More than all Burnt Offerings and Sacrifices

Mark 12:33-34
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

While we no longer literally offer burnt offerings and sacrifices we still do it in type. Many times I might rather love my neighbor, whoever that might be, from a distance rather than up close and personal. Just allow me donate some money for their cause, or pray for them, anything, but don’t make me become personally involved in their lives. Most of us like our own space and some of us like to be around friends and family, but even that has its limitations. How much time do I have for my neighbor, those people that I encounter in my daily life, business or work? Many times we might think to ourselves, “You know, I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need to get involved with someone else’s.” If we love ourselves enough to care about our problems, our needs, our wants, desires and goals in life, then aren’t we mandated to care about the similar needs of others as well?
Most of us would agree that in a world where every time you turn around someone wants to sell you something or ask you to contribute something we begin to become rather cold and callused. We build these walls to try and keep these people out. It is true, we can’t be everything to everybody and we do only have so many resources, still, are we loving our neighbor as ourselves? All of the things that I do for me, am I willing to do them for someone else? Personally, I am not a real people person and the majority of the time I am quite content and comfortable to be by myself, doing my own thing, but can I really love my neighbor as myself from that position. Loving others is always stretching us. It causes us to move out of our comfort zone. It causes us to come out of the place of just making the token efforts of the burnt offerings and sacrifices and requires me to get involved. Jesus was involved with those around him and not just with the upper crust, the easy to get along with, the likeable or the ones that could benefit Him. He was relating to humanity at all levels, classes, sexes and races. He would relate with children and adults alike, to the whole and the broken, rich and the poor and to the sinner and the righteous. Jesus was not a respecter of persons and He was sensitive to the heart cry of people. There are a lot of people out there that just want to take advantage and use others. This tends to make us wary and cynical, but the Lord wants us to tune into the heart cry of others. Listen, by the Spirit to the real need in people. It often isn’t what we see being portrayed on the outside or in their actions. We need a spirit of sensitivity, not to be duped by everyone that comes along, but to see into the heart need of others.
As the ambassadors and representatives of Christ in this earth we are the channels of God’s blessing, healing, restoration and reconciliation. If we don’t take the time and make the time for the needs of others, then who will. If I want someone to love me, be sensitive to my needs and to just care then that is the love I need to be extending to others in whatever capacity I have to give it. It isn’t the religious gestures that I make and the token giving that the Lord is looking for. He is looking for my heart to be one with His heart in me. He desires me to love Him through the way I love others, through a heart that is really caring and concerned for the needs of others. So often we are like the Scribe, the Pharisee, “the Christian”, who walks to the other side of the road when we see our neighbor in need. We don’t want the inconvenience and the investment of our time and resources to get involved. If my neighbor is important to the Lord, then they have to become my priority also. We have to remember that our mission in the earth is not about us, it is about Him through the way that we serve others. Loving God and loving our neighbor are all part of the same pie.
“Lord, give us sensitive hearts and eyes to see into the real needs of others and to make ourselves available and willing to minister to those needs in what ever way we can. Give us your heart to really love others as we would love ourselves, not from a distance, but up close and personal. Help us to truly be the extension of your compassion, love and grace. May the world truly know us by our love and not just by our name and religion. Allow us to be willing to pay the price of the personal sacrifice required in the giving of ourselves and that which cost us personally to love You with all of our hearts; to love our neighbors as ourselves, no matter who they may be.”

Blessings,
#kent

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Four Wells (Part 1)

May 7, 2015

Four Wells
(Part 1)
Genesis 26:16-32
Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.
26 Meanwhile, Abimelech had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’-between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not molest you but always treated you well and sent you away in peace. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they left him in peace.
32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. They said, “We’ve found water!” 33 He called it Shibah, and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.

