Shadows of Blessing

September 19, 2018

 

Shadows of Blessing

 

Song of Songs 4:6

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

 

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

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

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

Blessings

#kent

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They that Wait upon the Lord

September 13, 2018

They that Wait upon the Lord

 

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

 

What does it mean for us to wait upon the Lord?  The concordance says this phrase means to look for, hope, expect, to wait, linger or look eagerly for.  Those that have grown mature and rich in the Lord can tell you they have done so with much waiting upon the Lord.  As we wait for the Lord it is done with a heart of desire, expectation, longing, pursuing through prayer, worship, praise, thanksgiving and studying and searching of God’s Word.  They have invested their lives to know Him on a more intimate basis, so they know His voice and are full of the treasures of His truth.  The Lord most often doesn’t come to us on our timetable.  He can often seem illusive and distant, slow to answer by our estimation.  Do you suppose God is searching our hearts in this to find out how determined and in love with Him we truly are?

The society we live in wants everything instantly.  We don’t have time to wait.  Our lives are busy with many demands as we are pulled in so many directions.  It is so difficult for us to make that time just for the Lord.  I believe God sees the demands that are upon us and is not insensitive to commitments we must respond to.  But what about all the hours of leisure time we spend in watching television or our own pursuits.  We don’t think so much about waiting upon God then.

Jesus gives us some very interesting parables in Matthew 24 and 25 in the light of waiting upon the Lord and looking for His coming.  In Matthew 25 Jesus talks about the ten virgins who took their lamps.   Five took oil (But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.) and five didn’t.  They all slumbered and slept.  There is time for resting and sleeping for all of us.  The difference comes in the preparation of the five wise.  Matthew 25:5-13, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, [Not so]; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”   We are the lamps of the Lord.  Our lives must be able to illuminate our world through the Spirit and Life that is within us.  If we have not taken the time to wait upon the Lord in the many ways that we build an intimate relationship with Him we’ve missed what it is to get oil for our lamps.  Many may sit in church every Sunday and hear the Word of God, but if it is just a head thing and not a heart thing where that Word gets down into our hearts and transforms us as we apply it, we’ve missed it.  The waiting on the Lord through spiritual acts of pursuit is what gives us the oil for our vessels.  It is in those times that the Holy Spirit comes to quicken God’s Word to our heart and make Himself known in ways we don’t always see outwardly.  The Lord reveals in this passage that He came for the ones who knew Him.  They may have all been virgins or Christians, but if the Lord says, “I never knew you” then you have never come into that place of intimacy that goes beyond a surface knowledge and relationship and into a covenant relationship.  That place where you share His Life, where He becomes the source, strength and dependence of your life.

Waiting upon the Lord is working and living in concert with the Holy Spirit.  If we are not waiting then we are either running ahead of the Lord or we are distracted to other things.  To wait upon the Lord is spend time in the Lord’s presence coming to know Him in the secret place.  It is a place we renew our strength and indeed find strength and abilities that rise above our natural ones.  Let’s find the wisdom of waiting on the Lord.  It is an eternally rewarding experience.

Blessings,

#kent

Everything We Need

September 11, 2018

 

Everything We Need

2 Peter 1:3-4

            His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

 

It goes without saying that we as people and as children of God specifically, all struggle with our problems and issues.  They can come in many shapes, sizes, colors and varieties.  As many and varied as they can be, God’s has an answer for them.  When you meditate upon our scripture today, the power and potential of what is said here is almost unimaginable. 

I have to admit that far too many times I am an expert at seeing my glass half empty.  I can see all of the reasons why something won’t work or why I can’t accomplish it, but that is a pessimistic point of view.  We can look at our lives and problems much the same way and determine this is just the cross I have to bear or we can begin to lay hold of the potential powerhouse of the God that has given us all that we need  for life and godliness and that Christ has already hung on the cross for us to provide us with the very great and precious promises that are ours in Him.

How do we lay hold of that “all that we need”?  It says it is “through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness”.  In order for us to truly comprehend and lay hold of who we are and what we have, we have to have knowledge (precise and correct knowledge of those things ethical and divine) of Him. 

