2 Corinthians 2:10
For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds

Through the Heat of Battle

In the trenches of spiritual warfare you are not often going to look your best. In the daily battles and encounters we have we are often sweaty, dirty, tired and even bloody, bruised and wounded. Those who are walking out their faith are not dressed for ceremony they are dressed for battle. In the battle you most likely will not feel like a good warrior or hero. You may be scared, discouraged, fatigued, hurting and just trying to survive. While you may feel inside to be anything but an overcomer, that is who you are as you endure the battle and stand faithful to the banner of your faith. The survivors and heroes of war weren’t wearing their medals on their chest in the midst of the battle, those medals were the result of their fortitude, their faithfulness, their courage in the midst of the battle when all they were seeing around them was pain, suffering and death. Yet there was something in their character and in their hearts that brought them through the battle. Those men and women weren’t decorated with medals because they conducted themselves well, when everything was going good and they were at peace. Most medals are won in the midst of battle where if we get through it, it is not without loss and pain physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Many of you are on the spiritual battlegrounds today. It may not have been your choice, but you are there in the midst of the battle none the less. Most of us would like to just speak a word and have those battles resolved and go away, but we find that we are in a war that often rages on day after day. Some days we are not sure we can make it through another one, but somehow, by the grace of God, we do. God wants you to know that this is not a sign of your weakness or your defeat, it is the proving ground of your victory and your triumph. The enemy is fighting to take your life, but by your faithfulness and the fortitude of your faith, God is forming in you the heart of courage and the qualities of heroes. By your continued faithfulness you are prevailing and you are conquering, even though in your heart you may feel very discouraged and defeated. It is in these places that we learn to crawl out of the weakness of our flesh and put on Christ who is our strength and our life. We may have to endure the battle while in these weak and frail bodies, but in our spirits and in our hearts we have put off the flesh and put on Christ who is our strength. Through Him we are more than conquerors and can do all things. If He leads us into battle then we must trust that He can sustain us through it.
Whatever your battle and whatever front your are fighting on, whether it be health, finances, job, emotional, family problems, persecution, or whatever, He is there for you. In these places of battle the enemy tries to strip us of our dignity, our faith, our confidence and assurance. He rails upon us with condemnation, throwing before us our weakness and defeats. We can not take his bait. Sometimes he causes hurts so severe that we will harbor, hate, anger and unforgiveness. He assaults us on many fronts, but we must be wise and discerning of His tactics, holding fast the Word of God as our standard of truth and reality. We are what the Word of God says we are. 1 Peter 2:9-11 says of us, “9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Be encouraged today; strengthen yourself in His faithfulness. Stay the course, endure the battle and finish the race. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)”

Blessings,
#kent

Persevere to Pursue Holiness

Hebrews 10:19-25
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Here in Hebrews we are again being exhorted and encouraged to draw near to God. We are not being told to draw near hoping that we’re good enough or hoping that God will accept us. He already has accepted us in Christ and if we are to draw near and have boldness to enter into the Holiest, we must do so based not on identifying with our former selves, but based upon who we are in Christ Jesus. It is His blood that has cleansed us, purified us and given us acceptance before Him. When the Father looks upon us now He sees us in Christ and receives us as such.
One thing the tone of this scripture brings to us is that we do not enter in by the attitude of “I wish I may, I wish I might”. The scripture is saying to us gird yourself up in the confidence of who you are in Christ, with a true heart, in fullness of faith. We know that the blood of Jesus has dealt with the sin issue that separated us from God. We know that His Word is renewing our mind and thinking, washing our bodies with the water of the Word. But do we have a true heart? One that is truly set, fixed and will settle for nothing less than His manifest presence? The Lord is telling us that we have everything we need to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus. That Holiest is where the light of His glory is present over the cherubim. It is that place in his Holy presence we meet with Father, Almighty. While we have access and provision to come here, it is not a place for the weak and faint of heart and faith. They will not see this place. We are talking about a place and dimension at the mountaintop. Most will not enter in because the path is not well traveled. It takes the passionate person that will persevere in faith, boldness and confidence. God is looking for a people that are wholly sold out to Him, where He alone is the object of the their passion and desire. A people who covet nothing less than His manifest presence and life. They don’t want to settle for just living in Israel. They don’t want to settle anymore for just living in Jerusalem. They have their have their eye single and steadfast upon Mount Zion, where the King reigns. They have been promised through this Word an audience with His Majesty and they will not be detoured by anything until they have come into His presence. They will make whatever spiritual preparations required, but they have determined that they will not be denied His promise. Most of us get discouraged and distracted along the way and we give up on our highest pursuit. The whole reason we meet together and have church where two or more are gathered in His name is so that He might be in our midst and so that we might stir one another up in our passion to pursue Jesus into the Holiest. We have to keep one another focused on our life purpose, which is to know Him and manifest His nature in these mortal bodies.
Hebrews 12:1-4 goes on to exhort us after we have just left the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. It tells us, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Whatever it requires of us, we want to be God-chasers, passionately intent on entering into that place where He has made a way. This is our quest to enter into the prize of His glory and presence. On the journey we will find ourselves changed and transformed, for the closer we get to Him, the more His consuming fire burns away all that is perishable within us. The closer we get the more in His likeness we become. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Summon up your faith in all boldness and with a true heart and all of your might, pursue the Lover of our souls into the Holiest.

