1 John 1:5-11

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

The Cleansing Power of Christ

               I don’t know about you but I shower every day.  It is not always because I see a lot of dirt on me, but I know that just through the course of daily living and life my body picks up dirt, bacteria and becomes unclean.  If left unaddressed or cleaned, my body will increasingly manifest signs of my uncleanness through odor and appearance; not only will I be aware of my uncleanness, but others will be also.  Just as personal hygiene is important to our natural man, it is also important to our spiritual man.  1 John 1:5-10 speaks to this spiritual hygiene that we as Christians need to walk in daily.  “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”  We notice that there are several conditional statements made here that put a responsibility upon us as believers.  First, we notice that it is only as we walk in the light as He is in the light that we have true fellowship with one another.  We acknowledge and recognize that it is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin.  If, we say we have not sinned, it is like saying that we never get dirty or need a bath.  As in the natural so it is in the Spirit. It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses our sins; not our works of righteousness or our denial of wrongdoing.  If we confess our sins, it is the acknowledgement that we need to be continually recognizing and confessing our shortcomings, failures and impurities.  It is in that confession that we continue in the acknowledgement and light that it is only His righteousness that we can abide in by faith and not our own.  Our dependency, our completeness and our purity are dependent upon that fellowship of honesty and integrity before Him.  We know that as we abide in that place, He is not meeting us with condemnation for our failure, but with His love and forgiveness so that we may continue in fellowship and abide in the light and truth.  The enemy always comes to us with condemnation and unworthiness in order to break our fellowship of the Spirit.  The arms of Father are always open to us as we come to Him in humility, contriteness of heart and with the honesty to confess our sins before Him.  The work and office of the High Priest is to reconcile us to God, not to condemn and cast us off.  We know that Jesus is the High Priest of our confession. 

               The operation of God’s cleansing in our lives is the act of his love through Christ.  What He has redeemed, He is now making holy and sanctified for His use.  Ephesians 5:25-27 gives this illustration as a husband for his wife.  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”  He reveals to us here that while it is His blood that cleanses our sin, it is the Word of God that renews us, spot cleans us and irons out the wrinkles of each one of us as we submit to that love relationship with Him. As He has given His life for us so that we might realize in ourselves, all that He wants to be in us, so He asks that we now relinquish our life to Him so that we might enter into all that He has prepared for us.  In that process there is continual cleansing and cleaning that is going on as we are being changed from glory to glory.  2 Corinthians 3:18 explains it, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

               1 John 5:1-11 speaks this to us, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

6This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 

               We are overcomers because of our faith in Christ.  Jesus came by “water”.  Ephesians 5 just explained to us that this washing of water was the Word.  Jesus is the Word.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John1:1)” 

Christ came as the Word to wash us and renew us in the revelation of that Word in us.  He also came as the blood, the blood of the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world for the forgiveness of our sins (Revelations 13:8).  2 Corinthians 3:18 just told us that the Lord is the Spirit, so these three testify as one.

               Daily, as we abide in Christ, we should be washed and cleansed from sin, as we abide in His Word, walk in the truth and light and confess our sins before Him.  It is in this path that we are overcomers, that we remain unspotted in the world and that we walk in the light as He is in the light.

Blessings,

#kent

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Self Struggle

April 7, 2014

Romans 7:24-25
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Self Struggle

From my night I look out into the light.
I am drawn by its warmth and love.
There is a love that draws me out of my night.
But then the voices rush in that changes my gears.
They remind me of past hurts, disappointments and fears.
They remind me of all that I enjoy and would need to give up.
So I am drawn back from the light and from drinking His cup.
Back into the security of my unchanging heart.
Back into my dysfunctional darkness of which I’ve so been a part.

I hear the voice speaking into my spirit,
“Would you be made whole?”
“Would you be healed?”
“Would you be delivered and set free?”
Suddenly there is such a strong sense of duality.
Two men warring within me for dominion and victory.
One struggles to keep me in the darkness and need;
Bringing before me fears of change, and shame of my past,
Condemnation of sin and a half empty glass.
And what it will cost me to make the change?
The other man stands in His peace and light of His gain,
Arms extended and the truth of His love inviting me in.
I love the warmth and the peace of His presence,
But then the darkness crowds in, causing me to withdrawal again.

Inwardly I am grieved at my fallen state.
Only fleeting joy, broken promises and empty estate.
I look back over the wastelands of my life.
All I see is heartache, brokenness and strife.
What is my purpose if this life is all there is;
If I continue to choose this self-life instead of His?
His love is faithfully pursuing my wretched soul.
What can He possibly see in this lump of coal?
This time when He invites me, I run with a new reply.
I cast my wretched self upon His grace and cry,
“Change me and fill me with yourself and your love.”
“I would be made whole.”
“I would be healed.”
“I would be delivered and set free.”
Please Lord, take and fill all of me.

The magnitude of His love and peace floods my heart.
I sense His blood cleansing every filthy part.
Hope and joy are now abounding through my soul.
I finally relinquished my will and gave Him full control.
A new day has dawned in this heart and soul of mine.
Transforming power and new direction do I find.
“What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Blessings,
#kent

How Profound is His Love?

February 17, 2014

Romans 5:6-8

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


How Profound is His Love?



Meditate on this simple truth that we often so quickly read past.  Nothing you, I or anyone did or could do could provide for us what only God the Father could provide for us through the love of His Son Jesus Christ.  It speaks to a principle of God, that out of utter weakness, helplessness and depravity the power of God is revealed toward us.  Most of us know that we could never get good enough on our own to deserve God’s love and salvation.  He is not wanting us to come to Him only after we have cleaned up our lives, that is like trying to take a bath without water or soap. He is the only way that we can get clean. Faith in His blood and in the washing of the water and the Word is our cleansing.  It is by nothing we can do or earn, but by simple faith that embraces God’s Son who took our sins upon Himself, suffered the incomprehensible pain and shame that  should have been ours and then died the death of sin that we deserve.  

Who is this Jesus that He should die for me?  He was the divine expression of God’s insurmountable love for all of humanity.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”  This is a very simple elementary truth of the Christian faith, but one we never want to loose sight of. It is the simple faith we placed in Jesus that has brought us into one body and one hope of our calling.  Nothing else exists without this foundational truth and reality.  Even the faith that we have to embrace Christ was the gift of His grace, lest any of us should boast (Ephesians 2:8).  

Do we fully understand that it is not our power that is at work here in our Christian walk and faith?  It is religion and a religious mindset that doesn’t comprehend this mystery of God and tries to establish a godliness out its own works, strength, knowledge and goodness, but God operates best out of weakness and total dependence upon Him.  Just as we couldn’t save ourselves, we can’t produce our own righteousness.  He alone is our righteousness.  It is in that daily exchange by faith of “who we were for who He is”, that we embrace that divine nature.  There is no amount of knowledge or gifting that can bring you into the likeness of the Son, only He can do that by the power of His Spirit working in you.  It doesn’t matter your status, your fame, your perception in the eyes of this world, Father knows and wants us to know that it is only His power working out of our weakness that makes us strong.  

Notice that there was an appointed time, just the right time, when we were still powerless , that Christ died for the ungodly.  There is another time, just the right time, when as 1 Thessalonians 1:10 says, “on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”  You and I are the incubator and womb of this manchild that is growing inside the true Church.  There is a right time, the fullness of time when Christ shall be revealed in glory, within and without of His body, which we are.  

It is this simple truth that we first embraced that now grows within our womb.  This seed of life, deliverance, salvation and glory.  In your weakness He is working His strength.  Let your dependence and your hope be in none other, but Him.  He is the author and the finisher of your faith.  “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).”

 
Blessings,
kent

Ephesians 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31″For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Bone of His Bone and Flesh of His Flesh

The law of first mention in the Word is that wherever we see something first mentioned in the Word it establishes a precedent, truth and principle that guides us in the interpretation of where it used in other places. Genesis 2:23-25 is where this precept and principle is first used and it establishes a precedent for the mystery and the principle that Paul speaks of here in Ephesians. It says, “The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
If you can receive it, think of Adam before the fall as being like Christ in the earth. Everything is perfect. There is no sin, decay, pestilence or strife. It is a utopia. The only thing Adam is lacking is companionship. He is alone in that he is existing in a level by himself. Above him, he has the fellowship with God and below him he has the companionship and provision of God’s creation, but there is no one to meet him where he’s at.
I believe when God created Adam that he was created in the image of God and he was complete in one person in the male and female sense. Both genders were already complete in him. But God in His wisdom and divine purpose saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone, so He put Adam in a deep sleep, from his side He took a rib and formed a woman. He separated out a gender that was a part of Adam and made it separate from him. When Adam awoke and came to know this woman, what he spoke, is what Christ has spoken of His bride, the church, when she was taken out of His side. Remember when Jesus hung upon the cross and after He slept in death, the soldier pierced his side and out that wound flowed blood and water. These are the elements of birth and life. The woman, the bride was now taken out of Him, washed in His blood and baptized into the death of the flesh that she might become alive in the spirit. Jesus, the Christ, could now say of her, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” Christ might now say of His church, you are flesh of my flesh and spirit of My Spirit. The profound mystery is that we are only complete as we are in Christ and He is complete within us. We are two parts come together to make the whole man Christ. Christ the head and Christ the body must become fully one. His Word must wash us by renewing our minds and hearts in the mind and will of Christ. Our full consummation with Him will be seen as we are presented ‘without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless.’ When Christ left the Father it was to take unto Himself a bride. When He comes again she will be ready and prepared for Him. The Holy Spirit has been grooming us for Him and like Esther when she went into the king, we will be so radiant in beauty that none other can compare. The reason Esther was so pleasing to the king is because she took the effort to find out from the eunuch what was pleasing to him. We must find out from the Holy Spirit what is pleasing to Christ and be conformed to it. Then we will be ready as His presence and appearance comes forth. We will be flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone in consummate fullness.
The Father wants us to see and know who we are in Him. It took time and process for Esther to see herself as the queen of the great kingdom of Babylon. She had to change her thinking from who she had been to who she had become. We must also change out thinking, being transformed in the renewing of our minds to who we now are in Christ. We are one flesh and one spirit in Him. He is the last Adam, without sin or fault and He is conforming us into His own image and likeness. “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” We must be in a place of full respect and commitment unto our Husband, who is our head in all things. We can’t be the rebellious, self-willed and self-serving wife that lives only for her wants and desires. Our purpose is for Him, to complete Him by allowing Him to have expression through us. Through us, the woman, He procreates Himself in the earth.

Blessings,
kent

His Church

October 3, 2013

His Church

Ephesians 5:25-30
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body.

We, the Church, the loving bride of Christ, are taking in our hands the faces of the world’s wounded, downtrodden and outcast. We are the voice of God’s love and good news to those that are looking for direction and purpose in their lives. At some point, I think most people come to the realization of how shallow and empty that life is without God in it. Some would scorn and say we just use God as a crutch, because we aren’t able to think for ourselves and have no mind of our own. I am just so thankful that I have the wisdom to recognize how lame I am without Him. They are right I have no more use for my mind, because I understand how much greater it is to have the mind of Christ. Yes, the world and its spirit will often mock and ridicule us, but in the end what do they have but themselves, a meaningless life and an eternity of darkness. Mock the church if you will, but a least she is full of light and hope. She has purpose for living and being. She is more than just the expression of humanity; she is the expression of God’s redemption working in humanity. Yes, we will find in her many cracks and flaws if we are only looking on the outward vessel, but contained within her is a treasure beyond measure. It is the awesome presence of God’s Holy Spirit and Life. So many and varied are her members, all of them unique and different, but each one reflecting some aspect and dimension of God’s nature.
The Church is the redeemed of the Lord. It is the blood of Christ that now courses through our veins with the life-flow of God’s life, love and forgiveness. His mind is renewing our mind. His thoughts are becoming our thoughts. His eyes are becoming our eyes as we see our world from a kingdom of heaven perspective. As we hear with spiritual ears the world’s voice, we are moved to compassion for the hurting and the weak. We are moved to indignation over the world’s sin and antichrist behavior, but in it all, we are the salt of the earth. We are the ones that season it with the flavor of life and godliness. We are the ones who bring hope and the message of God’s love and reconciliation. Our world is perishing before us as we speak, but are we speaking God’s life and His love? Are we communicating with our world only on its terms, or are we communicating in a manner that our world is seeing something different in us? It doesn’t take us standing on a soapbox, preaching hell, fire and damnation to communicate God to people. It takes living a life that is like His, full of self-sacrifice, compassion, righteousness tempered with humility. It is not about us being lifted up or us being better than others, it is about us rolling up our sleeves and being willing to get down in the mud and dirt so that we lift someone else up. God didn’t place us in the position of looking down on others. He has placed us in the position of servanthood, of being the least that we might serve the greater. People won’t care about what we have to say until they know we really care.
It is sad when see so much of the church caught up in the outward show of things, in crowd appeal, pomp and splendor. You are more likely to find the greater presence of the Lord in some small nobody minister of the Lord who is simply in the fields of humanity laboring for the kingdom. His notoriety is not in the way he dresses, or performs, or orates, it in the likeness he has to Christ and His nature. He stands out the way Mother Teresa stood out. These people are a unique breed who have lost their life in expressing His.
Is that who we are today? How much of our life is still about us? Most of us would have to admit an awful lot of who and what we are is still about us. This is not to condemn us, but it is not in living for us that we will find God’s highest and His richest blessings. We have to become about serving others and that doesn’t mean letting everyone manipulate you into what they think you should do. It is in being humble and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit to direct you in His purpose and His plan.
The Church is a beautiful woman, but she is not yet without spot or wrinkle. It will no doubt take the fuller’s soap to cleanse her and the fire of God to iron out her wrinkles, along with the washing of the water of the word. Each one of us is a part of what makes up God’s church and His bride. How are we living out our part?

Blessings,
kent

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