Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Three Things that God Requires

We, like the children of Israel before us, often carry a mindset that says we can live and operate on one set of values in the market place or our social lives and then another set of values when we want to approach God in church or worship. How many people that consider themselves Christians think that they can appease God by having a religion, offering their tithes or offerings, performing a few rituals and then it is back to business as usual. How many seek to put on a holy face before God on Sunday only to defraud their neighbor on Monday. How many times have those who wear the name Christian been less than ethical in their dealings with others and especially with other Christians. We try to live out of two different value systems as we compartmentalize our life into business, pleasure and religion.
God is saying that if you are truly a Christian then Christianity is your business. He is not appeased by what we try to do for Him and with our token efforts to please Him. He is interested in where our heart is. He tells us that there are three things that He requires of us. The first is to act justly. A just person is one who is upright in all of their ways. They act out of justice, fairness, without prejudice and favoritism. It is basically the act making right judgements. Every day we have to make decisions of right and wrong, of what benefits just us or what can do to benefit others and what is selfish and what is unselfish. When we act and live out of the mind of Christ, allowing the Spirit of God to direct our ways then we will act justly, because of Him who is the righteous judge within us.
The second thing the Lord requires is that we love mercy. When we live in this mercy we are living out of goodness, kindness and faithfulness not only toward God, but also toward our fellow man. In our society many of us are very big on our rights and our privileges. Many will not hesitate to take you to court or sue you if they think that you have violated their rights in some manner or you are in some way responsible for some misfortune. There may be times when that is necessary, but if we had more mercy, so many times it wouldn’t be. Mercy is the act of love that is longsuffering, slow to be offended, hasty to forgive and patient in tribulation. Often we as Christians are quick to judge the world and those of the world, especially when they don’t fit within the paradigm of what we think is proper and good. The mercy of Jesus was not shown favoring the arrogance and self-righteousness of the religious near as much as it was shown toward the outcast and the sinner. ‘Jesus came not to judge the world, but that world through Him might have life.’ He was a life-giver and life-imparter. The apostle Paul reminds us of God’s mercy toward us in Ephesians 2:3-5, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” God’s mercy working through us is to bring others into His mercy for them.
Finally, God says I require that you ‘walk humbly with your God’. Nothing can make us more humble than just reflecting upon the love and mercy of God toward us. When we walk in the fear of the Lord there will be that humility that expresses our submission and dependency upon Him. Many of us have forgotten that and with our wealth and prosperity we boast in what our hands have done. We tend to think we don’t really need God so much in our lives, at least not till things fall apart or we get into a major crisis. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and walking humbly with your God.
Paul sums these principles up so beautifully in Romans 12:3-21so let us conclude meditating upon this passage. “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Blessings,
#kent

Galatians 3:2-4
2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

Legalism Seeks to Nullify Faith

The law is a static force, which is good in itself, but serves only to show man his weakness outside of God. The law in and of itself doesn’t stand as our salvation, but rather our condemnation. Instead, it is faith that is the dynamic force in union with the Spirit of God that produces life changing events and substance. ‘Without faith we know that it is impossible to please God.’
Most of us aren’t steeped in Judaism, but we might be surprised how much we try to please and earn God’s favor by our works rather than by our faith. We allow others to impound us or we put ourselves under bondage, rituals, ceremonial and dietary restrictions, the keeping of days and numerous other legal restrictions that allow us to feel somehow more superior and holy than those that do not observe and keep such things. The Word plainly tells us that righteousness is not of the law. Galatians 3:21-24 says, “Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” The Law then was but an instrument and a tool to prepare us for Christ, who is our righteousness by faith. The Law was not an end in itself. Verses 26-29 goes on to say, “26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Our position in God is not about who we are, where we came from, what sex we are or what race or background we come from. Our position in God is “Sonship” through faith in Jesus Christ. Our position is in Christ and He in us. It is out of this position that we will move into our full inheritance in Christ. This is why we must put on Christ by faith and no longer live out of the mentality of our natural minds that perceive us as separate and away from God. We are united with Him and it is our faith that lays hold of this truth and lives it out to produce victory and overcoming in our lives. This is the place we must learn to abide; the place of living out of His Spirit and His Life. This is the truth that declares we are the seed of Abraham and heirs according to promise. It is no longer the identification with the flesh and our goodness. That is legalism. It is our identification with “Christ in us” that will set us free and lead us into the expression of righteousness and justification that is by faith alone and no longer by works. Our works will be the fruit and expression of our faith and no longer the means of obtaining our goodness and righteousness.