Blessings,
#kent

The Filter of the Blood

January 21, 2014

2 Corinthian 5:21

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


The Filter of the Blood


 I am in awe and amazement at this declaration of scripture.  Can we truly comprehend that Christ made an exchange with us.  He became our sin so that We might become His righteousness which is the righteousness of God.  I definitely got the best end of that bargain.  All of this so that the Father might reconcile us back to Himself and bring us back into relationship and fellowship with Him.  Indeed that is amazing grace.  We have a high priest in Christ Jesus that has become identified with us in our weaknesses and infirmities, being tempted in like manor as we were tempted to fully represent us before the Father in our human state.  Hebrews 4:14 -16 says, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  

Jesus has gone through the heavens as our great high priest.  He has gone through the natural heaven of our earthly man.  He has gone through the second heaven of spiritual warfare and demonic activity and He has come into the third heaven where He sets at the right hand of the Father, ever living to make intercession for us and bring us, in Himself, into the Father’s presence.   Colossians 3:1-3 tells us, “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.”  

You see Father God looks upon us and now instead of seeing our sin, weakness and failure, He sees us through the filter of the Blood of Jesus.  Through that blood He beholds in us the righteousness of His Son that has been imparted to us by our faith in Him.  When He sees you, He sees you complete in His Son and because you are in the Son you have access to throne and you can now approach the throne of His grace with confidence and boldness so that you may receive mercy and grace in your time of need.  

If the righteous Holy God of all can see us through the filter of the Blood of Jesus and behold the righteousness of Christ in us why is it we can’t look through that same filter to see ourselves and others in the body of Christ the same way?  Many of us struggle with self condemnation and always feel estranged from God because we don’t see ourselves through the filter of His blood. Many of us see the faults and shortcomings in one another.  We judge and condemn one another rather than forgiving one another.  When a brother or sister falls so many times instead of restoring them in love we cast them out and count them no longer worthy.  

When were any of us ever worthy?  Ephesians 4:29-31 gives us as Christians this exhortation, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Don’t you suppose it is the Father’s heart that we view each other through this same filter of the Blood of Jesus that He views us.  Since when did we become God and Judge, especially when the same things reside in us that we condemn in others?  If God can love me, then there are no limitations on who He can love and who He can forgive.  

In Colossians 3:12-14 we receive this like exhortation, “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.”  Isn’t it time that we get our eyes off of people and on to Jesus?  People, no matter how great they are, will always disappoint you.  They will always fall short of your expectations.  So many of us are looking to people, rather they be spiritual leaders, civic or political leaders, marketplace leaders or even our husband or wife, mother or father.  None of these people can take the place of Jesus in your life.  Don’t put on others what only Jesus can do for you.  Understand they have the same weaknesses and frailties as you.  Forgive them and forbear with them.  See others through that same filter of the Blood of Jesus that the Father sees you.  

 
Blessings,
kent

Confronting our Enemy

September 5, 2013

Confronting our Enemy

1 Samuel 14:4-14
4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez, and the other Seneh. 5 One cliff stood to the north toward Micmash, the other to the south toward Geba.
6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”
7 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
8 Jonathan said, “Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.”
11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”
So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.”
13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.

