Responding to a Calling

March 2, 2016

 

Roman 9:15-18

15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 

Responding to a Calling

The Lord has called His own from the foundations of time.  He knows His own long before they ever know Him.  Why He has chosen some and not others only He knows.  Many of us have testimonies where we have seen the grace and calling of God upon our lives.  We have seen Him, in many cases, miraculously save us and draw us to Himself.  There are a people on the earth that have a calling and election upon their lives.  If God has given you a calling, having given you spiritual ears to hear and a heart to receive, how are you responding to your calling?  Do we believe because we have a calling that there is no responsibility on our part?  

2 Timothy 1:8-10 exhorts us, “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”  That holy calling upon our lives solicits a response on our part to not be ashamed of the gospel, but to join in the suffering it often brings with it.  Why would we want to suffer? If we are willing to suffer with Him we will also share His glory as Romans 8 tells us.  It is because we have seen that Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  We, His people, His called ones, echo that calling we have in Christ Jesus throughout the world so that as many as are called, the Lord might show forth His mercy and compassion upon them in the face of Jesus Christ.  

Hebrews 3:1 says, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”  We, who are in Christ, share this common calling, because He placed a faith in us to respond to it, because we are the Lord’s house.  Verse 6 goes on to say, “But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”  “If” always brings a condition with it. In this case it is in our faithfulness and courage to continue in the hope in which we boast.  2 Peter 1:10-11 reinforces this by saying, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

 We will never understand in this life why God in His sovereignty decided to have mercy upon us, but He did.  May we never take that for granted because it was not something that we earned, but a grace that He gave.  He has placed within us a calling to conform us unto His glory and likeness.  We have a tremendous challenge before us.  Let us respond as Paul did in Philippians 3:12-15 when he says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”  It is our time to come into maturity by pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us.  We have received the mercy of God, now let us respond to that mercy in an obedient and faithful commitment to press into Him with all that He has placed within us.  Responding to His calling will bring you into your purpose for being.  To God be the glory for ever and ever.  Amen 

Blessings,

#kent

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Matthew 10:6-20

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. 

11″Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 

17″Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 

Kingdom Principle of Power and Provision

One of the principles that Christ taught His disciple in this exercise and that He would have us to learn is that your power and your provision are in your assignment and commission.  What God has called you to do He will enable you to do and provide for you to do.  Along with these provisions is the responsibility to walk in obedience and the direction of your calling and assignment.  

I pray we are all getting a revelation in this hour that God is through with the time of segregation between “Ministry”  and “Laity”.  God has called us all in one capacity or another to “Ministry”.  It may not look like what it traditionally has, but the body of Christ has been crippled so long by the paradigm that the congregation or general church body is only to be preached at and often members have set in pews and heard the same message of salvation spoon fed to them a thousand different ways.  That is like repeating the first grade a thousand different times.  God doesn’t want us to be content with remaining on the milk of the Word and the foundational principles.  We each have a calling of ministry in our lives that we need to grow up in and be empowered to act upon.  Hebrews 5:11-14 gives us somewhat of a rebuke in this area when it says, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”  The Word of God is exhorting us, “Body of Christ it is time to grow up and become of full age and maturity.”  We, as the body, have often been quite content to sit back, pay our tithes and relegate the spiritual responsibilities to those in “Ministry”.  If we are to move into the things of God and the calling He has upon our lives in this hour then our free pass is over.  Let’s grow up and find what it is that God has called us too.   Ministry leadership’s responsibility is to help you through their gift and calling to come into yours.  The body of Christ has been lethargic far too long.  It is time we become activated.  When we do and we act upon what the Holy Spirit is directing and calling us to do our power and provision will be in  our obedience to respond to that calling and direction.  

Jesus didn’t tell the disciples to take anything extra with them on their assignment, for a workman is worthy of his hire.  Many of God’s people may be lacking because we are not responding to meeting the needs in one another.  We may often rob the servants of God because of our selfishness and unwillingness to see our responsibility in adequately providing for those who are operating in their calling.  For the body of Christ to be whole it has to operate in unity and oneness under the headship of Christ and the direction of the Holy Spirit.   We are no longer about “us four and no more”.  We are our brother’s keeper, his provision and his blessing.  Likewise, he should be ours.  Let us arise from our complacency and come into our function in the body.  Do not worry that you don’t feel worthy or able.  Christ is your worthiness and the Holy Spirit is well able to help you fulfill the assignment He has given you.  Just be faithful and obedient and He will empower and provide.  Like I heard one dear Christian lady say, “His will, His bill.”  First of all, let us get in His will.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Plans

February 9, 2016

 

God’s Plans

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

What is God’s plan for your life and are you fulfilling it? It doesn’t matter if we are twelve or ninety-two, God created us for a purpose, have we found it?  Like Jeremiah, the Lord has good plans for your life, but if we never find it, if we never grow and develop in it, we miss His perfect and best for us.  Our success story in life is not about our wealth, our natural accomplishments or talents.  If all of that is accomplished outside of God’s plan then all we have gained is worthless chaff.  God has us all in different and unique places. He has furnished each of us with different and unique talents and abilities.  The truth is, we have the basic raw materials to fulfill the plan of God for our lives.  The one thing we may really lack is God’s direction and a heart that wants first and foremost to fulfill God’s destiny and purpose for ourselves and not our own.  Self-made men are often godless men, who have become gods unto themselves.  Our God is a God of destiny, plan and order.  Each of us is not random genetic materials living out lives with no reason, hope or purpose.  God doesn’t make junk, that’s what happens when we pursue a direction outside of His purpose.  

Isaiah 32:5-8 speaks this concerning men, “5 No longer will the fool be called noble 

nor the scoundrel be highly respected. 6 For the fool speaks folly, his mind is busy with evil: He practices ungodliness and spreads error concerning the LORD; the hungry he leaves empty and from the thirsty he withholds water. 7 The scoundrel’s methods are wicked, he makes up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just. 8 But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.”  Here we see the two types of men, the fool and the wise, the man of self and the noble man of God.  What is deceiving is that often the godless are given by the world the cloak of nobility, but noble isn’t in their character, it is only a mask of appearance.  The fool even uses the appearance of godliness to self-gain and to carry out his wicked devices, but the noble man of God is established on godly principles “and by his noble deeds he stands.”  

Where are our lives in the scheme and plan of God’s order and purpose?  Proverbs 29:18 tells us, “Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.”  God has given us His Word, His prophets, His Christ, His apostles and those who minister His Word all to give us vision.  If we fail to see, it is because we have refused to look into the perfect law of liberty whereby God has called out of darkness.  Ephesians 2:1-6 reminds us, “1At one time you were dead because of your sins. 2You followed the sinful ways of the world and obeyed the leader of the power of darkness. He is the devil who is now working in the people who do not obey God. 3At one time all of us lived to please our old selves. We gave in to what our bodies and minds wanted. We were sinful from birth like all other people and would suffer from the anger of God. 4But God had so much loving-kindness. He loved us with such a great love. 5Even when we were dead because of our sins, He made us alive by what Christ did for us. You have been saved from the punishment of sin by His loving-favor. 6God raised us up from death when He raised up Christ Jesus. He has given us a place with Christ in the heavens.” God has a plan for you and I that will only be realized as we walk in His will and purpose for us, seeking and desiring His perfect personal direction and will for our lives.  Our lives are often meaningful and purposeful in ways we don’t even recognize, like the kind words of encouragement you speak to someone, the random acts of kindness and the deliberate acts of mercy.  When we live and move and have our being in Him, we are living out His will and purpose in our lives.  

We often quote a scripture in 1Peter 2:9-12 because the trails we travel keeps leading us back to our destiny.  “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by [your] good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”  We are destined for greatness in Him, let us not choose to live anything less than His perfect will and plan for our lives. 

Blessings,

#kent

 

2 Chronicles 34:1-7

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

 3 In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles, carved idols and cast images. 4 Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles, the idols and the images. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem. 6 In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins around them, 7 he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem.

There is Nothing You Can’t Do

It is no wonder that the apostle Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:2,”Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”  God is not a respecter of persons, or age, gender, race or even challenged individuals.  Here in 2 Chronicles 34 God shows how he can even take the weaknesses and immaturity of a young boy and show Himself strong and righteous.  We always want to make excuses as to why we can’t do the exploits and the works of God.  It is not who we are that hinders us, but our lack of faith to move out and believe God for whatever it is that He has placed upon our hearts to do.  

This young boy, Josiah was different because he chose to fix his eyes upon the Lord and through the Lord’s strength and guidance, do what was right.  He turned his nation back to God.  He tore down and destroyed idolatry out of the land.  He was a purifier and a restorer of God’s holiness.  At a very young age He took the resources God had placed in his hands and he made a significant difference in his world.  

What is it that may be holding us back from making a significant difference in our world?  No, we may not be a king, but there are resources that God has given us and placed into our lives.  The greatest resource is the Christ in us.  In Philippians 4:13 Paul declares, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  It is not a question of what you can’t do, it is a question of what has God put in your heart to do?  If God has commissioned you and placed His dream and vision in your heart, then all that hinders you is the faith to act upon it.  It is not your might or resources,  it the Christ in you that will empower you to accomplish what He has called you to do.  

Take it from this little boy Josiah, nothing is impossible with God if you only believe, act and do.

Blessings,

#kent

Gifted to Give

October 13, 2015

Ephesians 4:7-10 (Amplified)
Yet grace (God’s unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and bounteous] gift.
8Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.
9[But He ascended?] Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from [the heights of] heaven into [the depths], the lower parts of the earth?
10He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).

Gifted to Give

Our God is such a giving God. What He has given us in the riches of His grace through Christ Jesus I don’t think any of us have fully assimilated and processed what we have in Him. It is implied here that as Christ ascended back into heaven all of the those gifts, attributes and the anointing that rested upon Him from the Father was distributed throughout His body. No one person was given the whole, but we were all given the parts that by coming together and operating as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, we the many, might become one in Him.
Jesus says in John 14:10-14, “10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Jesus Himself has commissioned through His body a greater works ministry operating out of the power of His name and led by the Holy Spirit. Even as the Father expressed Himself through His Son, He is in turn the expression of the Father through His body that truly believe and dare to step out into this place of faith, having confidence in His promise. We are like children who are learning to swim. At first we are fearful. We thrash at the water. We spit and sputter and often get into a panic. What we have to learn to do is to work with the water and not against it. Slowly we come to find that if we can truly rest then the water will actually support our bodies and we can float. We learn that with minimal effort we can maintain our buoyancy. Eventually we learn to move quickly through the water and the water becomes our friend instead of this body of fluid that we once might have been dreadfully fearful of. This is the way the Holy Spirit is in our lives. The more familiar we become with Him the more at home we feel in His presence and operating out of His directive.
Jesus not only imparted unto us gifts, but also He took those strong men, those oppressive spirits that once held us captive and He led them into captivity. The door of your prison is unlocked. All you have to do is have the faith to open it and walk out. There is nothing that can hold you or separate you from the love of God. You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. Christ gave us the richest gift that any man could ask for. He gave us Himself. He literally imparted Himself to us. What we see in a foretaste and measure is to become the whole and likeness of Him. Right now it is all of us working in the unity of the faith and operating by faith in the giftings that He has imparted into each one of us. If you don’t know what your calling and giftings are, begin to operate within a body that has body ministry and you will most likely find your gifts coming to the surface. In so many assemblies the body has been dumbed down to think and believe that it is only the missionaries, teachers, ministers or pastors that are ordained to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. This is contrary to what this passage in Ephesians speaks about. Their responsibility is to bring the rest of the body into their purpose and calling in Christ Jesus and to allow the giftings of Christ to abound to the edification and the building up of the body. Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
This brings us to the “why” of what Christ has imparted the gifts and the riches of His grace toward us for. He gives to us so that we in turn might give to others. This is the law and economy of His kingdom. He doesn’t give to us to hold on to what He gives us, but to in turn impart it into others. His giftings are so that we might be givers, blessings and the increase of the Lord upon the lives of those around us, both Christian and non-Christian alike. We are the pipeline, the conduits and the sprinkler heads of God’s grace and goodness that we wants to dispense to mankind through so many avenues and in so many ways. We have been blessed to be the blessing of Abraham and through us all of the nations will be blessed in the knowledge and the goodness of God.
You have a gift and a talent. You may not see in yourself any good thing, but God sees it, because He put it there. Learn to work with the water of His Holy Spirit so that by the Spirit it may become manifest and minister the blessing He has imparted into you. You have been gifted to give.

Blessings,
#kent

Hebrews 9:1-10
Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover.a But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
6When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

The Way into the Most Holy Place
God often works His truths in order of threes; what was, what is and what is to come.
As the writer of Hebrews expresses these truths he is revealing a new order that supercedes the previous order of things and brings the believer into a greater dimension of depth and experience with God than what he had before. In this place the law of Moses was giving place to the law of Christ Jesus and the Church age had began. Many of us are now aware that we are shifting into a new age; the age of Kingdom. There are many who are content to keep things the same and dwell in the former revelation and truth they have found in the Church age. It has been good in that it has brought us out of the outer court realm of legalism and law into the Holy Place, but even there we have built again the ceremonies and the traditions of men. In this place the Holy Spirit has given us a foretaste of the good things to come. We have operated in degrees out the Spirit and the gifts, but for those who are God chasers and hungry for more of the fullness of God they are not content to stay in this place. They are ever pressing against veil of the flesh, seeking entrance into the MOST HOLY PLACE, where the presence of God Himself dwells.
The Lord quickened this scripture to me sometime back in Hebrews 9:8, “The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.” We are not going to find what we are looking for in this old paradigm and old order if it is in our hearts to pursue God into the presence of His MOST HOLY PLACE. We are not going to enter into this place by simply holding on to the things we formerly knew. We have to let them go. Many of us are now getting a revelation that God is wanting to bring us into a new order, a Kingdom order, where we no longer move out of the religious, but out of His Spirit and Kingdom life. We are rubbing our spiritual eyes trying and straining to see what that looks like.
Will, it looks a lot like Jesus. We see with a little revelation and catch a glimpse of the gold of His glory and we are all ready to press in and partake of that glory. But just a minute before you do. Have you counted the cost? There is something that precedes the glory and it is called suffering. Paul tells us in Romans 8:17, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Many of us caught the revelation of Christ is us, the hope of glory. We are catching the sense of our identity and purpose. We are excited about partaking of these heavenly things, but some of us can become quite disillusioned when it comes to paying the price. In our identity with Christ we must realize that we also, like Paul said in Colossians 1:24, “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”
What was it that once again gave us access and relationship with our Papa? It was the veil that was rent between the Holy Place and the MOST HOLY PLACE. That veil was the body of the Lord Jesus. When His body was rent and torn asunder through His crucifixion on the cross the physical veil in temple was also rent signifying that there was now access made into the MOST HOLY PLACE. If we are identified with Christ then what was true of the head must be true of the body. The veil was rent from the top (Jesus Christ the head) to bottom (the rest of the body of Christ through the ages). We must be willing to embrace the suffering if we desire the glory.
Paul did. He goes on in Romans 8:18-25 to say, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
When we see the calling and destiny that is before us. When we, as the sons of God, hear creation groaning and travailing, even as we have travailed within our own souls. How can we not, with Paul say, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
It is not found in our past experience of our religion, ceremonies and paradigms. It far exceeds just playing church. It is the call to pursue His highest and be willing to pay the price to do so if we want to enter into the MOST HOLY PLACE.

Blessings,
#kent

Love is not Always Easy

August 27, 2015

Ephesians 4:1-3
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Love is not Always Easy

A part of the calling that we have as Christians in Christ Jesus is to walk in love. If we are going only by emotions, there will be a lot of times that we won’t feel love. We may feel everything but love. The first thing we have to realize is that while love may carry with it emotions and strong feelings, the emotions and feelings aren’t the love. Love is a decision of your heart. True love is a commitment in the good times and the bad, in the sweet and the bitter, for the better or for the worse. Therefore love is not always about how we feel. God first loved us when we were sinners, estranged and in rebellion to Him. His love wasn’t in response to our love; it was in spite of the fact that we didn’t love Him. God has chosen to love us and His actions toward us were deliberate and not just responsive to us based on what we could give back. This is the love that Christ has placed in our hearts because He is in us. We are to choose to act out of love, not to just love others when they love us or love the people that are nice and pleasant, or that we have feelings for. Love is often a hard choice. It is often not easy to love certain people. It is our calling, in as much as is possible, to be a peace with all men and to live and act out of the attitude of love. Love needs to be what powers us, motivates and drives us in the will of God. When we begin to think upon the vastness and the magnitude of God and how insignificant and minute we are in comparison, it just blows us away that He even would acknowledge us, let alone give His only Son to die for us. How can we truly comprehend that kind of love? Yet everything God is and does is motivated out of love, because God is love. That same force, that is God’s source and power, now indwells us. It must be what drives and motivates us to love God with all of our heart, our mind, our soul and strength. It is also what empowers us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
We know how hard it is even within our own marriages to always love our spouse. They can be so irritating, inconsiderate, unappreciative, stubborn, insensitive, lazy and any number of other adjectives and nouns. In the beginning we were moved by great emotions and feelings, but after the honeymoon was over that perfect person can turn into one our greatest trials in life. What we forget is that love is still a choice. We start responding to our spouse like we did in the beginning, out of feelings and emotions; only this time they are negative instead of positive. Our love and hate are a response of our flesh and soul and not a choice of our spirit. Love doesn’t react because someone is pushing our buttons; it is a choice based on our commitment, vow and promise. It doesn’t return insult for insult, hurt for hurt, cursing for cursing. It chooses to act and respond out of the nature of Christ. It also must be willing to accept valid criticism, correction and look at what can best meet the other person’s needs. We are all unique and different individuals and none of us were made or designed to fit perfectly within someone else’s box. There are a lot of times we don’t even like who we are, so how is someone else always going to please us? This is where the lowliness, gentleness, forbearance, longsuffering and the fruit of the Spirit enter in. This is the place where we get to practice living the nature of Christ.
The root of most ended marriages is selfishness of one or more of the individuals. Love is not selfish, it is self-sacrificing and it takes both parties giving and compromising to create the best environment to be able to live in enjoyment and in peace with one another. It is always work and most of the time it is not easy. It is only successful through the commitment of both parties and their choice and commitment to love the other. The same principle holds true in our relationships with others. It is God’s love that must possess you; our love always falls short. Love is not always easy, but it is always God.

Blessings,
#kent

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

Be Perfect

August 7, 2015

Be Perfect

Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

When we read the passage in verse 48 where Jesus tells us, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” what does that mean to you? Are you thinking that is impossible or yeah, maybe when I get to heaven? Why would he tell us this now when we perceive ourselves in such an imperfect state? How could we ever aspire to be perfect, as he is perfect? We are not only to aspire to it, it is our calling. Why would Jesus call us to do what was impossible to do?
Jesus throughout Matthew 5 is calling His disciples and following to a higher order of love than that of the world. He is calling us out of natural reasoning and fairness. He is calling us to a level of love that we have come to know as Agape’ love. It is a love that is not governed by what others do to me, it doesn’t respond to circumstances. It is an action and not a reaction.
The word “perfect” used in verse 48 is the Greek word “telios”. It means brought to its end, consummate human integrity and virtue, full grown, adult, of full age, mature. The purpose of God is to bring us unto perfection, to bring us into His unconditional love and divine nature. This is the reason He gives the five fold ministry in Ephesians 4:11-13, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” The word mature here is that same word for perfect. It is going to take our faith to grasp this concept, because all that we see in us and in the body of Christ around us pretty much testifies against this. What we have to see here is that there is a standard that has been set before us, but what is impossible with men, is not impossible with God. God is the one that has called us to this standard and He alone can be the ability to attain it. It is obvious to us that it is not in our natural ability, so that is our first clue that we need to be walking and living in something that is beyond the natural. We are called up to walk in the supernatural. We are called to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. It is only in the realm of the Spirit that we can even comprehend the perfection that Christ has called us too.
Listen as 2 Peter 2:2-4 reiterates our calling and where the power comes from, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” We see here that perfection and maturity in Christ is a calling of faith, because it is in laying hold of the promises of God’s Word that we move into this realm. There is no perfection without His power and life working in us, changing us and transforming us. The ability is not in us to change ourselves to perfection, but to position ourselves in Him, by faith and through a broken and contrite heart to yield to the working and moving He is doing in us. What we perceive as trials, hardships and adversities may truly be opportunities to exercise and mature in His divine nature.
Abraham became the friend of God because he had enough faith and vision to move out of the realm of the seen into the realm of the unseen. He counted God faithful to do that which He had promised. Are we counting Him faithful to perfect our lives in love and in all that pertains to godliness? Are we willing to quit looking at our circumstances and our inability’s long enough to see His ability and His promises to us? Are we like-minded with the apostle Paul to press into the high calling we have in Christ Jesus? “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you (Philippians 3:12 –15).”

Blessings,
#kent

Liberty

July 23, 2015

Liberty

2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.

Liberty is the liberation of the soul from the law of sin and death. It is emancipation from the bondage of the flesh. Liberty in Christ is the freedom to live in the calling and destiny our God has prepared for us, to realize His highest and His best for us. Oppressive forces are continually at work to rob our freedom, to undermine our liberty and to pervert the law of life in Christ Jesus to which we have been called. Our liberty in Christ is not found in the freedom to live to our flesh, or in self gain and promotion; it is realized in our dying to all that the world holds dear. Those former affections are no longer the object of our love and desire. When we really see Jesus, when the Spirit of God really possesses our soul, then all that is earthly, sensual and devilish will be as dung in comparison. We will catch the vision that Paul caught and we will run for the prize of the high calling that is in Christ Jesus. We are living in a day of purification and revelation. We are being called by the Spirit to come out of our former complacency, our ruts of religious thinking and form, and come into the anointing and calling that Christ has for each of us who are His. If you are reading these words, it is because you desire something more; you desire more of Him. God wants to impart more of Himself to us, but in order to impart the new, the old has to pass away or it is only a hindrance and a pollution of the new. Hebrews 9:8 says, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.” We can not realize the fullness of God’s calling and the holiest of all as long as we are bent on carrying all of our old religious baggage with us. Do not depart from the Word of God, but put on new ears to hear not the same religious rhetoric that you have heard all of your days, but the sound of a new trumpet in the land. It is calling us up higher, but it is not going to often be all that we thought we understood. The Lord says in Isaiah 65:16-17, “That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” The Lord is doing a new thing in the earth. He is calling us out and up in ways we have not known before. Know this, that in the way of the cross there is suffering and in the suffering there is loss, but in the loss there is purification and resurrection from the dead. Don’t fear to let the former things go, for what the Lord is calling you into is so much higher and so much greater, but it is not the way of the flesh, nor of the will of man. Like Peter in John 21:18, the Lord would say to us, “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”” The calling of God is great upon our lives, but it is not without a price. Again we know and believe Romans 8:16-18, “The 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. 18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” Can you hear the call of God personally upon your life today? Will you respond by releasing the former things and come to know Him in Spirit and in Truth. Learn His voice and obediently follow Him, for you are the sheep of His pasture. He is calling you into the liberty. When we truly find our liberty in Christ, then we will begin to become the liberators of others. 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.” Search out and know your liberty in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,

#kent

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