, 36I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me. 37Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink? 38And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You? 39And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You? 40And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least [in the estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it for Me. 41Then He will say to those at His left hand, Begone from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me and entertain Me, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me with help and ministering care. 44Then they also [in their turn] will answer, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You? 45And He will reply to them, Solemnly I declare to you, in so far as you failed to do it for the least [in the estimation of men] of these, you failed to do it for Me, 46Then they will go away into eternal punishment, but those who are just and upright and in right standing with God into eternal life.”

 

Every day we either minister or fail to serve Christ.  For so many of us, we find ourselves so involved and caught up in what we are doing that we totally miss our mission and calling.  We miss and fail to take the time and invest our resources into others.  Many of us have built up a wall of resistance against those who cross our paths with needs.  Even if we are giving, there are so many people, organizations and causes constantly asking for money and finances for something that we tend to get hardened to the “giving” as a whole.  After all we have our own family to take care and worry about.  While I would agree that there are more causes and people demanding from us than what most of us have resources to meet, are we still staying in tune with the Holy Spirit?  Are we in relationship with Christ where we can move and give ourselves as He leads and impresses us rather than as everyone expects and demands from us?

When we look at the life of Jesus what impresses us about His giving?  Did He raise great sums of money to put in the temple treasury?  Did He get involved with every charitable organization or fundraiser?  The first thing He did is He tuned into the Father and what the Father’s will for Him was and then He carried it out in action.  He gave out of the well of His life and truth.

In John 6 we find that there are those that followed Jesus after He had fed the multitude, because they saw Him as a free meal ticket.  They try and guilt Jesus into giving to them by using scriptural coercion.  In John 6:30-35 we read this dialogue, “Our forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as the Scripture says, He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.32Jesus then said to them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Moses did not give you the Bread from heaven [what Moses gave you was not the Bread from heaven], but it is My Father Who gives you the true heavenly Bread. 33For the Bread of God is He Who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world. 34Then they said to Him, Lord, give us this bread always (all the time)! 35Jesus replied, I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time)…. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will and purpose but to do the will and purpose of Him Who sent Me.”  The true gifts and service that we offer will be from a heart that is one with the Father’s and that lives out of an attitude of giving and service.  When we live to serve, love and give to those around us then we live to serve and minister to Jesus.  It will be in the random acts of kindness, the times we help those who couldn’t help themselves and in the times when we gave even when others didn’t deserve it.  It is in a life that is lived for others and not just for self.  It is in taking the time and having the heart for others even when our own life is so demanding.  A sheep has a nature of a servant and was born to be a blessing.  A goat may go through the motions, but their heart is not in it.  They will never see the needs in others, because they are always blinded by their own.

Blessings,

#kent

The Mountain of the Lord

August 3, 2018

 

The Mountain of the Lord

Isaiah 2:2-5

In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains;

it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. 3 Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways,

so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. 5 Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

 

When we read scriptures like Isaiah 2 and many places throughout Isaiah and other books that give reference to the mountain of the Lord.  In the times of Moses we saw the mountain of the Lord, Mount Sinai, as being a physical place with fire, smoke and earthquakes.  We saw portrayed a place that was so holy that man or beast could not approach it without the permission of God.  It was a place of fear and trembling for men.  Later, as we move through history and Word of God, we see reference to the mountain of Jerusalem and Zion.  Micah 4:1-2 for instance tells us, “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”  Here we see the exalted mountain of God that is open and inviting.  We know that the love of God and the blood of Jesus have made it this way.  We see it exalted established over every other high place.

What is a mountain?  Isn’t it a high place?  When we look at mountains from a spiritual perspective we can see that mountains can be every high and exalted things that stand in the pride and exaltation of men’s hearts and minds.  When we read in 2 Corinthian 10:3-6, “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; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” What we are talking about are mountains, strongholds and imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.  We know that these mountains can and do exist in us.  First of all the mountain of the Lord must be exalted and established within our own hearts.  Only as the Lord is that only high and exalted One in our lives, can we then become the elements of His mountain and Holy hill.  We are His Jerusalem, His Zion, and His Holy Mountain because He has taken up residence and is established within the hearts of His people.  Ezekiel 20:40 says, “For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD, there in the land the entire house of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them. There I will require your offerings and your choice gifts, along with all your holy sacrifices.”  This speaks of spiritual Israel, which we are as the redeemed of the Lord and our sacrifices are the sacrifices of praise and obedience as we slay the beast of our selfishness and offer ourselves upon the altar as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable before the Lord.  There we will offer to Him our highest praise, our humblest obedience, submission and gratitude.  There He alone will be exalted and lifted up in our minds, our hearts and in our actions.   As the body of Christ is brought into the spirit of unity and truth, then many people will be drawn to go up to this holy mountain where Christ alone sets upon the throne.  There, the dispensation of His righteousness, knowledge and understanding will flow out through His people as they dispense the Word, the Law, the peace and righteousness of God unto all who come.  Wherever there are other mountains and man is exalted in pride and unrighteousness, those mountains will be leveled and removed.  As Psalm 97:5 says, “The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.” Isaiah 11:9 says, “They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”  God’s people are the mountain in which Christ alone is exalted and upon which He reigns in Zion.  We are Jerusalem and His holy temple.  We are the instruments of His righteousness and vessels of His judgement and mercy.  We must level every mountain of opposition and pride within our own lives so, that the mountain of God is established within our own spirits and lives and that nothing in us stands in pride or opposition to Him.  Judgement begins in the house of God.

Blessings,

#kent

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