The Lord began to reveal a few things in this passage from 1 Samuel 14. It is best to read the chapter to get the full context. Many of us spend a good deal of our lives trying to avoid confrontation with the enemy of our souls. Spiritually we find ourselves cowered down, hiding, afraid and more or less defeated. Perhaps we keep waiting around hoping God will do some great thing to defeat the enemy and then we can just walk into the victory. This was more or less the state of Israel at the time. King Saul was waiting around under a pomegranate tree and a lot of the Israelites had gone up to hide in the hills, some had even gone over to the camp of the Philistines.
In this story we see a young man that got tired of waiting around and playing soldier in the traditional ways of his father Saul. He was a new generation, a man of faith and confidence in God. He dared to believe God for what He had already promised to give His people. He laid hold of the promise. While everyone was waiting around playing soldier, he decided he would be one. Together with his armor-bearer they decided to test the waters and if God gave them the sign then they knew that the Lord would fight their battle and it didn’t matter the odds. In their approach to the enemy camp there were two significant rock formations. One was called Bozez which means “surpassing white, glistening”, and the other was Seneh which means “thorny”. One cliff stood facing the north toward Micmash, which means “hidden”, and the other to the south toward Geba, which means “hill”. The spiritual significance seen here is that this is that place we must pass through to gain our victories. On one side we have a type of heaven glistening with promise and opportunity, but hidden to the natural eye and mind of man. On the other side we have the place that is thorny, full of trials, tribulations and an uphill battle. It is very evident to the natural man and stands as a monument of discouragement. The significance this has for us is that in our Christian walk we see so much of the thorny side of things we fail to continue to look with the eyes of faith to the heavenly things and the promises of God. This day Jonathan got a hold of a revelation that this was simply a pass he and his armor-bearer had to climb over on their way to experience God’s great deliverance and victory. They could have continued in the comfort and safety of the camp much like our traditional religion, but they only talked about great things, they never did anything about it. Jonathan got stirred up in his spirit and tired of just sitting around, so he spoke to his armor-bearer. I saw him as a type of the Holy Spirit that is ever with us to comfort, encourage and empower us. He is the one who is the resource of the weapons of our spiritual warfare. Together they were an unstoppable team to the Philistines. As the Lord went before to discomfit the enemy, Jonathan, by faith put down his enemies and the armor-bearer followed to put them to death. It was like God was his forward and his rearward. God used this act of faith to not only bring a great victory, but to also stir up faith and confidence in his brethren to enter into the battle and partake of the victory.
Where are we at today? Are we content to dwell under the pomegranate tree with Saul or hide in the hills for fear that the enemy will assault us with more trials and tribulations? Maybe we are even dwelling in the camp of the enemy. Perhaps this is the day to get the heart of Jonathan to believe how great our God is and that he can save by many or few. God is greater than your circumstance. He is the victory in your battle for He has equipped you to win. He has given His armor-bearer to back you up and help you in the battle. You are not alone; God is your rearward and your forward. It is a hard place between heaven and hell that we must pass through, but if God says go up then we know the victory is ours in Christ Jesus. Stir up your faith to believe great things of your God and seek His direction knowing that ‘you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus and greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world, for He overcame the world.’ Let us have the faith and courage of Jonathan, beloved of God, to go up and experience the victory that is ours in Christ.

Blessings,
kent

The Second Prayer of Ephesians

Ephesians 3:14-21
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians is such a wonderful book that reveals so much about the will, intent and purpose of God. His Church is right in the middle of that purpose. Because we are a part of so much of what God is doing, it is critical for us to grasp this calling and purpose as we lay hold of it by faith in Christ. Just prior to this scripture Paul tells us in verses 10-13, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” He is telling us that it is the Church that is to reveal and make known the manifold wisdom of God. We are not only revealing it to those on earth, but to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. God is revealing His secrets and His eternal purpose through us, His saints. We can see then how crucial it is that we are in right relationship with Him that we not only receive what He wants to reveal for us personally, but what He wants to reveal through us to others. Angels aren’t even privy to the things that have been revealed to us. Therefore, we approach the throne of God with boldness of faith, washed in the blood of the Lamb from all unrighteousness and unworthiness. We have boldness because by faith we know that we are in Christ. God’s desire as revealed through Paul’s prayer is that we be strengthened with the power of His Spirit in our inner beings to the end that Christ may abide in our hearts as we walk by faith in Him. Again we see the importance by Paul’s prayer of grasping and comprehending the mystery that we possess and the power and authority that are ours in Christ. Paul prays that we may truly grasp how wide, how high and how deep is the love of Christ. Why does He want us to know this love? It is important to know that His love is exceedingly greater than all knowledge, when we are filled with the measure of all the fullness of God, it is so much more than knowing; it is being. Perhaps one of our greatest faults as Christians is how we try to put God in our box of understanding and limitation. God is so much bigger than any box. He is able to do so much more than we can even comprehend or imagine. What is more is that this immeasurable power of His Being is resident in us. We must open the eyes of our understanding and take off the limitation of our faith according to our natural understanding. Pray these spirit anointed prayers over your life and those you stand in the gap for constantly. Each time we do, may we seek to gain a greater depth of understanding and revelation of all that God wants to work through His people. We are the containers of the greatness of our God. The most wonderful attribute of that greatness is His love. Take the lid of natural limitations off of your container.
“Lord, open the eyes of our understanding and remove the veil of unbelief and natural comprehension that we might grasp the supernatural; the greatness of our calling and being in Christ to your eternal glory and praise. Amen”

