Psalms 71:5
For thou [art] my hope, O Lord GOD: [thou art] my trust from my youth.

God, I don’t Deserve You

Throughout the highs and lows of life, the victories and the defeats, the triumphs and the disasters the one thing that is constant is God’s love. How thankful I am that my hope and confidence is not in myself. It would be as vanity and vapor if it were. All through life the anchor has been the Lord. Even in the times I felt rejected and cast off by others and the times that I even have hated myself, I have known like David that God is my hope and my trust is in Him. As we are pressing in to know and love God more we all know that we make a lot of mistakes and miss the mark more than we would like. The good news is that while there are times we may really get down on ourselves and feel totally condemned, God loves us. He loves us through our failures as well as our successes. While He doesn’t justify or condone our sin, He can forgive us and restore us into right fellowship with Him.
God loves you. Even if you don’t know how He could, He does. No matter what falls we take in life or even if we have slipped back into sin, hope in the Lord. Continue to put your confidence in Him. He is the One that you can always trust to love you, forgive and restore you if you will put your trust always in Him. We don’t deserve His love, His forgiveness or His mercy, but they are new every morning. His arms are open to us today. Come, let us embrace Him and draw near to Him again.

Blessings,
#kent

Diligence

October 9, 2014

Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

Diligence

It is often astounding when we have observed a garden or a lawn that at one time was so beautiful and groomed and then to observe it’s state after a time when it has been abandoned or neglected. What we see are two totally different scenes, first one of beauty and then one of weeds, deterioration and ruin. Our soul can be much the same way. It can be that beautiful garden where we meet and fellowship with God consistently and frequently. It can be a sanctuary of light and truth, filled with joy and blessing. In this state people can look upon it and see the beauty that fills it. What happens when we become less than diligent to maintain that fellowship and groom that garden of our soul? Little by little it will deteriorate. It will dry out, weeds will sprout up and the good fruit and plants will whither and die. A good garden requires continual diligence and so it is with our souls. Many of us can look back over our lives and see times when we have had that wonderful relationship and fellowship with God and our soul has flourished in the sunshine of His love and presence, but then other things came in and captivated our time and attention. We began to neglect more and more our time of prayer and fellowship with the Lord until our garden was one in name only, but not in appearance and fruitfulness. Darkness began to fill the areas where there had once been so much light and life and truth. Weeds began to spring up and choke out the purity, the love and the joy that once abounded there. One day it dawns upon us as we see our life a mess, what happened to my garden? What happened to that relationship and fellowship I once had? The Lord doesn’t abandon us, we abandon Him. He is always there to help us to reestablish that garden and that fellowship again. The thing that I have observed in my life is that when we give ground to the enemy, it is harder taking it back the second time. Yet, the Lord is there for us if we will return to Him in love and repentance.
Diligence is often what we loose sight of. Our Christianity and faith weren’t a one time thing when we walked an isle and gave our heart to Jesus, it is a day by day relationship that rejoices in the good times, but hangs tough and continues to trust even in the difficult and trying times. It is like a marriage, it needs our constant attention or we will grow apart. We want a relationship where every day with Jesus it sweeter than the day before.
Hebrew 6:10-12 exhorts us by saying, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Our faith is not a sprint it is a marathon. It is not about how fast we run in the beginning, but about our steady and steadfast run through life. It is not about starting the race, but about finishing it and that takes perseverance and all diligence. The Lord called each of us to be a partaker of His divine nature and He has given us great and precious promise through which we might enter in. 2 Peter 1:2-10 speaks to this diligence in obtaining all that God has called us too. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The Lord has given us all that we need, but we need the diligence to keep pressing into Him and maintaining that garden relationship with Him. Perhaps for some of us our relationship and fellowship with the Lord has been slipping away and we are loosing that closeness and intimacy with Him. Be diligent to turn back your heart to Him and draw near again. He loves you and delights in your visitation and your fellowship. Be diligent and don’t give up or turn away.

Blessings,
#kent

Persevere to Pursue Holiness

Hebrews 10:19-25
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Here in Hebrews we are again being exhorted and encouraged to draw near to God. We are not being told to draw near hoping that we’re good enough or hoping that God will accept us. He already has accepted us in Christ and if we are to draw near and have boldness to enter into the Holiest, we must do so based not on identifying with our former selves, but based upon who we are in Christ Jesus. It is His blood that has cleansed us, purified us and given us acceptance before Him. When the Father looks upon us now He sees us in Christ and receives us as such.
One thing the tone of this scripture brings to us is that we do not enter in by the attitude of “I wish I may, I wish I might”. The scripture is saying to us gird yourself up in the confidence of who you are in Christ, with a true heart, in fullness of faith. We know that the blood of Jesus has dealt with the sin issue that separated us from God. We know that His Word is renewing our mind and thinking, washing our bodies with the water of the Word. But do we have a true heart? One that is truly set, fixed and will settle for nothing less than His manifest presence? The Lord is telling us that we have everything we need to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus. That Holiest is where the light of His glory is present over the cherubim. It is that place in his Holy presence we meet with Father, Almighty. While we have access and provision to come here, it is not a place for the weak and faint of heart and faith. They will not see this place. We are talking about a place and dimension at the mountaintop. Most will not enter in because the path is not well traveled. It takes the passionate person that will persevere in faith, boldness and confidence. God is looking for a people that are wholly sold out to Him, where He alone is the object of the their passion and desire. A people who covet nothing less than His manifest presence and life. They don’t want to settle for just living in Israel. They don’t want to settle anymore for just living in Jerusalem. They have their have their eye single and steadfast upon Mount Zion, where the King reigns. They have been promised through this Word an audience with His Majesty and they will not be detoured by anything until they have come into His presence. They will make whatever spiritual preparations required, but they have determined that they will not be denied His promise. Most of us get discouraged and distracted along the way and we give up on our highest pursuit. The whole reason we meet together and have church where two or more are gathered in His name is so that He might be in our midst and so that we might stir one another up in our passion to pursue Jesus into the Holiest. We have to keep one another focused on our life purpose, which is to know Him and manifest His nature in these mortal bodies.
Hebrews 12:1-4 goes on to exhort us after we have just left the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. It tells us, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Whatever it requires of us, we want to be God-chasers, passionately intent on entering into that place where He has made a way. This is our quest to enter into the prize of His glory and presence. On the journey we will find ourselves changed and transformed, for the closer we get to Him, the more His consuming fire burns away all that is perishable within us. The closer we get the more in His likeness we become. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Summon up your faith in all boldness and with a true heart and all of your might, pursue the Lover of our souls into the Holiest.

Blessings,
#kent

Weapons of Our Warfare

January 3, 2014

 

Weapons of Our Warfare


1 Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.



How many of us are still trying to combat and fight flesh with flesh.  Is just a positive mental attitude, or using a right formula or trying to be good enough or religious enough going to win our battles over our flesh?  What we are experiencing in our lives is frustration, defeat and condemnation.  We want to do right, but we are still experiencing that law of sin working on our flesh. Our flesh and even soul are not very good at overcoming the weaknesses in themselves.  The Word says that the weapons that God has provided for us are mighty to the tearing down of strongholds.  There are many of us that haven’t experienced a lot of victory in tearing down these strongholds.  We continue to allow these stronghold to be a part of our thinking, behavior and being.  We are still identifying with them and in so doing we continue to give them life and power over us.  Our greatest weapons are not our earthly thinking.  That is the source of our greatest defeat.  We think as the world thinks and not as the Spirit of God thinks.  When the Word exhorts us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, it is telling us to put on the mind of Christ and renew our thinking according to the Word and not according to our natural reasoning.   It is telling us to put our identification on who we are in Christ and not on whom we have been in the flesh.

The first place we must come too is a place of total surrender to the Lord and the Holy Spirit that indwells us.  We are like a country taken over by the Lord, but the flesh still maintains its pockets of resistance, it’s guerilla fighters that provide avenues for the flesh to have access and regain position and power.  Most of us don’t want to admit to these, but they’re there.  We know they are there because we are struggling with these fleshly strongholds in areas of our lives.  Romans 12 starts out by telling us the first position we need to take, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. “ The first thing we need to do is offer our lives a living sacrifice which means that we are willing to lay the flesh upon the altar and allow it to be consumed.  It means that we are turning our mind and thinking from a worldview to a kingdom view.  Our thinking, goals and attitudes are no longer geared towards this earth; they are geared towards heaven and the spiritual calling we have in Christ Jesus.  Here, in this earth, we have no abiding place, but our eyes must be set upon the city whose builder and maker is God.  It is in this mindset that we begin to fashion our lives and our thinking after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh.  As we begin to walk in the Spirit then all that flows through our senses begins to flow through Him.  He is the Discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  If we are sensitizing ourselves to Him then He begins to put His finger on the wrong motives, thoughts and attitudes that are working in our lives.  If we indeed want the weapons of the Spirit to operate in our lives, we must first be in agreement and submission to the Holy Spirit.  While the Holy Spirit indwells us to help us in living a godly life, He by no means usurps our will to decide and choose to whom we obey and to whom we give our mind and our flesh over too.  If we want to choose the fleshly things, then the Holy Spirit will back off.  We may still have a conviction that what we are doing isn’t right, but if we desensitize ourselves to the Holy Spirit through following after our self-will then we will be less and less sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  When God says draw near to Me and I will draw near to you, He is saying as you become more sensitive and obedient to Me then you will begin to sense more of My presence and dealings in your life.  The thing we learn about walking in the Spirit is that it is a continual conscious act to live in that place.  When we walk after the Spirit long enough it may become more natural to us, but our spirit man must always be a guarded city.  As soon as our defenses go down the enemy is ready to come in.  

