Robbed of Our Blessing

November 13, 2015

Haggai 2:10-14
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’ ”
The priests answered, “No.”
13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”
“Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”
14 Then Haggai said, ” ‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.

Robbed of Our Blessing

This is a day when the Lord desires to lay the spiritual foundations of His Temple again. What the Lord speaks to Haggai here He is speaking to us. In the analogy that Haggai brings forth, if a priest carried meat that had been sanctified and consecrated to the Lord in their pocket or the fold of the garment and touched another substance of food it didn’t automatically sanctify and consecrate that food. On the other hand if someone had handled or touched a dead body that defilement was transferred to all that he touched. The Lord says this people, His people, have been like those who have touched the dead body and so what ever they offer becomes defiled.
Are we wondering why we aren’t blessed, coming up short in our finances and experiencing so many struggles that we may not need too? The Lord says it is because we are defiled in our giving and our living.
We have talked about how the body of the old man is dead and crucified with Christ and we are a new creation in Christ, but when we fail to lay hold and live out of this reality and truth we are in affect touching the dead body. We are living out of corrupted fleshly thinking and attitudes. Thus what we touch becomes defiled because it is not the mind of Christ we are operating out of, it is the mind of the flesh, the old man, that which is supposed to be dead.
If God is to bless the works of our hands they have to be the works of His Spirit through us and not our fleshly efforts any more. When we lay the foundations of the Lord’s house, it is a spiritual house not built with human efforts and thinking, but directed and ordered by the Spirit.
We all want the God’s blessing and favor to rest upon us and it is in God’s heart to want to bless and increase us, but there are things we need to get rid of and the primary one is the mentality of this old dead man. We speak often concerning our identification with Christ because His is the life and the mind that we are being renewed and brought forth in day by day as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Romans 8:5-10 says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” It is easy to see from this scripture how much we may still be living out of that old man and nature mentality. The Lord says that this is a defilement and pollution of the life He wants to live through us and the works that He wants to accomplish with our hands. We must begin to truly put on the mind of Christ and view our world through God’s eyes and perspective. In doing so we will be blessed. It is imperative that we identify the thinking that is filled with doubt, fear and unbelief and turn that around to agree and line up with the Word of God. Anything less is sin. Allow Christ to be at the forefront of your motives, your intentions, your will and your purpose. Filter your world and all that you are dealing with through Him. Ask Him and trust Him for wisdom and direction in all of your ways. We are a people that are putting away that which is dead and walking in the consecrated and sanctified life that we carry within us. Walk in the Spirit, build the Lord’s house and live in His blessing. If you will come and build the Lord’s house by the Spirit, He will build yours.

Blessings,
#kent

Psalms 30:7-12 LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled. 8 I cried out to You, O LORD; And to the LORD I made supplication: 9 “What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? 10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!” 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Attitudes that Nullify or Qualify

There are times we come to some very hard places in our lives. Some of us have lived in those places for a very long time. We have no doubt cried out to God to remove our mountain, whatever form of adversity and trial it may take. I found it interesting that the Psalmist David says here, “Lord, you have made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face and I was troubled.” There is no doubt a lot of us that have been, and maybe still are, in this place. The question is, “have we viewed it as the Lord’s favor?” One thing God often does with us is that He puts us between a rock and a hard place. We find ourselves in such a pit that the only we have to look is up. Our resources dries up. Our strength fails. We are left with two choices: forsake our faith, as we mummer and complain, or encourage ourselves in our God and the power of His might. We see two examples in the Word. We see the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and led into a wilderness where there is no food and water. A great many of them choose to murmur and complain when they find themselves against the mountain of adversity. They want some one to blame for their trials and problems. They focus on death and what they left behind and how bleak the picture is before them. They are always looking at how big the problem is and not at how big their God is. On the other hand, we have someone like David. Here is a man who has seen and experienced the reality of God and yet finds himself seemingly forsaken as King Saul pursues him to take his life. I believe the reason David found such favor before the Lord is because he refused to allow his fears to be the giant that conquered him. He saw himself in God in the sense that he knew God would not deny or forsake Himself. He expresses the fact more than once that he became discouraged in his soul, but in his spirit he would rise up and say, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Forget not all of His benefits.” It is the favor of God that causes our mountain to stand strong. It is not that He may beat us down, it is so that He can build us up. Philippians 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Until we develop the eyes of the Spirit our fleshly mentality will keep us just going around and around our mountain. It is with the eyes of faith and by the Spirit that we will, in due season, go through the mountain and that mountain will be cast into the sea. Our mountain is our place of spiritual preparation and the place where God is honing us for a greater purpose. We have two choices: murmur and complain or praise and worship. Which do we think will bring us more quickly into the purposes and plan of God for our lives? Philippians 4:6 reminds us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Our problems and our mountains aren’t always going to go away like we might like them too, but we are not alone in the trial. Enter into your God and His mighty promises. He will, in His time, turn your mourning into dancing. He will put off your sackcloth and clothe you with gladness. Encourage your soul today, “How great is our God.” He will never fail us or forsake us. “O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever!”

Blessings,

#kent

The Finger of God

June 19, 2015

The Finger of God

Luke 11:20
But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

What is God personally touching and dealing with in your life? Is He meddling in areas you would rather that He leave alone? Is the Holy Spirit revealing and stirring up things that you have wanted to keep tucked away? In the Old Testament it was the finger of God that wrote the Ten Commandment upon the stone tablets, but in the New Testament it is the same finger of God that is writing His laws upon our hearts. The Apostle Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 3:3, “[Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” If we are the Lord’s and we truly want His highest in our lives then He is going to start dealing with our lowest. He will deal with those base things in us that cause us to still walk after the flesh and not after the Spirit. If we are stubborn then He may deal with us in stronger measures. What ever it takes, we need that purification that only He can bring into our lives. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” God’s Word in the hand of the Holy Spirit is bringing conviction and dealings in our lives. He is bringing out things in us that we may not even have known were there, or attitudes and behaviors that have been quite contrary to His nature. This is often a very painful process.
We used to go to a chiropractor that was quite good, but you would dread going to him. He knew all the places to push where lactic acid and knots would form in your muscles. He would put his finger in those knots to work them out and you would literally be trying to crawl off of the table. He would keep pulling you back up there and working in all of those painful areas till they would let down and submit; only then would he be able to adjust you and bring you back into proper alignment. That is what the finger of God is doing in our lives. He is touching those sore spots, those tender areas where we don’t want to be touched and dealt with. We know it is necessary, but we cringe from it and really it is our flesh that is cringing. Our spirit man really longs for the spiritual health and well- being that comes from a properly aligned spirit and heart, but we are like the living sacrifice we are called to be in Romans 12:1, we keep wanting to crawl off of the altar. We all want spiritual health, but are we willing to pay the price to get there?
The holy scripture declares in Hebrews 10:12-17 concerning Jesus, “12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16″This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.” 17Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” If Jesus has sat down till His enemies are made his footstool and we comprise the feet of Christ in the earth, then we also must see our enemies of sin and flesh be made our footstool. We must gain the same dominion, authority and dominance over everything that is negatively affecting our lives. The Holy Spirit through the Word of God and through His personal dealings in our lives is dealing and touching our areas of unrepented sin. We all have those areas in our lives that we struggle with, but we must pray that the Lord will do whatever it takes in us to gain the victory and dominion over our giants. A lot of times we would be content to coexist with them, but the Lord has given the commandment to purge the land and not compromise, for He knows that our compromise will bring defilement and defilement will again bring us under bondage. Our flesh will do anything it takes if we will just let it live, but when we do it comes back to bite us. Our only recourse is the cross, painful though it is. It is death that gives place to life and death to self gives place to the life of the Spirit.
The finger of God is writing His laws upon our hearts of flesh. He is placing the mind and nature of Christ within us, but where the Lord is, His finger is being put upon the areas of our lives that need to come into conformity with His will and righteousness. I would leave us with 1 Peter 5:6-11, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Blesssings
#kent