            You get a flat tire going down the road, you are in the middle of nowhere and no one else is around.  Now if you don’t know that you have a jack and spare tire, then you are stuck where you are at.  And even if you know that you have it, but you don’t have the slightest idea of how to use it, then you are really no better off.  We have heard that we all have these things that pertain to life and godliness and yet many of us have little clue as to how we can lay hold of them and apply them to our life situations.  As a result we get stuck in our ruts and our problems never get resolved.  How many of us are setting along the roadside of life with flat tires?  The thing is we have the resources to fix the problem, but we need the knowledge of how to do it.  We have the Holy Spirit of God inside of us and within the short reach of most of us there is a Holy Bible, the instruction manual of God’s Word.  If I don’t know how to change a tire, but I have an owners manual that will walk me through it and give me examples and illustrations, then I’m pretty much a fool if I don’t attempt to try to put that knowledge into practice and resolve my problem.  On the other hand I may say, “I don’t understand that stuff”, besides that, “it’s not really even my car, it’s my husband’s car, “besides that “I have my good clothes on” and besides that, “I’ll just pray and ask God to send somebody else to do it for me.”  In affect, isn’t that how we approach a good many of our problems in life?  If we don’t want to solve our problems, God says it isn’t because I haven’t given you the resources; they are all yours, but you have to Know Me to know how to put them into affect.  Along with that knowledge we need the “will and do” of His good desire for us.  The more we know the Lord, not only are we going to know what we have, but who we are.   What does this knowledge of Him empower us to do and be?  “4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”  He is saying that He has given you and I the power to put on Christ, the divine nature, and put off sin, the corruption of the world caused by evil desires.  The basics of being a successful Christian is in knowing who you are and what you have.  That comes through knowledge, gained through intimate relationship and understanding, both mentally and spiritually of who you are in Christ.  The biggest reason we are broken down beside the road is because we still haven’t really traded that old Junker in for the vehicle that God wants to put us in.  His vehicle runs on a whole different set of laws and dynamics than the old one and you need to “know Him” to understand how they work.  We have all that we need, we just need to know and learn how to use it.

Blessings,

#kent

Activation

September 3, 2018

Acts 2:1-3

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

 

Activation

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Resurrection Life

August 21, 2018

John 11:40-46 (Amplified)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Resurrection Life

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Presumptuous Sin

July 20, 2018

James 4:13-17

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

 

Presumptuous Sin

 

               How many of us walk day by day asking God’s will and purpose to be done in and through our lives?  Most of us already have our agenda’s set, our plans and schedules made and our daily routines formed.  This scripture from James might jar our awareness that the life we live so routinely is not about our plans and agendas, they are about God’s.  How many opportunities and blessings are missed because what we have to do is more important than being in tune with the Holy Spirit to allow Him move through us in a different direction than what we have planned?  If we ask for God’s will in our lives, but then ignore Him and the Spirit’s leading then haven’t we fallen into what might be for us a presumptuous sin? 

               We often find ourselves trying to live in two different worlds.  We have our spiritual world where we acknowledge and worship God, but then our daily routine kicks in, it is business as usual and we may hardly give God a second thought.  We don’t think anything of it, because it has become our habit and we have compartmentalized God out of certain areas of our life.  

               We can never forget that we don’t even have a life outside of what God gives us and blesses us with.  There are no guarantees of tomorrow and of what we think we will do.  We become presumptuous in that we think that we are fully in control of our lives and that it should always go according to our plan.

               Who’s are we?  What are we here for?  What is your purpose in life? 

               As believers in Christ we should realize that our life is first and foremost about God and not about us.  We live, move and have our being for His good pleasure, not just ours.  Romans 12:1 exhorts to daily present ourselves a living sacrifice that we might prove what is His good, acceptable and perfect will.  Each day should start with us first getting in tune with the Holy Spirit and entering into God’s presence.  It should start with our hearts being open and spiritual awareness that this day is for Him and not just for us.  We may go through a fairly routine day, but somewhere in that day may be an opportunity to speak into someone’s life, to bless someone, to help someone or someone is watching, unbeknownst to you, how you live, speak and conduct your life.  You are first and foremost, God’s ambassador and the expression of who He is to the world around you.  When you are open to God changing your plans or redirecting your path, don’t allow yourself to be frustrated by a change in your circumstance, just be keenly aware that He might want to use you in a different way. 

               A life in Christ is not a living apart from Him, but an acknowledgement of Him in all that we do, no matter how routine or ordinary.  God leads us as we acknowledge Him in all of our ways, as Proverbs 3 tells us. 

               Let us not fall into presumptuous sin, by making assumptions about all that we or will not do.  We first submit our plans and ways to the Lord; being open for Him to adjust them to His will and purpose.  When our faith is in God and not in ourselves then we are at peace with the circumstances that face us even when that might seem so negative.  God is able to turn all things for good if our hearts and attitudes are trusting Him.  We are not to boast and brag about we can do or accomplish, but our boasting is only in the Father and what He can do if we trust and acknowledge Him in all of our ways.

