You Have a Purpose

October 23, 2015

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

You Have a Purpose

What has been worked in us by the grace of God is a God-thing. It has not been birthed out of man’s wisdom, strength or ability. You are a God-thing. You are His handiwork and design, not just because He created you, but because He created you for a reason and purpose. You are not an accident, but a God intention.
Sometimes we can get pretty down on ourselves. We see the difficulties and challenges that this life constantly poses. We see our own weaknesses and failures. Sometimes we may tend to think what real good am I to myself or anyone else? There are times we want to just give up and either just live like the world or even give up on life altogether.
The enemy of our soul always wants to magnify and condemn our faults. He is always trying to get our eyes off of Jesus and on to self. We can always see self for more than it is or less than it is. If we put our eyes and minds where they belong, upon Him and upon His Word then it gives us His perspective. Verse 10 says, ” For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” You were prepared in advance for a mission and a purpose. Get your eyes upon the One by whose power you can carry out your purpose. Your purpose is good works, His works, the will and do of His good pleasure. It is no longer about us, but Him. He is the One we live for, we serve and we delight to please. He is our Papa and He loves us dearly in spite of all the reasons why He shouldn’t.
You and I have a purpose today. He is our purpose and it is His work that we have to do. We can’t carry that out as long as our eyes are upon us. Let us fix our eyes on the prize of the high calling that is in Christ Jesus. Psalms 119:15 says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” Only He can lead us into the fullness of our purpose and destiny, but it is only as we fix our eyes upon Him and walk fully in the calling He has set before us. Your purpose is good works. They are good because they are His works and the Holy Spirit will lead you in how to carry them out as you yield your heart and life to Him. The accomplishment of your calling is centered in your identity with Christ. 1 John 4:4 declares,” You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
You are the object of His grace. Make Him the object of your life’s purpose.

Blessings,
#kent

Our Guide

May 6, 2015

Psalms 48:14
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Our Guide

Running the course of this life encounters many obstacles and challenges. Each one of our lives are different, with different circumstances and different challenges. How do we navigate life successfully and gain from it the results that are everlasting? Psalms 48:14 reveals that to us. There is One that we can lean upon, trust in and rely upon to guide us through the maze of our lives.
Isn’t it a peace and reassurance to know that our God holds our destiny and purpose in His hand. If we are willing to fully trust and obey Him, He will lead and guide us into it. God’s Word lays the foundation and principles that order our steps and imparts His wisdom to us that we might know the way of life and walk therein. Even when we have departed from His ways He does not cast us off or judge us as unfit. His grace is not to be abused, but isn’t it wonderful to know that even in our mistakes and disobedience we can be forgiven and restored. We may change and be moved, but He isn’t. His Word never fails or changes and He stands true to all that He has promised to be to us.
If we want true success in our lives, If we want true fulfillment. If we want righteousness, peace and joy to pervade our lives then we must hold fast to God as our guide. There are many gods in this world. People worship and serve many different objects and deities in their lives, but there is and always will be the one and only true God, creator and redeemer, who can impart to us spiritual life that supercedes all that is passing away. He is our Rock, our Fortress, our Shield and our Defender. He will guide us through the darkness. His Word is a light unto our path and lamp unto our feet. He will direct us and keep us where others fail. He is our steadfast hope, the anchor of our souls; “for this God is our God for ever; He will be our guide even to the end.

Blessings,
#kent

Count it all Joy

December 8, 2014

James 1:2-4
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. 3Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. (Amplified)

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (Message)

Count it all Joy

I don’t know about you but I think most of us think about joy and gladness coming with blessing, prosperity, good health and divine favor. So when the Word comes and says count it all joy, a sheer gift, when trials and temptations come upon you, that goes against the grain of most our thinking and paradigms. Why should I be glad about that? That is exactly what I have been praying to get out of.
As much as we all love the good times and the blessings of this life most of us know by now that it isn’t in these places that we grow spiritually. In fact it is in these places that we usually grow complacent and our heart generally moves away from God and onto ourselves. It becomes about us and not Him. The joy of the trials, temptations and tribulations is that it exposes our weakness, but reveals His strength. It forces us into that place of dependence and trust in Him to do in us and through us what we could not produce in ourselves. The “sheer gift” of our trials is the working of the divine nature in us, because we are compelled into a place where we must walk by faith and not by sight.
Does it seem joyful at the time we are going through it? Probably not, until we see God show up. When he shows up in the midst of our weakness, our failures and our struggles then we so appreciate who He is in us and what we are not in ourselves. These trials and testing are the boot camp of our faith. They strengthen our resolve. They train us for war. They teach us how to endure with patience under pressure and hardship. They reveal to us our true nature and where we are at with our walk in Father. When we see where we truly are then we can see where we truly need to be. As we start moving in the direction of godliness and dependence we are being exercised and finding more and more that Father is our strength and provision in these difficult circumstances. The circumstances of life are not our enemy; they are simply the tools to exercise and increase our faith and maturity. The old saying goes we can never have a testimony unless we have first had a test. God wants to show His faithfulness to us. We will never experience His rest until we come to the place where we realize that our self-efforts and abilities can never measure up to produce what only God Himself can produce in us and through us as we yield fully and unconditionally to Him.
I am of the firm conviction that many of us in the body of Christ are going through great financial hardship in this time so that we may learn the rest and faithfulness of Father. It is pressing us into a place of maturing in areas where we may have always had plenty. We have grown up with our dependence upon the economy of this world and now God is weaning us off of that bottle and beginning to feed us the meat of a kingdom economy that operates out of faith and not works. Most of us are out here crying, “Give us back our bottle Father”. The earthly things are passing away and Father wouldn’t be showing us His love if He left us in that desolate place. Rejoice in Him, because He loves you so much He is teaching you a higher way and we have to relinquish the old to embrace the new. While we may be struggling now, we will be those who help others who are struggling when this world economy fails. Your struggles today are God’s answer to someone else’s struggles tomorrow. Because of your testimony to the faithfulness of God and the principles that He has taught you someone else is lifted up to where you are. God brings us into maturity not for our benefit. Maturity means you are moving from selfish to selfless. You are the giver and not the taker. You are the example and not the follower.
Precious people of God, get down and get happy because all of the various trials and temptations are here to perfect your faith, teach you endurance, mature and develop you into your destiny and purpose. Rejoice, for these are the tools that bring forth the Christ in you!

Blessings,
#kent

Fear of Man

October 14, 2014

Fear of Man

Psalms 56:1-6,9-13
Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. 2 My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. 3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? 5 All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. 6 They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life…
Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise- 11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Fear is a powerful force. Most all of us have been influenced and moved by it. But ironically it is the fear of God that will move us to faith, while the negative fears that we harbor and allow, touching and influencing our lives will move us away from faith. If we think about it most anything we fail to trust God for is either an act of disobedience through rebellion or it is disobedience out of fear. Faith is a confidence in God and His Word, fear is the doubt and apprehension that God will fail us. Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” One of our greatest fears is what others think about us, how they will accept us and what they can do to hurt us. Fear is one of the strongest instruments at the enemy’s disposal. It undermines our faith and gets our eyes and our confidence off of Christ and back on to us. It causes us to see after the natural rather than the supernatural.
There are different levels at which fear can touch us from the most surface levels of fear to the deepest levels of psychological trauma. On the surface levels we all deal with fear of social acceptance, failure and insecurity. Think about a baby in the mother’s womb. It knows no fear there. It is safe, it is warm, provided for, accepted and secure. It has all of the things that we loose the guarantee of as we come into this world and are forced into self- responsibility. When these basic needs or wants are threatened it causes us to fear. We fear when we are not in a safe environment. We fear for our health, our daily provisions and needs as well as the needs of those we are responsible for. We fear when we feel insecure and threatened, physically, emotionally or even spiritually. Thus fear becomes a very powerful motivator and influence in our lives. Jesus addresses this fear that stems out of worry in Matthew 6:25-34, “”Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Is all fear bad? No, we can’t say that all fear is bad, because it is often fear that can motivate us to right actions or even protect us from things that could harm us. The fear of God is a good fear because it moves us into Him and the more that we move into God the more we learn to trust Him. He can bring us again to that place of peace we had as infant only it won’t be without conflict. It won’t be without many things, people and circumstances coming against us, as they attempt to rob our peace and confidence in the God that we’ve come to know, love and serve.
Many of the challenges to our faith come through the fear of man. We fear that others will not accept us so we focus on what will be pleasing to the world. Many of us get our self worth and esteem from what others think. We often fear man so much that we let society and our circle of influence shape our values, our opinions and form the standard for how to act, what to wear, what we can and can not talk about. In Jesus’ day people were fearful to talk about Jesus. John 7:13 says, “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.” Many of us fear to speak openly of Jesus today for fear that others will be offended or not accept us. We want to have the heart that David had when he said in Psalm 56:4, “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Our flesh avoids pain and seeks pleasure. We fear not living up the standards others have for us for fear of rejection. Many of us live in a constant state of worry and anxiety, which is fear. Yet the word teaches us in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Fear will always focus us on the natural and take our eyes off of our faith in God. Deuteronomy 31:6 exhorts God’s people, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” God speaks His Word into us to disperse our fears. Isaiah 41:10-14 says, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
It is our faith in God that gives us boldness in place of timidity, that gives us eyes and a heart to see beyond our fears as we embrace the realities of God’s promises and His Word. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” And again in 2 Corinthians 4:18 he says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. “ The fear of the Lord will bring us into faith for it will cause us to exalt God’s ways above man’s ways and it will embrace His Word as truth even in the face of opposing natural evidence. Our hope, our confidence and our faith are in the Lord. When we embrace who we are in Him, then the fear of this world looses its power over us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. (1 John 5:4)”

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

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