Changing Garments

May 20, 2014

Changing Garments

Colossians 3:9-13
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

Every day we make a choice when we get up and get dressed what garment or clothes we are going to wear. Am I going to put back on what is lying at the foot of my bed or am I going to look in the closet and choose to wear a fresh clean set of clothes? The Word teaches us that when we come into a relationship with Christ and He is abiding in our spirits we must make an active choice with regard to our wills. There is an active daily decision on our part to put off the flesh along with our affection for it and put on the nature that conforms to His. When we were kids we were content and happy to wear the old dirty jeans with the holes in the knees and the old ratty tee shirt. Then mom would lay out a change of clothes and tells us this is what she wanted us to wear. Normally we rebelled, whined, argued, complained but we eventually complied. Left to ourselves we might still be wearing those old rags. Thankfully, most of us had a mom that began to teach us to dress for success. She taught us that the world evaluates and judges you by what they see you wearing. Fair or not, that is reality. As we began to wear those clean and neat clothes we began to perceive ourselves differently and it began to reflect in our attitudes. This was one of the reasons why, in times gone by, the schools used to have dress codes. God still has a dress code. Just like we needed to obey mom, we need to obey the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in regards to our behavior and the choices we make. Colossians 3:9 says, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” It is time to throw out those old hole-filled, filthy jeans and raggedy tee shirts out and put on the new garments. It tells us, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Do your ever find that what is astonishing and disheartening is that so many who claim to be and represent themselves as Christians have terrible ethics? They don’t keep their word; they’re often not totally honest and forthright. Quite frankly, we are often an insult and a slap in God’s face when it comes to our integrity. Don’t lie and say you are something you are not. Be what you say you are, in action, word and deed, having “put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” When you change your clothes, change your underwear too! Be transformed and conformed to the nature of Christ from within to without. The word tells us this putting on the new man involves several things. What do the garments of Christ consist of? “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” It goes on to say, “15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name (nature and character) of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Everyday we make an active decision about what we are going wear both naturally and spiritually. Are we choosing to dress for success, by putting on Christ and putting off the flesh with all of its misdeeds? Our transformation is based upon our union and compliant relationship with the Spirit of God within us and the Word of God that instructs our minds and hearts. How are you dressing today? Are you changing garments?

Blessings,
#kent

Worthy of this Calling

March 25, 2014

Worthy of this Calling

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I would like for us to be very real and practical today as we consider our calling in Christ Jesus. We often try and talk spiritual and be spiritual around what we consider spiritual people or environments, but what is every day life like for us? How does our real faith play out in the everyday activities of our lives? In the light of that, many of us may not feel too spiritual. We may see ourselves getting angry, losing patience, arguing with the kids and the spouse. A lot of times we see some pretty unattractive words and attitudes demonstrated in our lives. Nothing we could really take much pride in as far as being spiritual or glorifying the Lord. We may get pretty down on ourselves in the light of our many shortcomings and feel there is really no hope that I could be anything in Christ. “Look what a mess I am and how totally unchristian I can act.” Most of us can have those “flesh days” when we are just a mess spiritually. Our spiritual enemy preys on our vulnerabilities. I believe situations are often set up by the enemy, just to push our buttons and lead us off into unspiritual actions and attitudes. You may have really felt that you were drawing close to the Lord and then you are attacked in the areas of your vulnerabilities. You are tempted in the areas of your greatest weaknesses. As much as you don’t want too, perhaps you fail and stumble again in those areas where you thought you were experiencing victory. What follows is nothing less than a barrage of condemnation and discouragement as the devil condemns you for your failures. Perhaps he even uses those around you to assist in heaping on you the condemnation and failure you already feel. With feelings of shame, disgrace, added failure and guilt we become discouraged. We think, “Why am I trying to be something I can never be?” Exactly the state of mind the enemy wants to bring us too.
Realistically our lives are a never-ending struggle of flesh and spirit. We hear about who we are and who we should be in Christ, but then we struggle to live our faith in Christ, often with feelings of being so unsuccessful. These are the reasons why we often grow weary, discouraged and want to just give up. You know what? We all have these feelings, discouragement, and setbacks. Our God is not just writing us off because we do, but He does want to use them to allow us to recognize our weakness, so that we may better lay hold of His strength. The Word tells us that the efforts of the flesh can never produce the righteousness of God. That is why religion is so futile. It is our attempt at finding and pleasing God in our own works.
We find in life that we are most influenced by those we associate ourselves with. If we hang around a worldly and ungodly crowd, it is not long before we find our own actions and attitudes becoming more and more conformed to theirs. It is that same old principle of sowing and reaping. What we are sowing into our lives is what we are reaping in our attitudes and actions. Hosea 10:2 tells us, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for [it is] time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Galatians 5:25 tells us, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” While we will have those times where we will experience failure and discouragement we must stubbornly and uncompromisingly not relinquish who we know ourselves to be in Christ. Our only hope of this is in our identification and relationship with our Lord. No matter how we may get sidetracked and bushwhacked by the enemy of our soul, our spirit and our soul must turn back to Father. He assures us forgiveness when we repent and promises to wash our sin away. Christ in you is your hope of glory. With all that is within us we must cling to Him, relinquish our lives to Him and stay in close fellowship and relationship with Him. He alone is the one that transforms us into His image and likeness. In order to be worthy of His calling, it is our patient and enduring faith in Him that is the manifest token of our salvation. It is maintaining the place of intimacy and relationship that we truly know our God and experience the workings of His righteousness in us. The reality of our faith and walk in the Spirit must be the greatest reality of our lives. Even when we wander or fail, it is the faithfulness of His Spirit in us that continually keeps us returning and drawing near to Him. “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: [Which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer (2 Thessalonians 1:3-5)”

Blessings,
#kent

Wise Counsel

January 2, 2014

 

Wise Counsel


Proverbs 24:6

For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors [there is] safety. 


