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

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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

Foolishness

December 3, 2018

 

Foolishness

 

Ecclesiastes 7:25

25 So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.

          Folly and foolishness is bound up in the heart of all of us. What motivates one man to pursue wisdom and another to pursue folly and foolishness?  What is folly and foolishness?  In this scripture it is defined as the “stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.”   Stupidity isn’t just ignorance or not knowing.  It is knowing what the right choice is and still choosing the wrong one.  None of us have ever been stupid or foolish have we; knowing what is right and choosing to do the wrong thing anyway?  We do it far more than we would like to admit.  What motivates us to sin?  It is foolishness.  Now why are we so stupid?  I guess it is what our stubborn flesh wants to do and the desire to satisfy it is stronger than the desire to be obedient to the mind and will of God. 

          The book of Proverbs spends quite a bit of its content addressing the contrast between wisdom and foolishness.  Wisdom is the pursuit of life and the knowledge and understanding of it.  It opposes foolishness, because wisdom’s direction is grounded in the principles that lead us to understanding and embracing the mind, will and purpose of God.  Proverbs says that “folly is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”  As God’s children and even as adults we want to hold on to a lot of our foolishness.  We can be wise in some areas, but there are other areas we don’t want to let go of folly.  As a result we see the fruit of it in our lives.  It affects our relationships, our finances and taints so much of our life.  Why are we so stupid we won’t let go of it?  Usually it has become a stronghold in us that now rules over us instead of us over it.  These strongholds of foolishness can destroy us if we let them.  We know what is right, but seem helpless to be obedient to the truth in certain areas.  Here again the wisdom of the Lord is our deliverance.  The first act of wisdom is when we acknowledge that these areas are wrong and we no longer want to be a slave to them.  In our repentance we must seek God’s help; for it will not be conquered in our own power.  It is wisdom to seek the help of trusted brothers or sisters who will pray with us, stand with us and hold us accountable.  Our deliverance is when we come out of the darkness and into the light.  In the light, satan is powerless and all his deceitfulness is exposed.  It is in the darkness of our minds and the privacy our own thoughts he works to deceive and entice us to sin and folly. 

          Wisdom is known, not by her knowledge, but by her works.  Many are ever learning, but never able to come to knowledge of the truth.  Wisdom is spiritual and practical application of godly principles.  Foolishness is poor judgment and wrong choices motivated by selfishness.  All of us have a certain amount of foolishness left in us, but what are we pursuing today?  Are we hungry and passionate about laying hold of the mind of Christ which is wisdom in circumstances of life or are we given to folly and just going with the flow?  1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us; For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”  Our foolishness is bound up in the heart of our selfishness, only the cross at work in us will deliver us into the wisdom of the life and mind of God.  Are we willing to release the stupidity of our folly and pursue wisdom at all cost to us? 

            Paul exhorts the Colossians, as well as us in Colossians 2: 1-4, For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and [for] them at Laodicea, and [for] as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.”  Christ is our wisdom and the standard against our folly.  He is the deliverance from our foolish ways as we apply the principles of wisdom He is teaching us daily through our obedience.   Remember, “The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise. (Proverbs 12:15)”  Will you seek wisdom today as you pursue to know and do the will of God in every area of your life?

Blessings,

#kent

Approaching Our God

November 13, 2018

 

Approaching Our God

 

James 4:7-9

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 double-minded. 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.

 

Many of us struggle with approaching God and establishing the relationship with Him that our spirit man longs for.  We want to hear the Lord speak to us, we want His direction for our lives, at least we think we do, and we want a relationship where we have a continual abiding fellowship and dialogue with the Lord.

We keep thinking, “what am I missing”?  Why aren’t I feeling closer to God?  Why don’t I hear His voice and get His direction more?  Our answers could lie in these verses and in this chapter.  For many of us we are loosing the battle to the flesh in too many areas of our lives.  We are back and forth between spirit and flesh.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak and so we struggle with living consistent lives in the Spirit.

The first thing God tells us here, that we need to do, is submit.  Literally it means to be subordinate and be yielded to another’s control.  This is the same context of submission as Ephesians 5:22 requires when it says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Men we are not really different from our wives. We really want to be in the driver’s seat concerning our lives.  One of the reasons we are missing God is we aren’t fully resigned in obedience to Him.  Wives, if you aren’t really submitted to your husbands, then you aren’t really fully submitted to Christ.  We all have to follow the order of authority that God has laid down for us in our lives.

The second area is “resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  Many of us are hit and miss at this as well.  We have good intentions, we mean well, but too many times we miss the mark.  Our resistance must be in direct proportion to our insistence that Christ is Lord.  When Jesus encountered the devil’s temptations in the wilderness, He insisted on the authority of the Word lining up in obedience to God.  Many, like the devil, take the Word and pervert it to try and say what justifies their particular lust and desires.  Resist the devil with the Spirit and the Word.  We are weak, but He is strong.  Our strength is in our abiding, obedient relationship with Christ.  He is the overcomer in us. We have to see ourselves through the lens of who we are in Christ.