Blessings,

#kent

Rocky Places

June 22, 2018

Matthew 13:3-6

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

 

 

Rocky  Places

 

In the parable of the sower Jesus give several scenarios of the seed.  The seed was the kingdom message as Jesus states in verse 19.  The soil is the condition of the heart that receives the seed.  The rocky places are those places where we have developed a hardness of heart and cynicism about the word.  At first we receive it and embrace it, but then we begin analyze it and rationalize it.  We begin to side with the intellect of the mind and the wisdom of men, rather than the wisdom of God.  Because of this natural thinking and reasoning our faith is bound up and the root of our faith finds no depth in which to grow.

There are those of us who walking on rocky ground in our lives.  The message of Christ and His kingdom initially sounds good to us, but we are struggling with the natural mind and reasoning.  Romans 8 teaches us that to be naturally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  There are those who must make the decision to break up the rocky ground, the hardness of heart, doubt, fear and unbelief.  If there is no place for the root to go, the planting of the kingdom message will wither and die, along with your spirit.  Dare to trust yourself to the One who has given His Word and His life to back it up.  Dare to break free of the rocky confines of doubt and unbelief.  Others may think you the fool, but God takes the foolish things to confound the wise.  Be wise and rid your heart of those rocky places.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Kingdom Given

June 4, 2018

 

Luke 12:32

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”

 

The Kingdom Given

 

In Christ Jesus believers have been given the kingdom of God.  In Luke 17:20-21 Jesus says,  “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”  The kingdom of God is much like receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, faith is the hand that reaches out and receives it.  Just as a gift given is not really received until it is accepted, unwrapped and possessed by the recipient.  The kingdom of God is much the same way.  It is ours in Christ, but we have perceived it to be just a realm reserved for us when we die and go to heaven.  If that is the case, why did Jesus tell us in the prior verses to seek first the kingdom and all these things shall be added unto you?  Jesus made it apparent that there is a “now” kingdom for us to possess and live into.  We so often get it backwards.  We put the kingdom secondary to our lives, our pursuits, our desires and our goals of becoming successful by worldly means and standards.  Yet , Jesus tells us to seek FIRST the kingdom and all these things shall be added unto you.

Abraham was taken up and God showed him the nation that he was to inherit.  He received it then by promise, but it was some hundreds of years later that the Israelites, as a nation entered in and possessed their inheritance.   What was always the hindering factor to their possessing their kingdom?  They were always getting their eyes off of God and on to other things. Their unbelief robbed them of their possession.  The same thing we do today.

I believe God is looking for a people in us that are so passionate about His kingdom that nothing less will do.  He is not looking for people with an appearance of spirituality, that are religious or that are good at playing church.  He is looking for a Church who is passionate about possessing His kingdom and all that is contained therein, but they have to have the heart to always seek that first. It is not God that is keeping the kingdom from us.  It is His good pleasure to give it to us, but is it in our hearts to enter in and fully possess it?  Just as church is not some building we have to go to several times a week, it is who we are.  If we never have the revelation or faith to believe what we are, how can we ever have the faith to become who we are?

We are are God’s kingdom in Christ Jesus, but “in” means we are into Him and not ourselves. It means that life is first and always about “Him” and not just about me. Kingdom is a place where you live and most of us are content just to visit occasionally.  Kingdom is a state of mind, a state faith and a state of being.  It is the paradigm and the mindset we live in as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus, into kingdom thinking and living.  We begin to grasp who we are as Sons and come to realize all that we have been trying to be good enough to attain is already ours.  God has already given it to us in Christ and now we are to simply live out of what He has already put inside of us.  What has He put inside of us?  Is not His own Spirit!   What does He tell us in Romans 8:13-17?  “For 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.”  What is the kingdom of God?  Romans 17:18-19 tells us, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.”  It is not about the external things, it is about the inward relationship of our lives hidden in Christ and lived out as Christ lives.

The kingdom of God is ours, but are we really willing to possess it?  Jesus said in Matthew 11:12, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. “Are we the forceful men and women who in this hour will forcefully take hold of by faith what Father has already given us?  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”  It is up to us to believe that and enter in.

Blessings,

#kent

What is Our Identity?

June 1, 2018

Galatians 2:20

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

 

What is Our Identity?

 

Knowing our identity in this hour is perhaps one of the most crucial revelations that we can have.  Most men identify themselves by what they do and their careers,  women may identify themselves by the same, or their family, or who they are married too.  How many of us go around speaking the identity that Paul spoke here in this verse?  Our identity with what we are and who we are in the world is subject to the world and therefore subject to change.  Our identity of who we are in Christ is grounded in the transformation that He has worked in us.  It is not measured by our merit, ability or the works that we accomplish.  Our identity in Christ comes out of the transformation of new birth in the Spirit and a baptism by water and the Spirit that identifies this former man of the flesh as crucified with Christ upon His cross, of being buried to that old former way of life now in the grave and the identification with Christ in a new resurrection man, born not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but by the Spirit.

Romans 6:5-14 declares our identity in Christ this way, “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”  Paul is telling us that with our salvation experience in Christ there has to be a total paradigm shift in the way we see ourselves and the world around us.  Most of us as Christians, profess Christ in one breath and identify with the world in the next.  We may remember what James says in James 1:8, “A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.”  It is this double mind that keeps us unstable and unsure of who we really are.  The enemy is forever trying to steal your identity.  It was only as the serpent beguiled Eve, causing her to doubt her identity that he was able to steal it from her.  That is why the enemy tempts you with sin on the one hand and condemns you with the other.  He keeps drawing us back to see ourselves under the law of sin and death.  Under that law he attacks us as natural men, condemned by sin.  Paul reveals to us that we are no longer under that law if we are in Christ.  Romans 8:1-8 declares to us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 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. 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.

8Those 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 is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind 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.”  Notice Paul says it has to do with where we have our minds set.  Where is our mind set today?  What is your true identity?  In this hour we must know who we are in Christ and fix our minds there in that paradigm that walks after the Spirit and lives in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  Only there can we secure our victory over sin and the flesh.  Colossians 3:1-3 exhorts us in that, ” Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

What is your identity?  Don’t fall prey to spiritual identity theft.  Know who you are, hold on to it and walk each day in it by faith and in the power of Him who lives in you.

Blessings,

#kent

The Joy of Fools

May 29, 2018

 

The Joy of Fools

 

Proverbs 15:21

Folly delights a man who lacks judgment, but a man of understanding keeps a straight course.

 

 

What is folly but a fountain of foolish acts lived and acted out by one who lacks the practice of sound judgment and fails to embrace truth?  Many of us have had those times of foolishness in our lives.  Most of us look back and shudder at some of things we did and realize the consequences that could have followed those actions.  For many of us, God gave us grace to see the error of those ways and to see where they were taking us.  Was it fun?  Oh sure it was fun to party and to act out of the lust and impulses of the flesh.  It was fun to be wild and unrestrained, but it had no future and it didn’t produce what most of us desired out of life.

I can remember my college years.  It was a time of making the transition from my parent’s values to my own values.  I was becoming my own person and could now choose what I thought was right and wrong for me.  I remember some of the partying and the wild things that we did.  It was fun at the time, but then when you were alone the question would come, “Is this all there is to life?  What is my purpose?  What are my goals?  What happens when we leave this life and all that we have done is live for selfish pleasure?  Is there no more consciousness and we cease to exist or do we indeed have to give an account of our ways before an Almighty God?

I began to realize early on that foolishness is a dead end street.  Oh yeah, it may be like Bourbon Street in New Orleans and life can be like Madrigal, but where does it lead us and what is our end?  What I experienced was emptiness and lack of true fulfillment and joy.  My happiness was only temporal, but it never really satisfied and gave meaning to life.  Perhaps some of us are still trying to hold on to our areas of folly.  Perhaps those areas of folly and foolishness have become strongholds in our life that we don’t want to give up or let go of.  Fools and misery love company.  You will become like the people that you associate with.  You can never really come out of your foolishness until you are willing to depart company with the foolish and seek out the company of the wise.

The wise are not necessarily smarter than everyone else is, but they have come to the realization that wisdom and life is in seeking out the Lord and following in His ways.  He is the author of wisdom and His paths are straight, but they lead us unto life.  Proverbs 16:16-17 says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver! 17 The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.”  Folly will only delight a man who lacks understanding, because when we understands the high ways of the Lord, we will no longer delight in the lower road.  That road will only lead us to hell and destruction.

Have you given up those areas of foolishness that may be destroying your life and the lives of the ones that you say you love?  A truly wise man heeds counsel, he receives correction and departs from evil, but one who is truly a fool will not listen and he will not learn.  Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.“  Is the delight of our folly worth the consequences that it brings if you continue it?  Do we have enough wisdom to say, “enough, no more!”?

Blessings,

#kenta

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