Christianity from a Distance

James 1:22-27

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

    26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Many of us are resigned and content to read our Bibles, listen to Christian broadcasting or to the minister.  Mentally we agree with all that is being said, but practically we may want to avoid personal involvement.  Oh we may give our tithes, to that those who “are called” to do the work of the ministry, but then we are just the “laymen”.  Just let us live a quiet Christian life in our suburban lifestyle; let us live in our daily routines and not get too involved in the mess outside.   The truth is we get real uncomfortable when a situation comes along that gets in our face.  Perhaps there is a family crisis and someone in the family needs financial or physical help.  Don’t we kind of want to look to someone else to do that?  After all we are busy with our lives and the responsibilities we have.  We have our own bills to pay and work to do.  We often embrace the Christian message in spirit, but not in reality.  We are those Christians from a distance type of people that don’t want to get personally involved.  After all, we’ve got enough problems of our own to deal with, right?  God forbid if someone should require our help or assistance that we don’t even know.

James really gets in our face about this issue of virtual Christianity, if you will. We put on our Christian face one minute and the next, when we look away; we forget what manner of people we are supposed to be.  We favor the rich, because somehow we think it might benefit us, not likely.  They will more than likely exploit your favoritism and give you nothing in return.  We discriminate and reject the poor, because we think that they are only there for a hand out and somehow we are better than they are.  And James 2:5-11 tells us, “5Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?  7Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong? 8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” 

Jesus met people where they were at.  He had the capacity, as we should, to look past their faults and see their need.  James 2: 14-17 says, “14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  You see our armchair Christianity doesn’t qualify us before our Lord.  It isn’t the example He taught and lived.  Faith has to be dynamic, moving and alive in our being or it is just a name and a dead religion.  It has no life in it. 

God presents us with enough opportunities to demonstrate our faith and beliefs in action.  Will we continue to turn away and turn a deaf ear, or will we begin to listen and hear what God wants to do through us personally?  Will our actions or the lack thereof testify against us on the Day of Judgment?  God is calling us off the couch and onto the field.  A couch potato sports fan does not an athlete make.  The same is true of Christianity.  Our God hasn’t redeemed us to be spectators, but participators in the expression of His life through us.  It is time we get into the game and are what we claim.    

Blessings,

#kent

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The Flesh and Blood of Christ

 

John 6:53

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

 

This was a hard saying back in the day when Jesus spoke it.  You can imagine the hearers that were processing this through their natural minds.  “What is He saying, that we have to cannibalize Him and drink His blood?”  This would be an abomination to the natural mind of the Jewish person, especially in the light of the teaching of the law about the blood.  Leviticus 17:10-14 taught, “And whatsoever man [there be] of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.  For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.

And whatsoever man [there be] of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.

For [it is] the life of all flesh; the blood of it [is] for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh [is] the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.”  From this passage you can see why the many struggled with what Jesus was speaking to them and why many turned away.  So why would Jesus say something so controversial and seemingly contradictory to the law?  We can easily see where the blood of Jesus was the all time atonement for our sins, but why would He say we should drink His blood when it was an abomination to God to drink the blood of animals?  Have you ever heard the saying, ” you are what you eat?”  This has a lot of application here.  The blood represented the life and nature of a creature.  I believe in God’s eyes, for man to drink the blood of animals was for him to, in essence, partake of that lower beast nature.  There was identification and imparting of the nature or the soul that was ingested with its blood.  The blood of the animals was to be poured out and covered with dust, which was the perishable, and corruptible substance from which it came.

Jesus was the beginning of the New Covenant, not one established upon the corruptible and temporal sacrifices and atonement of the blood of goats and calves.  He established the New Testament upon the perfect incorruptible and eternal sacrifice and atonement of His blood and life given once for all, for all of mankind.  Jesus was communicating the spiritual truth that in order to have the incorruptible nature and life of God we had to partake of it through the body and blood of Jesus.  As He said in John 14:6,  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Obviously, it wasn’t the physical ingesting of the body and blood of Jesus that He was referring to in this passage, but the partaking of His life through faith in His word.  We do this symbolically through the communion.  These are small physical reminders of the great truth that without a true participation in our communion and partaking of His Spirit life we are none of His.  Perhaps we begin to comprehend as never before what our Lord accomplished and gave to us through His Passion.  Let us meditate, seek to comprehend and appropriate all that He provided for us through the breaking of His body and the giving of His blood.  As we partake of Him through faith we are partakers of His incorruptible, everlasting soul, His nature and His life.  So let us eat of His flesh and drink of His blood for it is eternal life for all who partake.  He is forever the Bread of Life and His life is in the blood.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Our Daily Bread

October 3, 2017

Matthew 6:11

Give us this day our daily bread.

Our Daily Bread

Bread has long been viewed as a basic staple of life.  Bread speaks to nutrition and the sustenance that sustains our lives.  As Christians we know bread both on a natural and a spiritual plane.  The first mention we have of bread is in Genesis 3:18, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”  Natural bread is a type of the natural nutrients and foods we must eat to sustain our natural lives.  Our own sweat and efforts produce natural bread, while it sustains our physical life for a time; it gives place to death.

