Abundant Life

June 22, 2015

John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

Abundant Life

When we talk about abundant life, where do your thoughts go? Do they go to your natural man, your financial success, your health and the resources of this world? Indeed God’s abundant life touches us on a natural plane, but if that is where our focus is then we’ve missed the bigger picture.
If the thief, which we know as satan, only comes to steal, to kill and destroy, then why are so many non-Christians blessed and prospering in this life. The quality of life we are talking about here is the Greek word Zoë, God life. One definition states, “life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.” While satan is out to steal, kill and destroy, his focus is upon the “God life,” not the just the breath of life. When the Zoë of a person is robbed, killed or destroyed then what hope is left for a man? Separation from God is the ultimate darkness. While some may scorn God in this life, they have no concept of the life they have forsaken and given up.
The Apostle Paul brings this concept of abundant life into more focus in 1 Corinthians 15:9. He says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Paul wasn’t experiencing the abundant life as a big bank account and vacation home in Athens. In this life he experienced great tribulation and hardships. The revelation that he had was that this natural life was his investment into the abundant life he knew in Christ. It is not the seed itself that is the abundance, it is as it dies and gives place to the life within that abundance is released. It is not in the corruptible that we find the fullness of abundant life, but in the incorruptible, the resurrection life.
It is not in the abundance of this natural life that we rejoice or find the proof of abundant life. If we are blessed in our natural lives that is all well and good, but that is not the measure of God’s abundant life. Your abundant life is found in Christ. It is in your relationship with Him and the hope you have in Him. This natural life is but a corruptible seed planted in the ground. The question of abundant life is in what it brings forth through its death, not what it possesses in this life.
We want our life seed to possess the DNA of Christ in it. He is the essence of our abundant life, in this life and that, which is to come. Don’t allow satan or any one to steal that from you. The faith we have in Christ lives out of the abundance of who we are in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Pruning

January 19, 2015

The Pruning

John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

The true substance and character of a healthy and fruitful branch is not in the outward, but in the inward. The outward is the glory and the fruit of the inward, but it is not the substance of it.
Why does God want to prune us even when we are fruitful? It is so that we can bear more fruit. Our outward fruitfulness may be already abundant and good, but human nature is such that even when we are spiritually fruitful, pride and complacency can creep in. When God blesses our lives with much increase in whatever dimension that takes place, it isn’t long before that little voice starts saying, ‘look what I have done’. Pruning keeps us focused on the vine and the source of our substance and fruitfulness. It creates renewed dependence upon the vine and strips the glory from the self. It helps us to not just dwell and live upon past experiences, miracles and victories. It serves to stretch us and cause to grow when we would be complacent to remain as we are. Without pruning things tend to grow wild. There may be a lot of growth, but not as much fruit. Pruning then brings focus. It keeps our eyes upon the Spirit and not upon the flesh. It causes us to remember our source of life and fruit so that we boast in the Vine and not in ourselves.
Don’t despise the days of pruning. They are the loving hands of the Father at work in you, His children. Left to itself, a branch may produce leaves, but not fruit and eventually even the leaves will die. The branch then must be cut off and cast out. It becomes a detriment to the health of the vine. Thank God He loves us enough that He doesn’t want that to happen to us and so He cares for us in what often may seem to be severe ways. Those who know Him rest in the passage from Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good of those who love Him and called according to His purpose.” Often we don’t understand the why and wherefore of all that takes place in our lives, but our eyes and our hearts must remain steadfastly upon the Vinedresser. He is working all things for His glory and our good. He will never maliciously harm that which He loves and cares for, but do what is necessary to bring it to its highest and best potential and productivity.
What hinders the process of the pruning and in turn our growth, is our self, our ego and stubbornness to pursue our own interest and do our own will. In addition to this we often get offended at God or others that God uses in the process of our pruning. If it doesn’t make sense to us, then it must not be fair or just. God sees the end of a thing and we tend to get hung up and focused on the process. This is why it is so important to have a vision that sees the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus and not let anything or any circumstance detour us from that vision and that goal. Our ability to run the race is in that One who has called us to it and not in ourselves. Our reliance must always remain on Him and not on us.
Just remember Hebrews 12:7-11, “If] you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” God is training His people up to produce something more than religious flesh. He is preparing a people with the substance and the nature of His Son. So don’t neglect to praise Him even when it hurts. He loves you and He is ever working for your good.

Blessings,
#kent

The Lord Will Provide

January 6, 2014

Genesis 22:9-18

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” 

“Here I am,” he replied. 

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” 

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” 

15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” 


The Lord Will Provide


Most of us are familiar with the story of Abraham and Isaac when God spoke to Abraham to come up to the mountain and sacrifice the very precious promise that God had fulfilled to Abraham through his miracle son Isaac.  Isaac was the seed of promise and of the covenant that God had made with Abraham that his seed would be as numerous as the stars of heaven and of the sand of the seashore.  Now we come to the place where God has commanded Abraham to give his very best and the most beloved thing in this world, his son.  In faith and obedience Abraham did as the Lord had spoke to him, trusting God for what he did not understand, but God’s will and purpose truly held the foremost place in Abraham’s heart.  Here we see that Abraham has made the preparation and is about to sacrifice His only begotten son of faith and promise, when God stays his hand.  God proves Abraham’s faithfulness and his fear of the Lord.  When Abraham looks up there is a ram caught in the thicket.  A ram to sacrifice in place of his son.  “So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide.” 

What a type and shadow of God offering up His only begotten Son of covenant and promise for us.  He did not withhold His very best from us that He might provide for our every need according to His riches in glory.  

When we acknowledge the death and resurrection of our Lord would we be willing to plant our very best seed for Him as He did for us in Christ Jesus?  In John 12:23-26 “Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”  The resurrection seed is a seed of increase, just as on the mountain of God Abraham declared, “The Lord Will Provide”.  It is a seed that unless it falls into the ground and dies, it remains a single seed.  Without a death there is no multiplication.

What is our Isaac today?  What do we hold dearest in our hearts and are we willing to come and lay it upon the altar?  Are we willing to come and give our very best to Him so that we may find His very best for us? 

Determine in your own heart what that resurrection seed is for you.  It may well be the seed you need to plant to find your breakthrough and your provision.  Trust the Lord and bring to Him your very best.  Let it be what you determine in your heart and what you bring to Him out of joy and worship, not out of obligation and condemnation.   When we come to this mountain, we, like Abraham, will find “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”  

 
Blessings,
kent

The Treachery of Riches

October 9, 2013

The Treachery of Riches

Psalms 49:4-20
I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle: 5 Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me- 6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? 7 No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him- 8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough- 9 that he should live on forever and not see decay. 10 For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. 11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. 12 But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Selah 14 Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. 15 But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. Selah 16 Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; 17 for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. 18 Though while he lived he counted himself blessed— and men praise you when you prosper- 19 he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life. 20 A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

In the natural world it is the rich and powerful who think they have arrived and are in control of life. That is the goal of many, to have riches, fame and power. We are under the delusion that if we have these in abundance then our kingdom and our goals of success are secure. We think that when we pass on, our riches, our kingdom and our accomplishments will be carried on in our descendants.
What amount of money can redeem life, purchase forgiveness or deliver us from death, hell and the grave? What power among men, commands and rules over death? Even, as the beasts of the field perish, so we also have a limited number of days before our bodies will see corruption. When the rich, powerful and worldly successful men are in the grave, what then can their riches, their princely mansions and the power they wielded on earth do for them? As the word of Job 1:21 says, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. “ What then did the pursuit of riches and power gain the rich man when he goes to join the generation of his fathers who will never see the light of day? It as the Psalmist concludes, “A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.”
Is it wrong to possess riches or power? No, not if your trust, your love and affections aren’t given over to them. Those things have no power or life in regards to our eternity. It is shortsightedness on our part if our life is dedicated to the pursuit of things that will so soon pass away from us. It begins to make sense what Jesus said in Luke 12:33-34, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our eternal riches aren’t found in our bank account, our investment portfolio, our houses, lands or inheritances. They are only obtained through giving, not getting. Eternal riches are a paradox to the world. It is not till we pour out and give our life, first to the Lord and then to others, that we truly begin to become rich. The richest people in heaven won’t be those who had all of the wealth and power in the earth. The elite of heaven will be comprised of those who walked in the footsteps of the Master, who poured out their lives for others and who became poor that they might make others rich in Christ.
Many of us think in terms that if only we could win the lottery, look at the good we could do. We forget that we are already rich in the things that matter most. Most of the time and for most of us, earthly riches would only detour us from the eternal riches we already possess in Christ Jesus. The sacrifice of His life and the cross was the only thing worthy enough, powerful enough and rich enough to purchase us from eternal corruption, hell and death. We are a very rich people who possess the Lord. Take your eyes off of the outward and begin to tap into the riches you possess in Christ in order to give and bless others. Then you will possess the riches and the rewards of heaven that will greet you at death’s door rather than those riches that flee away from you. Many of us are rich beyond measure and don’t even realize it. I read a quote the other day that said, “the poorest man in the world is the man that only has money.” Hebrews 11:24-26 says that Moses saw this truth when, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
The apostle Paul also prayed that we would get a revelation of our true riches in Ephesians 1:18-23. “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
The bottom line is that we don’t want to make the mistake of putting our trust in the treachery of the world’s riches, for the love of these things will result in our greatest poverty, life without Christ. Comprehend what the true riches are and that you already possess them in Christ. Now, let us go and invest them in His Kingdom that does not wax old or pass away and there they are laid up for us as an eternal weight of glory. The richest of all men are those who realize who they are in Christ.

Blessings,
kent

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