A Heart of Lust

February 7, 2017

Psalms 78:18-42

18And they tempted God in their hearts by asking for food according to their [selfish] desire and appetite. 

19Yes, they spoke against God; they said, Can God furnish [the food for] a table in the wilderness? 

20Behold, He did smite the rock so that waters gushed out and the streams overflowed; but can He give bread also? Can He provide flesh for His people? 21Therefore, when the Lord heard, He was [full of] wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob, His anger mounted up against Israel, 22Because in God they believed not [they relied not on Him, they adhered not to Him], and they trusted not in His salvation (His power to save). 23Yet He commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven; 24And He rained down upon them manna to eat and gave them heaven’s grain. 25Everyone ate the bread of the mighty [man ate angels’ food]; God sent them meat in abundance. 26He let forth the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by His power He guided the south wind. 27He rained flesh also upon them like the dust, and winged birds [quails] like the sand of the seas. 28And He let [the birds] fall in the midst of their camp, round about their tents. 29So they ate and were well filled; He gave them what they craved and lusted after. 31The wrath of God came upon them and slew the strongest and sturdiest of them and smote down Israel’s chosen youth. 32In spite of all this, they sinned still more, for they believed not in (relied not on and adhered not to Him for) His wondrous works. 33Therefore their days He consumed like a breath [in emptiness, falsity, and futility] and their years in terror and sudden haste. 34When He slew [some of] them, [the remainder] inquired after Him diligently, and they repented and sincerely sought God [for a time]. 35And they [earnestly] remembered that God was their Rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer. 36Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouths and lied to Him with their tongues. 37For their hearts were not right or sincere with Him, neither were they faithful and steadfast to His covenant. 38But He, full of [merciful] compassion, forgave their iniquity and destroyed them not; yes, many a time He turned His anger away and did not stir up all His wrath and indignation. 39For He [earnestly] remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that goes and does not return. 40How often they defied and rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert! 41And time and again they turned back and tempted God, provoking and incensing the Holy One of Israel. 42They remembered not [seriously the miracles of the working of] His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy.

A Heart of Lust

The account we read here in Psalms 78 is an example of the lust that tends to work in all of us.  Often we only think of lust in a sexual sense and there is certainly that aspect of it, but it is much broader than that.  It was a quality and aspect of humanity that kept the children of Israel in the wilderness, it continually provoked the wrath of God and it remembered not all His benefits because it becomes so focused on its own.  Lust defined is the selfish and self -indulgent desires and appetites of our flesh.  Many of us are still controlled, to a large extent, by an attitude and mindset of lust.  Our focus is so often on what pleases us and what we want, rather than on what is pleasing to our Lord.  Even in our prayers, we are crying out to God to give us meat, give us what we want rather than being content with the provision of God’s hand.  Human nature is usually to always want what it can’t or shouldn’t have.  There are times when God will allow us to have the lust of our hearts.  He will give us what we think we must have.  What we find is that the fulfillment of our desires soon becomes a curse.  What we thought was going to fulfill and satisfy us leaves us empty and lean of soul.  It brings with it consequences that we didn’t anticipate.  Verse 33 of Psalms 78 says, “33Therefore their days He consumed like a breath [in emptiness, falsity, and futility] and their years in terror and sudden haste.”  This is the fruit of our lust.  It is enmity with God and so it brings death to us and not life.  It is the antithesis of faith and trust in God’s goodness, sovereignty and provision.

1 John 2:15-17 tells us this, “15Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]–these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. 17And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.”  We want our lust to be for those things of the Spirit that pertain to life and godliness.  Our desire is for a deeper and more intimate relationship with our Lord that we might know and experience the fullness of His life and blessing upon us.  We must learn from our former examples that the lust of the flesh breeds death, but walking in the Spirit produces life and the attributes of a godly character.  

Blessings,

#kent

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The Substance of Reality

November 22, 2016

Colosians 2:13-17

And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions, 14Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross. 15[God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross]. 16Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath. 17Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ.

The Substance of Reality

The Law of Moses with its decrees, regulations and ordinances has stood as a weapon of destruction and condemnation in the hand of satan.  Because we are weak in our flesh and couldn’t live up to the holiness of the law it became death to us and not life.  When Jesus went to the cross the Word says that He took that former Law and nailed it to the cross so that when He died, it died with Him.  Our biggest mistake is that we want to resurrect our flesh and the former laws that governed it by identifying and putting back into place those former things for which Christ died.  There is a strong religious spirit out there in Christendom today that is putting men and women again under the bondage and regulations of the law.  The Word of God says that if we are in Christ we are dead to the law.  This was an on going battle that the Apostle Paul taught and preached against.  Judaizers were continually trying to bring new Christians under the ordinances and regulations of the Mosaic Law.  The former Law is dependent upon the flesh to keep and live up to it.  That is why it is death and condemnation to those that try to live under it.  Those that seek to live under it will be judged by it.  The Law of Moses was a type and shadow of that which was to replace it and the substance of that replacement is found in Christ.  Why would we settle for the lesser, the shadow when we can have the substance of the reality?  

Roman 8:1-4 sets it forth very plainly, “1THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], 4So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].

We are spiritual beings ruled by the law of Christ and the Holy Spirit that has come to abide in our hearts.  The New Testament bears witness of that Law of life in Christ Jesus that now governs our souls.  Let go of the former ordinances and ways that bring you again under the condemnation of the flesh and walk by the Spirit in the principles of life and godliness.  He has freed you to be the expression of Him and He has written His laws upon your heart.   No longer trade the former shadow for the substance of His reality.

Blessings,

#kent

The Fear of Death

February 8, 2016

 

The Fear of Death

Psalms 23:4

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.

The fear of death or bodily harm can be the most compelling fear of all.  The one reality we are sure of is the one we are living in; everything else is by faith.  If this life and body are the only hope and reality we know then death can be particularly disturbing and fearful.  Life, as we know it will cease to exist; then what darkness, nothing, back to dust?    

Some who read this could be walking through the valley of the shadow of death today.  It is built into us to protect and preserve our lives.  That fear will motivate us to do everything within our power to avoid death.  When we are really brought face to face with our mortality it is a sobering thing.  It makes us look deep within ourselves to think about the meaning of life and what the loss of it holds for us.  We examine our values and what we truly believe.

David was certainly faced with the awesome possibility of death as King Saul hunted him to take his life.  He was often faced with enemies that desired his death.  I believe David had learned a principle as a shepherd.  He knew that his sheep were totally dependent upon him, as their shepherd, for protection.  They had no real ability to protect themselves.  They knew that if they staid close to the shepherd, his rod and staff, his authority and power, would protect them.  Their greatest peace and our greatest peace are in knowing that we are walking with the Shepherd and that our life is not in our hands, it is in His.  We are at peace and we have comfort even in the midst of the certain threat of death because He is there and our life is hid with Christ in God.  The faith we have in our Shepherd is able to dispel the grip of fear that is seeking desperately to lay hold of our hearts.  Faith will dispel fear, but the lack of it will give place to it.  If we walk in the light, then we will not fear the darkness, for even if darkness surrounds us, it can not extinguish the light and the hope we have within us through Christ Jesus.  Often it can become a battleground between faith and fear as the fear of death seeks to lay hold of us.  

One scripture that brings us much encouragement in this fear of death is found in Hebrews 2:14-15.  It says, speaking of Jesus, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”  We have peace and assurance through the blood of Jesus and the confidence that through our trust in Him, He has paid for our sin, and robbed the devil of the fear eternal punishment and condemnation he once could put upon us.  Now we have the peace and confidence that when death comes we step out of the limitations of our mortal body into glory and into His wonderful presence.  We can almost view death as no longer as a curse, but as a promotion.  No wonder so many Christians through the ages have been able to hold fast their testimony and give up their possessions, their livelihood and their very lives.  They had their eyes fixed on One far more glorious that quenched the fear of death and loss.  It was the One who walked with them through the valley of the shadow of death.  

One of the greatest fears and terrors is that of the unknown, but the knowledge we have in Christ and the faith that we have placed in that knowledge of Him has robbed satan of his power of fear and intimidation.  

When Israel had come out of Egypt and was going up to battle against their enemies, this is the word that was spoken to them and what I believe the Lord wants us to hold fast in our hearts as we enter our battles.  It was spoken in Deuteronomy 20:1-4, “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. 4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.””  If we know that we are already victorious in Christ what have we to fear?  The worst that could happen is that we would wake up in His arms.   In Psalms 27:1 David says, “The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” It is like when you were a small child and something frightened you.  You could run and jump up on daddy’s lap, bury your face in his chest and he would put his powerful arms around you.  You knew then that you were safe; that anything that touched you now had to come through your daddy first.  That is exactly how it is for us in the Lord.  Colossians 3:1-4 tells us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” If we are truly dead to the things and the affections of this world then what power of fear does the devil have over us seeing that we have died and our life is now hidden with Christ in God?  If the devil touches us, he has to come through God to do it.  If I know that God has control over all that touches my life then I have no room for fear, only for trust.  He is my good Shepherd that will lead me and keep me wherever I must go and through whatever valley of the shadow of death I must pass, I will fear no evil.

Blessings,

#kent

Living Out of the Unseen

October 29, 2015

2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Living Out of the Unseen
Natural eyes, physical sounds, human reasoning, life circumstances, what others tell us, five senses, human conditions, perceptions, surroundings and our understanding all feed into what we perceive as real. In the moment and with all that processes through our being, that may be what seems real and factual. As believers, the word teaches us that there is a realm beyond just human natural perception. This realm is not ruled and governed by the same principles that govern our earthly realm. This realm is not dictated by earthly facts or circumstances. This is a realm that God wants us to more and more operate out of, because it is the realm of the kingdom of God and its principles are truth. Its government and dictates are spelled out in the Word of God. It supercedes that which is natural, for what we currently perceive and understand as reality is passing away. It is temporal, but that which now unseen will take its place for it is the eternal.
Currently, we see in part the invisible realm invading the natural realm, but until it has ran its course in fullness of Father’s time, we will not experience the fullness of the currently unseen realm made manifest. 1 Corinthians 15:50 tells us, “I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” In this present corruptible world we can not inherit the fullness of that kingdom which is incorruptible until death is swallowed up with life. This is currently taking place in measure even now as Christ comes forth in us and we live out of His life. His life is swallowing up the death in us.
Before the apostle Paul says this he gives us understanding of the state that we have been in and that which we are moving into. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” Now while we may see Jesus as the last and only Adam to presently demonstrate the fullness and likeness of the man of heaven, the Word of God and the message of Christ reorients the mind of the believer to not just be operating out of this earthly realm. Ephesians 2:6 says, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 3:1-4 declares, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
In light of these scriptures we can see how our spiritual position has changed as we have died to the old Adam and are raised up in the last Adam. In that spiritual identification we see that God has positioned us in heavenly places and in that unseen realm that is eternal. From that position, what does He tell us to do? ” Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” While our physical perspective and position hasn’t changed, our spiritual position has. Now you tell me, which one does God want us to live out of?
Romans 8:5-11 teaches us this, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” You can see where we run into conflict; we find ourselves in two different states, but in Christ we have made a declaration and a statement of faith to disenfranchise and disown our former natural man even while we still abide in this earthen vessel and have put on Christ and identification with His eternal life. That is the position we are to operate our physical lives out of. Even though we don’t see the fullness of that yet manifest we are as Romans 8:22-25 states, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
In that patient hope we aren’t focused on the temporal, corruptible and that which is passing away, but we are embracing the eternal as we declare and decree by faith the Word of God and its promises. It is out of these kingdom principles we now live, move and have our being as we walk by the Spirit and live no longer according to the dictates of the flesh. We are a new creation being made conformable in the likeness of Him who has translated us from darkness into His marvelous light, from death into His incorruptible life.

Blessings,
#kent

The Wounded and Broken

September 23, 2015

Deuteronomy 32:39
See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand. 
 
 
The Wounded and Broken
 
In the Garden of Eden were two trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.  Choices were given to man as to which way he would come to know God and walk with Him.  When wrong choices were made, consequences ensued that brought darkness, sin and death into our world and all of creation.  We must know that this came as no surprise to God and that His plan was before the foundation of this world.  Life and death have become the cycles of life that have carried down since the beginning.   In between that cycle of life and death many things touch our lives.  Life can bring much joy and blessing, but it can also bring us much heartache and pain.  Many of us today bear in our lives the marks of pain and suffering.  That can take many forms, mental, physical, psychological and even spiritual.  Pain has many avenues.  Many times it comes as consequences of what we sow knowingly or unknowingly into our lives, bodies and minds.  Sometimes our pain comes from the consequences and actions of others.  Sometimes it comes as part of the fallen world that we live in.  However it comes, we are left to endure.  
Now as unpleasant as pain is, it is not all bad.  It often works in us what no amount of blessings could.  It is much like our enemies, as unpleasant as they are; they can touch areas in our lives that friends never will.  Often we wonder, “God why all of the unpleasantness?  Why all of this pain and suffering?  Why do our enemies persecute us?  God why must I suffer?”  Joseph, in the book of Genesis 50:20 reveals it so well, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.”  We have an enemy of our soul that perpetrates evil upon us, but what he has thought for evil, God has meant for good. How can this be good?
Romans 8:18-25 helps us to see into the eternal and far reaching purposes of God. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  The Word says that God is the one that subjected creation to this frustration, but in hope, hope of what?  “That the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage and decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children or the sons of God.”  
Jesus Christ was the prototype and firstfruits of this glorious liberation.  What did He say His purpose was?  It says of Jesus in Luke 4:14-20, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18″The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 
20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.””  The people were murmuring, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”  This was a proclamation that Jesus had stepped out of the earthly paradigm of humanity into His divine purpose of eternity.  What was begun in the headship of Jesus, He will complete in and through His body which Ephesians 1:23 declares is, “…the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”  
Pain and suffering can rend our hearts and bodies like few things can.  They are processing tools that bring us into the purposes of God if we catch that revelation.  They are areas we can see God work supernaturally in, both in the areas of healing and deliverance, but also in the areas of tribulation, patience and longsuffering.  Job certainly wanted to be free from his pain that he felt unjustly afflicted with, but it was a process that brought him into a double portion anointing and priesthood that he would have never experienced without it.  David would certainly have not chosen to be fleeing his enemies that sought for years His life, but it was preparation for kingship.  Joseph wouldn’t have chosen captivity, slavery and prison, but it prepared him to rule and reign.  Even of Jesus it says in Hebrews 5:7-9, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”  We, like our Savior have been called to a royal priest hood.  We also will pass through our seasons of suffering.  When we pass through these valleys, for however long we must endure them, let them have their perfect work in us.  Allow them not to discourage you, but to encourage you that, “whom the Lord loves He chastens.”  He doesn’t discipline bastards or illegitimate ones, he disciplines His sons that in due time it might work the peaceable fruits of righteousness (Hebrews 12).   God is preparing us for greatness and what the evil one has meant for evil, God has meant for good. 
 
Blessings,
#kent

When I am Weak

August 20, 2015

When I am Weak

Psalms 6:2
Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I [am] weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

Show me Thy ways and I will aspire to walk in them,
Impart unto me Your strength that I might carry them out,
Give me Your heart that I can have like passion and commitment,
Take my will that Yours may be done.

Father, we often faint in the heat of the day,
Our eye dims and our desires begin to stray.
Please take my hand and lift me up,
I keep wanting to sink in this miry clay.

Life can be good, but it is also hard,
It is not always easy to keep up my guard.
Often I grow discouraged with myself,
I want give up on my spiritual health.

Like a diet gone bad,
Sometimes I just want to give in to sin.
“Ah, what’s the use?
I’ve already blown it again.”

Yet the cross compels me not to give up,
It can’t be in vain that Christ drank from that cup.
I can not give place in my weakness to sin.
Would I drive those nails in His loving hands again?

Lord, I cry out in my weakness to You,
Help me not my old ways to pursue.
They never brought me peace or joy before,
Help me, oh Lord, not to open again that door.

You know my frame, that it is weak,
But my eyes are on you, and it is You that I seek.
Let it be no longer I that lives,
Help me lay all on the altar to freely give.

For my death, You give me Life.
For my heartache, you give me Peace.
For my sin, You give me Righteousness.
For my failure, You give me Salvation.

Your Word have I hid in my heart,
That I might not sin against Thee.
It mirrors Your Love and Grace,
When my eye grows dim and I fail to see.

Keep my feet in that narrow path,
I want to know Grace, not judgement and wrath.
Grace that takes me to a higher standard than law,
Grace that restores me in those times I fall.

Lord, You are my everything,
Without You I really have nothing.
Help me when I grow frail and weak,
May it be Your Life within me and Your words that I speak.
Kent Stuck

Blessings
#kent

The Law of Sin and Death

August 18, 2015

Judges 21:25
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

The Law of Sin and Death

The state that we see Israel in, in the book of Judges is the same state that we could see a lot of us as Christians in. We have the promise and the inheritance and we have the Word of God, but we haven’t embraced our King. Just as the Israelites could be God’s chosen people by name, it didn’t mean they were His people in their heart. They became apostate, doing whatever seemed good to them, while ignoring who God had called them to be. Isn’t that the way many in the Christian world have become. They have become apostate because they live and do what is right in their own eyes and justification rather than according to the will and calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I am not writing this to bring condemnation, but to make us aware of which law we are living under in this state of mind. Before Christ, we were living under the law of sin and death. It was a law of the commandments whereby sin abounded because of the weakness of the flesh to live and keep it. Under that law we stood condemned because we were lawless and law breakers. Even in our best efforts we were not able to find reconciliation and intimate relationship with Papa because our sin stood to condemn us. Because sin would ultimately rule us, God had to send judgement to correct us and bring us back to repentance. There we would cry out under our judgement and God in His mercy would send a judge to bring us back to Himself where we would remain briefly before repeating the cycle again.
Now, we have a King and His name is Jesus. He is not only the King, but the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. In His realm of authority and dominion He has called us out of the old law of sin and death, because the crucifixion of His divine life nailed that old law of condemnation to the cross. When we come to Him in faith we must recognize that is where our old selfish sinful nature and man has been identified; with Him on that cross. We also died to that former way of doing, “whatever seemed right in our own eyes.” As He raised us up by faith into His life we come under a new law, because we have entered and become citizens and partakers of a new kingdom. The laws of this kingdom don’t operate like the former one. Here there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. “In Christ” speaks to a state of being in our spirit man that is manifested through our physical being.
We find this in Romans 8. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” The key to living in this realm and kingdom is living by faith out of the law of the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. A line of demarcation has been drawn that you live under one law or the other, but you can’t live under both.
Jesus says you can’t serve two masters in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon is the old world order that falls under the law of sin and death.
The question then really becomes, “What law are we living under?”
Romans 8 goes on to define what it is to live in the law of the Spirit of life and what the differences are. “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
The Word doesn’t say we don’t still struggle with the inclinations toward our former sinful nature, but it has become a matter of new identity, allegiance and citizenship. If you move to the United States from a foreign country and decide to become a US citizen then you have changed your identity, allegiance and citizenship. You must renounce the old to embrace the new. If the United States is at war with your former country, who are you going to fight for and stand with? Where is your identity and allegiance? You may feel the soul ties that want to draw you back to the former feelings you had for your country and countrymen, but now you have to cut them off, because it is no longer who you are. You can no longer go between countries and have your allegiance divided or you will be considered a traitor. You can no longer live under the former laws and traditions of the old country and still be a US citizen. They don’t work in this new country. You no longer have to live under tyranny, but you can live in freedom, but freedom isn’t freedom if it brings you again under the bondage of sin. “13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. You see it is the Spirit that now indwells you that is the power in you to overcome who you used to be. As we learn to live in obedience and faithfulness to Him we are led by Him. It is living under His banner and direction that we become the sons of God.
If we are still doing whatever is right in our eyes we are missing what it is to live under the higher law. It is only under this law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that we live and abide in the life of God and we come to experience the intimacy of relationship with Him. God has given us the choice to be sons or slaves. Where is our true identity, allegiance and citizenship, in the law of sin and death or the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus? Your identity is who you are, not what you call yourself.

Blessings,
#kent

Isaiah 48:13
My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I summon them, they all stand up together.

Heaven and Earth Shall Stand up Together
Part 1

The earth speaks of the natural things of creation and the heavens speak of the spiritual dimensions. God has created them all; each one in its own order and preeminence. John 1:1-4 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” Christ stands as the right Hand of God and the Word of faith spoken from His mouth that brings all things into existence. What God has established will ultimately stand and all else will with time pass away. The mystery here is that God is bringing about a time when He will summon heaven and earth together and they will stand up together as one.
The earthly man is a time piece designed to carry the components of spirit and soul. The essence of man is not in the body, but the inward man. We are spiritual beings in earthly habitations. We are the earth and heavens together, but not one. The Word implies that we a tricotomy, a three part being consisting of spirit, soul and body. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 speaks to that, ” May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Hebrews 12:22-28 tells us, “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our “God is a consuming fire.”” What we see here in Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem and the city of God is spirits of righteous men made perfect. Where are the souls of these righteous men? Do they not await the quickening day when heaven and earth shall stand up as one? Spirit united with soul in a new creation man that is imperishable. The spirit never dies, but returns to God who gave it.
Part 2

In Genesis when God created Adam, Genesis 1:26-27, ” Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” If God is Spirit as it tells us in John 4:24 then one our likeness is that we have a spirit. Genesis 2: 7 says, “And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
In 1 Corinthians 15:42-49 Paul give us some greater insight in how this process works. “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” We are a living soul, that is the essence of who we are; our mind, will and emotions. It is housed in an earthly corruptible body. Within our soul is contained our spirit. It is not so unlike the Tabernacle of Moses which consisted of the outer court, holy place and Holy of Holies. It is our spirit where the Spirit of God comes into dwell when our soul invites Christ to come into us by faith. Our spirit is then renewed in the image of Him and it begins a process of salvation from the inside out as we are being changed and transformed spirit, soul and body. Now Paul shows us a mystery. He reveals to us that the outer corruptible body can’t inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 15:50-55 goes on to say, ” Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If our body dies, our souls sleeps and our spirit goes on to be with the Lord, because it does not cease, but if we remain at the Lord’s coming then our body has to be transformed, almost turned inside out if you will because where before our soul wore the body of the corruptible natural man, now it puts on the body of the spirit man which is incorruptible and cannot die. This is our spiritual man in the image of Christ. The outer corruptible man is taken and the Spirit man is left.
In verse 51 Paul says we shall not all sleep. What is that sleep, but the dormancy of the soul because the natural body has died and the spirit or breath of God has left. Just like when Jesus told his disciples that Lazarus was asleep, he finally had to clarify it to them that this meant he was dead.
Again Paul addresses this issue 2 Corinthians 5:1-6, “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
Our soul needs a dwelling place and while we realize that this earthly body is temporal, our true desire is to not be found naked, without a dwelling, but to be clothed upon by our spiritual dwelling place. When Paul goes on to say that, “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” So while the soul may sleep the spirit goes on to be with the Lord in His presence. This is why we need a resurrection. Referring back again to 1 Corinthians 15:52-53, “52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Christ comes back to reunite spirit and soul in a resurrected, incorruptible body.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 reaffirms this. “13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
This will be a day when the foundations of man’s earth, his soul, will unite with the heavens of his spirit and they will stand up together in Christ Jesus in His image and likeness at the Lord’s command. We will be the spiritual incorruptible man that God has purposed us to be.

Blessings,
#kent

Appeasing or Pleasing

July 30, 2015

Appeasing or Pleasing

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
I think that I may not be so different than many others who earnestly love God, want to have an intimate relationship with Him, but are often tempted to make compromises to please the flesh rather than to please God. I was meditating this morning on how much appease and please sound alike only they are different. If we examine our hearts we will probably find that there are many times we actually try to appease the Lord, rather than please Him.
“So what’s the difference?” you might ask.
I’m glad you asked that question. The dictionary defines appease as, “To pacify or attempt to pacify (an enemy) by granting concessions, often at the expense of principle.”
Now we don’t think of God as our enemy, but He is the enemy of our flesh and when we are trying to appease God that is usually where we are operating from. Romans 8:5-8 tells us, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” When we get out of faith and into the flesh then we begin operating out of a mindset that wants to appease God rather than please Him. We want God to wink at our sin and to let us slide. We want the favor and blessing of God, but on our terms. Maybe we start to bargain with God. “God, if you will just let me do that, or have this or grant me that, then I’ll do this.” Maybe we give more and try to do good things. Usually we are not only trying to appease God, but our conscience as well. It is not that we want to forsake God or not serve Him and believe in Him anymore. It is not that we want to displease Him, it is just that we want our way more than we want His way. What we don’t want to acknowledge and submit too is, that it is always our ways that lead us away from His. It is our ways that separate and break fellowship with Him and it is our ways, the natural mind, that hinders us from God’s highest and His best for us.
Like King Saul of the Old Testament we become headstrong about doing things our way rather than God’s way. Listen as Saul attempts to appease God rather than please Him. 1 Samuel 15:13-26 says, “When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD’s instructions.”
14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”
15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”
16 “Stop!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
“Tell me,” Saul replied.
17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.’ 19 Why did you not obey the LORD ? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?”
20 “But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”
22 But Samuel replied:
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD.”
26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!”
Whenever we compromise what God has instructed by doing it our way rather than His, we only are deceiving ourselves and leading ourselves to heartache and misery. Hebrews 10:5-10 says in contrast, “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, O God.’ ” 8First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Father is now asking the same of us. He doesn’t any longer want our burnt offering and sacrifices, our concessions and appeasement. He wants our lives, our obedience and our faith to trust and walk with Him wherever it is that He chooses to lead us. We can no longer seek to appease our Lord; we must walk in the faith and obedience that pleases Him.
“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4)

Blessings,
#kent

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

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