Born to Serve

December 12, 2014

Exodus 23:25
And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

Born to Serve

From the time that we come into this earth we were born to serve. We will serve something or someone all of our days. The question is what and whom do we serve?
The children of Israel during their stay in Egypt served the Egyptians some four hundred years. Just think, that is longer than our United States is old. Being servants to Egyptians had become a mindset and just a way of life. It was who you were and what you did. It took a Moses, operating under the Spirit of God, to begin to overturn that mindset and slavery thinking. It is no different with us. We grow up serving the world and thinking like the world. That is what everybody does, so that is what we do. Then along comes Jesus and upsets our way of thinking and serving.
Some are naïve enough to say, “I don’t serve anybody. I’m my own person.” When a person says something like that they are saying, that indeed, they are a servant to their flesh. It is there old nature that rules over them, but if they have never known anything different they don’t recognize it as slavery.
God allowed Israel to become the servants and slaves of Egypt. God told Abram in Genesis 15:13, “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.” Now why did God do that? Why did He allow Adam to fall into the slavery of sin and darkness and in the process take all of humanity with Him? We can’t know freedom and really appreciate it until we have experienced slavery and bondage. We can never really appreciate the light of day until we have walked through the darkness of night. We can’t really appreciate the warmth and beauty of spring until we have walked through the coldness and the deadness of winter. God allows us to experience certain things so that we can have an appreciation and a revelation of something so much better and so much higher.
God has delivered us out of the realm of bondage into the liberty of the Sons of God, but some of us still have our old mindsets and earthly way of thinking. Many of us still see our promise land as a place possessed by giants and impossibilities rather than seeing it as a land flowing with milk and honey which is our inheritance. As a result we slip back into the bondage of our unredeemed thinking and belief system. We don’t believe we can therefore we can not.
God wants to blow the lid off of this kind stinking thinking. It is an offense to Him and denial of who He is. We are not going to possess this land in and of our selves because we are no longer of ourselves. We are of Christ. It is the Christ who is the might and the power and the authority in us to prevail and possess our land, as we dispossess the giants and its former inhabitants. How long are we going to allow satan to rob us of that which is rightfully ours? It is only the intimidation of his fear and doubt that prevents us. Where is our spirit of Joshua and Caleb that sees how great their God is rather than how weak we are in our flesh? If you can see it by the Spirit you can possess it by faith. If you are walking in the will and authority of God then there is none that can stand before you.
God has raised us up to be the conquering servants of the MOST HIGH GOD! He has brought us out of the bondage of sin and darkness. He has brought us out and is training us up to be the servants that bring humanity unto Him. You are His priesthood, His army and His sons to bring liberty to the afflicted and set the captive free. Romans 8: 18-25 declares, “I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us. 19In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. 20Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope 21that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. 22We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth. 23The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children. This means that our bodies will also be set free. 24And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. 25However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it.” We are God’s Moses to His creation. He has commissioned us in His Son to be the liberators of His creation that have been subjected to the bondage of sin and death. We have been blessed that God has given us the privilege of knowing Him and being prepared for this calling. Unfortunately many of us don’t yet see it by faith. Some of us see it, but we are still too entangled in the affairs of this life. Until our thinking is liberated we can never be the servants that we were born to be. We are called to be servant kings that rule and reign to bless and liberate. That is our purpose and that is our calling. With the most reverent respect to God, I say, “ the devil be damned, let’s possess the land!”

Blessings,
#kent

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Pride and Humility

March 31, 2014

Pride and Humility

Zephaniah 3:11-13
In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid.