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.”  Are we continually approaching God in an attitude of true humility, contriteness and repentance?  Are His praises continually in our mouth, His meditation in our heart and is our purpose to find His will and plan for us personally?  What must we do to draw near?  “Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 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.”  The first and foremost thing is that we have to be totally serious in our intent to find God’s presence.   God sees right through our heart, our intents and motives.  James 1:4-8 tells us, “4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” If we want God to take us seriously, then we have to be totally serious with Him.  Isn’t it interesting that again in this passage of James 5 he uses this terminology of “double-minded”?  This is where most of us find ourselves, divided between heaven and earth.  We look up at God and say, ” yes, I want you Father,” and then we look back at earth and think, “yeah, but I don’t really want to give that up, lay that down or turn away from that area in my life.”  We are double-minded, torn in two directions, but the Word calls us adulteresses, those of us who break our vows with our friendship with the world. It is this attitude and state of mind that we must grieve, mourn and wail over.  We must hate it so much that it becomes a stench to us.  We must be so grieved at any attitude or behavior that is contrary to the nature and character of Christ in us. He must forever be our all in all.  There must be so much of a humility and brokenness in our hearts that God will lift us up and know that we mean business with Him.  The lower we are willing to go the higher He can lift us up.  The more we are willing to die, the more of the resurrection life of Christ we are able to lay hold of.  How is our approach as we seek to find God’s presence today?

Blessings,

#kent

Our Destiny

October 17, 2018

Ecclesiates 6:10 (NLT)

Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be.

So there’s no use arguing with God about your destiny.

 

Our Destiny

 

Our destiny is not free of hurt and pain,

nor is the goal only in earthly gain.

Our destiny is to find the purpose of God’s will,

to expose the lie and live out the real.

 

Our destiny is in what we were created for,

for the good works of God and so much more.

Our destiny is our choice to walk God’s way,

saying yes to His will day by day.

 

Our destiny was set from the foundation of the earth,

it began to be revealed at the moment of our birth.

Our destiny knows which god we choose,

whether we’ll walk in LIFE, or our life lose.

 

Our destiny is only known fully by God,

its eternal potential revealed as we walk this sod.

Our destiny will carry us through this life’s course,

but all that it holds depends on the source.

 

The destiny of the wicked is destruction,

refusing God, they are the product of their function.

The destiny of the believer, the fullness of God’s delight.

He brings them through the darkness to manifest His light.

Blessings,

#kent

In Times of Discouragement

October 11, 2018

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

But 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.

13It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 

In Times of Discouragement

 

As believers we all face those times of discouragement, testing and trial where in the natural we would want to give up, give in and walk away from our faith.  Perhaps none faced more assault in the spiritual arena than did Paul.

How did he make it through?

It was because he knew his identity in Christ that he was able to endure all the assaults of darkness and the daily trials of life.  He knew the “all surpassing power” that didn’t come from self, but from “Christ in him.”  He had a revelation of that being identified with Christ is not just about the blessing, but drinking from the same cup that He drank from.  The cup of suffering.

I had a glimpse of revelation the other day as I was listening to the passage of James and John’s mother asking if her sons could set upon each side of the throne of Jesus. Jesus replied in Matthew 20:22-23 with this statement, “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

“We can,” they answered.

23Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

Jesus’ disciples, like most of us, have the perception that serving Christ is all about the glory.

When Jesus said, “now am I a glorified” in between where he stood and the glory was the cross.  Romans 8:17-18 Paul declares, “Now 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.

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  The suffering, the death and the cross are all elements that precede the glory.

Jesus finishes this passage in Matthew by saying, “and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Our faith in Christ is not first about getting, but about giving.  It is not about us being served, but about us becoming the servants of Christ in serving others.  It is in the death of our carnal and mortal man that the life of Christ is released, which we carry.  Paul realized that the troubles, the trials, the distress, the hardship, the death to self are merely the bridge that leads to the surpassing glory of our inheritance in Christ.

When we read this passage in Corinthians most of us have no idea or comprehension of that kind of suffering and sacrifice.  We are so easily discouraged by someone who has offended us or some trial that we pass through.  Men like Paul virtually lived in the place of trial and hardship and they did so because of who they were in Christ and who Christ was in them.  They did so because in the pouring out of their life, others were able to receive the gospel and live.  They truly were living sacrifices poured out to the glory of Jesus.  They didn’t live for the momentary blessings and substance of this world like so many of us do. They were willing to be totally spent in life and substance for the kingdom of God because they saw a greater eternal weight of glory before them that so outweighs these momentary earthly afflictions.

Paul says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

If Paul heard what our complaints are and where our discouragement comes from he would probably laugh and tell us we need to suck it up.  We need to get over ourselves and realize it is not about us, it is about Christ in us and the kingdom that we serve.  We have been so pampered in our faith and theology that we know very little about what it is to drink from the cup of suffering and yet this is a very real part of our faith.

When we are going through our momentary trials and feeling a little discouraged, let’s just look back at Jesus, Paul, the apostles and saints and what they endured and gave up.  Let us remember who we are in Christ and who He is in us that we may be willing to face whatever is before us with our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.  Let us be encouraged by the lives of the saints that went before us and willingly gave so much at such a great price.  They did not lose heart, how much less should we?

Blessings,

#kent

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