1 Samuel 15: 22-23

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.” 

Obedience is better than Sacrifice

Most of us have grown up in religion that operates as king Saul did.  It is more about doing than obedience.  We have developed numerous programs to do things for God and about God, but how much of it comes out of direct obedience to the Spirit to do all of these things.  It seems good.  It sounds good, but does it produce the life and Spirit of God in others.  What God does and what He builds will have this characteristic.  It will produce life and it will accomplish the purposes of God.  If we build something in the flesh, no matter how good or noble it may seem, then we have to maintain and support it in the power of the flesh.  What God has commissioned, He will provide for.  

Saul, like so many of us, is justifying to Samuel how he did good.  Listen to how we often respond to God in how Saul answers the Word of God through Samuel in verses 17-20, “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.” 

How many of us have had directives of the Lord either personally or through His Word and we have compromised what He has instructed us to do.  We have made it subject to our interpretation and justified our manipulating of what God has instructed to best meet our needs or purposes rather than His.  Religion always acts in the name of God, but is not always subject in obedience to the express will of God.  Many of us in our religious spirits, put on our outward vestures of obedience and righteousness, while inwardly we work things after the will of our own devices.  

God has a strong word for Saul and for us who are being religious, but not obedient.  God calls it rebellion and He says it is like witchcraft.  It is where we purpose to manipulate and control what God has spoken to us to do.  We are not honoring and worshipping Him in this process, we are honoring and worshipping our agendas and ourselves.   God doesn’t delight in our pretenses at what is good; He delights in our obedience.  Through this kind of stubbornness and rebellion God rejected Saul as king.  Now Saul didn’t cease to sit in the place of kingship from that day even as Adam didn’t literally die in the day that he partook of the forbidden fruit, but in both cases something happened in the spirit realm that brought death.  When God withdrawals His Spirit from a thing it will eventually whither and die.  

God has withdrawn His Spirit from religion because it is only a pretense of godliness, built upon the letter of the law and not the Spirit.  He is not looking for those who have a form of godliness, He is seeking after those who will worship and walk in Spirit and in truth.  He is looking for those whose obedience is pure from a heart of love.  They are not interested in what makes them look good or what benefits them.  They are only interested in what glorifies the Father, so they will do things in His time and in His way.  If God doesn’t move, then they won’t produce their own agenda to make up for it.  They have put on the harness of the Lord and they will only move as the King directs them.  

Are we operating out of this spirit of obedience or are we still a lot like Saul, manipulating godliness to what best suits our ends?  Our stubbornness and self-will has no place in the kingdom. 

Blessings,

#kent

Advertisements

The Deliverer

October 21, 2015

Psalms 107:6 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he delivered them out of their distresses.

The Deliverer

The Word of God is a book of deliverance. Time and time again in story after story we see God moving on behalf of His chosen people to deliver them. Many times it was their sin and rebellion that had brought them to the place where there was no way out but God. The ultimate Deliverer we have found in the person of God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. He has not only delivered us from the law of sin and death, but He continues to be our Deliverer today. We, like the people of God before us, often cry out in faith for the Lord’s deliverance. Psalms 34:4 holds as true for us today as it did for David, “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Many of us are seeking the Lord for areas of deliverance in our personal lives. We find ourselves captivated by fear, doubt, sickness, debt, sin, oppression and other areas that have brought us into a bondage in which we have no way out. I believe the Lord is that same Deliver He has always been, both in the Old and the New Testament. He will hear the cries of His people who humble themselves and pray. Some of us may believe the Lord is our Deliverer, but we have become discouraged in the wait. Our faith may be wavering as we may have stood for a long period in hopes of our deliverance. Moses had a similar issue when He was waiting on God to move in delivering God’s people from Pharaoh’s bondage. In Exodus 5:22 –23 it says, “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou [so] evil entreated this people? why [is] it [that] thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.” Sometimes, like Moses, we know the Lord is faithful to His promises, but we don’t see anything happening. In fact, sometimes it just seems to get worse instead of better. There is a period gestation and pregnancy before a child is brought forth. So it is with many of God’s promises. When they are brought forth it is often through great travail and pain, but we can’t give up on the child of promise. We must continue to carry it till it is the Lord’s time. Galatians 6:9 admonishes us, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Continue to hold fast to the promises of God and His deliverance for He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Blessings,