Pride is the arrogance of man usurping the place of God. Psalms 10:4 says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek [after God]: God [is] not in all his thoughts.” What is the place of God in our lives? Isn’t it to be in every pattern of thinking, demonstrated in our motives and revealed in our actions? Every place in our lives that we rob and exclude from God becomes a place of pride. Pride is our self -exaltation over the will and mind of God. Sometimes we have taken pride to the other extreme of being self-abasing. Declaring how worthless and evil we are and how we don’t deserve God for He could never love someone like me. We have declared God a liar because we have taken upon ourselves such condemnation that we refuse the goodness, forgiveness and reconciliation through Christ.
Humility and meekness, the counter parts of pride, simply places our heavenly Father in the place of Lordship in all areas of our lives. If we are gifted or blessed above others in areas it is a place where God is to be exalted, not us. I think of Jesus and the potential power He had resident within Him. How destructive He could have been if He had ever let pride have place in His life. In His meekness, He was strength under control and in submission to His Father. He never had to exalt Himself for the Father affirmed and exalted Him. In His greatness He became lowly and showed himself to be the servant of men. He was not lofty and condescending even to sinners, but gently got underneath them and lifted them up in His love and truth.
The “afflicted and poor people” referred to in this scripture from Zephaniah carries the connotation that these were people who constantly saw their need and weakness outside of the Lord. They were people not so much outwardly poor and afflicted, but it spoke more of the condition of their hearts, much like Jesus addressed in the beatitudes of Matthew 5. It is an attitude that the Lord you are everything: every provision, every strength, every direction and purpose, every ability I have or can have is found in You. Without you Lord I am poor and afflicted in my own state of being.
Pride will always turn away the face of God, but humility and meekness are an open invitation to His presence. It is the condition of our heart that allows Him to be God in us and to be all that we need to be in Him. It allows Him to have His expression of love and grace through us, because we are not in the way to mire it up. This is the state of the God’s true flock and the sheep of His pasture. They know the Shepherd and are totally reliant upon Him. Thus He cares for them and makes them to lie down in His green pastures of rest. Their confidence is in their God and in Him alone.

Blessings,
#kent

The Fast of the Lord

January 20, 2014

 

The Fast of the Lord


Isaiah 58:3-11

Wherefore have we fasted, [say they], and thou seest not? [wherefore] have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as [ye do this] day, to make your voice to be heard on high Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? [is it] to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes [under him]? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? [Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? [Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 

 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I [am]. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And [if] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 


Isaiah 58 is a good chapter to take and read in its entirety.  We have quoted enough here to give us some of the meat of what it is saying.  Many of us consider ourselves religious or spiritual. We profess to love God, we may have our set times to pray, read the bible, fast, go to church or other such spiritual activities we do in the name of the Lord for Him.  If we are doing all of these things to seek God and please Him, then we may ask, like the people of God in that day, “Lord, why don’t you hear our prayers and answer them?  We serve you, but we aren’t blessed.  How come you don’t acknowledge all of our efforts Lord?”  

He may in turn ask us, ” If you do all of these activities and things to seek and please me then why are your lives no different than those of the world around you?  Why is it you yell and argue with your family all the way to church and then come in to praise Me?  Why is it you fast and pray and then get up off of your knees to go and do your own pleasure?  Why is it you go to church, but are angry with the minister if he doesn’t get you out in time to beat the rush to the restaurant or see the sports game on TV?”   Could it be that a lot of our spirituality is phoniness and hypocrisy done more to make us feel like we have done our duty to God than doing what really pleases God.  If we want God to meet us in a greater way than He has before then it isn’t God that has to change, it is us, and more religious activity isn’t the answer.  

God takes the time in this passage to tell us where His heart is and what is meaningful to Him.  He tells us to do such things as “loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free, and that ye break the yoke?”  What does all of that mean?  Could it mean that we are outwardly spiritual, but inwardly wicked?  We talk down to people, we talk about people in a demeaning way, and we’re critical, hateful, judgmental, gossips, backbiters and controllers.  We may want to put all of our baggage, laws, rules and standards upon others when we can’t even live up to them ourselves.  How often do we do things for others in the guise of being so nice and generous to help them out and then turn around and hold those things we gave or did for them as a yoke to control and manipulate them?  There are times we give or loan things to people and they can’t pay them back.  Sometimes we need to just release those debts and forgive them even as God forgave ours.  We can be cruel taskmasters to one another and to others.  When the world looks at that, are they seeing Christ?  Could it be that God wants us to quit being above others and treating others, that don’t have what we have in areas, as inferior and as servants?  Maybe it is time we become like Christ, to use what we have, to get under them to lift and build them up, to be their servants rather than them being ours.  

God goes on to tell us if you really want my blessing then you need to care about the things I care about.  Are you clothing the naked and feeding the hungry?  Are you visiting those in prisons, nursing homes, jails and shut-ins?  Are you even really taking care of your own family and making sure they have not only their physical needs met, but their emotional and spiritual needs met?  Are you spending the time you need to with them and nurturing them?  Are we pointing our finger in judgement and condemnation of others while we ignore the other three that are pointing back at us?  

When we start getting the heart of God then will we begin to hear from God and see His blessing.  This is the true fast of the Lord.  It is not about going to church, it is about being “the Church.”  We have to become in lifestyle and practice what many of us now only pretend to be.  We have a form of godliness, but we deny the power of it.   God despises pompous, pretentious spiritual pretenders.  I have been there more than I like to admit, how about you?  If we are going to have the real thing then everything we do has be about the Lord and what honors and pleases Him.  Ouch!  That’s pretty tough on my flesh, but then I said I reckoned it dead with Christ, so what’s my problem?  My problem is always “I.”  The more it is there the less effective I can be for God, because the less of Him that is in me.  It is only the death of self that can give place to the life of God.  This is the true Fast.  

 
Blessings,
kent

God of All Comfort

November 26, 2012

2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

God of All Comfort

Perhaps we have heard it said that what we endure and go through is not for just for ourselves, but it is to equip us to minister life, blessing and comfort to others in their distress and tribulation. It is one thing to preach and teach something out of head knowledge, but when you have already passed through the fires that someone else is currently in, then the weight of your ministry and comfort increases dramatically, because experience outweighs knowledge. It is from our experience that we have gained the knowledge of God’s comfort, strength and sufficiency that was there for us in our time of need.
If Jesus, the Son of God, was made perfect through the things that He suffered, then it tells me that a part of God’s working grace in and through me will come through suffering. There are many different kinds of suffering and each one of them is able to reveal and bring forth God’s grace in that situation. The comfort and strength we find in our tribulations is a supernatural one, because it is an attribute of Papa; that He is a God, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.
The apostle Paul makes the statement, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” Suffering is a topic that much of the Christian community likes to side-step, because it is much more positive to talk about blessings and prosperity, but we do an injustice to the body of Christ if we neglect this part of the Christian walk. Paul says that he shares in the sufferings of Christ. We know that Jesus suffered as much or more than any other man. What is suffering, but our weakest, most painful and vulnerable moments. It is when we are hurting and our weakness is most evident. Those are the times we can find our God to be our greatest comfort and strength. Those are the times we lean most heavily upon His mercies to give us the endurance to overcome, persevere and find our ultimate victory in Him. It is out of these desperate places that we glean the consolation we can minister to others as they face these same hardships. When I see what you have gone through and how God has been faithful to you, then my faith and hope are increased, for what He has done for others, He can do for me.
What is an overcomer, but one that has walked through tribulation and suffering, in the strength of the Lord. In that weakened dreadful state, we often feel like anything but an overcomer, but it is in that place that we reach the deepest to lay hold of the revelation of Christ in us, the hope of glory. We are brought to the painful awareness of how utterly weak and frail we are in the natural, but in that place we find a strength, a comfort and confidence that is not our own. It is birthed out of the divine life that resides within. It is God that gives us the ability and strength to continue on when everything within us wants to give up.
We may be crying out, “To what end Lord must I continue to suffer and endure?”
He replies, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in you, so your consolation also abounds by Christ toward others.” You are prepared to be the instrument of encouragement, hope, faith and salvation to those who follow in like manner of sufferings.”
Paul, like Jesus, was a man quite acquainted with tribulation and suffering, but he makes the statement in Romans 8:15-18, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Jesus said, “Now am I glorified.” What preceded that glorification was an immense and intense suffering.
1 Peter 4:12 bears witness in that it says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
We have often been made to feel condemned, less spiritual or worthy it we are going through trails and sufferings, like real Christians shouldn’t have to endure such things. If that be true, then I guess Christ and the early Christians weren’t very spiritual or we are neglecting a component that is inherent in our faith, that of suffering, tribulation and trials.
It is these very components that seals and solidifies our faith; that takes it from words and concepts to faith in action. Faith will never be proven real until it is tested. When we found God’s faithfulness in the midst of our testing then we likewise have the ministry of mercy, consolation and comfort to encourage other through their moments of tribulation and trials. It is in passing through the fire that we walk into the glory.

Blessings,
kent

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