Most of us appreciate wise counsel, especially in the hard decisions of our life, but we have a choice of who we choose to hear and receive counsel from.  Essentially all of our decisions are made from counsel that we gather mentally from different sources, then evaluate and arrive at our decision.  Where are we going to get our counsel?   

The fruit of our lives will reveal the source of our counsel.  If we are walking in the counsel of the ungodly, then our actions, decisions and choices are going to be ungodly.   Psalms 1:1 exhorts us, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”  

Most all of us want and need wise counsel.  We realize that we are not all wise and experienced in many of the areas of life we must make decisions, so it is quite common that we would seek out those who are wiser and more experienced in these areas of life.   Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established” 

Proverbs 19:20 exhorts us, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.”  As Christians, most of us have come to realize that our best advice and counsel comes from the Word of God and His people who are skilled and experienced in His Word.  One of the reasons we go to church and bible studies, listen to tapes and read Christian books is to hear the counsel of the word of God and it’s interpretation.  It is a resource we can use to make wise decisions for the direction of our lives.  

One of the names of God and Christ is “Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6).  One of the seven spirits of God spoken of in Isaiah 11:2 is “counsel”.  God is our greatest resource of wise counsel and direction for our lives if we take the time to seek it out.  Too often we are in a hurry with the decisions we make or we have preconceived notions about what we want.  As a result we don’t take the time to wait on the counsel of the Holy Spirit or pursue the counsel of wise and godly men.  This is difficult for many of us because we are not given to patience.  We want our answer right now.  With God, His requirements are often that we wait upon Him, that we are “anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6).”   Proverbs 20:5 says, “Counsel in the heart of man [is like] deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.”  I believe the same is true of God.  We have to take the time to draw out what is the wisdom and counsel of God for our lives and the decisions we must make along the way.  Proverbs 19:21 tells us, “There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.”  We have to discern in our hearts and sort out what is of God and what is of natural reasoning and thinking.  We do that by connecting the points that make a straight line through the things that line up with the Word and counsel of God.  God’s counsel shouldn’t be confusion; it should bear witness with itself all along the way.  

It is most important, if we want wise counsel, to keep our hearts in tune with the Holy Spirit, seeking His counsel and wisdom through prayer and the Word.  It is equally important to check the attitudes and the condition of our heart and motives to be sure they are pure and submitted to Him.   Proverbs is a wonderful resource concerning the wisdom, understanding, knowledge and counsel of the Lord. Let’s conclude with a passage from Proverbs 2:1-8 “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,

2turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—3indeed, if you call out for insight

and cry aloud for understanding, 4and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,

5then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6For the Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  7He holds success in store for the upright,

he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”  

 
Blessings
kent

Inward Garments

November 1, 2013

Isaiah 61:3
…The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…

Inward Garments

You know our moods; our dispositions, our attitudes, our outlook on life and our demeanor are all clothing and garments of our soul and spirit. The inward man has a wardrobe just like the outward man. So what kind of garments are we wearing on the inside of us today?
When life is going well and things are prosperous and easy, it is not so hard to have a good disposition. What about those days, weeks or even years when we have endured heartache, disappointments, afflictions, hurts and the heaviness of life weighs down upon us, oppressing and depressing us? It is hard to have joy in the midst of sorrow and it is hard to rejoice in pain, but we will identify and outwardly take upon us the fashion of our inner clothing.
God has given us the ability in these times to be able to change our inner garments. It starts with the faith of who He is. It takes our eyes off of the natural circumstances, the very seemingly real feelings of despair that we have, and it looks upon the promises of our faithful God. Faith reaches out and grabs hold of God’s Word and life and then the exercise of that faith begins to change the fabric of our mournful state by declaring what God has said. It looks at those things that are not and speaks to them as though they are. Faith remembers 1Corinthians 1:28 that says, “And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.” Faith looks and remembers what God says in Isaiah 46:8-11, “ Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors. 9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ 11Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it”. Faith looks upon an ever-living and ever-faithful God and it begins to open its mouth in praise. It declares as Paul does in 2 Corinthians 4:7-18, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you. 13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,”we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Faith fixes it’s eyes upon what God has said and promised and not upon the hard place that it is in. Praise begins to declare the majesty and the promises of the Almighty and of His Son, Jesus Christ. It looks up and sees the heavens open and joins chorus with the angelic host that worship before the throne. Praise puts upon us a royal and priestly garment that is the proper apparel for approaching the throne of God.
Praise and worship changes our demeanor and our spiritual garments. It gives us beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning that the name of the Lord might be glorified. The world has to wonder at people that can demonstrate such joy in such a pitiful earthly state. It is because they have looked upon their Redeemer who lives. They see the heavens opened and the garment of praise has brought them before the King of Kings and into the joy of His presence.

Blessings,
kent

From Such Turn Away

August 28, 2013

From Such Turn Away

2 Timothy 3:5
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
This scripture comes after Paul gives a description of a people you would think would be obvious that they were not Christians, for he writes in 2 Timothy 3:1-4, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Yet, these people, as ungodly as they are, are described as having a form of godliness, but their very nature denies the power of it. 2 Corinthians 11:14 describes a similar situation of how satan often appears to us, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Does that mean he is an angel of light or simply masquerades or disguises himself as one? If we are gullible and take everything and everyone at face value, we are open to deception. Most likely many of us have been deceived at one time or another by someone, who having a form of godliness, came in with heresies or teachings that subtly distorted and manipulated God’s Word to appear to say and teach something different than what the Holy Spirit was conveying. There are those that would love nothing more than to draw us away unto themselves and through there teachings or influence shipwreck our faith. Obviously that is why Paul is telling Timothy “from such turn away.”
Jesus gives the same type of exhortation to his disciples in Matthew 7:14-23, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the w!y, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; ” a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
The message here is plain, just because a tree looks like an apple tree doesn’t necessarily mean it is, but if it is, it will bear apples and not some other type of fruit. While none of us professes our lives to be manifesting perfection just yet, we are told that by observing the fruit, the behavior, the attitudes, the true nature of a person; we will be able to discern if they are really of Christ or not. One can only hide their true identity and nature for so long until it will show itself for what it is. Beware that not everyone professing Christ is of Christ. They may well be as deceived in as much as they are trying to deceive you. Don’t compromise the standard of God’s Word. It doesn’t change no matter how spiritual someone professes to be or how much Greek and Hebrew they say they know. Hold fast to the foundational principles of the faith. If God is showing you a deeper revelation of a truth in His word that does not follow conventional teaching He will confirm it for you if you seek him. It won’t have to just come through one person or one source, there will be other witnesses to it and it won’t go counter to God’s Word.
The exhortation is when we recognize these ones who only have a form of godliness, but lack the true Spirit of Christ in them, turn away from them and have no more fellowship with them. It doesn’t mean that you take up a judgmental spirit or that you don’t try to restore those who are in error, but if they are unwilling to see their error and turn from it, then have no more fellowship with them. If you continue to associate yourself with them you will be drawn away and corrupted by them. Be vigilant and discerning of those you have fellowship with, that they have true godliness and not just a mere pretense of it.

Blessings,
kent

Faithfulness in Marriage

August 21, 2013

Faithfulness in Marriage

Malachai 2:14-16
You cry out, “Why has the LORD abandoned us?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made to each other on your wedding day when you were young. But you have been disloyal to her, though she remained your faithful companion, the wife of your marriage vows.
Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “It is as cruel as putting on a victim’s bloodstained coat,” says the LORD Almighty. “So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife.”
Our hearts are not different than those that have gone before us. They are still deceitfully wicked and perverse. Unless guarded and kept under the Lordship of Christ and led by the Spirit they will lead us in the ways contrary to His will. We live in a day when the divorce rate is somewhere around fifty percent. One out of two marriages end in divorce. What is even more sad is that it isn’t a whole lot better even among the Christian community. What is this telling us about the condition of our hearts? In Matthew 19:8 Jesus says, “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
From today’s passage we can readily see that this isn’t the will of God and what His attitude about divorce is. The enemy is doing a masterful job of destroying our homes, families and marriages. The moral fabric of our society is deteriorating before our very eyes, as we become more complacent and accepting of it. So many of us end up playing right into this destruction and we wonder why God isn’t blessing us and answering our prayers. Could it be that we have become too self-centered rather than God centered? Probably the only ones who will continue reading this if it is an issue in their lives are those who really care more about God’s will than their own. None of us like to be confronted with our sins. We, like the world, want to run from the light. The difference is that we are children of the light and if we are really Christ’s then our spirit won’t let us run away even when we are in error. We have a conviction to return to what is right and repent of what is wrong.
Our biggest temptation today is self-isolation. We become too absorbed in what we want to do, what is important to us and what meets our needs and wants. As a result we isolate ourselves from the demands and needs of those around us, especially our spouses. Life begins to slowly and subtly take us in different directions and begins to place a wedge in our relationships. I can be perfectly content going my own way and doing my own thing, but when I got married and committed to that woman my life, love and loyalty, I gave up being just about myself. It is the two of us that make up one person and while we are individuals with differences we are one flesh both of us living for the good and well being of the other and not just ourselves. I know how oblivious I can become to the needs of my wife because I get so caught up in what I need to do and what is important to me. I have to remember that my top priority next to God is my wife. When I forget that I begin to unwittingly open myself up to a breakdown in our relationship. Just as I must cultivate and spend quality time in my relationship with the Lord, I can do no less with my spouse.
What I am learning is that our spiritual relationship is directly related to our natural relationship with our spouse. When there is disharmony and dissension in the natural, it hinders the spiritual dimension of our relationship with the Lord. As 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” We have to remember that we are not in this by ourselves, we are together in union with Christ. We need that unity to maintain right relationship spiritually. This is another reason we as husbands and wives must commit to keeping our hearts in an attitude of submission before the Lord and to one another, willing to pray together and share our hearts together without fear of reprisals. We will all have our difficult times, but if our hearts and attitudes remain right we can resolve them.
If we are finding ourselves in the place in our lives where the storms of divorce are brewing, start by submitting your hearts to the Lord and His will. It is only in being right with Him that we can be right with each other. Love has to be the conquering force to all obstacles and we know that His love is greater than ourselves. Let His love reign in your hearts and relationships always and let us submit ourselves to one another in the spirit of that love.

Blessings,
kent

Wise Counsel

March 29, 2013

Wise Counsel

Proverbs 24:6
For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counselors [there is] safety.

Most of us appreciate wise counsel, especially in the hard decisions of our life, but we have a choice of who we choose to hear and receive counsel from. Essentially all of our decisions are made from counsel that we gather mentally from different sources, then evaluate and arrive at our decision. Where are we going to get our counsel?
The fruit of our lives will reveal the source of our counsel. If we are walking in the counsel of the ungodly, then our actions, decisions and choices are going to be ungodly. Psalms 1:1 exhorts us, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
Most all of us want and need wise counsel. We realize that we are not all wise and experienced in many of the areas of life we must make decisions, so it is quite common that we would seek out those who are wiser and more experienced in these areas of life. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established”
Proverbs 19:20 exhorts us, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” As Christians, most of us have come to realize that our best advice and counsel comes from the Word of God and His people who are skilled and experienced in His Word. One of the reasons we go to church and bible studies, listen to tapes and read Christian books is to hear the counsel of the word of God and it’s interpretation. It is a resource we can use to make wise decisions for the direction of our lives.
One of the names of God and Christ is “Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6). One of the seven spirits of God spoken of in Isaiah 11:2 is “counsel”. God is our greatest resource of wise counsel and direction for our lives if we take the time to seek it out. Too often we are in a hurry with the decisions we make or we have preconceived notions about what we want. As a result we don’t take the time to wait on the counsel of the Holy Spirit or pursue the counsel of wise and godly men. This is difficult for many of us because we are not given to patience. We want our answer right now. With God, His requirements are often that we wait upon Him, that we are “anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6).” Proverbs 20:5 says, “Counsel in the heart of man [is like] deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.” I believe the same is true of God. We have to take the time to draw out what is the wisdom and counsel of God for our lives and the decisions we must make along the way. Proverbs 19:21 tells us, “There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” We have to discern in our hearts and sort out what is of God and what is of natural reasoning and thinking. We do that by connecting the points that make a straight line through the things that line up with the Word and counsel of God. God’s counsel shouldn’t be confusion; it should bear witness with itself all along the way.
It is most important, if we want wise counsel, to keep our hearts in tune with the Holy Spirit, seeking His counsel and wisdom through prayer and the Word. It is equally important to check the attitudes and the condition of our heart and motives to be sure they are pure and submitted to Him. Proverbs is a wonderful resource concerning the wisdom, understanding, knowledge and counsel of the Lord. Let’s conclude with a passage from Proverbs 2:1-8 “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
2turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—3indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding, 4and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”

Blessings,
kent

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