#kent

Entering into His Rest

September 18, 2015

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

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

Blessings,
#kent

Love and Obedience

June 26, 2015

John 14:10, 21, 23-24, 31
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. ..

Love and Obedience

The Lord began to show how much love and obedience go hand in hand in this passage from John 14. Jesus is coming to His final hour and the words that He speaks are both weighty and meaningful. He is clearly communicating with us as He speaks to His disciples that truth, faith and love are demonstrated through our obedience to what He has been teaching us through His word.
Our greatest revelation of the Lord comes through obedience. That is when we develop sensitivity to the Holy Spirit so that we hear His voice. The more responsive and obedient we are to that voice the more clearly we discern and know it. The Holy Spirit is like our conscience in some ways. Often we have a feeling or a knowing when something isn’t right or when we are doing something wrong. We can either heed that knowing or we can ignore it, rationalize it, justify it or just disobey it. Eventually it becomes less and less as we desensitize ourselves to it. We do the same thing with the Holy Spirit within us. That is why we don’t hear the Lord the way we need and should be hearing Him. So often we have shut Him out rather than do things His way. Jesus is saying our love for Him and the Father should sensitize us to the Holy Spirit. We should be so aware of His presence and responsive to His voice and dealings in our lives. This is what our love for Him should produce in us. It is a love for God’s will and His way rather than our own mind and our own will. Just as the Father was manifested through the Son, because of the complete uncompromising obedience to all that the Father commanded Him, so Christ will be more fully manifested in us the more we walk in complete obedience and submission to His commandments to us. The commandments, the teachings or the Word of God is God’s mind for us. It is His direction, instruction, admonishment and teaching so that we might be fully equipped and come into the maturity of who He is.
If we want to see more of God in our lives, then we need to love Him the way He has instructed that we love Him, through obedience to His Word. When we truly love God through our complete obedience and surrender to Him, we will become aware of His personal leading and direction in every aspect of our lives. To know Him is to love Him and to love Him is to obey Him. Jesus promises in John 14:21 that if we really love Him through our obedience then we are loved of the Father and Jesus says, “I too will love him and show myself to him.”
This is a key point to us in this hour that we become less focused on what our will and wants are and begin to focus on the will and purpose of the Lord for us at this time. We will find the key to that revelation in our obedience to Him. We must love Him as we never have before and with that love comes the complete surrender of our hearts and wills to His will. His commands are not burdensome, but they are life giving. There are times when God stretches us way out of our comfort zone, but if we are willing to obey and trust Him the reward can be tremendous. We will see, know and demonstrate God in ways that we didn’t even know were possible for us. Let us commit to love Him completely and fully through our obedience to His Spirit and His Word. In this place we will come to truly know Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Our Father, Guardian and Instructor

Proverbs 13:1
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.

