Hope, Joy and Crown

November 24, 2014

Hope, Joy and Crown

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

When we selflessly plant ourselves into other people’s lives what is our gain if they can’t reward us and we see no earthly or monetary benefit? What do we hope to see in our children through the years of raising them, nurturing, teaching and mentoring them? It is not for what they can pay us back in material gain that we do it. It is a labor of love and the harvest we long to see, that we continue to pray for, hope for and believe for are lives that are healthy, productive and that produce a legacy. A parent’s greatest reward is to have children that love and respect them, but also that hold to the values of faith that were instilled in them and that they in turn instill those same values in their children. We long to see a perpetual legacy of generations that follow on to know and obey the Lord.
The churches that the apostle Paul established were his children. He taught them, mentored them and raised them up in the faith and knowledge of Christ. It wasn’t a job for him; it was his life, his purpose and his joy. When he stood before the Lord there was no greater testimony to his faithfulness and his greatness as a servant of God than those that he had raised up in Christ. He was able to stand with the Lord and look through the generations at the harvest he had been instrumental in producing in the earth. This stood as Paul’s greatest, hope, joy and crown. This was his greatest reward.
Our greatest reward in heaven won’t be about our businesses, our finances or our status in the community; it will be about what we planted in others. It will be about what we sowed into their lives through our faithful commitment and walk with Christ. We want to see it in our children and our grandchildren. We want to see it in the ones that we helped disciple and bring to Christ. Nothing breaks our heart more than to see what we have treasured and nurtured stolen and destroyed by sin. It is for this reason that our Lord Jesus ever stands as our high priest making intercession on our behalf. He too, longs after us to be His hope, joy and crown.
Let us not grow weary or complacent concerning the awesome responsibility that we have toward those who under our spiritual authority or influence. We must remember that we are the priests of our home and have the responsibility to pray, intercede, teach and persuade our families in the ways of righteousness and salvation. Be faithful to the gift, the calling and instrument that God has created you to be. How we respond and use what He has created us to be and how that translates into the lives of others will be our hope, our joy and crown. Our legacy is our glory and our joy.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Radiance of His Glory

Matthew 25:31
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

The glory of the Lord is an awesome thing. It is the outshining of God’s very presence, being and life. No mere mortal man can stand before it. Even the mighty men of God that experienced it, like Moses and Daniel were completely undone and prostrate before it.
When Jesus came and walked among us we were able to view the glory of God, but it was veiled in human flesh. When our Christ comes again there will be no concealing His glory. It will be fully manifested. A few of the disciples briefly beheld Him in the fullness of His glory on the mount of transfiguration.
2 Thessalonians 1: 5-12 reveals, “All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.” When the presence of Christ is revealed in His glory, His glory will be made manifest in the earth. The fullness of the Head will come in union and fully be enthroned within His body. The glory that is resident in the Head will be manifested throughout His body as He comes to rule and judge the earth. Isaiah 60:1-5 prophesies, “”Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. 5 Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.” The radiance of God’s glory will not only shine forth from the Son, but from those who are enthroned with Him. Revelations 20:4-6 says, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Thrones are the symbol of authority and power. This is the full expression of this King-Priest ministry that rules and reigns with Christ. They are fully as one. They express even one mind and one heart, that of the Father.
The Word of God teaches us that there are two resurrections. Those partaking in this first resurrection are those who will rule and reign with Christ. After the thousand years there will be a general resurrection in which all of the nations will be judged. We can glean that those who partake in this first resurrection are those that don’t partake in the mark of the beast and refuse to worship him. While we may not see this beast yet manifested the way that we might one day expect; his spirit still presides over the earth and the affairs of men. Our being caught up in the worldliness of this present time and our dependence upon the world can represent a partaking of that mark. This company of first resurrection saints are those who are willing to lay down their lives for their witness of Jesus. Their lives are not seated here; they are seated with Christ in God. They do not seek here any lasting city, but they are sojourners, foreigners, looking to a city whose builder and maker is God.
Where are our lives today? Is this earth our home? Is our glory found here? Are our hearts truly set upon the King of Glory and lived out in the hope of Him. There is no earthly comparison to the radiance of God’s glory. Let us not sell ourselves short of the great and glorious calling we have in Christ Jesus even if it cost us everything in this life and physical life itself.

