Romans 14:1-5
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Judgement on Disputable Matters

If we were all to gather around and talk our theology hopefully we would be in agreement concerning the basic tenants of our faith such as Jesus being the Son of God, His blood being the atonement for our sins, that we are saved through faith and not of works, the virgin birth and other foundational truths that define Christianity. Hopefully, what we do not do is what Paul and others warned us about and that is adding or taking away from the gospel. Many times men, doctrines and denominations want to put their addendum that it is not just by faith that we are saved. The Galatians had been deceived into thinking that it was Christ and the works of the Law that saved them, but Paul clarifies this all through the book of Galatians. In Galatians 2:16 it says, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” The Law is all about our doing and doing is never enough, therefore we find ourselves standing in condemnation because we can’t live up to the Law or we become judgmental and condescending because we think we are keeping it so much better than others around us. Christ came and died to deliver us out of the mentality and the separation from God that it brought. In Galatians 2:20 Paul puts our faith into perspective as to where our lives should be if we are a Spirit-led people. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” It is no longer about what I am or what I believe; it is about being the expression of the Christ that indwells me. “I” should no longer live, only Christ in me. The summary of our past, present and future in Christ is summed up in Ephesians 2: 1-10. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All 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. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Now if we agree on these basic tenants of our faith, then what is all of Romans 14 about? It is about all of little disputes about what we see, understand, are persuaded and comprehend the Word of God to say. I have found in myself, that over my lifetime many of my opinions and perceptions have changed and are still changing. We all walk in the light of what we know, see and understand, but 1 Corinthians 13: 12 says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” The truth is, no matter how much we know, we all still just know in part, because we are limited through our natural mind and understanding. I read an illustration recently that helped me see this more clearly. If I held up a nickel between us and we were asked what was on the nickel, I would say an impression of Thomas Jefferson and you would disagree and say no, it is an impression of Monticello. The truth is that we would both be right depending on our perspective, paradigm and way of seeing it. Religious men, including us, have often been guilty of taking a particular truth and making a dogma out of it. The truths of God are like spokes in a wheel; they can only keep the wheel in round if they are balanced by all other truth. If I take any truth to an extreme it becomes out of balance. The truth is I need both Thomas Jefferson and Monticello to make that nickel work.
Let’s not get distracted by the minor points of truth that we loose sight of the bigger picture here. We are not in fellowship with one another to bicker over our differences, but to edify one another in who we are in Christ. Let us lay our petty differences aside and let us allow one another the freedom to walk in the light of what we know realizing that we are all growing in the light and knowledge of Him. God is our judge, not man, before Him alone do we stand or fall. The Lord told me once concerning trying to correct how someone else believes. Don’t argue and debate them. Speak the truth in love and the truth will set them free.

Blessings,
#kent

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Psalms 48:1-3,14
Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Our God Forever and Forever

You know there are times that I look at myself probably like many of you. I see all of my weaknesses, my frailties, failures, sins and faults. If I only had eyes to see myself, I could become very discouraged and depressed. Sometimes it is not only hard for others to live with us, it is hard for us to live with ourselves and still keep our hope. We can become very discouraged with life and want to give up. We can easily reason how the world would be so much better off without us. Maybe we feel all we ever do is screw up, make mistakes and fall so short of what we hoped we would be. There are times in our lives we can feel pretty beat up, battered and condemned. So why do we continue on? Why should we still have hope?
When I read passages like this one in Psalms it helps me realize that I am not an island, but I am part of a much greater plan. That faith I have in God and Jesus Christ rises up to show me that there is a mighty God that is so great and wonderful beyond my comprehension and that this God really loves me, even the way I am. He created me. He knows my heart, my thoughts and my intentions. He has not left me alone, but He has brought me into Himself to be a part of something so magnificent and glorious. He made me a part of His City and His Presence and Being indwells me. ‘This God is my God who is with me for ever and for ever and He will guide me even to the end.’
I realize that maybe He allowed me to have so many weaknesses and flaws for a reason. Maybe it was so that I could never boast in myself, but I could only boast in Him, in His grace and sufficiency for my life. What gives me courage and hope is that I know that my God is for me, that nothing can ever separate me from His love and that the reason that I am a conqueror and an overcomer is because of the Christ that indwells me.
I know that the purpose of the enemy and of satan is to destroy that life which you and I possess. Jesus tells us that in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” While the enemies’ purpose is to destroy us, Christ’s purpose it to build us up and to give us life abundantly. No, we may not feel worthy or deserving of that life, but He has given it to us just the same. Through Christ we can have eyes to see into Him and what we are in Him. We no longer have to focus on the mess that we have been and the inadequacies that we feel. I know that we are still struggling through so many of these issues. Our faith takes us where our present experiences have not yet been. It takes us to what God has to say about us, what His Word declares over us and promises to us. In these things we find hope, we find life and reason for being.
I love the scripture that Paul gives to us in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” Maybe that is why He chose me and that is why He chose you. In our weakness He is made strong and when people observe the marvelous things that can come forth from your life they will recognize that it is not you, but Christ in you. God knows how to take cracked pots and use them for His glory and praise. So before you and I give up and succumb to our discouragement, let us draw courage from the God of strength and life. I thank God for who I am because it makes me keep my eyes upon Him and my praise toward Him. I have to trust Him for every aspect of my life.
Yes, I see my faults, my failures and my weakness, but more importantly I see His life, His promises and His strength. These are what we are going to lay hold of. These are what will pull us out of the pit and set us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. HE IS OUR STRENGTH, OUR LIFE AND OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. HE IS OUR FAITH, OUR FORTRESS AND OUR SALVATION. HE IS THE ONE THAT GIVES ME HOPE IN THE NIGHT AND JOY IN THE MORNING. HE IS OUR GOD FOREVER AND FOREVER, HALLELUJAH AND AMEN.

Blessings,
#kent

The Person I Most Want to Be

November 21, 2014

Romans 8:1-4
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

The Person I Most Want to Be

When I see the person of Jesus, I see the person
I would most like to be. I don’t see His life as just
an idea, but by faith, His Spirit living inside of me.
So life becomes an alignment of the desires of the
former person I used to be, to aligning my mind, will
and emotion to that person of Christ in me.

Because the One I aspire too is not dead, but living,
His Spirit is love, power and truth that keeps on giving.
As I die to me and give place to Him, my darkness turns to light.
It is not in the power of self I change, but by His resurrection might.

Kent Stuck

Blessings,
#kent

A Heart Perfect with the Lord

November 17, 2014

1 King 8:61
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

A Heart Perfect with the Lord

If a heart is perfect it is at unity and oneness with the Father. Its ways, desires and ambitions are in alignment with the Father’s will, purpose and plan. It is at the center of where He wants us to be in Him today. All that the Father is working in you is to bring you to this place where it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me.
I had a young lady tell me the other day that she was finally at a place in her life where she was finding herself. As I thought about that, I thought I am in a place in my life where I am losing myself, for it is no longer self that I want, but Christ. Who I want to be is no longer me, but Him.
It isn’t even about me keeping the written laws and ordinances, not that these aren’t valid and right, but there is the law that He has written in our hearts on tables of flesh. The Holy Spirit indelibly writes them so that as I observe them I can walk after the spirit and no longer after the flesh. Even the efforts of righteousness and right doing are not my doing but the Spirit of Him that is living through me. Maybe that just sounds like semantics, but I believe it is more than that. The former righteousness spoke of my self efforts to please and walk before God, but in Christ it is the rest in His divine life and presence that we enter into by faith, ceasing from our efforts as we simply yield to His life living through us. This is a progressive work. Certainly not one done in a day, but it is accomplished in a lifestyle of living through Christ. It starts with the first order of the day being to submit our life unto Him afresh. We ask Him to order our steps in His purpose, to establish our ways and lives in His will and purpose and to be the power that energizes our mind, will and emotions in conformity with His righteous directives.
Have we arrived there yet in practice and in deed? No, but we are daily conforming our heart to an attitude that is perfect toward the Lord. John 7:18 says, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” Let us be of this latter one who works for the honor of the One who sent us. For we are a people of truth. May there be no false way about us because our hearts are perfect toward Him who has called us into His marvelous light and truth.

Blessings,
#kent

Troubles that Confront Us

November 12, 2014

Philippians 1:19-24
…for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.d 20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Troubles that Confront Us

Throughout life, those near us or ourselves personally, are touched by tragedy, disappointments, hardship, setbacks, hurts, sickness and trials of various kinds. If we don’t have a revelation of what our life purpose is we can become discouraged, bitter, unforgiving and even blame God for what touches our life or the lives of those around us. Paul gives us a perspective here of a life that is lived and dedicated to Christ. No matter what adversity befalls him, Paul has one goal and purpose. His life, he does not consider his own, but Christ’s and the life he now lives, he lives by faith, not for himself, but for Christ who died and gave Himself for Paul. Whether in life or death, Paul’s life is about living for Christ and fulfilling his purpose in Him. We all need to get a greater revelation of how Paul lived his life. Most of us still see our lives as being mostly about us. In that place of giving life to self there will always be things that we are struggling with that will touch us through our emotions, feelings, mind and will. Things that we struggle with because we are rationalizing them with the natural mind and understanding. For the person that is truly dead in Christ all that really matters is that Christ is fully living through them. Rather good or bad, it His will and destiny that directs their lives and gives them the purpose for living and being. The body and earthly life are but a tool in the hand of God to work His greater work and will through. We are the callused hands of His working in the earth to make a difference in the lives of those He touches through us. We are also the gentle touch of compassion and grace that leads others to repentance. We are His precious hands and feet to bring the kingdom of God into the earth and we do that as He lives and has expression through us. The more of self that is in the way, the more of that purpose is hindered and His true nature is polluted.
Bad things do happen to good people, Bad things happened to Jesus, the Son of God and bad things can happen to us. It is not the bad things that happen that define our life, but rather the goodness of the God that lives within us. We don’t always see the ultimate and long-term purposes of God. The disciples couldn’t see the purpose and goodness of God when Jesus was crucified. When, we, like Jesus are willing to pour out our lives for others then we can have assurance that God will take the seed of sacrifice that we planted and bring forth a harvest. Let us not be so concerned about this current life, but rather living out of the eternal life that inhabits us. Fear God and not the things you may suffer, for as Paul says in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” All of this is the preparation for the revelation of the sons of God who will set creation free. Our rest is in our death and His life, so when this life is spent it only gives place to a greater place of glory. It is not the physical death that we must fear, it is the spiritual life or death with which we must be concerned. The purpose of our life is to perpetuate that spiritual life. No matter what confronts us we live out of His life and not our physical strength and being or natural understanding.

Blessings,
#kent

Conformed to His Image

March 17, 2014

Romans 8:28-30

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.


Conformed to His Image


Early in the morning the alarm sounds to wake him from his sleep.  After a few groggy minutes he stirs and arises from his bed. The first thoughts are, “Praise you Father, thank you for a new day.”  As he staggers towards the bathroom his minds begins to clear.  “Who am I?”, are among the first thoughts that he thinks and hears.    

“I am a son, a called and set apart one for my Father.  I am what Jesus prayed I would be in John 17:20-23.  “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. ”  I am the product of sonship, Father God’s adoption and acceptance of me in Christ.  I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  I am the product of God’s unconditional love, calling, purpose and design.  He has created me for His glory and I have been brought into unity with the Godhead, through Christ to let the world know that Jesus still lives, that God sent Him and that they may believe that He sent Him for them.  Even as Jesus told Thomas in John 14 that He was the expression of the Father, He has called me out of darkness to be the expression of Christ in me.  

I am no longer the man I used to be.  Old Adam has been crucified with Christ and no longer lives.  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)”  Old things have passed away and behold all things are new, for I am new creation in Christ Jesus, no longer conformed to the world, but transformed, metamorphosed into His image through the renewing of my mind (Romans 12).  I am being changed from glory to glory.  With unveiled face I am being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).  “As He is, so are we in this world (John 4:17).”  

“There is now no condemnation for me for I am in Christ Jesus and the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death ( Roman 8:1).” I will longer embrace, identify and think upon the former life of sin, death and judgement.  As a son, I live under a new law, a higher law and a more glorious dispensation.  By faith I receive it and embrace it.  I no longer walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, because I am a product of the Spirit and His life now abides in me.  I am for His glory and no longer for my own, therefore by the Spirit I will put to death the deeds of the flesh, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. (1 John 5:4)””

Then he thinks what is my position as God sees me and he remembers the scripture from Ephesians 2:22, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”  So I am God’s habitation and abiding place, but positionally Ephesians 2:4-6 says, ” But 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. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”  So I am in Christ in heavenly realms and places.  With that heavenly position and perspective my giants will become as grasshoppers.  I will do as Colossians 3:1 says, ‘Since, then, I have been raised with Christ, I will set my heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set my mind on things above, not on earthly things. 3For I died, and my life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is my life, appears, then I also will appear with him in glory.’  If my life is hid in Christ then I sit with Him at the right hand of the Father.  For anything to touch me, it first must go through the Father, through the Son and back to me.  What touches me ‘I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’

What is my purpose?  Ephesians 2:10 says, ‘For I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do.’  If the purpose of Jesus is to draw all men to Himself and destroy the works of the devil then that must be my purpose as well since I manifest Him.  I am to be the expression of His love, because He first loved me (1 John4).  1 Peter 2 says, “But I am a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that I may declare the praises of him who called me out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once I was not His people, but now I am one of the people of God; once I had not received mercy, but now I have received mercy.”

Now that he has refreshed his heart, mind and spirit in who God says he is, he is ready to arise, spend time with Papa and conquer his day.

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

Investment

November 20, 2013

Investment

John 3:16

For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever would believe on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Our Mighty Heavenly Father invested in humanity the most precious gift He could give, His Son. Likewise, the Son willingly invested His life into humanity to the point of an excruciating and most painful death as He was beaten and bruised for our transgressions and His pure, spotless blood was shed even for the ugliest of our sins. God has quite an investment in this little planet called earth and the peoples that have inhabited it, past, present and future. Why has God invested in us so much? What has kept Him from becoming utterly exasperated with our sin and rebellion that He hasn’t obliterated the human race and started over? Could it be something we call love and relationship? Why do we get married, have children and invest our entire lifetime into raising a family? Isn’t it because of love and relationship? Our God, by nature is a “Father”. He has a Son that needed a bride, the church. That bride, by His seed, produces spiritual children. Those children comprise the family of God. Is there anything you wouldn’t invest in your family and children? Jesus laid down His life. As He hung there on the cross and his side was pierced, out flowed the issue of blood and water, the birthing fluids of the church. Our Lord and Father has invested Himself in us in awesome humility considering all that God is. Our God has given to us a privilege that is so wonderfully great we can barely comprehend and appreciate it. HE HAS INVESTED AND DEPOSITED HIS VERY LIFE INTO US! And it is all about love and relationship. He so loved us that He desired to bring us into relationship with Himself. Our God is a Spiritual Being who has created earthen vessels in which He has breathed into them His Spirit. The thing that sets us so far apart from every other creature is that we have eternal, God breathed life within us. This outward body may go back to the dust it came out of, but that inward spirit lives on. If God has sealed us to Himself by joining His Holy Spirit to ours, as we have responded in faith to Jesus and the promises of His Word, then what He is working in us is Spiritual Life that is fashioned in the image of who He is, His nature and character. Brethren, we are a natural people that have been birthed of the Spirit, brought into divine relationship with our Lord and Husband, Christ Jesus and made joint heirs with Christ. Romans 8:17 says, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.” Joint-heirs mean everything that belongs to Christ now belongs to you and I, but we can’t ignore the conditions of this inheritance. When we partake of the Passover Lamb, which is the type of Christ, the children of Israel had to eat all of it, the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet. Part of our inheritance in Christ is the identification with His suffering. Jesus paid a great price in His suffering for us. While we like to focus on all of the blessings of our inheritance, there is also the side of suffering. As His children, we also may pay a great price as He calls us to identify with Him in suffering. Many who answer the call of God come to know this reality when they commit their lives, their possessions, and their families to the Kingdom of God. We also, are called to make our investment back into God as He made His investment into us. We are called to relinquish our will, our lives and all that we possess to His service. Paul says of this investment in Romans 8:18, “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.” We also must invest into God all that we are. That may come at a great price, but it can’t begin to exceed the eternal weight of glory that we shall possess. We are invested for the same reason as our Heavenly Father invested into us, for love and relationship. As we have come to know that love and relationship with God, so we become the perpetuators of this good news. While it is embraced of some, it will be despised by many. Even Jesus tells us in John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.” Evil hates good and darkness despises the light. What then are the purpose and the end of this investment God has made in us and has called us to make in Him?

Paul continues in Romans 8:19-23, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And 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.” What does that mean? It means that ultimately God has determined that it is through His sons, his divinely appointed children that He will liberate not only us from these corruptible bodies, but creation itself will be set free. The bondage of corruption, death, sin and sickness will be loosed and creation itself will be brought into the glorious liberty that we as the children of God have come into. Our Father will allow us to be the administrators of this great and fantastic restoration. So even if our investment into the Kingdom of God cost us everything in this life, it pales in comparison to the benefits and dividends of its return. We are God’s inheritance and He is ours.

Blessings,

kent

A Heart Perfect with the Lord

November 19, 2013

1 King 8:61
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

A Heart Perfect with the Lord

If a heart is perfect it is at unity and oneness with the Father. Its ways, desires and ambitions are in alignment with the Father’s will, purpose and plan. It is at the center of where He wants us to be in Him today. All that the Father is working in you is to bring you to this place where it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me.
I had a young lady tell me the other day that she was finally at a place in her life where she was finding herself. As I thought about that, I thought I am in a place in my life where I am losing myself, for it is no longer self that I want, but Christ. Who I want to be is no longer me, but Him.
It isn’t even about me keeping the written laws and ordinances, not that these aren’t valid and right, but there is the law that He has written in our hearts on tables of flesh. The Holy Spirit indelibly writes them so that as I observe them I can walk after the spirit and no longer after the flesh. Even the efforts of righteousness and right doing are not my doing but the Spirit of Him that is living through me. Maybe that just sounds like semantics, but I believe it is more than that. The former righteousness spoke of my self efforts to please and walk before God, but in Christ it is the rest in His divine life and presence that we enter into by faith, ceasing from our efforts as we simply yield to His life living through us. This is a progressive work. Certainly not one done in a day, but it is accomplished in a lifestyle of living through Christ. It starts with the first order of the day being to submit our life unto Him afresh. We ask Him to order our steps in His purpose, to establish our ways, empower us to live in His will and purpose and to be the power that energizes our mind, will and emotions in conformity with His righteous directives.
Have we arrived there yet in practice and in deed? No, but we are daily conforming our heart to an attitude that is perfect toward the Lord. John 7:18 says, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” Let us be of this latter one who works for the honor of the one who sent us. For we are a people of truth. May there be no false way about us because our hearts are perfect toward Him who has called us into His marvelous light and truth.

Blessings,
kent

Investment

April 16, 2013

Investment

John 3:16
For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever would believe on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Our Mighty Heavenly Father invested in humanity the most precious gift He could give, His Son. Likewise, the Son willingly invested His life into humanity to the point of an excruciating and most painful death as He was beaten and bruised for our transgressions and His pure, spotless blood was shed even for the ugliest of our sins. God has quite an investment in this little planet called earth and the peoples that have inhabited it, past, present and future. Why has God invested in us so much? What has kept Him from becoming utterly exasperated with our sin and rebellion that He hasn’t obliterated the human race and started over? Could it be something we call love and relationship? Why do we get married, have children and invest our entire lifetime into raising a family? Isn’t it because of love and relationship? Our God, by nature is a “Father”. He has a Son that needed a bride, the church. That bride, by His seed, produces spiritual children. Those children comprise the family of God. Is there anything you wouldn’t invest in your family and children? Jesus laid down His life. As He hung there on the cross and his side was pierced, out flowed the issue of blood and water, the birthing fluids of the church. Our Lord and Father has invested Himself in us in awesome humility considering all that God is. Our God has given to us a privilege that is so wonderfully great we can barely comprehend and appreciate it. HE HAS INVESTED AND DEPOSITED HIS VERY LIFE INTO US! And it is all about love and relationship. He so loved us that He desired to bring us into relationship with Himself. Our God is a Spiritual Being who has created earthen vessels in which He has breathed into them His Spirit. The thing that sets us so far apart from every other creature is that we have eternal, God breathed life within us. This outward body may go back to the dust it came out of, but that inward spirit lives on. If God has sealed us to Himself by joining His Holy Spirit to ours, as we have responded in faith to Jesus and the promises of His Word, then what He is working in us is Spiritual Life that is fashioned in the image of who He is, His nature and character. Brethren, we are a natural people that have been birthed of the Spirit, brought into divine relationship with our Lord and Husband, Christ Jesus and made joint heirs with Christ. Romans 8:17 says, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.” Joint-heirs mean everything that belongs to Christ now belongs to you and I, but we can’t ignore the conditions of this inheritance. When we partake of the Passover Lamb, which is the type of Christ, the children of Israel had to eat all of it, the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet. Part of our inheritance in Christ is the identification with His suffering. Jesus paid a great price in His suffering for us. While we like to focus on all of the blessings of our inheritance, there is also the side of suffering. As His children, we also may pay a great price as He calls us to identify with Him in suffering. Many who answer the call of God come to know this reality when they commit their lives, their possessions, and their families to the Kingdom of God. We also, are called to make our investment back into God as He made His investment into us. We are called to relinquish our will, our lives and all that we possess to His service. Paul says of this investment in Romans 8:18, “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.” We also must invest into God all that we are. That may come at a great price, but it can’t begin to exceed the eternal weight of glory that we shall possess. We are invested for the same reason as our Heavenly Father invested into us, for love and relationship. As we have come to know that love and relationship with God, so we become the perpetuators of this good news. While it is embraced of some, it will be despised by many. Even Jesus tells us in John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.” Evil hates good and darkness despises the light. What then are the purpose and the end of this investment God has made in us and has called us to make in Him?
Paul continues in Romans 8:19-23, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And 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.” What does that mean? It means that ultimately God has determined that it is through His sons, his divinely appointed children that He will liberate not only us from these corruptible bodies, but creation itself will be set free. The bondage of corruption, death, sin and sickness will be loosed and creation itself will be brought into the glorious liberty that we as the children of God have come into. Our Father will allow us to be the administrators of this great and fantastic restoration. So even if our investment into the Kingdom of God cost us everything in this life, it pales in comparison to the benefits and dividends of its return. We are God’s inheritance and He is ours.

Blessings,
kent

Did You Know You were Dead?

Colossians 3:1-4
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

A principle of salvation and the work of the cross that is hard for us to really grasp and assimilate into our minds and get down into our spirits is the fact that when we gave our hearts and lives to Christ we died. We became identified with Christ upon that cross. When we came into Christ our old man died there with Him. Romans 6:6 says, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” We have so long been associated with this body of sin, that many of us haven’t really made the transition spiritually and physically to the reality of this truth. We are still identified with our old body of sin and sin-nature. We keep wanting and trying to change it and reform it. That is not going to happen. We have to grasp the reality that it is DEAD! When we came into Christ we became a new creation, a spiritual man or woman with a redeemed soul. One of the greatest strategies of the enemy is to keep us in that old mindset of being sinners, still living under the curse of sin. Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” With that new life we found in Christ, there has to come in us a whole new mindset and way of seeing ourselves and our world through the eyes and mind of the Spirit of God. This is why we can be no longer conformed to the world, but as Romans 12:2 says,”transformed through the renewing of our minds.” Our nation, our country, our citizenship is Heaven. As such we must become heavenly minded in our thinking and actions. This is a hard rut for most of us to get out of, because we live in the world, we are around worldly people and our tendency is to think like they think and live like they live. But we have to remember that we are a redeemed and holy people now, living out our spiritual lives in these natural bodies. That is what makes us a peculiar people. Our thoughts, our dreams, our way of life and living and thinking are lining up now with the mind of the Spirit as revealed through God’s Word. The revelation of that Word is becoming alive in us more and more as we mature and grow up into Christ in all things.
So why are we still struggling with a sin nature that is no longer our nature? Much of it is because we are still housed in a body that can be influenced and moved by sin and temptation. Think of it this way: if when I came to Christ I literally died and went to heaven then I am in Christ and there is no more worries, no more struggles with the sin and the flesh. I can live a sinless life, no more temptations or trials. The reality is that while I did die and my life is in Christ, I am still left in this mortal body and subject to the curse of sin that is all around me and that still is trying to lay hold of my mortal body and soul. Even though I am dead to sin, I can’t run away from it influence. That is by God’s design, because He doesn’t want us to run away from sin, He wants us to overcome and conquer it even as Christ did. The power is not in us alone to overcome sin. If that were the case the law would have been enough and Christ would not have had to die for our sin. The only way to overcome sin is with a Savior whose life and power abides within us by faith. With the natural eye and understanding we may not see who we are in Christ, but with the eyes of faith, empowered by the Spirit and with the authority of God’s Word we go into battle. The battle to live out who we really are in the Spirit and at the same time bring others out of death and darkness, into light and life. As we have died to the natural man with it’s sin nature; we are now free to allow the Christ to live through us as we willing submit our wills to Him as a living sacrifice. We no longer hold our lives as being our own, but that ownership is now the Lord’s. We are His servants, servants of righteousness and no longer of sin. The more we lay hold of and live in this reality the less power sin has over us. It is as Romans 6:13 says, “Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.” It is a paradox that when we die to sin and that old nature, we become alive in our spirits unto God. We have become the products of His life giving Spirit at work in us. While we have not yet physically made the ascent, spiritually we have stepped out of earth and into heaven where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. “And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:1-7). We must walk in the revelation of who we are in Christ. Our state has changed from dead unto God to dead unto sin. That death is only made complete as Christ lives in and through us.

Blessings,
kent

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