In Exodus 16:4 God takes bread to another level with the children of Israel in the wilderness.  “Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”  Here we see in type, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  God faithfully gave them daily what they needed to sustain them.  He taught them that their security wasn’t in gathering too much and hoarding it to themselves, then taking their ease.  They could only gather as much as they needed for the day or it would go rotten on them and be filled with worms and corruption.  This is where I find a lesson of faith for my own life.  I, like many of you, start to worry about whether there will be enough latter on when I am in the days of plenty.  I don’t think that saving and preparation are bad principles, but often it is more a condition of the heart.  I find that the less I have the tighter I hold on to it.  My trust becomes more in what I possess and me, rather than in my Father and what He is able to daily provide for me.  God shows me this principle.  My wife and I each have our own businesses that we help each other in.  I find that as I try to hold back and not spend too much, I consequently seem to never have enough.  My wife on the other hand, doesn’t worry about it so much.  She is not an excessive spender, but on the other hand if she sees something she wants or needs she just gets it and doesn’t worry about.   She seems to always have enough not only for herself, but to bless others as well.  Her resources never seem to run dry.  I believe God has been trying to teach me this spiritual principal, that He is our daily bread, physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially.  Our faith and obedience are demonstrated, as we are not so worried about tomorrow, but faithful in that which He has given us for today. 

The fulfillment of the type of the bread of heaven is seen fully in Jesus Christ.  Jesus says in John 6:51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:58 goes on to say, “This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” There is a daily bread that Jesus tells us to pray for every day.  It is not just for natural sustenance, but it is for our eternal and spiritual life.  I believe this daily bread extends to the daily needs of our physical man, but it is by no means limited to that realm.  It is the supplication for the supply of Life that is only resident in us through Christ Jesus.  As our eyes and hearts are set upon Him, our reliance for our daily needs, both physical and spiritual are met in Him who is our daily Manna from heaven.  Each day we must trust, gather Him in and partake of Him afresh.  Otherwise our manna will become old, stale and rancid.  We need fresh manna, fresh bread and that only comes as we personally approach the throne of grace and make our request for Him be made known. 

Maybe you are physically and spiritually malnutritioned because you are not coming to the Bread of Life on a daily basis and eating from His bakery.  Our daily bread comes with our daily relationship with Him.  Come and sit as His table, give thanks and partake of your daily Bread.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Failures that don’t end in Defeat

Micah 7:7-10

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. 8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. 9 Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. 10 Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will see her downfall; even now she will be trampled underfoot like mire in the streets.

We have all known times of failure in our life and most of us have experienced the Lord’s rod of correction.  There are times when we have stubbornly pursued our own interests and pleasures to only find bitterness and sorrow at the end of what we thought we had to have.  Our sin has consequences and many of us can testify of the great pain and suffering we have had to endure because of our foolish disobedience. 

In those moments of failure, when the house that we have built upon the sand is washed away, we may stand in utter shame and humiliation that we have come to this point in our lives.  We may almost think the world and the ones that we loved would be better off without us.  We have had to fully confront our iniquity and the failure which has resulted from it.  How can we even face God or the ones who loved and respected us?   We see failure written all over us, what do we have to live for and have to offer now? 

Our scripture today is one of hope and encouragement to the person who feels like a failure. In this scripture we have a nation of God that failed Him and had to suffer the reproach and the discipline of His correction.  The one thing we have to know about our God is though He will discipline us; He will never stop loving us.  He has a tender heart for the one who is truly repentant and will set their heart upon Him again.  After all, that is what discipline is for, to show us the error of our ways and bring us back to righteousness.  No matter how low we go, God never stops loving us, but a man without hope or faith is dead.  Without hope there is no way but down.  Hope causes us to look up into the loving eyes and heart of our Heavenly Father and say; “Can you still use this broken pot?”  It is our hope and faith in the Lord that believes that though we sit in darkness the Lord will be our light.  Christ will plead our cause and will be our advocate.  He will lift me again out of my place of darkness and bring me back into the light of His salvation.  All those who cursed me and judged me will be put to shame for though I was defeated I don’t have to fail.  The Lord is our victory and He is our good success.  When we were willing, through repentance, to relinquish the failure that we were; God begins to form a new man fashioned in the form of victory and uprightness.  He is a man that rises out of the ashes of failure to find victory and purpose again in His God. 

Only God can take our failures and defeats and turn them for good.  When our enemies think they have nailed our coffin shut, then God will raise us up to their shame.  You can trust that it won’t be in our time, it will be in His time.  No matter how bad we mess up and no matter how bad we fail God, our loved ones and even ourselves, all hope is not lost if we will put our eyes back on Jesus.  His love and forgiveness can reach into the deepest hell and depravity and set the captive free.    No one else and no other God can do that but Him.  Our failures don’t have to end in defeat, in fact they may be what bring us to our ultimate victory in Christ and our enemies will be put to shame before us. God can still brings us back into the light of His salvation and grace.  ‘As long as there is life, there is hope.’

 

Blessings,

#kent

Clothed and Walking

August 31, 2017

Deuteronomy 8:1-6

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

Clothed and Walking

If we truly want to know God’s provision in every circumstance in our lives then we must experience what it is not to have.  We have to experience the night before we truly appreciate what it is to have the light of day.  Often we don’t always understand the things we must go through, the losses that we must endure and why sometimes God doesn’t seem there for us.  We all have our own wilderness journey in one form or another.  Through it all we have been tested to see what was in our hearts.  Would we continue to trust God, even when He didn’t seem to show up, meet our need or answer our prayer?  When things didn’t go our way, did we blame Him?  Many of life’s heartaches and hardships have really tested us to see when we couldn’t understand His hand would we trust His heart.  Yet in those times as we look back, we see the subtle grace of God at work helping us, comforting us and giving us strength when we had no more of our own. 

Some of us are at this place in our walk right now.  We are struggling with finances, with health, with relationships or job issues.  Sometimes we reach that point where we want to just rebel, get mad or give up.  Your heart is being tested.  It is not out of meanness or lack of caring, but when a muscle is stretched and pushed beyond limits, it must continue to grow in order to meet the demands placed upon it.  It is not easy.  It is painful.  What we forget is that we are not just an ordinary people, we are an extraordinary people.  We are becoming that because God is taking us the extra mile and stretching us beyond our human limitations.  He is preparing us for extraordinary times. Yet as we will respond to Him in faith and obedience, we see His grace at work in supernatural ways in other areas of our life. 

God is separating us from our reliance upon our flesh and our dependence upon this world.  He is stretching us to know supernatural provision and strength.  We don’t find that when we are in pursuit of worldly goods or earthly fame and significance.  We find it in the humility of walking in His discipline and discipleship.  We will never fully appreciate the bread that is our provision until we first pursue and find the bread that feeds our spirit and our soul.   We could say, “seek ye first the bread of life, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Jesus tells the followers that pursued Him after He fed the multitude in John 6:26-27, “Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Jesus is the fulfillment of that manna which came out of heaven, the king and the kingdom of God.   It is not in the attainment of physical needs and wants that we are filled and completed, it is in our partaking of Him in personal relationship, faith and obedience that we find the true bread of life.  When you have truly found Him, then all of your superficial needs are met as well.   That need that we have is not always seen and met in the present tense, but it is met in faith as we embrace Him.

God is our loving heavenly Father who disciplines us as His sons.  He is often willing that our flesh would suffer so that our spirits may grow.  Most of us are, a here and now kind of people.  We are most concerned with what we are facing right here and right now.  Be not concerned with the cares of the moment, God is seeing you in a much greater role, one in which you must be tested, tried and proven.  That is just as He was doing in Joseph when through years of suffering and hardship, God was all the time preparing Him for leadership and government.  Could Joseph have faithfully and adequately done what he did for Egypt, if God had not prepared and raised Him in His purpose through strong discipline and adversity?  Like he told his brothers, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”  You may think the devil is out to destroy you, but what he would mean for evil, God will use for good.  Romans 12:12 exhorts us, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”  If you are enduring the discipline of the Lord, then rejoice, because God has marked you for better things.  What He has called you too, He will prepare you for. 

We are no longer walking in this worldly economy as kingdom people are; we are walking in a kingdom economy and for a kingdom purpose.  In this journey God will clothe you with His righteousness that will not wear thin and He will put the strength in your feet to walk the walk of the cross as He shods them with the preparation of the gospel.  We are people that are rich beyond measure, but our riches are not measured by earthly standards.  God is our standard and in Him there is no lack or weakness.  Let us pursue Him who is our bread of life, provision and godliness.  In Him we will know no lack.  Even in our correction He will sustain us. 

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Fingerprints of God

August 24, 2017

Jeremiah 17:7-10

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind,

to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”

 

The Fingerprints of God

The fingerprints of God are seen upon our lives,

In ways we may not comprehend or often realize.

From the miracle of our birth and through our lives we see,

The love of God that kept us and how He cares for you and me.

 

Oftentimes we miss Him, because we are focused on our needs.

We think in doing things our ways is how we should do His deeds.

We so often miss His wisdom in this foolishness of ours.

In wanting all our sunshine we miss the need for showers.

 

Often winds of adversity are simply blessings in disguise,

Without them, there are things in us we would never realize.

Yes they may be painful and counter to our will,

But they often stop our busy tracks and cause us to be still.

 

The fingerprints of God are often dusted aside with blatant disregard,

As the deceitfulness of sin works in us and our hearts become so hard.

The touch of God is upon your life to deliver us from sin.

He wants to be the transforming love that changes us within.

 

Look for His fingerprints upon your life today.

Take a moment now to thank Him as you come and pray.

His fingerprints will change your life if you are sensitive to His touch.

He is able to transform your life where you need His change so much.

Blessings,

#kent

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

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