The Bible takes the time to relate to us this story about Isaac and Abimelech the King of Gerar along with the accounts of how Isaac dug wells where his Father Abraham had done the same in the past. It is interesting that we find that these wells had been filled in and covered up by the people of the land. We know that water is the commodity that is absolutely necessary to sustain people and livestock. In the Word of God we find the symbolism of water being like the Spirit of God. In our spiritual lives, without God’s Spirit we would perish. Jesus used the water in John 4 when speaking with the Samaritan woman to relate to her the truth of living water. Jesus related Himself as being that source of living water. What we see here is that where God’s people are there is blessing and there is water. Abraham had dug wells and found water, but after Abraham died, what happened, the people of the land covered them up or they became filled back in. Truth and life ceased to flow.
What we could see here is that when people are walking with God in obedience and relationship they bring life wherever they dwell. Blessing and the favor of God will rest upon them. People around us often want the blessing of God upon their life, but without the walk of obedience and relationship so the wells become polluted and covered with the earth and sin of humanity. They become filled in because sin makes a separation. It takes an Isaac or in our case Christ to redig those wells and bring us back into relationship with the water of life
In this account of Isaac we read of Him being asked to leave the land because He has become so influential, powerful and rich that he actually is greater than the people in land in which he dwells. As he honors the request of Abimelech and starts to travel away from there, he obviously has what might the equivalent of a small city moving with him, along with a great amount of livestock. He needs water, so he redigs these wells that were once dug by his father. What we see is that the people of the land are jealous and envious of Isaac, because He carries with him the same blessing as his father. These people of the land then figure that this well is on their land so the water belongs to them and not Isaac even though Isaac did all of the labor and uncovered them. We find the inhabitants of the land coming and contending for the water. This happens twice and we see Isaac naming these wells Strife and Contention.
Have you ever labored and through the blessing of the Lord developed something, just to turn around and have someone come in and want to take it away from you. You could fight for it and maybe even win. After all, you have a force more powerful than those do who are in the land. What was the principal Jesus gave? “If they take your cloak give them you coat also”. So Isaac didn’t go to war with them. He moved on and dug another well. Just as the herdsmen of Lot and Abraham strove, Abraham did not exercise his rights and authority, he gave the choice to Lot and he took what was left. What appears good to the eye of the flesh is not always the blessing, in fact, it can turn out to be the curse as it was for Lot. God the Father is the blessing, if we possess Him and He possesses us, then no matter where we go the blessing will follow.
Perhaps we could even think of this passage in context of the Father establishing the principles of the law and life in the old testament being like Abraham first digging these wells in faith. Then what happened? It wasn’t the wells that were bad; it was man through self-efforts of trying to keep the law that filled back in these wells. It was the law made weak by sinful flesh that caused the wells to fail. It is that old principle that man working outside of faith will never produce righteousness and spiritual life will dry up or become covered up by the efforts of the flesh. That is what had happened to these wells. Isaac was a type of Christ coming back through and redigging the wells His Father had already dug. Yet we see the people of Christ’s day receiving the living water and the blessing of Christ like they received Isaac. Many of them were jealous, envious and resentful of Him. He was perceived as a threat to what they felt belonged to them, but what they could obviously not produce in the law and religious works. Thus we can see the symbolism of Strife and Contention, between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day.

Blessings,
#kent

Activate

May 4, 2015

Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Activate

As we commit and devote our hearts to the Lord we are going to see activation. The Holy Spirit is wanting to activate his body even as the early church was activated after Pentecost and even greater. This is the day to take our Sunday Christianity and make it an active part of our every day life and encounters with the world around us. We need so much of Jesus spilling out of us that there is no way we can contain or hide the life that is living inside of us. This is the day to let Christ shine through our lives in word and deed.
For years we have set under the Word of God. Today is the day to become the Word of God in the flesh as we live by the Spirit in the love of God toward all men. We are carriers of His divine life and we want to infect every part of our world with His love and great salvation. It is not just about getting someone to pray a prayer and make a confession of faith, it is about being so much the reality of what we profess that others want what we have and they will seek us out to receive it.
The world’s general perception of Christianity looks very little like Christ. As the world has looked upon the Church as a whole, they have seen hypocrisy, materialism, ungodliness, judgementalism and self-righteousness. No wonder so many disdain Christianity. This is the time when they need to begin to see the reality of the true Church, the bride of Christ and His power and love manifested through her. For this love and power to flow through us, He must possess us body, soul and spirit. Our lives must be so focused and set upon the Father’s business. It can no longer be about life as usual; eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. This is the year to see and step into a radical transformation in the body of Christ, at least the first fruits of it. I believe God has prepared a people to champion His cause and bring a transformation in the paradigm of what the church of God is and what it should look like.
It is a day for us to graduate out of the school of learning and knowing and step into the world of being and doing. What is our faith if it is not activated to bring us forth in who we have been called to be as sons and daughter’s of the MOST HIGH GOD!
“Holy Spirit, arise in the hearts of your people and activate us to extreme godliness, holy living and love impacting lives. Emancipate us from all sin and every love and affection we have had for it. Help your people to rock the former image of your church and be the example of what the people of God are to truly look like. Help us to loose ourselves as we take up our cross and follow you whithersoever you would lead and direct us. Give us ears to hear your precious voice and hearts tender to quickly obey whatever you instruct us to do. Help us to walk the walk of faith and step boldly into who you have created us and called us to be. You are our God and in You we will be strong and do exploits. The world will come to know us by our love and unity and no longer by our division and condemnation. We will exemplify the love and nature of Christ in the earth, because we dare to allow that Christ to come forth in us. We dare to step into our Sonship and the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus. Our eyes, our hearts, our minds and desires are set upon You Holy Father. Activate Your people in righteousness, power and divine authority to have dominion over every darkness and every perverted thing that we may bring the hearts of a lost world into alignment with the restoration of the identity you want to give back to them. Help us to come into the image of what the true Church and body of Christ is suppose to look like in this hour that you might be glorified and magnified among men. Amen!”
Today is our day to be transformed from the introverts of self-centered lives to become the extroverts of Christ expressed lives. Let us be that standard of Christ activated for all to see and aspire too. Let our lives be the light that transcends the darkness and the love that brings healing, hope and salvation to every lost and wounded soul.

blessings,
#kent

1 Thessalonians 1:5
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

Living from our Position

Our fleshly mind sets and earthly limitations are capping the reservoir of blessing God has to release through us and to us. We hear it and often receive it in our minds, but our soul hasn’t yet come into alignment by faith and action to uncap these reservoirs of living water. It is still living under the surface of natural limitations; we have to realize that we are a supernatural people who are to live after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Supernatural things happen to those who dare to live in supernatural ways.

Blessings,
#kent

Unity in the Body

April 8, 2015

Colossians 3:12-14
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.