Blessings,
#kent

Passion for Your Lover

March 23, 2015

Song of Solomon 1:2-5
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! 4 Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Passion for Your Lover

Is your Christianity a routine? Has it become stagnant with the same old ritual and habits? Do you feel like going to church is just going through the motions and doing what you are supposed to do? If our Christianity has become mundane, boring and uneventful to us then we are missing the passion for the greatest lover that ever was.
The virgins and the friends of the bridegroom may have a more distant relationship with the Bridegroom, but for the bride He is her passion, He is the air she breathes, the song she sings and the dream that she dreams. All of her hopes are in Him. He is whom she lives for and pursues with all that is within her. Why, because it is required of her or it is what she is suppose to do? No, it is because she is so passionately in love with this bridegroom that it is all that she can think to do. He fills her thoughts, her dreams and aspirations. Oh, to be with Him and to come into union with Him. What adjectives can describe her love and desire for Him?
She has discovered what so many have missed. She is in love and nothing else matters around her compared to Him. Oh, how she languishes for His love to be poured out to her. He is the one that puts the butterflies in her tummy. He is like sweet smelling perfume, she just wants to breathe Him in and His name is like perfume poured out. With the fragrance of His name there is life, healing, deliverance and salvation. It is the name above every name and the name that is the sweetest fragrance in all of the earth. No wonder so many love him.
She cries to Him, “Take me away with you, let us hurry!” In John 14:3 the Bridegroom tells His bride, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.” As the Bridegroom has prepared a place for her, so she has prepared herself for Him. Now she is ready and crying out to Him. It is not about escaping or running away from all that is happening around her, for her it is the union with Him. “Let the King bring me into His chambers.” It is about union and intimacy that produces life and a manchild that is in the image of his Father.
The fruit of her loins the enemy despises, seeking to devour and destroy this one who comes forth in the image and likeness of the King. This child is he (many membered he) that rules and reigns with Christ and becomes His government in a new heaven and a new earth. It is this bride that desires that seed. His seed of life and godliness that shall prevail and overcome, that will set creation free and bring all of humanity into the emancipating liberty of Jesus Christ.
What is your passion today? If you want to know this kind of love, then pursue Him. Often He may seem evasive as we seek His presence. He is looking for those who will not be discouraged and will not take no for an answer. He is looking for those who are not easily distracted and set their affections upon other things. He is proving her whose heart is perfect toward Him and who will not allow her love to be denied. Are you such a person of passion and purpose?