Indeed the weapons of our warfare are mighty, but they do demand diligence and full surrender of our hearts and minds to Christ.  Our over coming is by allowing the Holy Spirit to over come every thought and temptation that is contrary to the will of God.  We will no doubt loose some battles along the way, but that must not discourage or detour us from our mission of being conformed to the image and likeness of Christ.  In this life, the warfare is continual and ongoing, but we do have the weapons to defeat our foe.  We must indeed to do as Ephesians 6 exhorts us too and put on the whole armor of God that we might stand against the whiles and schemes of the devil.  It is up to us to appropriate our spiritual weapons and armor through fully and unceasingly yielding ourselves as living sacrifices in obedience and submission to the Holy Spirit.

 

Blessings,

kent

 

Enter In, the Third Dimension, Part 2


Hebrews 9:16-22

This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

 

This scripture is pregnant with promise and while we as Christians enjoy a greater degree of intimacy and closeness in our relationship with our God, yet there is still an itch in our spirit that cries out to be scratched.  We experience our God’s glory and presence in a measure, but we know that there is so much more we have yet to experience.  In those moments in our walk with our God, when we taste of a deeper revelation and experience of His holy presence, when His Spirit comes over us and we are undone in ourselves and yet sense the fullness of joy and completeness that only His presence can bring, our spirits cry out, “Abba, Father, we want more of you”.  Inwardly we groan and travail because we know that still we haven’t experienced and aren’t walking in the fullness of what He has created us for.  

It is a principle of God that many times God gives us a promise that we lay hold of and enter into by faith, but we don’t always experience the full manifestation until its fullness of time. Abraham had the promises of God, but saw only a small portion of them fulfilled in his lifetime.  God has given us principles here and in the Old Testament examples for entering into the Holy of Holies.  

First, we know that there is no entrance without the blood of Christ applied to our hearts by faith.  Secondly we see that Christ Jesus was not only the sacrifice, but also the high priest and it was only the high priest that could enter into the presence of Almighty God.  In the Old Testament the high priest wore what was called an ephod or breastplate set with two onyx stones. These stones represented the twelve tribes of Israel (Exodus 28:12).  When the high priest entered into the Holiest of All, all of the tribes and all of the peoples were represented there in that ephod.  We could have no entrance before the presence of God in ourselves, but as believers, by faith, we are in Christ.  The identification of who we are is no longer seen in that former sinful man we were, but in the Christ man that we are, one in Him.  When we come before the Father in faith He no longer sees sinful, corrupt flesh, He sees the righteousness of His Son because we are in Him and covered by His blood.  This is what gives us that boldness to approach His throne.  We don’t come before the Lord with defilement.  The Word says here, “ Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”   We have touched on our ‘approaching in full assurance of faith’, meaning without doubt or wavering.  It says that our hearts should be sprinkled from an evil conscience.  We need to deal with heart issues that aren’t right with the Lord whether that be unforgiveness or sin we are still harboring in our hearts.  These issues need to be dealt with and put under the blood of Jesus.  Otherwise there is a defilement that brings separation.  Our bodies are to be washed with pure water.  It is Spirit and Truth, the washing of the water of the Word, quickened and revealed by the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:24, “ God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.”  It is not about where we worship that matters, it is about how we worship that matters to God.  

Lastly let us discuss this area of worship because it is the atmosphere that God lives in continually.  In heaven around His throne we see the picture that there are multitudes of heavenly hosts of angles and the redeemed of the Lord singing and worshipping their God continually without ceasing.  This is the atmosphere that we need to cultivate within our spirit.  There was a piece of furniture that stood at the entrance of the Holy of Holies.  It was the altar of incense.  The priest would burn sweet smelling incense and wave the smoke of it before the Lord.  This is our praise. Our worship and praise is foundational to our entering into the Lord’s presence.  Praise is used in some 216 verses, so the Holy Spirit is telling us this is a key not to be overlooked in approaching the throne of God.  Psalms 22:3 says, “But thou [art] holy, [O thou] that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”  If we want to enter in and experience the presence of the Holy One we need to worship in Spirit and in Truth.  We need to create the atmosphere of praise and worship that invites His presence into our midst.  We will experience more of the presence of God in this atmosphere than anything else we can do.  

The body the Lord has given us is His tabernacle.  We have a body, outer court, a soul, holy place, and a spirit, which is our Holy of Holies.  What part of your being are you living out of?

Ours is a progressive walk in the Spirit as we seek to grow up into Christ in all things.  By faith and the blood of Jesus we go through each entrance into a deeper level and experience with God.  We have only touched on a vast subject as we briefly looked at each entrance into the greater depth and dimensions of God.  In conclusion, let us share the vision that Paul had as He pursued the fullness of God for his life in Philippians 3:8-16, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” 

 
Blessings,
kent
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