You Have a Purpose

October 23, 2015

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

You Have a Purpose

What has been worked in us by the grace of God is a God-thing. It has not been birthed out of man’s wisdom, strength or ability. You are a God-thing. You are His handiwork and design, not just because He created you, but because He created you for a reason and purpose. You are not an accident, but a God intention.
Sometimes we can get pretty down on ourselves. We see the difficulties and challenges that this life constantly poses. We see our own weaknesses and failures. Sometimes we may tend to think what real good am I to myself or anyone else? There are times we want to just give up and either just live like the world or even give up on life altogether.
The enemy of our soul always wants to magnify and condemn our faults. He is always trying to get our eyes off of Jesus and on to self. We can always see self for more than it is or less than it is. If we put our eyes and minds where they belong, upon Him and upon His Word then it gives us His perspective. Verse 10 says, ” For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” You were prepared in advance for a mission and a purpose. Get your eyes upon the One by whose power you can carry out your purpose. Your purpose is good works, His works, the will and do of His good pleasure. It is no longer about us, but Him. He is the One we live for, we serve and we delight to please. He is our Papa and He loves us dearly in spite of all the reasons why He shouldn’t.
You and I have a purpose today. He is our purpose and it is His work that we have to do. We can’t carry that out as long as our eyes are upon us. Let us fix our eyes on the prize of the high calling that is in Christ Jesus. Psalms 119:15 says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” Only He can lead us into the fullness of our purpose and destiny, but it is only as we fix our eyes upon Him and walk fully in the calling He has set before us. Your purpose is good works. They are good because they are His works and the Holy Spirit will lead you in how to carry them out as you yield your heart and life to Him. The accomplishment of your calling is centered in your identity with Christ. 1 John 4:4 declares,” You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
You are the object of His grace. Make Him the object of your life’s purpose.

Blessings,
#kent

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Kingdom Inheritors

April 1, 2014

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Kingdom Inheritors

Romans 14:17-18 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” We are not inheriting a kingdom of flesh, but of Spirit. God is making real to us who we are in Christ, that we are a spiritual and kingdom people being fashioned and transformed into His image and likeness. It is just as important to know who we are not in Christ. We are not what we used to be. We are not what we came out of. Those things have passed away and we are a new creature and creation in Christ Jesus. God makes it clear that His kingdom is not made up of the thinking, ideology and behavior of this world. Anyone that is still living and abiding in that paradigm in their thinking and living is not going to fit into the kingdom of God. If we want God’s kingdom there is only one way and that by being ‘washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’. The blood of Jesus is the only thing that has the power to transform our lives from the world that is lost outside of Christ to those are in Christ and become partakers of kingdom thinking, living and being.
The Corinthians in this text were having a hard time transitioning their thinking and being to kingdom principles and kingdom ways. The apostle Paul is telling them here that the former ways have no place in the kingdom. They are enmity to it. We live by a different standard and if we are not seeing the effectiveness and power of that kingdom, it may well be that things are not lining up in our thinking and living with kingdom principles and ways.
We have a righteous King of glory, Jesus Christ the Righteous, who is establishing His kingdom within the hearts and the lives of His people. If we consider ourselves His people then we need to find that place of complete submission to His Lordship. Most all of us would agree that we want to go to heaven when we die, but how many of us are willing to go there while we live? Ponder that question for a moment.
You see living heaven on earth is a place we find first in our spirits. Outwardly we still live in this world and as such we are faced with all of it trials and difficulties, as well as its pleasures, temptations and sins. Heaven comes to earth when we are living and walking out the life of Christ and the principles of the kingdom in our earthly life and vessel. We are the manifestation and expression of His kingdom in the earth. When we mix the two realms of flesh and Spirit we get a muddy mess. It is this muddy mess that defiles and taints the name of Jesus in the earth. The world sees in us a people that proclaims and preaches one thing, but then tries to live it out with natural thinking and human ways. No wonder they are put off by our hypocrisy. God gives us some grace here. We are growing and we are not fully matured yet, but it is important that our heart is after the kingdom of God and not the kingdoms of this world. Already we see them passing away and more than ever we are impressed with the truth that we must lay hold of His kingdom in mind, word and deed. Judgement is swiftly coming for the wicked, but our lives must stand as a testimony against all wickedness and perversity of men through the demonstration of righteous living and through the power of our love in Christ. We stand as a testimony to God’s alternative to judgement. We stand and walk with the light of hope and salvation for all that would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and turn from their wicked ways. Heaven is here, but it needs you as a vessel to reveal it and unveil it. The kingdom of God has come, is come and is coming, but we are the revelation of its presence and reality in this world. How will they know the King unless they see the reality of His kingdom in you and I? We are where the rubber meets the road and where spiritual principles become practical reality in our daily living and actions. If the wicked would see Jesus, they must see Him through us, not through our condemnation, but through our love and righteousness.
A kingdom principle is, that our gain is often in our loss, and our life is found in our death. Paul reveals it this way in Philippians 3: 7-11, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” This is a kingdom mentality and thinking. It is how we transition into the kingdom of God. We become the less that He might become the more, till He becomes our all in all.

Blessings,
#kent

Confronting our Enemy

September 5, 2013

Confronting our Enemy

1 Samuel 14:4-14
4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez, and the other Seneh. 5 One cliff stood to the north toward Micmash, the other to the south toward Geba.
6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”
7 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
8 Jonathan said, “Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.”
11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”
So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.”
13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.

The Lord began to reveal a few things in this passage from 1 Samuel 14. It is best to read the chapter to get the full context. Many of us spend a good deal of our lives trying to avoid confrontation with the enemy of our souls. Spiritually we find ourselves cowered down, hiding, afraid and more or less defeated. Perhaps we keep waiting around hoping God will do some great thing to defeat the enemy and then we can just walk into the victory. This was more or less the state of Israel at the time. King Saul was waiting around under a pomegranate tree and a lot of the Israelites had gone up to hide in the hills, some had even gone over to the camp of the Philistines.
In this story we see a young man that got tired of waiting around and playing soldier in the traditional ways of his father Saul. He was a new generation, a man of faith and confidence in God. He dared to believe God for what He had already promised to give His people. He laid hold of the promise. While everyone was waiting around playing soldier, he decided he would be one. Together with his armor-bearer they decided to test the waters and if God gave them the sign then they knew that the Lord would fight their battle and it didn’t matter the odds. In their approach to the enemy camp there were two significant rock formations. One was called Bozez which means “surpassing white, glistening”, and the other was Seneh which means “thorny”. One cliff stood facing the north toward Micmash, which means “hidden”, and the other to the south toward Geba, which means “hill”. The spiritual significance seen here is that this is that place we must pass through to gain our victories. On one side we have a type of heaven glistening with promise and opportunity, but hidden to the natural eye and mind of man. On the other side we have the place that is thorny, full of trials, tribulations and an uphill battle. It is very evident to the natural man and stands as a monument of discouragement. The significance this has for us is that in our Christian walk we see so much of the thorny side of things we fail to continue to look with the eyes of faith to the heavenly things and the promises of God. This day Jonathan got a hold of a revelation that this was simply a pass he and his armor-bearer had to climb over on their way to experience God’s great deliverance and victory. They could have continued in the comfort and safety of the camp much like our traditional religion, but they only talked about great things, they never did anything about it. Jonathan got stirred up in his spirit and tired of just sitting around, so he spoke to his armor-bearer. I saw him as a type of the Holy Spirit that is ever with us to comfort, encourage and empower us. He is the one who is the resource of the weapons of our spiritual warfare. Together they were an unstoppable team to the Philistines. As the Lord went before to discomfit the enemy, Jonathan, by faith put down his enemies and the armor-bearer followed to put them to death. It was like God was his forward and his rearward. God used this act of faith to not only bring a great victory, but to also stir up faith and confidence in his brethren to enter into the battle and partake of the victory.
Where are we at today? Are we content to dwell under the pomegranate tree with Saul or hide in the hills for fear that the enemy will assault us with more trials and tribulations? Maybe we are even dwelling in the camp of the enemy. Perhaps this is the day to get the heart of Jonathan to believe how great our God is and that he can save by many or few. God is greater than your circumstance. He is the victory in your battle for He has equipped you to win. He has given His armor-bearer to back you up and help you in the battle. You are not alone; God is your rearward and your forward. It is a hard place between heaven and hell that we must pass through, but if God says go up then we know the victory is ours in Christ Jesus. Stir up your faith to believe great things of your God and seek His direction knowing that ‘you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus and greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world, for He overcame the world.’ Let us have the faith and courage of Jonathan, beloved of God, to go up and experience the victory that is ours in Christ.

Blessings,
kent

Faithfulness in Marriage

August 21, 2013

Faithfulness in Marriage

Malachai 2:14-16
You cry out, “Why has the LORD abandoned us?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made to each other on your wedding day when you were young. But you have been disloyal to her, though she remained your faithful companion, the wife of your marriage vows.
Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “It is as cruel as putting on a victim’s bloodstained coat,” says the LORD Almighty. “So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife.”
Our hearts are not different than those that have gone before us. They are still deceitfully wicked and perverse. Unless guarded and kept under the Lordship of Christ and led by the Spirit they will lead us in the ways contrary to His will. We live in a day when the divorce rate is somewhere around fifty percent. One out of two marriages end in divorce. What is even more sad is that it isn’t a whole lot better even among the Christian community. What is this telling us about the condition of our hearts? In Matthew 19:8 Jesus says, “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
From today’s passage we can readily see that this isn’t the will of God and what His attitude about divorce is. The enemy is doing a masterful job of destroying our homes, families and marriages. The moral fabric of our society is deteriorating before our very eyes, as we become more complacent and accepting of it. So many of us end up playing right into this destruction and we wonder why God isn’t blessing us and answering our prayers. Could it be that we have become too self-centered rather than God centered? Probably the only ones who will continue reading this if it is an issue in their lives are those who really care more about God’s will than their own. None of us like to be confronted with our sins. We, like the world, want to run from the light. The difference is that we are children of the light and if we are really Christ’s then our spirit won’t let us run away even when we are in error. We have a conviction to return to what is right and repent of what is wrong.
Our biggest temptation today is self-isolation. We become too absorbed in what we want to do, what is important to us and what meets our needs and wants. As a result we isolate ourselves from the demands and needs of those around us, especially our spouses. Life begins to slowly and subtly take us in different directions and begins to place a wedge in our relationships. I can be perfectly content going my own way and doing my own thing, but when I got married and committed to that woman my life, love and loyalty, I gave up being just about myself. It is the two of us that make up one person and while we are individuals with differences we are one flesh both of us living for the good and well being of the other and not just ourselves. I know how oblivious I can become to the needs of my wife because I get so caught up in what I need to do and what is important to me. I have to remember that my top priority next to God is my wife. When I forget that I begin to unwittingly open myself up to a breakdown in our relationship. Just as I must cultivate and spend quality time in my relationship with the Lord, I can do no less with my spouse.
What I am learning is that our spiritual relationship is directly related to our natural relationship with our spouse. When there is disharmony and dissension in the natural, it hinders the spiritual dimension of our relationship with the Lord. As 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” We have to remember that we are not in this by ourselves, we are together in union with Christ. We need that unity to maintain right relationship spiritually. This is another reason we as husbands and wives must commit to keeping our hearts in an attitude of submission before the Lord and to one another, willing to pray together and share our hearts together without fear of reprisals. We will all have our difficult times, but if our hearts and attitudes remain right we can resolve them.
If we are finding ourselves in the place in our lives where the storms of divorce are brewing, start by submitting your hearts to the Lord and His will. It is only in being right with Him that we can be right with each other. Love has to be the conquering force to all obstacles and we know that His love is greater than ourselves. Let His love reign in your hearts and relationships always and let us submit ourselves to one another in the spirit of that love.

Blessings,
kent

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