Why is it that God’s people should read and study the Word of God? Why is it that they should listen and read from Spirit Anointed men and women? Why are prayer and meditation so important?
As God has given us earthly parents that for a short time to teach and correct us, Our heavenly Father is continually our guardian, instructor and corrector. Hebrews 12:10 tells us, “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” Isn’t that our goal and destiny as people of God, to share in God’s holiness and nature? Isn’t this our new nature as we have been born again by the Spirit? As the wife and I read through the book of Proverbs we can’t help but be impressed with this message, ‘God will give us wisdom and life defining principles that will give us good success, long life and immortality. The condition is that we must take heed to listen and follow in these principles and ways of life. We all know that we have areas of weakness, failure and folly in our lives. We need correction, for without it we will perish. This is what distinguishes the wise from the foolish and the righteous from the wicked, the righteous and wise son will heed, receive and embrace correction and rebuke. He will not be offended by it because he knows that it is working life and godliness in him. Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” Now none of us are overly fond of correction, because it generally hurts our ego or our flesh. Many of the trials that we endure are a form of correction, not because we are bad, but because God is exercising us in faith and in application of the principles and tenants of His Word. How do we get good at anything? Isn’t it by much repetition and practice? We are in God’s boot camp and His training ground for developing and exercising righteousness and right living. How are we going to know the right responses and ways to handle our trials and the circumstances that life throws at us if we don’t study the manual and listen to instruction? This is why we want a close walk and relationship with the Lord so that we can hear and discern the Holy Spirit’s voice. He is our personal teacher and life coach. He will teach us through our everyday life experiences if we are tuned in and listening to Him. Most of us are so busy blasting through life our own way we rarely give time or attention to even inquire or listen for the Holy Spirit. I wonder why we struggle so?
The wisest and richest man in the earth wrote Proverbs. Much of what is shared in Proverbs is a contrast between wise and foolish, simple and knowledgeable, righteous and wicked and life and death. We are continually instructed on right response and behavior and wrong response and behavior. It makes plain to us the consequences of our response and choices.
If any of us have had rebellious or disobedient children then we can relate with what the Lord puts up with in us. Somehow they can’t receive the fact that you are telling them things and limiting them from things that will result in their hurt. They perceive it as you being overbearing, unfair and just out of touch. As a result they choose to go down the hurtful path that results in pain and suffering for all. Many of us are certainly no different when it comes to obeying God’s Word.
We want to challenge you to read a chapter of Proverbs every day for a least two years and see if it doesn’t change your life, your finances and your situation as you begin to put these principles and proverbs into practice. There are thirty chapters, one for each day of the month. What Sharon and I are doing is reading a new chapter and then we reread the chapter we read the day before to reinforce it. God’s Word will change us if we will not only read it and hear it, but seek to give it application in our daily lives and circumstances. This is what develops holiness in the fear of God. This is what gives us faith and life and hope in every situation. Take the challenge and prove God’s Word. His promises and His Word will not come back void, they will work positive changes in your life. God is a good God, a wonderful and loving Parent and One that is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Fear of Man

October 14, 2014

Fear of Man

Psalms 56:1-6,9-13
Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. 2 My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. 3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? 5 All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. 6 They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life…
Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise- 11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Fear is a powerful force. Most all of us have been influenced and moved by it. But ironically it is the fear of God that will move us to faith, while the negative fears that we harbor and allow, touching and influencing our lives will move us away from faith. If we think about it most anything we fail to trust God for is either an act of disobedience through rebellion or it is disobedience out of fear. Faith is a confidence in God and His Word, fear is the doubt and apprehension that God will fail us. Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” One of our greatest fears is what others think about us, how they will accept us and what they can do to hurt us. Fear is one of the strongest instruments at the enemy’s disposal. It undermines our faith and gets our eyes and our confidence off of Christ and back on to us. It causes us to see after the natural rather than the supernatural.
There are different levels at which fear can touch us from the most surface levels of fear to the deepest levels of psychological trauma. On the surface levels we all deal with fear of social acceptance, failure and insecurity. Think about a baby in the mother’s womb. It knows no fear there. It is safe, it is warm, provided for, accepted and secure. It has all of the things that we loose the guarantee of as we come into this world and are forced into self- responsibility. When these basic needs or wants are threatened it causes us to fear. We fear when we are not in a safe environment. We fear for our health, our daily provisions and needs as well as the needs of those we are responsible for. We fear when we feel insecure and threatened, physically, emotionally or even spiritually. Thus fear becomes a very powerful motivator and influence in our lives. Jesus addresses this fear that stems out of worry in Matthew 6:25-34, “”Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Is all fear bad? No, we can’t say that all fear is bad, because it is often fear that can motivate us to right actions or even protect us from things that could harm us. The fear of God is a good fear because it moves us into Him and the more that we move into God the more we learn to trust Him. He can bring us again to that place of peace we had as infant only it won’t be without conflict. It won’t be without many things, people and circumstances coming against us, as they attempt to rob our peace and confidence in the God that we’ve come to know, love and serve.
Many of the challenges to our faith come through the fear of man. We fear that others will not accept us so we focus on what will be pleasing to the world. Many of us get our self worth and esteem from what others think. We often fear man so much that we let society and our circle of influence shape our values, our opinions and form the standard for how to act, what to wear, what we can and can not talk about. In Jesus’ day people were fearful to talk about Jesus. John 7:13 says, “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.” Many of us fear to speak openly of Jesus today for fear that others will be offended or not accept us. We want to have the heart that David had when he said in Psalm 56:4, “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Our flesh avoids pain and seeks pleasure. We fear not living up the standards others have for us for fear of rejection. Many of us live in a constant state of worry and anxiety, which is fear. Yet the word teaches us in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Fear will always focus us on the natural and take our eyes off of our faith in God. Deuteronomy 31:6 exhorts God’s people, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” God speaks His Word into us to disperse our fears. Isaiah 41:10-14 says, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
It is our faith in God that gives us boldness in place of timidity, that gives us eyes and a heart to see beyond our fears as we embrace the realities of God’s promises and His Word. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” And again in 2 Corinthians 4:18 he says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. “ The fear of the Lord will bring us into faith for it will cause us to exalt God’s ways above man’s ways and it will embrace His Word as truth even in the face of opposing natural evidence. Our hope, our confidence and our faith are in the Lord. When we embrace who we are in Him, then the fear of this world looses its power over us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. (1 John 5:4)”

Blessings,
#kent

The Place of Rest

September 29, 2014

1 Samuel 13:5-10
The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings. ” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

The Place of Rest

This passage about Saul really speaks to the times of the testing of our faith that God brings us to in our lives. One of the most difficult concepts for us to learn and submit to is the “Rest of God”. We know we have God’s word and promises, but like Saul when fear is all around us and the situation is critical it is very hard for us not to get anxious and impatient.
Samuel was the prophet and priest of God to offer up the burnt offering. He is spirit man of intercession who spiritually prepared the troops for battle. What we have here is a type of the body in the fearful and restless soldiers of Israel. The souls typified by King Saul and the man of the spirit is exemplified by Samuel. How many of us have ever been in situations where we were trying to wait on God, but the situation was getting critical and God was running late? In fact, we began to wonder if He was even going to show up at all. It says of Saul, ” He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter.” Now there is an appointed time for the man of God, the spirit man, to show up, but God seems to often wait until that last hour before He reveals Himself. It is in the those last hours that our circumstances seem to be falling down all around and all hell is breaking out around us that we begin to get out of faith and into doubt, fear and unbelief. The soul starts succumbing to the same anxiousness that our body has been feeling for some time now. When we are in faith, trusting in God’s Word, we are in a position of REST. Quite honestly, in the natural Saul didn’t have much of a chance to win this battle against the odds of the Philistines in the natural. His only real hope of winning was to maintain his position of Rest in God. As so often can happen with us, we grow impatient with God, assuming He is not going to show up, so we take matters into our own hands. We do our homage by saying, “God bless the works of my hands,” and then we go about doing what we were going to do. When we make that decision, we just missed a crucial time in our obedience and position in the Spirit. We just set stepped out of our position of the Rest of God and into reacting to the circumstances, motivated by our fear and unbelief that God was not going to move on our behalf.
Seven days Saul was appointed to wait. Seven is God’s number. It is the number of His Rest, even as the scriptures say in Genesis, “so on the seventh day God rested from all His work.” We are now standing in the seventh day, the day of the Lord. The enemies gathered before us are vast in number. Outwardly we want to fear and quake, but inwardly in our heart and soul, we had better know that there is no victory outside of the Rest of God. Only in Him, in His timing and in His way are we going to be able to triumph over our enemies. The old religious way of doing it our way in the name of God isn’t going to work anymore. God is removing His Kingdom from the religious man’s hands and placing it into the hand of the ones who know how to wait. They know that there victory is not in getting in a hurry to confront the enemy, but it is in entering into the praise, worship and Rest of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The battle and the victory must first be won inwardly, before it can manifest outwardly.
Saul lost his position that day, because he yielded to his anxious heart and his fearful body. He moved out of the position of Rest and disqualified himself from the kingdom purpose for which he was called. Many of us are finding ourselves in hard positions today. Everything around is screaming, “you got to do something.” The something we have to do is to Rest and wait upon the Lord. We don’t want to dare move outside His Spirit’s leading and His timing. God’s time isn’t our time, but our time must become His time. That is the place of Rest and victory.
We would close with this appropriate exhortation from Hebrews 4:1-11. “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”

Blessings,
#kent

Practical Application for a Holy Life

Colossians 3: 1-3
1Since, 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.

The first thing we need as Christians is a revelation of who we are in Christ. In Christ, the former man with it natural affections has passed away and we are putting on a new man renewed in thought, purpose and deed; reflecting and producing the image of Christ. Colossians 3 is a great application for who we are and what we are becoming, as well as what we need to be doing to get there.
We start out by realizing positionally where we are at, “raised with Christ” who is seated at the right hand of God. We are in Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. We aren’t going to find many positions higher than that. We, who are in that position, have come to a new mindset different from the one we formerly carried. We must be a heavenly-minded people whose affections are on things above and not on things below, who walk after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Many of us are still holding on to that old unrenewed mind and earthly affections. It is bringing us down and robbing us of who we are and what we have “in Christ”. It is only as we behold Him that the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Colossians 3 is an instructional in the practical ways we are to become heavenly-minded and have a renewed mind. The first thing that it instructs us to do is often the hardest for us to put into practical application. Verses 5-11 instruct us, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming, 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Do you happen to recognize any of these attributes still lingering around your life? The hardest thing to put to death is our flesh. It has an instinct for survival and it will do anything, compromise anyway, promise to be good, it just doesn’t want to die; yet it must. We can see the value of keeping Christ and the Word of God constantly in front of us, so that we have a mirror of who we are in Christ and we don’t loose vision of where we are going and what our purpose now is. These little daily devotionals are just one more means I pray the Holy Spirit uses to continually prompt and exhort us in His ways and not our former nature. We tend to want to turn away and ignore the things that put a finger on our sin and our reluctance to yield certain areas of our lives to Christ. We all have our little weaknesses, our idols, and those things that our flesh covets and doesn’t want to give up. Yet, if we are unwilling, then we are living in rebellion and disobedience to Christ, we are not being true to who we are “in Christ”, thus we deny His best and His highest for us.
These scriptures tell us what we must take off, but what about what we must put on. God never takes anything away but what He doesn’t give us something better to replace it with. Verses 12-17 instruct us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” God is in affect telling us to be clothed now with His nature, which is the holy apparel that is consistent with heavenly citizenship. The world around us must see something unique, different and special about the people who bear the name of Christ. If we are no different than the world, then we haven’t really changed identity or clothing. We are still living in the same old unredeemed man. Its not all about us going to church, or just talking about Jesus, or telling the world they are sinners bound for hell unless they repent; it is about a lifestyle and behavior that exemplifies who and what we are in Christ. That speaks so much more loudly than words. Give me a person that truly lives Christ before me and that will more quickly move me to change than all of the words and arguments they could give. When you put on Christ you don’t just put on different behavior, you put on a holy presence. It is a presence that exudes the love and power of the Spirit that you are of. God now has place and platform to glorify Himself through you.
Colossians 3 concludes by these instructions to the households of believers and the reminder that at the end of this natural life there is a reward and an inheritance. A reminder that it is Christ we serve and that if we choose to do wrong, that wrong bears its consequences without respect of persons. Verses 18-24 instruct us, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
Thus we have simply laid out for us the guide for living the practical Christ centered life that is consistent with whom we now are. Daily we present our bodies a living sacrifice and daily we renew our minds in Christ. We apply these practical instructions with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, that in all things we might be conformed to His life and live consistent with the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

Leader of the Pack

May 5, 2014

Leader of the Pack

1 Samuel 22:1-2
David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard [it], they went down thither to him. And every one [that was] in distress, and every one that [was] in debt, and every one [that was] discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

It is interesting that when David became an outcast, rejected and hunted by the King, he became identified with a different group of people. David was the anointed of the Lord and even though he was anointed to become king of Israel, David never presumptuously pursued to gain that by his own means and with his own hands. He was submitted to the Lord’s work in his life and the Lord’s timing. He had his chance to do it his way. He was tested, he was given opportunity and encouragement, he could have justified it, but David never raised his hand against Saul, whom he also regarded as the Lord’s anointed.
David became the outcast of the traditional and proper Israel. It was through no rebellion or disobedience of his that now he is running and hiding for his life. When the anointing is operating in our life it can create some interesting dynamics. Those you think would accept you and embrace you, may well become your greatest persecutors. They may be the leadership of the church, the ones regarded of men to be spiritual pillars of the community. So why would they reject you if you carry the anointing of God? The same reason they persecuted Jesus and the prophets. This is one way to discern between those operating under a religious spirit and those who are operating out of the truth and spirit of God. A religious spirit will have the pretense and the appearance of the real, but its interest is in control and domination, not in developing the anointing and calling of God in other people’s lives. Especially when their spiritual stature and abilities exceed those of the present administration.
One thing that is interesting about this anointing is that while it causes rejection and persecution from the religious spirits, it will attract the sinner, the distressed, the debtor, the discontented and the needy. There is something in their spirits that is drawn by this anointing. They have already experienced the disappointments of the world, they are hoping and looking for something and someone not of this world, someone who has touched God and carries in themselves the reality of His presence and life. We can readily see these qualities in both David and Jesus. Look at the people that both David and Jesus were surrounded with. They were not exactly the socialites or the happening crowd by the world’s standards. They were often the outcasts, the hurting, the needy and the discontents. They are often people that would take you out of your comfort zone and not necessarily those you would choose in the natural for friends. That anointing in you is like the smell of water to a thirsty animal. They will be drawn to it, because it offers life, hope and salvation in their time of need. Their spirits are the poor, broken, humble and meek. Their heart is in a condition to receive the life of the Spirit.
Those that are drawing near to Christ in relationship, prayer, praise and worship are becoming like the David’s of their generation. In that place of fellowship with the Father and the Son they are being anointed of the Holy Spirit. There will be a day when the Holy Spirit will lead you into the wilderness and there you will begin to live out of this Anointing and Spirit life. It is not for you alone, it is for those whom the Lord will attract to you and place you with.
Father is not looking for the rich, the famous and the social up and coming. 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 says, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where [is] the wise? Where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Many of us know that we are nothing by the world’s standards. We may not be exceptional, outstanding or distinguishable as someone of any significance in the world’s eyes. But God is not the world and He sees something valuable and significant in you and I, because we see that He needs to be everything in us for us to be anything. Paul goes on in this passage to say, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are That no flesh should glory in his presence But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:27-31).” If Christ is bringing forth His anointing in you and I today, then we mustn’t despise those of low estate, just as Christ did not despise us. All that He places in us and however He uses us is for none other than for His glory alone. God is in the business of making somebodies out of nobodies. Aren’t we His examples? Take those Christ brings to you and nurture them as He has nurtured you.

Blessings,
#kent

Principles of Fear

February 4, 2014

Principles of Fear


1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

 

Fear can be a dreadful thing, a strong motivator, a real or imagined substance and an object of reverence and respect.  I went through and looked at all of the scriptures that dealt with fear. Did you know that fear occurs some 400 times in the King James Bible?  I would say that makes it something we have to deal with and do deal with.  We have all known fear and in different forms.  We have known fear in a scary sense, an awesome and respectful sense, a sense of reverence, a dreadful sense and in the sense of terror.  So this one word fear can have different connotations to us, just like the word love can.  It doesn’t carry the same meaning and context in every situation.   What is more, is that I was surprised to find that the Word of God deals more with the fear of the Lord than any other fear.  We might not think of fear as having positive and negative effects, but it does.  If we looked at love as a comparison; the highest form of love being the love of God and the lowest form of love being hate.  The highest level of fear is the fear of God and the lowest level of fear is terror.  

When we read the context of scripture here in 1 John we might well question, “Why does the Word tell us so many times to ‘fear God’ and then turn around here and tell us that ‘there is no fear in love’? “ As I was meditating on these things the Lord brought to mind when I used to be an electrician in a power plant.  Before I became an electrician and didn’t understand a lot about electricity, it was a lot scarier to me.  Without understanding there was ignorance and ignorance gave way to fear.  I didn’t know exactly how electricity worked, but I did know it could be dangerous and that it could hurt or even kill you.  The more I learned and worked with electricity the less fearful I became and the more confident I was to work with it.  Electricity can be a lot like God, it can have awesome potential and power, but it has principles and laws that it operates by.  In order to work safely with electricity I had to learn the laws, principles and ways that electricity worked and respect those laws.  If I became complacent, careless or disrespectful of those law then I was opening myself up to hurt.  While I didn’t have to be afraid of electricity in a dreadful sense, I had to always maintain a respectful fear of it.  Even though I couldn’t see it, if I violated it, it could definitely hurt me or kill me.  My safety and my peace were in obedience to the laws and parameters with which I worked with electricity and its related equipment.  The same holds true of God.  He has given us an instruction manual and codebook to know what the principles of God are and how we are to relate with Him.  The more I come to know, experience and live with God in my life, more comfortable and at peace I can feel with Him.  I can never lose my respect for who He is and what violation of His principles and laws will bring.  Now I no longer have to fear God in terror, because I am operating out darkness and ignorance, I am learning to fear God in the highest form of His love.  My obedience and submission to God has moved from being motivated by fear to being motivated by love.  Jesus says, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”  As I am caught up into the love of God it supersedes the fear of God.  

Let’s take it a step further.  Have you ever wondered why birds can land on power lines with thousands of volts going through them and not be killed or even hurt?  It is because their body becomes that same potential as the power line.  As long as they are at the same potential no harm comes to them, but if they had a long enough legs or wings to reach over and touch and another phase wire or ground they would be toast.  In our unity and oneness with Christ we are at the same potential as He is.  We are conducting His power and life, but if we take that God life and identify it with the flesh, now we have a problem.  Spirit and flesh are at two different potentials and they don’t mix without problems.  We short circuit God’s Life in us and then we become the problem and no longer the solution.  Thank God for the blood of Jesus that is the insulator and the repairer of those conflicts, but it is not the permission for them.  Sin brings us out of the fellowship of love and back into the realm of fear.  Maybe you see how the perfect love of God cast out fear because it can bring us to that place of being at the same potential that He is.  That doesn’t make us God, but it does make us the conduit and transmitter of His life and love.  The potential that exists with us in this place is far greater than when we were on the ground.  As long as we stay in the flow of His love, walking in the Spirit, submitting our whole selves to the principles of His Life, we are operating at an unlimited potential because of that Life that is flowing through us.  

Hopefully this illustration helps to see how the fear of God and the love of God come together.  

 

Blessings,

kent

%d bloggers like this: