Restoration

August 16, 2017

Jeremiah 31:18-20

“I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined.

Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God. 19 After I strayed, I repented;

after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

20 Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.

Restoration

Ephraim, for point of reference, was the younger one of the two sons of Joseph.  Jacob blessed him and his older brother Manasseh and the two were counted as one of the tribes of Israel.  Ephraim, though, he was the younger, Jacob blessed as the older, declaring that in him Israel would be blessed (Genesis 48).  Ephraim is often used as a name synonymous with Israel.  Jeremiah speaks this passage toward the end of Israel’s captivity in Babylon as they look forward to a time of freedom and restoration. 

It is the loving discipline of the Father that prevents us from reaping our own destruction.  If God tears down and destroys, He does it for the purpose of discipline, cleansing and restoration.  God’s discipline deals with the unruliness of our hearts as they stray from Him and forget His precepts and His ways.  It is God’s discipline that leads us to repentance and repentance leads us to restoration of fellowship and relationship lost through our sin and rebellion. 

God dealt very harshly with His nation Israel.  He allowed the destruction of their country, of their city, Jerusalem and even the glorious temple, which Solomon had built.  God will destroy the flesh, so that He may preserve the spirit.  Even in God’s anger, His love runs deep for His people.  We can readily see that in Jeremiah 31: 20 as God says, “Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.” 

God’s heart is for us even when we have sinned and turned away from Him.  He ever abides faithful, even when we have been faithless.  Hebrews 12:4-12 is such a rich encouragement to us as God’s children that God disciplines us out of His love and not His anger.  “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”  Many of us are already in a place of discipline or soon will be.  Judgement begins at the house of God.  God is disciplining and judging us so that His house may be in order before He judges the world.  It is our discipline and godly correction that will prepare our hearts and lives for a great ingathering of souls into the kingdom.  We are His sons and as much as Papa loves us, He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.  Let us faint not or feel condemned of the Lord.  God is dealing, exposing and judging us so that our repentance will lead us to a restoration into the fullness of His purpose and plan for our lives.  Father is all about our restoration and not our destruction, but sometimes old things have to be torn down that better things might be built.  If you are undergoing urban renewal in your life then rejoice, for the Father is at work in you to do His good will and pleasure.  You are the son of His love and the product of His restoration and grace.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so

Psalms 107:2

Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so], whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.

Psalms 104:5-7, “Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.”  We are the redeemed of the Lord who have experienced His unfailing and undeserved goodness, blessing and deliverance in our lives.  If all of us who read this gathered together, how long could we sit and share testimonies and stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness to us.  No doubt the stories could continue for hours if not days, for the Lord has been faithful and true to each one of us, sometimes when we least deserved it.  He has loved us with an everlasting, unfailing and undying love.  Chances are we don’t say enough about the goodness and faithfulness of our God.  We are His redeemed, His Children and the apple of His eye.  Do we bless and profess Him with the testimony of our mouths? Do we lift up His name in the earth and before men that He might be our praise, our banner, our song and exaltation? 

The other day we were strolling through some vendor’s booths at a festival held here in town.  My wife had found some dresses that interested her and we were discussing buying them.  In passing,  she mentioned that she had a helium business.  The lady thought she said healing business.  She began to tell her about these special shaped devices that hang and are supposed to have healing power.  Immediately, Sharon said, “The Lord healed me almost thirty years ago from breast cancer.  He is my healer and I don’t need another.”  Needless to say, the lady didn’t pursue that avenue of conversation further, but she heard the testimony of God’s goodness, because the redeemed of the Lord said so.  I was able to share this same testimony of Sharon’s healing with a spiritual healer that I photographed about a week prior to this.  We have testimonies because we have been through the tests and through it we have experienced God’s hand of faithfulness and deliverance.  We have a story to tell and good news to give as the Lord provides us opportunities to share.  We are the ones that must declare His praise in the earth.  We are on our way to Mount Zion, the City of the living God.  We want to take as many as will listen and respond with us.  The world needs to know our God is not dead, but living, active and the same, “yesterday, today and forever”.  Some of us are going through a trial today where the hand of the enemy is out to destroy us, but God is going to give us a testimony, a story to tell of how He redeemed us from the hand of the enemy.  Some of the things we go through are tough and everything outwardly is telling us, “God has failed, He’s not there, He doesn’t care,” but we must have a single eye to see the faithfulness of our God and trust in His character and in His name.  God wants us to give us a testimony to tell, so that His praise can go out through the earth. 

The Lord is speaking to us today to not be silent anymore.  Romans 10:11-18 tells us, “11The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed.  12[No one] for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. The same Lord is Lord over all [of us] and He generously bestows His riches upon all who call upon Him [in faith].

13For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved. 14But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? 15And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!] 16But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us? 

17So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself). 18But I ask, Have they not heard? Indeed they have; [for the Scripture says] Their voice [that of nature bearing God’s message] has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the far bounds of the world.” ” Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so], whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”

Blessings,

#kent

Pattern Son

August 2, 2017

Pattern Son

Hebrews 8:5

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, [that] thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

When you look around you today what do you see, but never really think about?  Do you ever think about how we live in a world of patterns?  The tile, the carpet, the wall paper, the china, the cars, the houses, the appliances and on and on it goes.  Most of the things that surround our world are made from an original pattern and template.  What started as an original design is then reproduced in the same image as its original many times over. 

When God took Moses up on the mount it says that He gave Moses a plan, a blueprint, a template and a pattern of exactly what the tabernacle was to contain and how it was to be built down to the intricate details.  God then exhorted Moses to make it according to the pattern that He showed Him.  He wasn’t to deviate from that pattern at all.  Most all of us now know and have seen how this earthly tabernacle was a parallel to the spiritual tabernacle and how in every detail it spoke of Christ in some way.  

God has an original Son who is His pattern for us today.  What the pattern of the tabernacle foreshadowed, Christ came to fulfill.  In doing so He exemplified the pattern and template to which we all, as believers in Him, are to be conformed.  Christ walked out a life in this earth that demonstrated before us the divine expression and personality of God in fleshly form.  Jesus was someone we could touch, feel, see and wrap our natural as well as our spiritual minds around.  We could see how He responded to the daily pressures and demands of life.  We could see the relationship He had and maintained with the Father.  We could see how His life was a channel and conduit from heaven through which the power and love of God could flow into His humanity.  Again, God has given us a pattern after which to build our spiritual house and tabernacle.  Why do we want to spend so much time in God’s Word? Isn’t it because it contains all the details of how our spiritual house is to be built and how it is to function in this world? 

A pattern repeats itself.  When the ladies or men make a garment they are using a pattern or template to repeat and replicate the original design.  As we grow and follow Christ, in effect, our lives become a pattern which, other younger and less experienced ones are looking too in order to comprehend and help them be like the original.  How do children grow up and learn how to be adults and function in an adult world?  Their parents serve as the patterns for them to follow, mirror and learn the ways of adulthood.  They can only teach and bring their children to level they are at and then they must look to another more mature and experienced to take them further.  The apostle Paul acted as a spiritual parent to the early churches and to us to be an exsample of the life of Christ.  He says in 1 Timothy 1:16, “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”  In Titus 2:7 Paul exhorts Titus, who he describes as like his own son in the common faith, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine [shewing] uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”  Discipleship is about reproducing the life and example of Christ in others in order that they may grow up being conformed to Christ likeness.  In Luke 6:40 Jesus tells his disciples, “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.”  The word perfect in this passage carries the connotation of being mature.  We will never be above Christ, but it is God’s will and desire that we are conformed to be like Him.  We are without excuse in that we have the Word of God for a pattern; we have the lives of Christ and the apostles to see how a Christ life is to be lived out.  We have godly men, whom the Spirit has raised up to be examples to us in our Christian living and to whom He has placed in them His anointing and ministry to help the body of Christ to grow up in the unity of the faith.  Ephesians 4:11 tells us, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” May it be our purpose in life and daily living to become conformed to our Pattern Son, Christ Jesus.   Our purpose is that in all of our ways we might ‘come in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’.

 

Blessings,

#kent

A Healthy Spirit

July 20, 2017

 

A Healthy Spirit

Proverbs 18:14

A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

The true life of an individual is contained in their spirit.  The spirit is the center of hope, faith and the reason for living.  A healthy spirit is one that is broken and contrite before God, but whole and mighty concerning the adversities and trials of life. 

Psalms 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”  The full humility and submission of our spirit toward the Lord is the sacrifice that He will not despise.  In that condition we are in alignment and submission to His will and purpose in our lives.  We have positioned ourselves to be reliant upon His strength and live out of the hope and faith we have in Him.  

On the other hand there is a broken spirit that is not good and is the most detrimental to our health and our life.  Psalms 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  A merry and joyful heart is like a medicine.  It proceeds out of a spirit and heart that is rejoicing and has found joy in the Lord in spite of circumstances that might dictate that it feels to the contrary.  That joy and merriment is an expression of faith, not necessarily of feelings, because our heart has its hope and confidence in the Lord.  Proverbs 15:13 says, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”  We can go through almost anything as long as spirit is healthy and our hope and confidence remain in the Lord.  Our greatest danger, even over physical or mental illness is when our spirit becomes unhealthy and broken.  Our spirit is our lifeline to God.  It is the medium by which we communicate and maintain relationship with the Almighty.  When our spirit becomes broken then the physical man will dry up as well.  The power cord of our life is maintained through our spirit.  When the conduit and conductor of our life becomes interrupted or broken then we are running on batteries and true life is ebbing away.  It is through our spirit that faith is generated and hope is maintained.  There are times in our lives that circumstances can be so overwhelming that our spirit can be crushed with grief and despair.  We can lose our hope and even our desire to live ceases.  What strikes me in Proverbs 18 is that it is our spirit that sustains us in sickness.  There are many trials in life, including sickness, that can come in like a flood and overwhelm us with a sense of hopelessness and despondency. 

I am reminded of the disciples who were crossing the Sea of Galilee when they were caught up in a terrible storm that threatened their very lives, while Jesus lie sleeping in the bottom of the boat.  They had come to the end of themselves and hope was leaving them when they awoke Jesus.  Luke 8: 24-25 says, “And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.”  When our spirit becomes broken our faith leaves us.  When we lose faith, we lose hope.  Faith and Hope are always right there in the boat with us in the person of Christ.  He says He will never leave us or forsake us, but He doesn’t tell us that we won’t feel that way.  That is how the disciples felt in that storm.  They felt helpless, afraid and were losing hope when all the while the Author of Life itself was resting in the hull of their boat.  Is any storm or adversity in life greater than He who is the Lord and Master over the winds and the water?  If we perish, we perish, but we must never allow our spirit to remain broken.  When life is overwhelming and it feels as if all hope is gone, allow your spirit to crawl up in DADDY’s lap, hold fast to Him with all of the strength of your being until your storm passes over. 

Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the LORD [is] a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”  Allow the name of the Lord to be the strong tower that protects your spirit from becoming broken.  It is your steadfast faith in Him that will keep your spirit from being broken in those most difficult of times.   Remember what Colossians 3:3 says, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”  You have already died to this outward life, so don’t allow it to rob you of the inward life that is hid with Christ in God.  Maintain a healthy spirit that you might live in hope and in faith.

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Treasures We have in Christ

Galatians 6:9

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Oh the treasures and the riches that are ours in Christ.  How richly our Lord favors us with His love and blessing.  How often I take for granted how immeasurably rich I am in Him.  It is not because things always go right or because I am wealthy beyond measure or that I don’t have any trials, tribulations or troubles, it because He is, “I AM.”  “I AM” is with you always, through everything and in every need.  “I AM”, is not our magic wand or “get out of jail free” card, but He is always there for us.  His presence and grace are sufficient for every need and trial.   He is there for us, not always to deliver us in a miraculous ways, although that is certainly always within His power and discretion, but to empower us in spiritual flight. He is there to bear us up on eagle’s wings above our life’s storms and to give us vision to see beyond the storm into the peace of a new day. 

Even when I can’t love myself, He loves me.  When sin and shame would cause me to turn and run from Him; He is the glory and the lifter of my head.  He washes me in the water of His Word and cleanses my sin with His blood.  Oh, what a friend I have in Jesus, my Savior forever.  How blessed and highly favored we are in Christ, for He has separated us from the nations and made us a holy nation unto Himself.  He corrects us, patiently loves us and writes His precious ways upon the tablets of our hearts.  Oh the extravagant love of the Father towards us and the tender and extreme love of Jesus.  Who can comprehend the love of Christ, that would experience such suffering and death for us when we were but enemies and aliens to Him, yet with the sacrifice of His own life and shed blood He has reconciled us to Himself. 

God forbid that we should neglect or take for granted so great a salvation as this.  Oh, the riches of His love and the great things He has prepared for those who love Him and embrace Him.  This life’s afflictions and trials are but for a brief moment and should only serve to prepare us for the great things that He is bestowing upon those who love Him and keep His ways.  “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” 

Take heart when life is difficult.  You are not alone.  In the storms, press into the inner sanctuaries of His presence.  Meet with Him in the temple of your spirit.  You are exceeding rich and well favored, but gold hidden in the earth is often not perceived by others and too often, not even by us.  Just know that His treasure is stored in earthen vessels and you are such a vessel.  You are a portion of the riches that are hidden in Christ Jesus.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Delight in the Lord

July 13, 2017

Delight in the Lord

Psalms 37:4

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

What is it that we find our greatest joy and delight in?  We love doing and partaking of what we enjoy in life.  What gives us true pleasure and fulfillment?  While we would all like to be spiritual and say, “my delight and pleasure is in the Lord”.  The truth is, for many of us, while we love the Lord and believe in Him, he isn’t our first delight.  The Lord may be on our agenda, but He may not be the One we are completely focused upon and take the greatest pleasure in.  Whether we acknowledge it or not we have a list of the things we most delight in and they have to do with where our heart is.  Many times we won’t even acknowledge where our heart, desire and delights are because we are in denial of it.  If you ask yourself where do you spend the most of your time when you have a choice about it, what would your answer honestly be?  The Lord isn’t beating us up because we have other interests or things that we enjoy, but His pleasure is in those who delight in Him and have Him at the top of their agenda as the one they delight in the most. 

The truth be known, it is hard for us to give even one day to really focus and delight ourselves in the Lord.  Sunday comes and we may go to church or have some sort of worship service, but then we go about our day and we do our own pleasure.  We feel satisfied because we have given God His due.  Now it is our turn to delight ourselves in the things we enjoy.  Listen to something the Lord speaks in Isaiah 58:13-14, “If you turn away your foot from [traveling unduly on] the Sabbath, from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a [spiritual] delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor Him and it, not going your own way or seeking or finding your own pleasure or speaking with your own [idle] words,

14Then will you delight yourself in the Lord, and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed you with the heritage [promised for you] of Jacob your father; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.”  As much as we all hate to admit it, so much of what we do for the Lord is token gestures of obligation, obedience or religious habit, but they are not because we truly delight in the Lord.  If we wonder why God doesn’t seem to hear our prayers and why we are not connecting with Him we need to read Isaiah 58.  Our superficial religious actions are no substitute for delighting ourselves in His ways.  The Father is looking for a love, a joy and delight for Him and His ways that comes from our heart, not our sacrifice. 

Jesus teaches us that ‘where our heart is there will our treasure be also’ and ‘to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.’  He is not trying to condemn us or beat us up because our delight is in other things.  The truth is, it is not always easy to delight yourself fully in the Lord because it is often a death to self.  Our flesh doesn’t want to stay still in His presence very long.  Like a restless child, tt wants to get up and go do what it delights in doing.  Truly delighting in the Lord is an acquired taste.  It comes about through a longing, desiring love toward Him as the lover of our soul.  It comes through an intimate relationship where Christ truly becomes our heart’s desire, our manna and our focus of life and living.  Like any relationship, it has to be cared for and maintained.  Some of us have had that and we’ve allowed other things to come in that have slowly disrupted our flow and delight in the Lord.  We still love Him, but we find that we are not delighting in Him as we once did.  Perhaps the cares of this world and the demands of life have shifted our focus.  The wonderful thing about the Lord is that He is always standing with open arms to welcome us back into His presence.  He is not mad at us, but He does long for that relationship where we can truly delight in Him and in His presence.  Make the time for your intimacy with Him.  Come fall so deeply in Love with Him again that He is the delight of your heart and soul.  “Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Our chief desire should be Him.

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Power of His Abiding Presence

John 14:7,10-13; 17:20-23

If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. 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 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

The Father chose to reveal Himself through His Son to a world filled with darkness.  Jesus was the light and the revelation of the Father.  He was the manifestation of His divine nature, love and compassion.  Many had only perceived God as an angry God, who hated sin and visited judgement upon the sinner.  Jesus was God’s revelation that while He hates sin, He loves the sinner, so much so that He was willing to give His only begotten, holy Son, without spot or blemish to pay the price for our iniquity.   Most of us know well the plan of salvation for the sinner to return to God.  Do we understand as well the plan of the Father to bring salvation and to continue to manifest Himself and His love through the redeemed?  Jesus didn’t just come die for us, so that we could just believe, live our lives for ourselves, die and go to heaven.  This is where much of the church world has missed its calling.  This is why there is such a hollowness and shallowness in much of Christianity.  We’ve never really got a revelation of what we are and who we are as God’s redeemed. 

God has revealed in His relationship with the Son the kind of relationship Father and Son desire to have with us through the in-working power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus reveals to us that when you saw Him you saw the Father.  The works you saw through Him were the Father’s works.  The words that He spoke were the Father’s words.  Why, because the Son abode and dwelled with the Father and the Father with Him.  Thus Jesus, the man, was the expression in the flesh of Father God. 

What Jesus truly reveals to His disciples in these passages of John 14 through 17 is that the purpose of all that He came for and all that He is about to endure on the cross is for the purpose of bringing us as believers into this circle of relationship and fellowship that we see in Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  How is it possible that, “the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son?”  Jesus was the prototype and the pattern of what the Father has desired to reveal in the many sons of His household.  We have been adopted, grafted in and made joint-heirs with Christ.  His divine life abides in us as it did in Christ, because the Christ, the anointed life of the Son abides in us if we so abide in Him.  Indeed He has prepared a place, an abode and even “a mansion” if you will, for the Greek word here means abode, dwelling or abiding place.  This is not to take away from our expectations of heaven, but we need a revelation that the Kingdom of God is within us.  As we abide in the body of Christ we are dwelling in the gifts and calling of the Holy Spirit upon our lives.  You don’t have to wait to die and go to heaven to begin living in your mansion, Jesus has already prepared the place of your dwelling and it is in Him.  This is the place of power and authority.  God desires a people that will grow up in the image of Christ and be the expression of His Son in the earth.  Just as Jesus lived every moment dependent and obedient to the Father, so the Lord desires a people to live and abide in this place with Him.  Do you see the marvelous, incomprehensible thing that He has done even in answer to the prayer of Jesus?  He has made us one with the Father and the Son.  If you and I could ever get past the veil of our flesh that only comprehends our beings with all their shortcomings and we could see no longer us, but only Him in us then we could live out of a whole new dimension of life, His divine life, to be the expression of who He is and not what we were.   “Christ in you”, that is our hope of glory that is the power of His abiding presence.

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Well

July 10, 2017

John 4:8-17

So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” 15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” 28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

The Well

This morning as I was praying I envisioned an open well with a pulley hung over the center of it.  Through the pulley was a rope on one end of the rope was a rock tied on to it for a counterweight, but on the other end was a wet rock tied to where a bucket should have been attached.  As I pondered this, I thought of this Samaritan woman coming to this same well everyday to collect water that never satisfied, but always left her empty and coming back for more.  She came in the sixth hour, which speaks of man and his works. 

I think about how many times we go through life doing the same thing over and over again with the same results.  We have our religion, our routines, our secrets, our sins, our same old way of being.  Are we like that wet rock that I saw that keeps being lowered into the well, but has no capacity or ability to take within itself the life of the water, it only comes up wet?  It is the same as the one tied on the other end.  The rock is like our flesh and our soul, it can assist us in getting where we need to go, but it can never be the substance of life that will fill us and transform us.

After this woman had met Jesus and He had spoken to her heart about who she truly was and what He had for her.  He told her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  I wonder sometimes, “which well am I still drinking from?”  Am I still coming up empty and unsatisfied?  I have access to a water with which I will never thirst again, but if I am still thirsty then maybe it isn’t the water that is the problem, but what I am trying to collect it with.  Flesh will never beget Spirit, only Spirit can beget Spirit.  Maybe I need to trade out that rock for a spiritual bucket called faith, trust and obedience. 

After this Samaritan woman had spoken with Jesus it says she left her water pot and went into the city to share the news about Jesus.  I have a feeling that leaving your water pot is not something that you normally did.  The difference in this woman is that she got a revelation of who the real water of life was and she realized that the old water pot isn’t what she needed anymore.  It was the Christ that she now had drank from and that satisfied her soul till she was overflowing to share the wonderful news of the Messiah. 

The second thing that I saw or envisioned was a man with one hand tied to the rope where the bucket was normally tied, as he was lowered down into the well and in his other hand a large water pot.  I saw him being lowered into the well to draw from the deep waters and the cool water that it contained.  He had to become completely emerged in that water and he was a part of that means of collecting the water to bring it up and give it to those who thirst. 

God is speaking to our hearts to leave our old water pots, our old ways of doing things that continue to yield the same results.  Through Christ we are a container of His life.  We are a part of the distribution system of His grace and mercy.  We are the priest and the ministers of His salvation.  It is only new wineskins that can contain the new wine.  Leave your old water pots.  Cease from being a wet rock and begin to open up your spirit so that the Lord may enlarge your spirit to better contain and release Him. 

This woman was concerned about the right place to worship God.  Jesus was revealing to her that it isn’t so much the place, it is the attitude of worship with which you come before the Father.  He is looking for those that will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.  Those are the vessels that He desires to fill and make the fountains of His life.  Discard the old and renew your minds in the mind of Christ.  See your world through His eyes and with His heart.  Allow the Spirit to be the means with which you address your world rather than your flesh and your soul.  Envision yourself lost in Him.  You are simply the vessel of His life and presence.  Allow Him to increase your capacity, fill you and overflow with the life of God toward others around you.  He has called us to be the fountains of living water.   

 

Blessings,

#kent

Having the Same Mind

July 3, 2017

Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.

Having the Same Mind

I’m not sure any other married couples experience this, but I find that Sharon and I often don’t think alike.  Sometimes we’ve even wondered why the Lord put us together when we think so differently.  What makes practical and logical sense in my world is often totally foreign to what her thoughts are on the same subject.  Now it is not really about who is right or wrong, because everyone has their own perspective.  The important issue is how do we come to one mind in a matter? Just because we can have things the way we want them to be doesn’t mean that we are going to be happy because we do.  There is more to consider here than just me.  As I was thinking upon the ways I want to be a better husband the principle came to me this morning, “Remember that in pleasing a woman it is not thinking how you think, but thinking how she thinks.”  That can be kind of foreign to us guys, so it is something that we have to become sensitive too.  The reason we want to please our woman is first of all because we love her and second of all, a happy wife makes for a happy life.

The good thing about Sharon is that she is very honest and straightforward to let me know how she thinks or feels about something.  That is good for a slow-witted guy like me, because even at that I am often slow to get the message.  A lot of women often will say one thing with their mouth while feeling another way in their heart.  They think that he will somehow know how I really feel or what I really want and do it.  Then when he takes you at your word, he finds that you are upset and angry and he is not even sure what has done wrong.  Ladies, most of guys are kind of slow on some things that pertain to female logic.  Help us out by being honest about what you want. 

Let’s make a spiritual application to these principles. The Bible says that we don’t think as God thinks.  Romans 8:6-7 says, “The way a sinful person thinks leads to death. But the mind controlled by the Spirit brings life and peace. 7 The sinful mind is at war with God. It does not obey God’s law. It can’t. 8 Those who are controlled by their sinful nature can’t please God.”  We know that the natural minded thinking is not pleasing to God and when He called us unto Himself, He called us to change our mind to His way of thinking.  Now God’s way of thinking is in conformity and obedience to His Word of instruction and to listening and obeying the Holy Spirit within us.  It is the spiritual mind, which is pleasing to God.  That mind operates out of a faith that trusts in Him.  Romans 12:2 tells us, “Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.” 

Many of us still maintain a duality of thinking and being.  Often we give lip service to the Lord, saying all of the right spiritual words, but our hearts are not with Him.  They are set upon our own affections and desires.  We are still of our own mind.  We are as Proverbs 23:7 says, “7For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”  We say one thing outwardly, but in our hearts we feel another way.  The man in Christ must swallow up in ‘Life” that which the man in Adam lost in death.  Only by walking, thinking and being in Life can the Life swallow up the death that has corrupted our thinking and is in opposition to God.  In everything that we are and are becoming, we must have one mind.  Our mind is the mind of Christ, because we are in Him and the cross is at work crucifying that which is not in conformity with His Life.  Colossians 1:21-23 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” 

Our mind and our will are our own.  We can maintain and keep our old way of thinking, but it alienates us from the choice we made in Christ.  We can never have the full peace and blessing of God outside of our obedience to Him and the conformity of our minds to His.   We can’t have the glory without the cross.  They go together.  Our objective is to have the same mind as Christ.  Philippians 2:5-10 sums it up this way, “Think as Christ Jesus thought. 6 Jesus has always been as God is. But He did not hold to His rights as God. 7 He put aside everything that belonged to Him and made Himself the same as a servant who is owned by someone. He became human by being born as a man. 8 After He became a man, He gave up His important place and obeyed by dying on a cross. 9 Because of this, God lifted Jesus high above everything else. He gave Him a name that is greater than any other name. 10 So when the name of Jesus is spoken, everyone in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow down before Him. 11 And every tongue will say Jesus Christ is Lord. Everyone will give honor to God the Father.”  Aren’t you glad that you are loosing your mind? 

 

Bessings,

#kent

The City of our God

June 23, 2017

The City of our God

Psalms 48:1-3

Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.

Most of us understand the concept that when we talk about the church we are not just speaking of physical locations made up of sticks and stones and building material.  We know that when God speaks of His church He is speaking of the organism and a body that functions under the headship and authority of Christ.  The city of God and Zion are the same way.  Yes there is a natural Jerusalem and Mount Zion, but it is much more than a physical location; it is a spiritual location.  Many of us have become so earthly minded that we only see Jerusalem in a natural context.  We fail to fully comprehend that this city is comprised of His people and that King Jesus is upon its throne, ruling out of mount Zion.  Mount Zion was in the older part of the natural city of Jerusalem.  It was a citadel, a high place and a fortress.  It included Mount Moriah where the temple was built.  God has used Jerusalem and Zion as a metaphor throughout His word to speak of the spiritual city of His holy habitation. 

Hebrews 11:8-10 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.”  God founded this city of salvation in Abraham.  It was there that God sent Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Genesis 22:2 says, “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”   It was Mount Moriah where Solomon built the temple.  “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where [the LORD] appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. (2 Chronicles 3:1)” It was in Jerusalem that God fulfilled His promise of salvation because it became again the place of the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son when Jesus gave His life for our sins.  And finally we see Jerusalem, not the old natural city, but the New Jerusalem which is from above, as being the completion of God’s salvation at Christ’s return.  Revelations 21:2 tells us, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  This is Lord’s church, His Bride, His holy habitation and dwelling.  You and I are a part of that now as Christ indwells us.  The Word speaks to this heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews 12:22-24, “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”  This Jerusalem is a spiritual city and assembly whose builder and maker is God.  The natural has been the type and shadow to reveal the real.

Finally we come to a scripture that we have shared many times that so describes the part we play in this city.  1 Peter 2:4-9 says, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”  7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, 8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  We, the body of Christ are what constitutes and comprises this New Jerusalem.  Out of this New Jerusalem the Lord will reign and govern the earth.  Truly, “great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness.  Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the Great King!”  (Psalms 48:1)

 

Blessings,

#kent

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