Blessings,
#kent

Not the Outward, but the Inward

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The church is not so unlike the Jewish nation before us. We have taken the principles of the kingdom of heaven and have fashioned them into laws and burdens that are placed on the backs of men. So many of our denominations have taken a revelation and a truth, dug their foundations and built their denominations and that is where they have staid. God is not stagnant. He is an ever-moving river of truth. He is continually unfolding and unveiling His plan before us. His truth is all there in His Word, but the revelation of that truth has not been fully manifested. It is a progressive thing. One of the chief kingdom principles is never think that you have it all and never be content to build your faith and religion on present day truth. That is not to say it isn’t truth, but it may be only a facet and part of the whole.
From the early days of Christianity men have done what the religious leaders of old did with Judaism. They try and make our faith a mandate of rules and regulations. Men still try and dictate and control by taste not, touch not and eat not. If Christ taught us anything He taught us to change the outward there must be a change inwardly. Jesus once told the Pharisees, “ It is not what goes into a man’s belly that defiles him, it is what comes out.” Jesus knew that unless the condition of the heart is changed no amount of rules and regulations will really change men. They may try to act correctly outwardly, but inwardly they are still the same. The kingdom of heaven in us begins with a heart change. It must change from the desire for earthly enrichment and expression to the desire for the Spirit of God to have expression through us. No longer my will, but Your will be done. What we find is that when we really get in step and in sync with God’s heart and the Holy Spirit, we have set out on a God adventure and there is no telling where it may take us. It is exciting and it is ever fresh and new. The neat thing is we are not struggling to control it, but we have relinquished control to the Holy Spirit. Now our chief desire and ambition is to flow in harmony and obedience to Him. It is no longer about religion telling us we have to do this and we can’t do that. The law that governs us lives within our hearts and we know that our obedience to Him leads to heightened relationship and fellowship. We have found that our faith is not of the ceremonial outward protocol, it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Instead of ceremony we celebrate who and what we are in Christ and all that He is becoming in us. Perhaps that would explain why there is such a large movement away from traditional religion and more of a move toward non-denominationalism. The kingdom of heaven is not about the organization it is about the organism in which the Holy Spirit is released and free to move in and through His body according to His will and purpose and not the dictates of men and their programs. Where the Holy Spirit is free to move is where you will find that it will be as the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God [is] not in word, but in power.” Isn’t that what we desire and seek today? We have heard countless words, but God we want to behold your power. We want to see the kingdom manifested in the lives and affairs of men. This is what we press into as we seek the deeper experience of the kingdom of heaven. We want to find the lover of our soul, our King. We want to find the place of intimacy and relationship with Him where we have true communion and dialog with His presence.
May our hearts become inflamed with an everlasting passion for our Christ and His coming as well as His manifest kingdom. When we are consumed in our love for Him, the things of this world become strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Righteousness then becomes a state of who we are by association and relationship with Him who is righteous rather than something we seek to achieve through outward efforts and works. The kingdom of heaven in you is allowing and giving place to Christ being all that He desires to be in you. Allow the kingdom to flood into every part and fiber of your being and your life. As He is in you, so will you be in this world.

Blessings,
#kent

A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice

January 22, 2014

Phl 4:18

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.

 

A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice


Is the Lord only interested in our tithes and offerings that we give out of obligation and legalism?  Tithes and offerings are a good thing to bring unto the Lord, but what is God looking for?  Is it just money and our substance?  In Hosea 6:6 God says, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”  Often in the law of our traditions, we, like Israel of old are only concerned with carrying out the ceremony and doing our duty.  God tells His people your duty has no relevance if you don’t have a revelation of what the significance of the duty is about.  God doesn’t need our money.  He is the Creator of all things and all things are His possession.  The possession that He doesn’t own is that which He gave to us to choose to whom we give it too.  That is our soul and will.  If we bring our offering, but it is not an expression of our soul and our will then it is not acceptable to God.  

We have all had experiences with others where they may have did what we said or expected, but their heart and their will was not in it; especially within our own family.  Love gives from the heart, not just out of obligation.  The sweet smell of our sacrifice is when it comes from the love of our heart.  Song of Solomon 4:10 says, “ How fair is thy love, my sister, [my] spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!”  What was it that made, in type, the Lord’s bride better than wine and all spices?  It was her love.  The Lord so loves us and He proved that by giving Himself for us.  Now it is our opportunity and privilege to express back to Him our love for Him in every way.  When we offer up the sacrifice of praise from a heart of love, worship and praise then it is like that sweet smelling incense that was burned upon the altar.  We are like that altar, made of flesh, but covered in the nature and gold of God’s character and likeness.  We are the instrument upon which is offered the sweet smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and well pleasing unto the Lord.  

Paul experienced this same type of sacrificial giving from the Philippians in Philippians 4:18.  Paul, who had sacrificially given of His life to the church was now experiencing back a sacrifice that he knew came out of a heart of love and caring.  I believe his words are expressive of how the Lord sees the sacrifices that we bring Him that comes out of a right attitude of heart and love.  

In Exodus 30: 7-8 the Word says, “Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. 8 He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the LORD for the generations to come.”  God is looking and desiring an incense that will arise continually from that altar of His people.  The incense of a broken and contrite heart that functions in the love and fear of God.  The incense of continual worship, praise, thanksgiving and adoration of the One who gave it all.  Our lives, how they are lived and expressed, have the ability to be that sweet smelling incense that rises up into the nostrils of the Father.  It is in the expression of our love that he delights and it is in this expression that our offerings and sacrifices are acceptable unto Him.  

 
Blessings,
kent
%d bloggers like this: