The Law of Sin and Death

August 18, 2015

Judges 21:25
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

The Law of Sin and Death

The state that we see Israel in, in the book of Judges is the same state that we could see a lot of us as Christians in. We have the promise and the inheritance and we have the Word of God, but we haven’t embraced our King. Just as the Israelites could be God’s chosen people by name, it didn’t mean they were His people in their heart. They became apostate, doing whatever seemed good to them, while ignoring who God had called them to be. Isn’t that the way many in the Christian world have become. They have become apostate because they live and do what is right in their own eyes and justification rather than according to the will and calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I am not writing this to bring condemnation, but to make us aware of which law we are living under in this state of mind. Before Christ, we were living under the law of sin and death. It was a law of the commandments whereby sin abounded because of the weakness of the flesh to live and keep it. Under that law we stood condemned because we were lawless and law breakers. Even in our best efforts we were not able to find reconciliation and intimate relationship with Papa because our sin stood to condemn us. Because sin would ultimately rule us, God had to send judgement to correct us and bring us back to repentance. There we would cry out under our judgement and God in His mercy would send a judge to bring us back to Himself where we would remain briefly before repeating the cycle again.
Now, we have a King and His name is Jesus. He is not only the King, but the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. In His realm of authority and dominion He has called us out of the old law of sin and death, because the crucifixion of His divine life nailed that old law of condemnation to the cross. When we come to Him in faith we must recognize that is where our old selfish sinful nature and man has been identified; with Him on that cross. We also died to that former way of doing, “whatever seemed right in our own eyes.” As He raised us up by faith into His life we come under a new law, because we have entered and become citizens and partakers of a new kingdom. The laws of this kingdom don’t operate like the former one. Here there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. “In Christ” speaks to a state of being in our spirit man that is manifested through our physical being.
We find this in Romans 8. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” The key to living in this realm and kingdom is living by faith out of the law of the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. A line of demarcation has been drawn that you live under one law or the other, but you can’t live under both.
Jesus says you can’t serve two masters in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon is the old world order that falls under the law of sin and death.
The question then really becomes, “What law are we living under?”
Romans 8 goes on to define what it is to live in the law of the Spirit of life and what the differences are. “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.
12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
The Word doesn’t say we don’t still struggle with the inclinations toward our former sinful nature, but it has become a matter of new identity, allegiance and citizenship. If you move to the United States from a foreign country and decide to become a US citizen then you have changed your identity, allegiance and citizenship. You must renounce the old to embrace the new. If the United States is at war with your former country, who are you going to fight for and stand with? Where is your identity and allegiance? You may feel the soul ties that want to draw you back to the former feelings you had for your country and countrymen, but now you have to cut them off, because it is no longer who you are. You can no longer go between countries and have your allegiance divided or you will be considered a traitor. You can no longer live under the former laws and traditions of the old country and still be a US citizen. They don’t work in this new country. You no longer have to live under tyranny, but you can live in freedom, but freedom isn’t freedom if it brings you again under the bondage of sin. “13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. You see it is the Spirit that now indwells you that is the power in you to overcome who you used to be. As we learn to live in obedience and faithfulness to Him we are led by Him. It is living under His banner and direction that we become the sons of God.
If we are still doing whatever is right in our eyes we are missing what it is to live under the higher law. It is only under this law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that we live and abide in the life of God and we come to experience the intimacy of relationship with Him. God has given us the choice to be sons or slaves. Where is our true identity, allegiance and citizenship, in the law of sin and death or the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus? Your identity is who you are, not what you call yourself.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Favor of the Lord

June 10, 2014

Psalms 67:1
God be merciful unto us, and bless us; [and] cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

The Favor of the Lord

Did you know you are the object of the Lord’s favor and blessing today? Today as Father looks upon you He says, “Because you are my blessing in the earth, so shall I bless you.” Yes, you are blessed and highly favored of God. You are His child and He relishes in the very thought of you. You haven’t escaped His attention even for one minute.
You may have thought He didn’t care, or He didn’t hear you when you prayed or He couldn’t possibly love you with all of the adversity you are going through or the places you know you’ve failed. What you may forget is that because Christ is in you, He walks with you through every adversity and trial you face. Again, you may have lost sight of who you in Christ, because you have become so identified with the trials that are pressing in upon you.
May I remind you of another character in the Bible that was blessed and highly favored of God. Job 1:6-12 records this dialogue between God and satan, ” One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.”
May I propose to you that satan has no power or authority over you unless he be given permission by the Father. Remember Colossians 3:1-3, it tells you where he has positioned you. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” For satan to get to you he has to get through God and Christ, because that is where you are hidden. May I also suggest that while satan may think he has power and control God uses him as a smith and an instrument to perfect His saints and bring them into the authority of who they are and destined to be in Christ. He is simply an instrument to bring us into our destiny. Without a battle there can be no victory, without and adversary there can be no overcomer. Strength and power are developed out of opposition and resistance. God allows certain things to touch our lives for our ultimate good and triumph, not because He is mean of vindictive.
What does Romans 8:28-30 say? “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Believe me, when Job went through his trial he wasn’t experiencing what seemed to him to be the warm and fuzzy side of God, but God through those trials was transitioning him into a place of priesthood and double portion ministry and living.
Don’t despair because you are in the place of trial and testing. It only speaks to the fact that you are highly favored and blessed of God. “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? (Hebrews 12:4-7)” Be encouraged beloved and highly favored of the Father.

Blessings,
#kent

Ephesians 1:16-23 (Amplified)

I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.

 17[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, 18By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), 19And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, 20Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], 21Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.  22And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church]  23Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].

 

Prayer of Power and Glory

 

This Spirit anointed prayer is a great one to memorize and pray over yourself, your loved ones and those that God has you making intercession for.  It is one that I am not sure that we could ever plumb the depths of all that it expresses, let alone fully comprehend them.  I can tell you this, it will only be by His Spirit that we do.  It is not a prayer formula, but a prayer of spiritual revelation and transformation.

Let’s just share a little commentary on it today.  

The first thing it brings to our attention is the unceasing and unfailing act of thankfulness as Paul makes mention of them in his prayers.  Perhaps no one act captures the heart of God like our thankfulness.  It is an act that not only blesses, praises and worships God for all that He has done, is doing and shall do, but heightens our own awareness of how truly blessed we are.  How many times have you started thanking God for all that He has done in your life and you just start weeping, because you just become so aware of how extraordinarily rich He is in His love and blessing toward you.  We know that we didn’t deserve a one of those blessings and yet He lavishes on us so many good and wonderful things.  When we don’t have a spirit of thanksgiving, we can quickly start to take for granted and forget all of the wonderful benefits that our God bestows upon us.

Paul says, “For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory.”  Paul is an intercessor that lifts up a continual supplication and prayer on behalf of those God has given him care over.  This is a prayer that you never stop praying.  

The first thing that Paul prays for is, “He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him.”  The more spiritual insight you have of your God the more you are going to be completely blown away by Him.  Nobody can wreck your world and your life in a good way like the Holy Spirit can.  What the Holy Spirit wants to impart to you is not just head knowledge so you can go around and brag about your revelation knowledge and how spiritual are.  The Words says, ‘knowledge puffs up, but love edifies’.  Why does God want to impart wisdom and revelation to you?  It is so that you can experientially become the expression of Him.  

There are three primary things that God wants you to know and understand to bring you into the expression of who He wants to be in you.  He wants you first to have a revelation of your identity in Him.  “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  You can’t  be who He has called you to be until you first know who you are in Him.  Then, He wants you to know your position; that you operate out of a heavenly perspective and not an earthly one.  Ephesians 2:6 tells us our position, “And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”  Thirdly,  He wants us to have a revelation of our purpose.  1 John 3:7 tells us the purpose why Christ came, “… The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”  Nothing destroys His work like the manifest love of God.  Love is the most powerful weapon on earth and in heaven.  It is the primary force and power that Almighty God works out of and He wants to demonstrate the full measure of His love through His people.  That is His purpose, to reconcile His creation back to Himself in love.  When you exemplify the love of God, you are the expression of His purpose.  We are to be the administrators and ambassadors of His love and as we host the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives the power of His love is revealed in us and through us to His glory. 

The prayer goes on to tell us that when we pray and have these spiritual insights and wisdom revealed to us then we will more fully know and apprehend our identity, position and purpose.  When you get a hold of these concepts then you can just begin to come into the greater revelation of, “what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, 20Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], 21Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.”  The one revelation you have to get out of this is that you are never going to come in to all the awesome things He has for you by just playing church.   We have to become radically in love with Him,  off-the-chart intimately involved with Him, because when we do the truth of which this is speaking begins to come to light and you will know this awesome power of which He speaks until you are fully baptized and immersed in love and relationship with the Father.  It is in the intimate place that He reveals His secrets and mysteries to those who love and pursue Him.  There is power and authority in Christ like we have never imagined.  That same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead and set Him back in the place of authority in heavenly places is the same power that is raising you up to an awesome man or woman of God. 

In conclusion, “And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church]  23Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].  His church, in affect, YOU, if you are of His body, He wants to exercise the fullness of Himself through you.  Because you are “in HIM” the power of the fullness of Himself is in you.  Can you wrap your mind around that?  It is because we are apprehending a place in which we have no identity except that of Christ.  ‘As the Father is in Him and He is in the Father, so is He in us and we are in Him (John 17).’  He is become our head and our mind; we live, move and have our being in Him.  

Let everything else fall to the side of this revelation that He has called you to.  You are, “heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ. because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  “15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)”  Pray upon yourself and others this prayer of His power and glory revealed in His Church!

 

Blessings,

#kent

 

A Series of Right Decisions


Proverbs 3:1-12

1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline 

and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.


The essence and sum of our lives can be measured and is made up of a series of decisions.  There will be things in our lives that we have no control over other than how we respond to them and what we do with them.  When we look back over our lives and to the point that we presently live, we can see that our lives are the result of a good number of smaller decisions and choices. Some of those have had more impact on our lives than others but even the little decisions have contributed to the larger whole.  When we understand that each day is made up of a series of decision that can impact and guide the direction of our lives, we then understand the importance of making right decisions.  

Proverbs 3 speaks to us out of the wisdom of a Father to his son.  As we read this we insert ourselves into the object of this conversation.  The Father is reminding the son that to live a prosperous and healthy life there are certain things you need to maintain, remember and exercise in your decision making.  The foremost is that you keep the teachings and the commands of God’s Word in your heart.  The continual meditation upon the Word of God will serve to keep your life focused and continually aware of what your life is about.  

The way that we exercise the Word that we store up in our hearts is through love and faithfulness.  These are the keys that allow us to partake of the treasures of God’s wisdom and grace and to put them into the vocabulary of our daily lives and actions.  Love, trust and obedience, these are the essentials that need to be with us in every decision making process.  When we have them and exercise them, and then they will assure a right motive to the decisions that we do make.  

Even with these essentials we realize that we lack the insight, understanding and wisdom to really know what is best for our lives and if the decision we are making may be the best choice we could have made.  

Again, the Lord reminds us to trust Him with all our whole heart and to lean not upon our own understanding.  God knows so much more about our lives and the impact of our decisions than we do. It only makes sense to really trust Him to guide us and lead us.  He says He will make our paths straight.  Romans 8: 28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  These are those ones that are practicing Proverbs 3.  If we acknowledge Him, trust Him and love Him with all of our heart, then He is able to take even the bad things in our life and work them for our good.  There are going to be times in our life we won’t be able to grasp the whys and wherefores of how God operates and the reason He has allowed things to happen as they have.  He never told us we had to understand Him, just acknowledge, love and trust Him.  

We can never boast in ourselves, in our ability, our prosperity or our wisdom.  We do acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from above.  Sometimes we are tempted in our spiritual or natural successes to be lifted up to think we are something or somebody more than somebody else is.  We have to always keep our feet on the ground while we keep our heart in heaven.  Spiritual pride is a foolish man’s prize.  We are all the products of God’s rich grace and mercy.  None of us can boast in ourselves for it is God alone that gives us value and worth.  If we fear God and turn away from evil then it will be health to our body and nourishment to our bones.  

