Entering into His Rest

September 18, 2015

Hebrews 4: 1-11
1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
Entering into His Rest

The Word teaches us that when God lead the people of Israel out of Egypt they wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they tested, quarreled and doubted the Lord even after all that He had done and shown them. What’s more, Hebrews 4 tells us that even after Joshua led the people through the river Jordan and into the Promise Land they still never truly entered into the Sabbath rest even though they had instituted the Sabbath.
The Sabbath first came into being after God had brought forth creation in six days and it says in Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” It is God’s desire that we now enter into the rest of the Lord. We are told that those who went before us didn’t enter into this rest because of disobedience. That Sabbath rest is a holy place and it is not found in the realm of natural doing and thinking. It is entered into not by the will of the flesh or the will of a man but by the Spirit through faith. We must first believe that He is. We must receive that He is the completion of all things in our lives and in our spiritual transformation. Many of us are still striving within our means and abilities to please God and curry His favor. His favor is already ours in Christ. Christ is the Holy rest that we are to enter into. He has finished the work. He has imparted His righteousness and salvation to us, now it is ours to rest in it. If we are still working to earn His favor, if are still living under condemnation and sin, if we still think that somehow we must get good enough for Him to receive us then we have missed the rest of God. The rest of God, His holy Sabbath, is when we cease and He begins. The rest of God is the relinquishment of our self and our self-efforts. It is that place where God is our all in all. We walk by faith and not by sight. We see our world through the promises and the heart of the Father. Our obedience and submission is to walk in the light of that Truth.
We will be challenged and tested even as Israel of old was, but will we murmur and complain? Will we rebel and be dissuaded from Him by our natural circumstances? Will we forget our covenant with Him, stray from Him and enter back into that place He died to deliver us out of? If disobedience causes us to fall away from the rest then it only seems logical that trust and obedience are the attributes that lead us into that rest.
We are called not to make the same mistakes as our predecessors. God has again led us into the Promise Land of Christ Jesus so that we might enter into His rest, ceasing from our efforts as we embrace all that He is and all that He has already done. As we enter into that rest the Holy Spirit will be at work in us discerning and showing us our true hearts and motives. He doesn’t do this to condemn us, but to show us the obstacles that are standing in the way of our rest. As we are willing to relinquish these things to Him then His rest will continue to fill our lives. We have a High Priest in Christ who has walked before us and experienced our weaknesses and our temptation. He is interceding on our behalf. Because we are now in Christ through our faith and trust in Him we can come boldly before the throne of grace and experience that rest that is now ours in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

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Confession of Faith

July 20, 2015

Philippians 3:3-6
I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Confession of Faith

Sometimes, if I start to see myself after the flesh, I will become discouraged, depressed and defeated. I will focus on all of the things I am not, all of the places I still fail, all the places I’m still selfish and self-centered and on all of that which I don’t yet see. I will allow my circumstances to dictate a life that I left behind when I identified myself with Christ on that cross and died to that old man of sin and death. If I allow myself, I could go back there again, but then that would be to deny Christ and what He has done for me. That would be to say that I wasn’t raised in the newness of His life, to live out of His life and no longer my own. That would be to return again and live under the law of sin and death, rather than out of the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus. That would be to embrace the flesh, whose end is death and corruption, rather than embracing the Spirit, who enables and empowers me to walk in Life in the divine nature of His love.
What I am identifying with is what I am and am becoming, whether it be flesh or Spirit. It isn’t dependent upon what I see outwardly, it is fully dependent upon my believing the promises that my God gave to me or forsaking them to go back from whence I came. Behind me is only what brought me guilt and shame, but before me is my Jesus who has promised to bring to completion the good work that He began in me.
No, I may not see the fullness of Him yet, but I will keep pressing into Him, expecting and believing for His highest for me. I will not allow the discouragement, natural circumstances and even facts to detour me from the truth that I know in my heart. For I refuse to see through natural eyes alone anymore. He is teaching me to see all things after the Spirit; myself, my spiritual family and even the world around me. As I walk in the faith of who He is in me, I see more clearly others through God’s heart of love. I see that I walk in the earth, but I live out of heaven. I live in Christ Jesus who sits at the right hand of the throne of God. From that place I know that whatever touches my life has to come through the Father and the Son. I know that He works all things to my good, even the bad things, because He has loved me and called me according to His purpose. He doesn’t just love me, but in that love He corrects me, teaches me and stretches me. He makes me to come out of the dependency of my flesh, so that I can more full rest and rely upon Him. Only there will I learn of His rest that He has for me and only there can I operate out of the fullness of faith without which it is impossible to please Him.
I don’t know everything, I just know His Word. I don’t understand everything, I just trust the Holy Spirit to help me understand what I need to know. Life has a new meaning and purpose because He is in it. Because of that, it is no longer about me, it is all about Him. He has told me that all of His promises to me are “yes and amen”. As I walk in the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me, I believe I can walk into all that He has prepared for me. I don’t believe I have to die and go to heaven to experience and live out of a more abundant life. I believe heaven wants to live that abundant life through me as I walk in the earth. I believe God wants to manifest that kingdom in my earthen body as it is in heaven, but He can’t do that while I am still caught up in me. So with God’s grace and the power of His Spirit I submit myself and my will, which is the one gift He has allowed me to give to Him.
If you are looking for perfection in me, you won’t see it yet, but know that even in my human frailty and weakness I pursue Him who knows none. His blood continues to wash me and His grace certainly carries me. Out of His strength and abundance I will live and declare the name of the Lord, for He is my salvation, both now and evermore.

Blessings,
#kent

1 John 4:8-15 (Amplified)
He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins. 11Beloved, if God loved us so [very much], we also ought to love one another.
12No man has at any time [yet] seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us! 13By this we come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we abide (live and remain) in Him and He in us: because He has given (imparted) to us of His [Holy] Spirit. 14And [besides] we ourselves have seen (have deliberately and steadfastly contemplated) and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son [as the] Savior of the world. 15Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he [abides, lives, makes his home] in God.

What is God’s Heart for You?

God’s heart is and ever has been that He loves you with a love so massive it defies comprehension. Until we fully embrace and come into the love of the Father for us, we can’t really know Him, for His identity is LOVE. Which of us would willing lay down our life for another, much less give our only son to die for someone else. It was through this demonstration of love that the Father and the Son corporately as one gave their life for the very humanity that had become their enemies; despising, rejecting and living in rebellion and opposition to God. Romans 5:6-11 says, “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.
9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” That is God’s heart for you!
Now what is our heart for God? 1 John 4:15 says, “Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he [abides, lives, makes his home] in God.” God’s heart for us has so consumed us with His love that we embrace the gift of His love by our faith in Christ. His Holy Spirit comes into our heart to bear witness that we now belong to Him and the evidence of His presence is that we continually grow in His nature, which is love. After all, verses 16 and 17 go on to tell us, “And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. 17In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.”
What is He? He is love! What are we? His love exemplified through word and deed.
The question we all must ask ourselves is when others see me do they see God’s love, because I am His expression of love to others. If the answer isn’t positive then I must ask myself, “Am I so abiding in His love that it can’t help but show up through me? If we try and just do God’s love then it will always fall short, because it is out of conditional human effort and ability, but if we can become so lost in Him, that we just start to become like the One we worship and abide in then it will it come out of our being and not our doing.
The law of the kingdom of God is contained in this one word LOVE. When LOVE is what rules our hearts, our desires, our motives and our actions then God’s kingdom has come in us. When God’s love rules over all that we do then there are no limitations on what He can manifest through us in His power and glory, because it is all of Him and for Him. This is the heart of God for us and this is the kingdom we were called to live into and out of.

Blessings,
#kent

Love Your self

October 27, 2014

Galatians 5:14
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love Your self

It is interesting sometimes as a photographer to see how people view themselves. Often, when viewing family or individual photographs people can be very critical of themselves. Most often it is the women. They can see and magnify weaknesses or faults that most everyone else considers normal and a part of them. It is not uncommon that great family portraits will fail because mom doesn’t like the way she looks.
In today’s age of technology we have the skills and abilities to actually go in and alter the way someone looks. We can lift and tuck some of the sagging parts, hide the blemishes and soften the wrinkles, but the real issue may not be how we look to ourselves outwardly, but how we perceive ourselves inwardly.
On the other hand I have photographed attractive ladies who may have had a scar that could have easily been removed. I find it is often best to ask people what they do and do not want taken away, because assumptions can get you into trouble. These women that I refer too wanted their scars to remain, because to them they were a reminder of what they had been through and the gift of life that they still had. In today’s world many of us feel the pressure to live this façade of a perfect life, have a perfect body, beautiful looks, a perfect home, children and husband or wife. The truth is that that is not the real world. We all have scars, wrinkles, handicaps and weaknesses whether they are outwardly evident or not. Brushing or photoshoping over them isn’t going to take the reality of them away, nor should it. These blemishes upon our lives are the evidence that we have lived and experienced what life had to offer and that it wasn’t always nice or kind.
The Lord tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, but some of us don’t really love ourselves, so how can we love our neighbor properly? Understand that all real people have weaknesses, faults and frailties. That is a trait of our humanity. Don’t be ashamed of yourself and don’t boast in yourself, but rather see the completeness of yourself in Christ. Christ is not a crutch; He is the fulfillment and the completion of our humanity. The scars, the wrinkles and experiences that we share all testify that by the grace of God we survived them and we are still taking hold of life. The wonderful thing about our relationship with Christ is that where we end, He begins and where we are weak, He is strong.
Don’t be so harsh and judgmental of yourself. I know that sometimes I think, “God, why am I stuck with being me?” It is because in my weakness He is made strong and His grace is sufficient for all of my needs, my infirmities and my weaknesses. If you are down on yourself today it is because you don’t have your eyes on Jesus. Take courage, take heart and know that you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you. Love yourself as Christ loves you.

Blessings,
#kent

Green Pastures

October 13, 2014

Green Pastures

Psalms 23:2
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

There is a place in the Lord where He is leading us and causing us to rest. It is the green pastures of His rest. There He causes us to lie down as we feed upon His life and truth. There He keeps us safely under His watchful eye.
Some of us are still searching for this green pasture. It seems all we have known is the wilderness, living from blade of grass to blade of grass, thirsting for the waters of life. Our outlook and attitude is usually dim and pessimistic as we trudge on, one foot in front of the other.
It is interesting that the children of Israel were not so unlike a great flock of sheep whom the Lord brought out of Egypt. Often they were so taken by their circumstances and what they saw as their lack, that they failed to recognize, acknowledge and reverence the hand of the Great Shepherd that was over them. When God does not meet our need in the way and time frame of our thinking our first inclination is to begin to murmur and complain. Our minds become filled with the thoughts that God is not faithful. ‘He has led us out here to let us die. We should have never trusted Him. We should have stayed where we were; at least there in Egypt or the world, we knew what we had.’ Perhaps God has you and I in that place today where, like the children of Israel, He is proving what is in our hearts. In Exodus 15, after a mighty deliverance, God led the people of Israel to the waters of Marah. The waters were bitter and the people could not drink. Have we ever tried to trust God through a situation and it seemed that He had led us to a place where we worse off than before and everything seemed to be against us? Instead of His blessing, it may have seemed we had been cursed. Perhaps these are our waters of Marah or bitterness where He is proving what is in our hearts. Exodus 15:25, says, “And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, [which] when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.” Can we find the rest of His green pastures even in those times of trial and testing? Can we find the pools of still water in the midst of the turbulent rapids that are swirling around our lives? Do we get anxious and panic? Do we get angry, frustrated and murmur against God, because it appears He has forsaken us and failed us in our time of need. Those are the places where He wants us to find the green pastures of His rest. Calvary provides the only tree that can make the waters sweet again. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Those green pastures speak of His life. That is the substance of what we must feed from? Isn’t it His Word and His Truth?
When we go out to buy a used car won’t we walk around it, look it over real good, kick the tires and test drive it? We are testing it for integrity and service. We want to know that it is reliable and won’t fail us in our time of need and dependency. God often proves our faith the same way. He is not just looking at the paint job and the high gloss wax; He is proving the inward parts. He wants to know the overall integrity and faithfulness of our hearts. Not only does He want to know, but also more importantly we need to know who we are in Him. It is through our travels of faith in Him, He often leads us to these waters of Marah or bitterness, where we are tested, but oh how sweet it is when we finally pass the test. When we hold fast to His Word and His promise through the time of testing and trial and then we see His deliverance and provision. It is in those times that we experience the green pastures of our rest where we have just laid down in Him, where we have snuggled up in His faithful arms and just declared God, you are God in my circumstances. No matter what happens, You change not, You are no less God and You are no less faithful.
Perhaps the green pastures of His rest are there, but with our natural eyes all we are seeing is desolation and wilderness. Faith is what leads us into those green pastures where we lie down beside the still waters, because our rest and our completion are in Him and not in us or the world around us. Psalm 23:3-6 goes on to say, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Our security and our rest are not in this world or in our circumstances, but only in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Until the Day Dawns

June 17, 2014

2 Peter 1:19
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Until the Day Dawns

Often when I see the sunrise in the morning I am reminded of this scripture. It speaks to us about how the prophetic word, the Word of God, is the light that shines in the dark place. The dark place is all that is around us. We live and walk among darkness. The earth still abides under the curse and travails for its day of release. The Word of God is the torch that gives us light in the night. It shows us the way, it dispels the darkness and it is what indwells us to make us light bearers. Peter speaks here to the validity of God’s Word as being the dispensation of the God and not of man. Holy men were simply the instruments to pen the Words that were given through the unction of the Holy Spirit. These words are the light and the life that lead us into the kingdom and the will of the Father. Peter exhorts us that we would do well to heed these words for they are a light shining in the darkness to all that heed them.
Peter also alludes to a new day that is dawning. It is a day when the Morning Star, the Christ, rises in our hearts, then that Word will become manifest and alive within us as Christ fully transforms us into His image and likeness. That which we have known in part we will know in completion.
There will come many in sheep’s clothing that will seek to malign, pervert and misuse the Word of God. They will be the cause of why the Word of God is blasphemed, mocked and ridiculed among many. These are false prophets that would seek to undermine the truth and deny the Lordship of Christ. You will know them because of the truth that abides in you through the Word and you will discern the fruit of their unrighteousness. From such turn away and expose them with the truth of God.

Blessings,
#kent

Spiritual Anatomy

December 10, 2013

 

Spiritual Anatomy 


1 Corinthians 12:12-23

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 

21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.


The eyes are the windows of the soul.    The mouth is the gateway of the heart.  The hands are an expression of a person’s faith.  The feet carry one to their destiny.  The ears discern the voice of God and the nose breaths in the breath of life and the fragrance of God’s love.  

We are the body that is given to Know Him, Honor Him and Obey Him.  Each member of the body completes and supports another.  Each member is important and necessary for the health, well being and functionality of the whole.  A body divided is diseased, unhealthy and impaired in ability.  Each member of the body does not exist unto itself, but is a building block and completion of the whole.  Each member, if healthy, operates and functions at the direction of the head.  The purpose of each member is to do the will of the mind and to function in unity with the rest of the body.  The Holy Spirit is like the nervous system that communicates the will and thoughts of the mind to the body; to each member specifically and as a body corporately.  

Are we standing in our place as a healthy member of the body of Christ?  Are we guarding our hearts and the portals of influence that touch our lives?  Are we connected to the blood supply, the nervous system and functional to the body?  May we be the expression of all that He is and all that He will do through us.  May we be sensitive to the body and the members that surround us to feel their need, their pain and their joy so that we might be the natural expression of Christ to them.  The Lord wants a healthy and sound body.  Each one of us contributes to that.  I need you and you need me and we all need Christ who is our life and the completion of His body.

 

Blessings,

kent

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