Blessings
#kent

Friend or Foe

November 7, 2013

Friend or Foe

Matthew 16:13-28
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15″But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ,] the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Most of us would agree that Jesus’ disciple Peter was a friend of the Lord. He really did love the Lord and while a little rough around the edges Peter had some great qualities about him. I think most of us would say that we are a friend of the Lord’s, that we love Him and like Peter, we have committed our lives to follow after Him.
It is an interesting passage that we read today because first we see Jesus asking the question about who men think that He is. We see Peter chime in, with spirit of revelation, that Jesus is the Christ. Peter is called blessed and commended of the Lord. The Lord gives him the keys of the kingdom and the power to bind and loose in heaven and earth. Peter must have been feeling pretty good about himself about then like maybe he was just one up on the others cause he had the goods. He had the revelation of the Christ.
We then see a quick turn of events where Jesus reveals the purpose and plan of his life to suffer and die in Jerusalem at the hand of the elders, chief priest and teachers. Peter, perhaps a little full of himself, begins to rebuke the Lord and let Him know that we are never going to let this happen. Suddenly we see a friend turned foe as the Lord rebukes Peter and says, “Get thee behind me satan.” That must have really taken the wind out of Peter’s sails. Jesus goes on to explain the definition of discipleship and the exchange of life that must take place which means the death of the self life to experience the resurrection of God’s life.
I think that we are not so unlike Peter. We have a true zeal and love for the Lord. We have a revelation and understanding of many things, but we become the enemy of the cross because we want to preserve our life when we need to lose it and reckon it dead. We want to hold on to the natural things of this world rather than to die to them that we may possess the treasures of the kingdom. We are like a baby that would rather hold on to a rock than exchange it for a silver rattle. We are much like Peter, spiritual on one hand and unwilling to embrace the cross on the other. What if Peter had had his way? He thought his intentions were noble and good. He wasn’t going to let Jesus have to go to the cross. Often we view the death that the Lord is leading us into as the worse thing for us, because we see the price of suffering and sacrifice. What we fail to see by faith, is what is on the other side of that death, it is abundant and eternal, resurrection life with great reward. We may be traveling that road to Calvary today and satan may be working through agents and people that mean well, but they don’t comprehend the way we must go and why we must go there. We must be careful that we don’t allow others to turn us from our call to discipleship and the cross or that we don’t become a stumbling block to others to keep them from walking that way as well. In order to fully realize who we are we have to die to what we were. It takes two hands to embrace discipleship. We have reached out in faith with one, but we have to release our world and the things we have held dear to take hold of the Lord with the other. The things of this world keep pulling us down into death while the Lord is pulling us up into life, but it takes both hands laying hold of His for us to be pulled up into the fullness of His life.

Blessings,
kent

The Labor of Love

September 3, 2013

The Labor of Love

Galatians 4:19
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

A woman and prospective mother endures all of the discomforts and demands of pregnancy for the joy and the hope that she carries within her. Then comes the day of the birthing, which without modern medicine is on the extreme of pain, discomfort and tremendous laboring. Yet she will endure all of that, not only once, but often, again and again for the joy of the life that it brings forth. Out of all that pain, discomfort and labor a miracle is brought forth. The miracle of a newborn life, formed in the image of its maker and its parents. This was Paul’s analogy in describing what it was to Him to birth Christ in others. It wasn’t just about telling them about Jesus and having them come to the altar and pray the sinner’s prayer. That may have been where it began, but certainly not where it ended. That was only the conception. The process of Christ’s life being formed in these former Gentiles and Jews was a long process of intense prayer and intercession, teaching and counseling, living before them the example of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, forming the likeness of Christ in them. Far too often, after Paul had poured out His heart and soul in love and instruction to these new converts to Christ, he would experience the heartbreak of them turning aside to another doctrine, or becoming caught up again in legalism or allowing sin to come again and pervert the purity of their faith. No one knows like a parent, the heartbreak you feel when your child turns away from the path of righteousness and understanding that you have laid before him or her. Slowly, patiently, repetitiously you taught your children from infancy, through childhood, puberty and into adulthood. You sought to instill your belief system and core values into them. All that you valued and hold dear, you tried to impart to them. You continually prayed for them and when they were younger you prayed with them to help them establish a relationship with their God and yours.
Oh, the sting and the heartbreak you felt if at some point they rejected your values, the truths you held dear, and made choices in another direction. You may not only have prayed for them, but pleaded with them and reasoned with them to help them to see and repent from the error of their ways.
This principle is true when discipling and pouring out your life so that Christ might be formed in others. Often it is those ones that so loved you and would have done anything for you that now take on a different spirit. Now they despise and reject you because of the truth you are trying to speak into them. In Galatians 4:16 Paul says, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Often truth is no longer our friend, or the messenger who bears it, when it goes in the face of what we want to believe and the direction we want to go. As rebellious and as otherwise directed as some may become, the love of God compels the travail of love that seeks to love them and bring them back into the truth and right fellowship of who they are in Christ. It does not cease its travail until again Christ is formed in them.
We can all thank God for parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, friends and those ones God has placed in our lives to help establish and form Christ in us. Many of us can look back at times we may have erred or lost our way and yet these ones the Lord set in our lives did not forsake us, or reject us. They prayed for us, they may have tried to counsel with and speak the truth into our lives, but they continued to love us even when we rejected and were perhaps hateful with them. They continued to demonstrate the tenacious love of God for us that ‘it is not God’s will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9).
Someone has labored over your life today so that Christ might be formed in you. Someone is caring and praying for you even in those times you may have slipped back or turned another direction. It is the Spirit of Christ in us that causes us to travail as Paul did. Sometimes the source of deeper inner groanings and utterances are birthed of the Spirit and not in the understanding of man. God’s desire for each one of us is not just for us to have a religious understanding of who God is. It is that the revelation of “Christ in you” is formed, birthed and established in you so that we would no longer live and function out of natural understanding and desire, but out of the mind, will, love and heart of the Christ that indwells us and of whose nature we now are. We all are the labor of His love.

Blessings,
kent

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

Malachi 3:1

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

When asking the Lord what is the most important message of this hour I believe “preparation” is what He is dropping into my heart. It is the time of a John the Baptist ministry when He has sent His servants into the Land to stir the hearts of the people to repentance and preparation for the coming King.

We have all grown so complacent with the lifestyles that we lead. We truly have far greater riches and blessing than the majority of the rest of the world. That is wonderful in some ways, but in others we have fallen into the snare of self-reliance and contentment. I see this in my own heart as well as others. In the spirit, God is speaking, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” He is exhorting and warning us to stir ourselves to faith and action. It is a time to really seek the Lord and what His purpose and plan is. We may still be in the stages of preparation, but we should be no less diligent in seeking God’s highest for our lives. Things are boiling beneath surface and there will soon come a time when things will be released upon the earth, no doubt in both realms of light and darkness. Lethargy and mediocrity will prove to be the ropes that have tied our hands and feet. Over and over in what we hear the Lord speaking He is saying, “press into Me, repent of your sinful ways and start pressing into the high calling that is yours in Christ Jesus.”

The book of Proverbs teaches that it is the wise man that listens and takes heed to reproof, but the fool only despises it. May the Lord heighten our spiritual senses and accountability today as we endeavor to walk closer to Him and pursue His righteousness. A shaking has already began and a judgement has come upon His house, for God first judges His own house. He is exposing our sin and our corruption. He is shouting from the rooftops those things that have been done in the closet.

This is the day for us to get our hearts right again, to purify ourselves and put away our iniquities. Can we hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches? More importantly are we willing to act upon and prepare the way of the Lord by first preparing our hearts? If you had one month to put your life and your house in order what would you change? What are our priorities in the light of eternity? The decisions and the choices we make today will ripple through our eternity. They may make the difference in whether we stand or fall, whether we are honored or dishonored before the Lord. Many of us are compromising ourselves as King Jehoshaphat did in the Old Testament. He was a good king and he loved the Lord, but in 2 Chronicles 19:1-3 we see God sending a prophet to warn him about compromising with evil. “When Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem, 2 Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD ? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you. 3 There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God.” While many of us embrace and believe the principles of righteousness we embrace alliances with those walking in darkness. The Lord is calling us today unto separation and preparation. Jehoshaphat met his end because he was in an alliance and relationship that was not in the will and purpose of God. Be careful whom you build your relationships with.

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:19-22)

Blessings,
Kent

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