Live unto Life

March 7, 2019

 

Live unto Life

 

1 Samuel 25:29

Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the LORD has done for my master every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel,

 

There are basically two types of life, natural or soul life and spiritual life.  We know that the clock is ticking on the natural life and much sooner than we might like to think the sand will run out and this natural or soul life will expire.  For those of us who have had God’s grace shed abroad in our hearts and have come into a relationship with the ever living Father and His son Christ Jesus, we live for the spirit life that is eternal.  What we often struggle to keep focused on is that when we have come into this spirit life, we are living to higher principles and purpose.  We have grasped the concept that this present natural life is our stepping stone into the eternal.  What we accomplish and the decisions we make in this natural man, chart our course for eternity and the spirit life that we are stepping into.  But it is difficult to always keep our focus on the things above when we live and walk in the things beneath.

Our scripture today is from the story of when David was being pursued by Saul.  He was highly insulted by a man named Nabal and was on his way with a band of men to slay every male in Nabal’s household when he is intercepted by an intercessor.  Now the name Nabal means fool and this man lived up to his name, but he had a beautiful wife named Abigail who was also very wise.  She gathers up large quantities of food and wine and goes out to meet David and his men before they arrive.  When she meets him and in the discourse of the conversation she makes the statement out of 1 Samuel 25:29 and basically prophesies to him of who he is in relationship to the Lord and what God will do for him.  She reminds him that his life is’ bound securely in the bundle of the living.’  She reminds him that none can prevail against him because that is so with God’s anointing upon him, and she reminds him that even his enemies will be slung away from him as a rock in a sling.  You see, David, in his anger and in the heat of passion had determined to avenge himself against this man Nabal and all of the innocent men that may have been associated with his household.  He has lost his focus and is acting out of his flesh.  How often has that happen to us?  In the course of life an event or an occurrence will totally grab our attention away from who we are in Christ and we pursue it out of the flesh.  Even as God allowed or sent Abigail to check David and warn him, how often has God sent someone, or in some way tried to check our wrong actions by warning us, turning us away and trying to remind of us of who we are in Christ.  Sometimes God will even close doors or allow circumstances to try and turn our wrong course.  If we are wise we come to our senses and discern the warning and correct our wrong course of action.  Unfortunately, we are often prone to be headstrong and determined to go our own way or do our own thing.  Think about all of the men and women in prison.  At some point in their life they probably had warnings and indications that they were headed in a wrong way and to continue would result in consequences, but they chose to ignore those warnings and continued in a path that led to the consequences of their incarceration.  How have their wrong decisions and choices negatively impacted many people’s lives?  We hope that we can all learn to be quick to recognize and repent when we start down these dark trails.  We must always return to our focus, which is not this life, but the spirit life.  It is not just the life to come, it is the life we are entering into now as we live by faith and walk by the Spirit.  We want our lives to every day count toward eternity.  We want our lives, like David’s, to be ‘bound securely in the bundle of the living.’  We want to be bound unto the Lord in the fulfilling of His purpose and calling in our lives.  Are we walking and living in His higher purpose for us today?  The Lord did not create us simply to live unto ourselves.  We have a divine destiny and it can only be realized as we walk and pursue that spiritual life.  Even if we have made a mess of it up to this point, it is not too late for us to change our course.  God still wants to make something good, meaningful and beautiful out of our lives if we will let Him.  If we set our eyes and hearts upon the eternal, upon His Spirit life, then we will begin to walk in the dimension of the spirit even while we are living in the natural.

Let us summarize with 2 Peter 2:1-3, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Blessings,

#kent

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Endings and New Beginnings

February 12, 2019

 

Endings and New Beginnings

 

Deuteronomy 11:11-17

11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.

13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today-to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul- 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you

 

In this passage of scripture, the children of Israel, after forty years in the wilderness are crossing Jordan into the Promise Land of Canaan.  While this land is the inheritance of God’s people it has been possessed by the ungodly nations.  Now has come the time when Israel is to enter in, not by their might and their strength, but by faith in their God.  Many believers today have the mentality that all I need to do is believe in Jesus, live my life and die and go to heaven.  God has used the natural promise land of Canaan to show us that as believers in Christ Jesus we also have a Promise Land to enter into and possess, the kingdom of heaven, that which was lost to us in the fall of Adam. Jordan is a type of that baptism into the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.  As we are immersed in its water and come out the other side, we come out dead and no longer identified with ourselves, but alive unto the newness of life in Christ Jesus.  God is telling us that the land we have now entered into by faith, “It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.”  God wants us to know that we are walking in a blessed land, one He cares for and watches over.  He is telling us we can enjoy and partake of the blessings of this land in our spiritual walk if we will faithfully obey His commands.  It will be a productive and prosperous land for us if we are careful to always put God first.

This walk of the Spirit, this possession of spiritual Canaan is not without its pitfalls and dangers.  We are possessing a land that has formally been filled with idolatry and every evil practice.  Even as the Spirit of Christ is fully possessing our souls and we are seeking to yield every area in obedience to Him, we come up against giants and strong spiritual forces in our lives that resist the Holy Spirit.  They are stronger than we are in ourselves, but ‘we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus’.  ‘In Christ we can do all things’, but God would warns us as He did natural Israel, to guard our hearts against idolatry, where we place other things, desires and pleasures before Him.  He desires to bless us, but He requires of us faithful obedience.  It is very easy after we have gone through spiritual battles and experienced measures of victory in our lives to then fall into complacency which in turn lets our guard down and opens us up to falling into sin and idolatry.  That idolatry is anything we put before Him.

God goes on in this passage to tell the people that the way they can guard against this idolatry coming into their hearts is to continually, in every thing, in every way, everyday of the year, put the Word of God before them.   Read the Word, talk about it, tell your children continually about it, meditate upon it, even put it on your person or in conspicuous places where you will be continually reminded of your God and who you are in Christ.  This is imperative to maintaining a God perspective identity and in return, enjoying the fellowship you have with Him in the spirit and the blessings He has for you.  Our purpose in possessing this land is so that He might possess every part of us and we would experience the richness of His fellowship and presence, for that is indeed the manna and the taste of heaven.

Remember that the eyes of the Lord are upon you from the beginning to the end.  Make this a time for drawing nearer, living a deeper and more committed life in the Spirit and coming to know your God in a greater and more personal way.  May you be blessed with the rain and the waters of His spiritual blessing and presence as you personally walk, possess the land and live for Him.

Blessings,

#kent

 

What do you hold in your Hand?

 

Acts 3:6-8

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk And he took him by the right hand, and lifted [him] up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

.

 

If I told you to close your eyes and hold out your hands and in one hand I placed a check for a million dollars and in the other hand I placed a Bible.  Now open your eyes and tell me which of those two items you choose to keep?  The check is good and redeemable at your local bank.  I want you not to just give the answer you think is right, but if this was truly an option for you, which would you choose?

For those of you that chose the Bible over the million dollar check; why would you choose a $10 to $100 book over a million dollars?  Chances are you don’t read that book near as much as you need too or would like to anyway because you are out there trying to earn the million dollars, so are you sure you made the right choice?  What would make this book so valuable that it would be worth more than a million dollars?  Well, for one thing a million dollars has limitations, even though it is a substantial amount of money; God’s Word and His promises don’t have any limitations.  The potential of God’s Word and promises are without measure.  But what makes this book even more valuable is that it holds the words and the way to eternal life and a right relationship with God Almighty.  There isn’t enough money in the world to buy that.   In a few short years our life on earth is done and if this is all there is, well, we might as well live with all the stops pulled out because there is no more.  Why do we as Christians believe that there is more?  Because we believe that book when it says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  That “whosoever” means that anybody qualifies if they truly believe.  We would choose that Bible because we realize that our faith in God is the most powerful asset that we have.  Our faith in our God connects us with the ALMIGHTY, DIVINE CREATOR GOD!  We are plugged into the powerhouse of the universe.   Nothing that is, would exist, if it were not for Him, so why would we choose a meagerly million dollars when in Christ we have wealth and riches beyond limitations.

Now, neither that paper check nor that book with pages and written words has a great amount of value in and of themselves.  The reason they have value is because we see the potential that each one of them carries.  If I never cash the check and withdraw the money, the million dollars does me absolutely no good and the same is true of the Word of God.  If I don’t lay hold of it’s promises by faith and cash in on them by believing God, then they too, are worthless to me.  For something to have value it has to be acted upon.  I have to invest money to buy some commodity and I have to invest my faith to reap my promise.

In our scripture today Peter invested his faith into that lame man.  The results were astounding.  We also, can have astounding results when we dare to invest our faith and walk with our God.  What amount of money could have bought what Peter imparted to that lame man and Peter couldn’t have imparted it if he hadn’t made a choice earlier to pursue the world’s economy or to pursue Christ.  In John 14:12 Jesus tells us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”  Now, unless Jesus is a liar, there is potential in those words that a lot of us aren’t realizing, but the condition is that we believe on Him.  We need to begin to comprehend what we have in our hand when we chose that Bible over that million dollars.  We need to begin to redeem those promises and allow that Holy Spirit within us to enact those promises as we dare to believe and step out in faith.

The Bible isn’t a magic wand, but it is what can direct us to be in one heart and one mind with our Savior so that we might be an extension of His love and salvation in the earth.  He will give us the power to be what we need to be, as we are living and acting in obedience to Him.

What is in your hand and what are you doing with it?

Blessings,

#kent

The Heavens of Desolation

January 25, 2019

 

The Heavens of Desolation

 

Habakkuk 3:17-19

17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD , I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

 

What becomes of our faith and confidence in God in the midst of our trials, testings, and perhaps desolation, even when we have sought to put our faith in God?  Has He failed us, is His arm short that He cannot save us?  Has He forgotten us, forsaken us or cast us aside?  As I read this passage in Habakkuk this morning I was moved by the attitude of the prophet in the midst of his desolation.  Here He is saying if all else collapses, if everything around me fails to produce and if I lose all that I have; “yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”  One of the biggest hurdles we have, to get over, is that natural circumstances really have nothing to do with God and His faithfulness.  We most often want to use our circumstances as a barometer and thermometer of how close we are to God, by how much we are blessed and how well things are going.  What do we do then with those desolate times, when circumstances would indicate that God has forsaken us?  All the natural indicators around us would tell us God isn’t with you in your desolation.  Was God in Job’s desolation?  Was He in Joseph’s desolation in Egypt?  Was He in David’s desolation as Saul sought and hunted him like an animal to take his life?  Was God in Christ Jesus’ desolation at Gethsemane and the Cross?  Even Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

We have no problem thanking God and recognizing Him in our blessings and when life is good.  What do we do when the times come that try our souls, test our faith and our head is filled with voices of God’s unfaithfulness?  It is the winepress and the crushing of the grapes that determines the true nature of the wine.  These are the times and the places we must, like the prophet Habakkuk, know how to walk upon the high places and in the heavenlies when calamities befall us.  We must come to know heaven even in the times of desolation and despair.  Much of the Psalms were written in this very place.   In them we can hear each one of our own cries to God, as at the same time we are reminding ourselves of God’s great salvation.  In them we can see the encouragement that can be derived and the faith that can be stirred up, by remembering our God and His mighty acts.  We remember that He said He would never leave us or forsake us.  Psalm 73:23 says,” Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”  Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19-20, “19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We must not ever let the circumstances around us dictate the presence of God in our lives.  Our feelings are not the best indicators of our spirituality.   Our spirit man within us, that in-Christed-One within us, is the anchor of our souls.  It is from the wells of His life within us that we draw forth the living waters in the days of drought. It is the living Word and manna that we eat in the days of our wilderness and hunger.  Matthew 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”  This is why Habakkuk could sing, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation The LORD God [is] my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ [feet], and he will make me to walk upon mine high places…” Only the people of God can truly know the place of heaven in such times.  Only they can know the joy of the their God and rejoice in His salvation when calamity fills the earth around them.  Our circumstances are not our God.  Our God is the Lord of our circumstances no matter what they may proclaim to the contrary.

If your circumstances and desolation are bringing you down today, come rejoice in the Lord, come up into the heavenlies with the spirit of praise, worship and remembrance of His wonderful acts.  Let faith arise in your hearts.  The Lord is your strength and He will cause you to stand.

Blessings,

#kent

Desire Wisdom

January 4, 2019

Desire Wisdom

 

Proverbs 2:1-11

1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom

and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

 

Among the things that we covet, desire and pursue in the earth, is wisdom one of the primary things?  Proverbs 8:11 says, “For wisdom [is] better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”  Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”  Godly wisdom is a much neglected thing and yet just the word “wisdom” is used some 234 times throughout the Word of God, so one might get the impression it is a more important aspect in God’s eyes than many of us realize.  It is far to exhaustive to cover thoroughly in this brief study, but let’s just let God’s Word instruct us in this area today.

First, what is wisdom?  Ecclesiastes 2:26 says, “For [God] giveth to a man that [is] good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to [him that is] good before God. This also [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.”  James 3:17 tells us, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”  It is godly guiding principles of life that helps one to produce the fruit of godliness in their life and walk.

How does one obtain it?  Job 28:28, Proverb 1:7 and Proverbs 9:10 pretty closely agree and bear witness to each other that, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy (to depart from evil) [is] understanding.” It says that fools will despise wisdom and instruction.  So, if you be among the wise, “So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding;(Proverbs 2:2) For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth [cometh] knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: [he is] a buckler to them that walk uprightly (Proverbs2:6-7).”

Why is it so important?  Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 15:33 tells us, “The fear of the LORD [is] the instruction of wisdom; and before honour [is] humility.”  It is so important, because learning wisdom is learning the way of the Lord.  It is our instruction and way of salvation.  It is the path that leads to life.   Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy the truth, and sell [it] not; [also] wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”  I think this is a key verse to understanding a couple of passages in the New Testament.  If we think about this wisdom as like the oil of godly understanding, of principled living, of the knowledge which leads us into relationship and intimacy with Him, then we might get a little insight into Matthew 25:1-13.  The parable about the ten virgins, five who were wise and five who were foolish.  We just learned that the foolish are those who despise wisdom.  The reason they despise wisdom is because wisdom demands great reverence and respect for God, as well as obedience.  The foolish want to go their own way, be complacent and do their own thing.  Proverbs 15:21 says, “Folly [is] joy to [him that is] destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly” Can any of us see that folly in ourselves?  They were all virgins.  They were all looking for Christ’s coming, but we see two different conditions of the heart, one acceptable and one not.   Wisdom is not something you have in a moment of time, it something that you cultivate, grow and mature into.  Wisdom is revealed to those that love her, cherish and respect her.  She is a relational creature and one you must grow in relationship with.   Proverbs 19:8 says, “He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.”  Ecclesiastes 2:13 says, “Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.”

Isaiah 33:6 tells us, “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, [and] strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD [is] his treasure”  “My son, attend unto my wisdom, [and] bow thine ear to my understanding (Proverbs 5:1).”  Perhaps through these many passages and exhortations of wisdom we are given even more a sense and gravity to the exhortation of Revelations 3:15, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot.  So because thou are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and the miserable and poor and blind and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayes become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest cloth thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see.   As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.”  This is the exhortation to the foolish virgin to go get and buy wisdom before it is too late.

Let us pursue wisdom whereby our lamps are filled with oil and we are not filled with a false sense of security and riches, but with truth, with is rich in the wisdom and the mind of our God.

Blessings,

#kent

Strong Meat

December 28, 2018

 

Strong Meat

 

Hebrews 5:14

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

 

If you were to offer strong or tough meat to an infant or small child they could easily choke on it and not be able to properly chew, break it down and digest it.  This is what the writer in Hebrews is saying here of spiritual matters.  Previous to this in verses 11-15 the writer chides his readers because they cannot handle the deeper things of the Spirit of the Word.  “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.” How many of us are guilty of being like these Hebrews?  The Hebrews, like many Christians grew up in church, went to Sunday school and knew all the basics of the Bible and all the Bible stories, but they were still babies with regards to spiritual maturity.  We are rich in information about God and His Word, but so much of what we glean is another man’s insight and revelation.  Many of us have walked with the Lord a good many years, but how mature are we concerning spiritual matters?  At a time when we ought to be teachers do we need to be taught again the first principles of God’s Word?  Those of full age in the spirit doesn’t mean you are old or young, it means you have been exercised in the Word and the principles of God’s Word.  It means you haven’t just heard sermons and read bible studies.  It means you have walked out your faith based on what you know of God’s Word.  It means that you have learned discernment and wisdom based on practical application of God’s Word in day to day life circumstances and trials.  You have the mind of the Spirit to discern the things of the Spirit and the things of the flesh.

The exhortation here to us is that God has much to reveal and show us, but we cannot endure it and comprehend it with a child-like spiritual mentality.  He is telling us quite bluntly, “we need to grow up.”  There are great depths to be sounded in the Word of God. It is a great moving, dynamic river of truth and a deep ocean.   We must be mature to swim out into its depths and experience more than what we have.  Many of you who are reading this have a God placed hunger and desire within you.  Learn to study the Word of God for yourself and research the depths of its mysteries.  The Lord is calling us to maturity in this hour.   He is raising up those who are of full age in Him.  You won’t get there by simply sitting on the pew each Sunday and singing “Just as I am”.   God is calling us now into the depths of His Spirit where He can reveal to us His deep knowledge and mysteries.  He doesn’t share them with those still feeding on the milk of the Word.  He shares them with those who are hungry for more of Him.  Are you willing to get in there and do some heavy chewing, breaking down the Word of God and searching it out with study materials and prayer?  God is not a respecter of persons; He will begin to give you deeper revelations of His Word as you pursue it with hunger and desire.  This is the day and the hour He is calling each one of us deeper into Him.  It is time to leave off with the milk and the simple truths and press deeper into knowing Him.  The steaks belong to the mature.  Come and taste of the rich things God has prepared for those who love Him and who are willing to pursue Him in greater depths of knowledge and relationship.

Blessings,

#kent

Does our Cart Draw our Horse?

December 12, 2018

 

 

Does our Cart Draw our Horse?

 

Romans 8:1-17

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.  5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man[e] is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind[f] is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

 

            Romans 8 is perhaps one of the most powerful books in the bible concerning our spiritual man.  It speaks very directly about what a spiritual man or woman should look like and where their mindset and focus should be. 

            There is an old saying that I guess is rather antiquated in our modern age, but its truth still speaks as loudly.  Whenever we would get things out of order or out of balance, someone might say to us, “You are getting the cart before the horse.”  I felt like the Lord was showing me this is exactly what many us of do with our spiritual lives.  If the horse is like the spirit and the cart is like the flesh, then it would only make sense that the horse should be leading and directing the flesh.  A good many of us have our carts trying to pull our horse, most of the time.  We are out of balance and out of order with the spiritual order of things.

God wants us to operate out of the heavenlies and out of the mind of Christ, but we haven’t put on His mind, we still are too attached to our own former thinking.  We are carnally minded.  We are missing the abundant and spirit-filled life of Romans 8.  This lifestyle of Romans 8 will lead us into sonship and being joint-heirs in Christ.  How many of us and how often are we operating out of the mind of the Spirit?

            I was asking the Lord, “How do we really do that when we have to manage all of these earthly affairs in our daily lives.  The Lord reminded me of a time when I worked construction and I would wake up in Christ, praying, praising and worshipping Him.  He was always bubbling just beneath the surface.  My joy, my attitude, my motivation and my purpose were being expressed as He was leading and directing me. My breaks and lunches were often spent fasting and praying or reading the Word.  It sticks in my mind as one of the most joyous and fulfilling times in my life.  Even when I got off of work all that I did was purposed in Christ.  The Lord is speaking to us that this natural life is to be an extension of our spiritual man.  The spiritual man is not to an extension of the natural man. We need to ask ourselves what condition is our spiritual man in today?  Are we getting the cart before the horse?

Blessings,

#kent

The God of our Blessing

December 11, 2018

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

 

 

The God of our Blessing

 

As I look back and survey the Old Testament and follow it up, into and through the New Testament I see a God working on behalf of the good of His people and His elect.  Through all of the examples that have gone before us I can’t think of any that were just storybook happy ever-after tales.  Each life faced triumph and tragedy, victories and trials.  When God says He is working for our good, does that mean that life will not be without its difficulties?  How can God raise up a people that are overcomers unless there is something they must overcome?  Even God teaches in these very passages that, in order to partake of His glory we must be willing to endure the suffering.  We live in a world that still abides under the curse of sin and death.  We, the people of God have come into the liberty of the Sons of God in our spirits.  We are partakers of the life and promises in Christ Jesus, but in the midst of our soul these two worlds and economies clash.  On this front there are storms going on, both natural and spiritual.  Here is where the kingdom of God meets the kingdoms of this world.  Here is where we pray that God will be at work within us, both to will and to do His good pleasure.

Romans 8:1-2 teaches us that we are no longer of this world cast down under the wheels of its condemnation, but ‘the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death’.  “The righteous requirements of the law are fully met in us who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)” He removed the curse and the burden of the law over us which we tried to accomplish in our efforts.  He is now writing His laws upon our hearts so that in our love, desire and spiritual relationship with Him we would abide in lawfulness and righteousness by the Spirit and no longer through the strength or rather the weakness of our flesh.  Our hearts are now set in Him to walk by the Spirit so that we no longer fulfill the lust of our flesh.

While we know this in our spirits and we endeavor to walk in it, we still experience the economy of the world we still must live in, along with it influences of sin and death.  Each day we are faced with the personal challenge and decision to take up our cross and follow Him.  There is a continual death and circumcision that God is working in our hearts as we walk in obedience to Him.  It would be great if we had no more desires or temptations from this world, but in reality we do.  Herein the conflict of flesh and spirit are at odds.

Each of us is different, but in reality we have times of victory and we have those times of defeat in the midst of this battle.  Sometimes we can even bite the dirt pretty hard and we wonder, “Can God still forgive me”?  Can He still use me?  Look at the mess I have made and the wrong choices that have caught up with me.

The amazing thing about our God and the thing I am in such awe of, is His amazing patience, love, grace and kindness toward me, even when I fail.  I know that He doesn’t condone my sin, but like the woman caught in adultery, He doesn’t just give me over to condemnation.  He still loves me no matter what I have done or what sin that I have committed.  His love is unconditional towards me.  Make no mistake, sin has its consequences and it will exact its price, but God’s love and amazing grace can still forgive my sin and restore my fellowship with Him if I will humble myself, repent and call upon His name.  His blood is still sufficient to wash and cleanse my unrighteousness.   Though I may endure the hardship and the consequence of my actions, God is able to still work all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  That hard fall I just took may have brought me to a place where I can encounter an even greater victory.  God is at work within us both to will and work His good pleasure.

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST.  The world and the enemy are always trying to rob that identity away from you.  It is identity theft and if you let him he will strip you of your power, your faith, your authority and your worth.  In place of it he will plant fear, doubt and unbelief wrapped up in condemnation and guilt, overshadowed by death.  Know who you are people and never let the enemy steal your identity.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  We are righteousness in Christ Jesus.  Seal yourself in the blood and identity of all that Christ is and all that He suffered and died to provide for you.  The last thing we want to do is to make His suffering and death for us of none effect.  1 John 4:17 says,  “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”  That is His identity in you.  Finally Romans 8: 31-38 Paul concludes by giving us this wonderful reassurance of God’s love and keeping, knowing that we are more than conquerors through Him that has loved us. “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  The God of all blessing is working for your good.

Blessings,

#kent

Incomprehensible

December 6, 2018

Revelation 4:6-11

… In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”

9Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

11“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

 

Incomprehensible

 

How incomprehensible and unfathomable is our GOD?  How could we, in our small finite minds, even begin to grasp the greatness of His magnitude and being.  We need only look at what we know of the tremendous immensity of the universe to realize that out of Him this all came into being and He is ever continually creating, ever expanding and ever increasing.

Can you imagine sitting before His throne and continually seeing new and awesome wonders expressed through our Almighty?  No wonder they never tire of falling down before Him and worshipping Him who lives for ever and ever.  Casting their crowns at His feet and declaring,   “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

Can we even imagine the Spirit and Energy, Power and Dominion, Majesty, Glory and Splendor that radiates from His Being.  It would be so much more intense than setting before the sun.  Can we even imagine that so great a Being could know, understand and care about your every thought and feeling.  When we are but a micron in the scope of the universe and His creation.  Can we even imagine that He knew us before the foundation of the world and set us apart for His good pleasure to call us sons and daughters.?  Can we even imagine that He has called us to be born into His kingdom  and be partakers of His very blood and DNA through the blood of Jesus?  He knows ever hair on your head and knows all of your life before you even have lived it.  Wow!

When we begin to really think upon and comprehend the tremendous enormity, power, authority and majesty it is no wonder that we could bow in presence, forever amazed, mesmerized and astounded at all that He is and all that exudes from His Being and Presence.

Now we turn and look back at our problems and our challenges and realize they are but puffs of dust in the light of the One whom we serve, love and have been called into identification with.  When we see who is behind us how can we ever fear again that which is front of us.

Where are we as believers in Christ in all of this?  Ephesians 2:4-7 enlightens us, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”  Even now we are seated in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.  If I am in Christ who is in God looking down upon what I have perceived as my giants, my giants have now become as ants beneath my feet because of where I am positioned in Him.  When we get the eyes and the mind of the Spirit and begin to see our natural world in its light, then nothing is too great or too impossible for our God who lives through us.  FAITH just arises when we comprehend who we are in the enormity of the God we love and trust.  Our Papa is a far greater force to reckon with than any of the other bad boys we know on the block.  So let faith arise and your enemies be scattered.  Don’t allow the smoke and mirrors of the present world cloud and obscure your vision from seeing all that our God is in the limited amount that we are able comprehend, understand and know Him.

He is so worthy of our continual awareness, gratitude and worship of all that He is.  Allow yourself to go to the place of the living creatures, the host of heaven, the twenty-four elders and just ask the Lord to help you see through the eyes of your imagination and Spirit into that place of such magnificent glory, in Father’s presence.

Blessings,

#kent

Believing into Relationship

December 5, 2018

John 14:1

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

 

Believing into Relationship

 

Many people will say they believe in God and they approach Him in different ways with different beliefs and religions.  They may be very fervent in their belief or have a generic belief that, “yes, I believe there is a God.”  They may even believe in Jesus in a religious or generic sense, but what distinguishes, “The Believer” from a believer?  In as much as many of them know, all is good and they have all that they need.  Who is the believer?  Certainly there are many devout Jews who believe in God.  They are very careful to observe the law, days, traditions and to be Kosher in all that they eat.  There are many “Christians” who piously and faithfully go to church every Sunday.  If works are the criteria then surely they must qualify.

Jesus made a simple statement here in John 14:1 and goes on to better qualify what that means in the following verses, but the Holy Spirit put His focus on this one verse for a reason.  If you want real peace from a troubled heart then know that it is not just about believing in God, but also believing in His only begotten Son, Jesus.  Jesus isn’t saying here that He is separate from God, because they are one. What He is saying is that the interface of a relationship with God the Father is through the Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus has been the expression of the Father in the flesh.  He has not lived His life in accordance with His own will or desires.  Luke 10:22 says, “All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and [he] to whom the Son will reveal [him].”  If you want a real revelation of who God the Father is, it is only revealed through the Son.  Jesus only did and spoke those things that He heard from the Father and that is where He is desiring to bring His disciples.

When Jesus was crucified, resurrected and had ascended to the Father He sent us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who is the third part of the Godhead, to indwell us as believers, so that we might have a channel to hear and do as Jesus did.  He is our channel through whom Christ is revealing Himself through us.  When Jesus says, “believe also in me”, He becomes the head and the husband under which all the true church is gathered and united.  It doesn’t carry a denominational label.  It isn’t attained to by religion or the good works of man.  It starts with that act of faith that embraces Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life, but it doesn’t stop there.  It is a progressive salvation.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Paul prays, ” And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Salvation begins in our spirit man, but its work is to permeate and sanctify our whole man, spirit, soul and body.  Jesus walked blameless in all three of these dimensions.  As we yield wholly and completely to the in-working of the Holy Spirit, this is where He is leading us, out of self and into Him.  That is why He is now our identity and no longer the old man of sin we identified with prior to a revelation of Christ in us.

If we want a revelation of the Father God then we must believe in the Son.  That believing and continual work of faith, trust and obedience is what is what is bringing us into our sonship.  John 1:12 says, ” But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on His name.”  Romans 8:14 says, ” For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Through this Christ believing, Spirit filled relationship, we are being directed into our destiny and calling of relationship and sonship with Abba Father, because we are in the Son and He is in us and we are one, even as They are One (John 17:20-26).  “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2).”

Blessings,

#kent

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