I heard a minister the other day who was sharing that the temple had five gates.  There was a priest stationed over each one of those gates as a watchman to assure that no danger or that nothing unclean entered the gates.  He went on to share that these five gate are like our five natural senses and God has set us as a priest to watch over them and insure that nothing harmful or unclean passes through them into the temple which we are.  This is much like the principles of Proverbs 3.  If we will do our part to love, acknowledge, trust and obey the Lord, He will do His part to direct and order our steps.  

As He honors us, we must in turn honor Him with the firstfruits of our increase.  We can’t bring the leftovers or the second best.  We must honor Him with the firstfruits of our best.  He assures us that we won’t lack because of it.  

We are His children.  He loves us and whom the Lord loves He chastens, disciplines and corrects.  We can’t become discouraged when our lot in life is tough.  It is not God’s anger and displeasure at work; it is His love.  The trials and tribulations in our lives are what shape and mold our character and integrity.  They are a part of the process of bringing us into conformity with Father’s nature and character.  All that God is working in us is in preparation for a much more glorious life.

Just remember that it is the series of everyday decision that add up to the sum of your life.  Allow God to be a part of every one of them.  

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

Presumptuous Sin

January 28, 2013

James 4:13-17
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

Presumptuous Sin

How many of us walk day by day asking God’s will and purpose to be done in and through our lives? Most of us already have our agenda’s set, our plans and schedules made and our daily routines formed. This scripture from James might jar our awareness that the life we live so routinely is not about our plans and agendas, they are about God’s. How many opportunities and blessings are missed because what we have to do is more important than being in tune with the Holy Spirit to allow Him move through us in a different direction than what we have planned? If we ask for God’s will in our lives, but then ignore Him and the Spirit’s leading then haven’t we fallen into what might be for us a presumptuous sin?
We often find ourselves trying to live in two different worlds. We have our spiritual world where we acknowledge and worship God, but then our daily routine kicks in, it is business as usual and we may hardly give God a second thought. We don’t think anything of it, because it has become our habit and we have compartmentalized God out of certain areas of our life.
We can never forget that we don’t even have a life outside of what God gives us and blesses us with. There are no guarantees of tomorrow and of what we think we will do. We become presumptuous in that we think that we are fully in control of our lives and that it should always go according to our plan.
Who’s are we? What are we here for? What is your purpose in life?
As believers in Christ we should realize that our life is first and foremost about God and not about us. We live, move and have our being for His good pleasure, not just ours. Romans 12:1 exhorts to daily present ourselves a living sacrifice that we might prove what is His good, acceptable and perfect will. Each day should start with us first getting in tune with the Holy Spirit and entering into God’s presence. It should start with our hearts being open and spiritual awareness that this day is for Him and not just for us. We may go through a fairly routine day, but somewhere in that day may be an opportunity to speak into someone’s life, to bless someone, to help someone or someone is watching, unbeknownst to you, how you live, speak and conduct your life. You are first and foremost, God’s ambassador and the expression of who He is to the world around you. When you are open to God changing your plans or redirecting your path, don’t allow yourself to be frustrated by a change in your circumstance, just be keenly aware that He might want to use you in a different way.
A life in Christ is not a living apart from Him, but an acknowledgement of Him in all that we do, no matter how routine or ordinary. God leads us as we acknowledge Him in all of our ways, as Proverbs 3 tells us.
Let us not fall into presumptuous sin, by making assumptions about all that we or will not do. We first submit our plans and ways to the Lord; being open for Him to adjust them to His will and purpose. When our faith is in God and not in ourselves then we are at peace with the circumstances that face us even when that might seem so negative. God is able to turn all things for good if our hearts and attitudes are trusting Him. We are not to boast and brag about we can do or accomplish, but our boasting is only in the Father and what He can do if we trust and acknowledge Him in all of our ways.

Blessings,
kent

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