Blessings,
kent

Hebrews 4:14-16
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Jesus Understands Your Humanity

The wonderful thing about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is that He doesn’t ask of us what He hasn’t been willing to walk out Himself as a man. He emptied Himself of glory so that might experience and walk in the weaknesses and the infirmities of our flesh. He knows what pain feels like. He knows what it is to have passions and longings for another person. He knows what it is to be rejected, ridiculed and be mocked. He knows what it feels like to be tempted and feel the urgings of the natural man. In every area Jesus was tried and tested so that He might thoroughly understand and identify with our infirmities and weaknesses.
Now that He has come back into His glory, who could be a better high priest to represent us before the Father. He who was tempted in every way and yet without sin. He knows perfectly both the God side and the human side of every thing that we face. Jesus doesn’t justify or condone our sin because we have been weak or have failed, but He does understand and sympathize with the struggles that we deal with. He stands as our high priest, not to condemn, but to reconcile us to the Father and His righteousness. His own righteous blood is what prevails as our righteousness when we confess our sin and turn our hearts toward Him. We have confidence before God because we are in Christ and His blood is reckoned unto as righteousness. Just as He once came to identify with us in our weakness, now He is bringing us to identify with Him in His strength, so that by that strength we might overcome and prevail.
Are you struggling in areas of your life today? Are you struggling with your trials, your temptations, your relationships or your own worth? Perhaps you’re dealing with strong feelings of condemnation and unworthiness because of the failures in your life. Jesus isn’t seeing you as a failure. His heart is tender toward you and His arms are open for you. The enemy uses our sin and shortcomings to convince us that God could never love us or accept us the way that we are, but that is the lie of the enemy. Jesus says, “ Come to me all of your who weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Jesus is the merciful and compassionate One. He will give you grace and help you in your time of need, but you have to invite Him in. You have to open the door of your heart and come to Him just as you are. He is that master physician who is able to heal the wounded and broken hearted. He is the great psychiatrist who is able to minister to the mental torments and anguish you experience. It is by faith in who this Jesus is that you invite Him in and relinquish to Him your every struggle, failure, heartache, torment and sin. He is able to bring you rest and peace like none other and He is able to restore unto you the boldness to approach the throne of His grace with confidence and assurance. He is our great high priest and He loves us even where we are. His desire is to restore us to wholeness and righteousness in Him, so that we may know this ministry of His priesthood whereby we can have compassion and mercy on others as we lead them to Christ so that they may find mercy and grace in their time of need.

Blessings,
kent

Acts 14: 1-3
At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. 2But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.

That Which Fills You, Spills Out of You

God hasn’t commissioned all of us to be apostles and prophets, be we all do have a mandate to share the Lord. While most of us will agree upon the commission that was given to the believers in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”, many of us don’t feel qualified or comfortable sharing the Lord with others. How is it God would have us to share Him when preaching and teaching may be so far from who we are? What does this word preach mean? The word “preach” in the Greek here is kēryssō. It means, “to be a herald, to officiate as a herald, to proclaim after the manner of a herald, always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority, which must be listened to and obeyed. To publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done.”
A herald is a messenger making a public proclamation. Some of us may say, I don’t feel comfortable or knowledgeable about talking about the Lord. That is something we need to work on getting over. The best witness is the one who is filled with the Spirit of God. Why are they filled with the Spirit of God? Most likely they are filled because they spend a good deal of time in His presence. They feed upon the Word, they are worshippers who spend time in His presence and they are intercessors who stand in the gap for others.
Why is it we don’t have any trouble talking sports, TV programs or who has the best bargains? We easily talk and converse about the subjects that we are most saturated in. If we are to more easily converse and share the message of the Lord of glory with others what is going to give us the comfort, the gravity and the authority to share that message more than saturating ourselves in Him?
The Word says, ‘that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.’ What are we filling our mind and heart with? If it is the things of God, then it should be spiritual things that flow freely from our conversations. We should easily acknowledge God’s working in our lives even in normal conversation. Even when we are not speaking verbally we are communicating non-verbally with our actions and attitudes. Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
Some have taken this commission to preach the gospel of the kingdom as being ‘in your face’, dogmatic, judgmental and often rude. That attitude probably drives more people away from Christ than it ever draws to Him. All we need do is look at our example Jesus, to see the kingdom of God operating out of Him with love and humility, and yet with authority and confidence.
If we would be the epistles of Christ, read of all men, then what are our life and our words communicating to the world around us? That, which fills you up, will spill over in all you do and say.

Blessings,
kent

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