Unity in the Body

I was just thinking about if my right thumb got offended with my index finger and decided to leave my right hand go over to my left. Now I’ve got two left thumbs. Then my left big toe has falling out with my left foot and decides to go join up with my nose. Now I’ve got my former big left toe trying to function as a nose. Do we get the picture of how dissension and disunity in the body can quickly bring dysfunction and misalignment? It doesn’t take long before we no longer have a functioning body, but a freakish mess. Does that resemble how we see a lot of the body of Christ trying to operate in today?
Why, because we are all so easily offended and willing to move out of the place where God has set us. It is important that you truly seek God to place you in a body and that when He does you are not moved except by Him. Most of us know that when you start rubbing a lot of different personalities together you may well create a blister or a sore spot. Our first tendency is get up and just move to a different seat or a different church. Just because our brothers and sisters are Christians doesn’t mean everything in our relationship with them is going to be rosy. What we may overlook is there is always an enemy at work to kill, steal and destroy and while he may well be at work to cause disunity and division, there is also God that is at work to mature us in our love and tolerance of one another.
I see people come and go out of our particular body of Christ all of the time. Most of them are precious men and women of God. I observe that so many times it is personal dislike, disagreements or offenses with others that make them move on. Maybe it was in God’s time to move them on, but a lot of times I think it is because we won’t allow ourselves to be perfected in love. Our love is still mostly about our personal preferences, opinions and how we think things should be. Because we took up a grievance and moved out of position of where God placed us, how do you think that ends up impacting your ministry for yourself and for others. Now you move someplace else until you are offended or in disagreement again and so the cycle goes. Thus so many play the game of musical churches.
What we are missing is some of the spiritual clothing that we are suppose to have put on. Instead of our suit and tie or our going to Sunday dress let’s put the clothing that the Word exhorts us to be clothed with. Compassion, having more of a heart for others than we do for ourselves. Kindness, which extends itself to looking after the interest of others and not just self. Humility, which is strength under control, so that despite who and what you may be in the Spirit, you are always coming under and lifting others up. Gentleness, it is not harsh, or brash, but handles others with the love of Jesus. Patience, last but not least, it is the patience of God that helps us to endure the offenses, misdeeds and issues of others. Remember that, unless you’ve started walking on water, you have some issues of your own that others have to tolerate in you. The bottom line is we have to grasp and lay hold of what true agape’ love is, if we are going to start seeing unity at work in the body. As long the body is always upset and fighting among itself it can never come into the focus of its purpose. The first revelation we all have to get is that body ministry and functionality is not first about us; it is about Him! We come together to first worship and serve Him, not just to get our ego stroked and our preferences met.
We have entered into an hour and season where love and unity in the body is paramount to what God is doing at this time. He is calling us to be a healthy, living breathing organism ruled and compelled by love, not a misfit organization trying to play church. We’ve come to treat our relationship with the body of Christ like we do many of our marriages, when it gets to messy we bail out of it. As long we keep running away and moving on, we can’t come into the fullness of unity, love and purpose God has for us.
I am not going to tell you that everything leadership or somebody else in the body did to you was right or justified. It probably wasn’t, but what does the Word say? “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Have we all truly done that? It would be great if we were all perfect in our love and didn’t have to deal with these issues, but the truth is that it takes dealing with these issues if we are going to mature in the love of Christ. You don’t think there were days Jesus might have felt like kicking his disciples to the curb and saying, “I don’t have to put up with this.” It was because He clothed himself with these very attributes that He not only put with them, but endured the cross for them, as well as us. If it is our desire to be identified with His nature and character, then we are going to have to endure some of the work of the cross in us. Be where God places you and stay there until He moves you. If you are going through some things it is because you need to grow through some of these things. Remember it is the lowest valleys that prepare you for the highest mountains.
The body must truly put on the love and humility of Christ if we are to walk in unity to accomplish the purpose of the Father. He said we would be a bride without spot or wrinkle. Well, obviously there is a whole lot of cleaning and ironing that needs to go on to get us there. Allow His love to have its perfect work in you.

Blessings,
#kent

Our Pleasure is in the Lord

Psalms 16:5-11
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

The Psalmist declares, “You have made known to me the path of life, in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy and at thy right hand pleasures for evermore.” What a wonderfully secure and precious place the redeemed have found in Christ. Though the earthly realms and kingdoms are falling down around us, though outwardly we may face peril, adversity and death, what a security and peace we have in knowing who and what we are in Christ. We know that He will not abandon us to the grave. We know that He is our resurrection and our life, through faith in Christ we are eternally bound to Him. One of the greatest basic needs that a person has in their lives is the need for security. We all want to know and live in that safe place where we are not threatened and we have something and someone that we can count on, that will always be there for us. Someone who will never leave us or forsake us. That is what we have found in Christ. He is our security and our strong fortress. He is our shield and our buckler. Whatever life throws at us and whatever trials come we know that our reliance, our final hope and confidence is in him. Everything else around us may fail, but He won’t fail. Everyone else around us may desert us, but He will stand by us.
The Apostle Paul relates this steadfast confidence and the Lord’s faithfulness in 2Timothy 4:16-18, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge. ¶ Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.” We can hopefully see why our identification with Christ is so powerful and must be so strong. Our identity is in Him and not in the weakness, frailties and failures of our flesh. All that we truly are, all that we hope for and walk in faith in, is realized in Christ. He is our foundational and unmovable rock.
We are not going to always understand all of God’s ways or why some things happen as they do, but that must never deter us from knowing Him as our life and eternal security. The greatest undertaking of the enemy is to rock our boat and to bring about circumstances that will undermine our faith and cause us to forsake it. What we know is that God never fails. Our perceptions of God may not always hold water, but that doesn’t mean that He has failed. He is still sovereign upon His throne and He still holds the whole world in His hands. What I do know is that in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy and that is why I want to spend a lot of time in His presence. At His right hand are pleasures for evermore. There is no greater pleasure in life than to be walking in the perfect will of God for you. In that place you will have fulfillment, contentment, peace and joy. You will find the pleasure that the world can not offer. The world’s pleasures are temporal and fleeting. So many of them only lead to a hollow life full of darkness and despair, but not so with the Lord’s pleasures. They lead to life, liberty and fullness of joy.
The apostle Paul says it so wonderfully in Romans 8:28-39, “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. 31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Your life is secure in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Hebrews 6:13-20 (Amplified)
For when God made [His] promise to Abraham, He swore by Himself, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, 14Saying, Blessing I certainly will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.
15And so it was that he [Abraham], having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained [in the birth of Isaac as a pledge of what was to come] what God had promised him. 16Men indeed swear by a greater [than themselves], and with them in all disputes the oath taken for confirmation is final [ending strife]. 17Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath. 18This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us]. 19[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil, 20Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.

God’s Unchangeable Promise

Perhaps few passages in the Word speak more powerfully of God’s faithfulness and commitment to keeping His Word and promises than does this passage. Here we are given the example of the father of our faith, Abraham, and how God promised that in his seed all of the nations of the earth would be blessed. All of God’s promises have their season of fulfillment and in our terms that may be a short time or it could be a very long time. God’s promises are sure, but in between the promise and the fulfillment faith must stand in the gap. Hebrews 11:1-2 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.” God says that Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness because it believed and stood upon what it could not see and what may have seemed incomprehensible to the natural man. It wasn’t until way past that time of natural fulfillment that God gave Abraham His promised seed Issac; “the pledge of what was to come.”
In the fullness of time God brought forth another promised seed in Christ Jesus who brought forth the promise of God’s great salvation. He was a type of Issac in that He was the seed of promise and the beginning of the blessing that should follow. What we have seen in Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people and to mankind of His love, salvation and ultimate restoration of all things back to the Father. Just as Issac was not the completion of the promise, but the beginning of it, so the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus was not the completion of God’s plan of salvation, but only the beginning, the firstfruits and forerunner. “Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.” Now if Jesus isn’t the only runner, but the forerunner or front runner, then it is evident that others must follow. God gave us, as believers in Christ, His full assurance in that He gave unto us the Holy Spirit as the earnest and down payment on that inheritance that stands before us. 1 Corinthians 1: 21-22 states, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” Again in Ephesians 1:13-14 we are told, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” God has sealed His promise in us, not only with His Word which cannot fail, but with His own Holy Spirit He establishes us as His own and the partakers of the divine nature through the great and precious promises He has given us (2 Peter 1:3-4).
What an assurance to our faith that Jesus never fails that God’s Word is established in eternity and can not be moved. In Hebrews 1:1-3 it says of Jesus, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Because all of creation and the Universe is held in place by the power of God’s Word, which is Christ, then it reasonable to conclude that it is as likely that all of creation will come apart as it is to conclude that God will not keep His word and promises. “This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us.” What a powerful statement that should place unshakable faith and confidence in every believer that they can count on the God that they serve and worship. Now we can understand why the rock of our foundation is Christ Jesus which can not be moved and against whom the gates of hell cannot prevail.
Colossians 3:1-3 reminds us of where we are in the midst of these great and wondrous promises, “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.” So great is God’s faithfulness, so unchangeable His ways and promises. We are a people who are clothed in the great and precious promises of God. As we hold fast in our faith we, like Abraham, will reap if we faint not and our faith will be accounted unto us as righteousness. Christ is the forerunner who is bringing many sons into glory, into His likeness and into an everlasting priesthood to the praise of His glory and the fulfillment of His unchangeable promises.

Blessings,
#kent

Deuteronomy 8:1-5
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

First the Test, then the Blessing

As a people of God we can often relate with the children of Israel out in the wilderness. Most all of us have experienced our share of trials and tribulation and some of us more than others. While we pray and trust God, sometimes we may be tempted to murmur, if not out loud, then in our minds. When we pray we expect God to just listen up and get that prayer answered. So why doesn’t it always work that way? Why do we sometimes have to wait and endure so long to see our answer?
One of the first things we have to remember here is who is the parent and who is the child. Who is training whom? There are many instances in our present day society that it is evident that the child is in charge and not the parents. When the child demands the parents obey promptly to keep that spoiled child happy and content. God wants to bless us, but He doesn’t want to spoil us. He is not the great celestial Santa Clause that some like to imagine and even believe that He is. God is the Father and He is not just any Father. He is the awesome creator God and Father. The first thing we must learn, to operate in alignment with His kingdom, is that we are not in charge, He is! That seems an obvious statement, but it is one that we often seem to forget in practical living.
James 4: 3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Our Father is not raising his children to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, so when we ask we are often tested to see what is truly in our hearts. It is not so much for God’s benefit as for ours, so that we can really see our true motives.
What leaps out to me as I read this passage in Deuteronomy 8 is “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna. What came first the test or the provision? It has to be obvious even to the unbeliever that well over a million people could not have survived out in a wilderness without a supernatural provision. It is apparent in this scripture that when they received the manna and the provision it wasn’t always in accordance with their timetable and expectations. As a result, many of them would begin to grumble, murmur and complain. While I am sure none of us reading this have ever been guilty of doing that, it is enlightening to know that in God’s economy, provision and blessing works on His time table and not ours. Why do we need faith if we never have to believe in hope for the expectation of its manifestation?
Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” We love to rejoice in the goodness and blessing of God. We love to rejoice in the salvation we have in Christ and the forgiveness of our sins. We should, these are glorious, but then look what it says we should also rejoice in. Suffering! Why should we have to endure suffering? Didn’t Jesus do all of that? No, He was our example of suffering and what it works in us. Suffering is a training tool to teach us obedience along with the attributes of obedience which are patience, perseverance, character and hope in what does not disappoint us.
Hebrews 5:7-10 says of Jesus, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” God is calling those that can here this to this same high priesthood in Christ Jesus, but to walk in the priestly calling we must be willing to walk where Jesus walked and suffer like He suffered. This identification with His life will bring the ultimate blessing, but first we must walk through the ultimate test. Do not despair if you are in this hard place of testing and suffering, use it to learn the perseverance, patience, character and hope that you need to press into His highest and inherit the blessing. “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. (Luke 6:40)”

Blessings,
#kent

Descended to an Ascended Life

February 26, 2015

Descended to an Ascended Life

Ephesians 4:7-10
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Jesus came down that He might bring us up. The Son of God became the son of man so that He might bring the sons of men to be the sons of God. Christ came down and imparted Himself into humanity that He might bring us into His ascended life. It is a life that is marked by the same attributes as the One who has gifted and imparted it to us. It is a life wherein we die to live, a paradox that the world doesn’t comprehend. Just as a caterpillar dies to it’s old ways in the cocoon of transformation, so we are transformed and changed from glory to glory, even into the same image, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). While we live the blessed life, in the favor and fellowship of the Spirit of God, we, at the same time, may be living out the trials and tribulations that are facing us in this world. Again, we find a paradox that we can find peace and joy in the midst of trials and tribulations. While we descend in a spirit of humility into the lives of those that God has placed within our influence, loving them in Christ and meeting them where they are at, we are living an ascended life that is drawing us into the presence of the Father. With eyes and heart set upon things above, we are not an island unto ourselves we are a light and a ladder to bring others to ascend with us in hope and in faith.
The Lord, when He ascended up on high, led captivity captive and gave gift unto men. These gifts He gave us, were not for our glory, but for His. He is glorified when these gifts serve to bring others into this ascending life. While we are ascending up into Him in spirit, we are being poured out and offering up a spiritual sacrifice in the natural. The abundance of God’s glory is manifested in our weakness. When we are operating out of an ascended life then others will see Christ; they will not see us, because the ascended life is not about us, but about Him. We become a usable commodity spent upon a higher good and calling. We spend and are spent that others might taste and partake of that ascended life.
Allow me to leave you with the Apostle Paul’s definition in 2 Corinthians 4:7-19, of the ascended life and how he also descended that he might ascend, but not without hope and not alone.
“7But this precious treasure–this light and power that now shines within us–is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.
8We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. 9We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. 10Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
11Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be obvious in our dying bodies. 12So we live in the face of death, but it has resulted in eternal life for you.
13But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, and so I speak.” 14We know that the same God who raised our Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself along with you. 15All of these things are for your benefit. And as God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 18So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”

Blesssings,
#kent

Shine a Diamond

January 28, 2015

Shine a Diamond

Romans 14:19
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

We live in a very negative world in a lot of respects. Life is often taking twist and turns that can bring us discouragement and despair. Many around us only know how to speak death. They, like many of us, can become cynical, skeptical and suspicious in a world that is always seeking to exploit us in one manner or another. It is hard for us to be real, even with one another, for fear that someone will take opportunity in our vulnerability and openness to hurt us or will despise and not respect us because of some weakness that we allow them to see in us. As a result we become individual sealed houses, our own little islands in some respects, keeping a certain amount of distance and aloofness so that we won’t be hurt. Certainly we have to be careful about who we share the more intimate parts of our lives with. Jesus gives the warning in Matthew 7:6, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” As it is with the holy and precious things of God, so it is with the matters of our heart. We need to really know the character of those we share our hearts with. If the love of God is truly operating within them, then they understand the grace that not only they have been given, but that which they must extend to others. God wants us to cover one another’s nakedness, not expose it, gossip about it or despise them for it. He wants us to be a people that can truly edify and build up one another. We need to have that place and safety to truly confess our sins and faults to one another without fear of rejection and judgment. James 5:16 tells us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Does that mean we condone whatever sin someone shares or confesses to us? No, we can’t because then we would share complicity with their sin. The reason for sharing our sins or faults with one another is for repentance, support, help in our weaknesses and restoration of our fellowship with God and one another. If we share our faults with one another it shouldn’t be for approval, neither should it be for judgment but our response to another’s faults should be that of humility and love, knowing that we are also weak and vulnerable to sin. Galatians 6:1 teaches us, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” You see we are not one another’s judges, but we are one another’s watchmen. We watch out for one another, because we are of the same body and share the same common faith and purpose, to glorify the Lord. It can be easy for any of us to become distracted and turn aside or grow complacent concerning our faith. This is why it is so important for us as the body of Christ to have personal friendships and relationships with others in the body, not just for fellowship, but also for accountability. We need to be speaking life into one another to build each other up in who we are in Christ. We need to pray for one another and exhort one another, always stirring up faith. A healthy body is one in which individual members and cells are ministering health and blessing into those around them. The words that we speak into one another’s lives should be for building up and not tearing down, even if they must be honest, direct and hard words, the motive behind them should always be love. Sometimes, like Paul, we must tear down to build up, but what are our motives and the end of what we do?
Are you and I the brush that polishes the diamonds of the Lord? Are we causing others to shine in His glory and come forth in the image of who they are in Christ? Remember that the power of death and life are in the tongue. Our actions and our tongue can make or destroy another’s life. Let our lives and our ministry be for building up and not for tearing down, for edifying and not for condemning. You are your brother’s keeper and he is yours. Let us honor and seek to bring forth the Christ in each other. Speak life, hope and blessing into someone today and let it become your lifestyle. Shine a diamond!

Blessings,
#kent

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