Joy Unspeakable

November 11, 2015

1 Peter 1:3-9
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Joy Unspeakable

Isn’t it amazingly awesome that this Truth, Jesus, that we possess, through faith, can bring such continual and inexpressible joy in your hearts, in spite of your circumstances? You know what protects and shelters that inexpressible joy? Our faith.
What God has promised and has given us is shielded through faith until it is fully revealed and made manifest. That is not dependent upon our lifetime or life lived upon the earth. We are eternally secure through faith and all that we are promised is secure as well.
This is why we can rejoice, even in the midst of all of our trials and tribulations upon the earth. These only come to enhance and intensify the flavor and aroma of our faith. While the enemy would use them to destroy us, as we trust in Jesus, we wax stronger. Our faith is strengthened as in our weakness we find His strength. In our losses, He is our greater provision. In our suffering He remains our hope and comfort.
Jesus is our joy unspeakable. Though we haven’t seen Him, yet, we so intensely and fervently love Him, because we know Him after the Spirit and not after the flesh. That faith fans the flames of our relationship and bond with Him. Our faith brings us through the fires of our trials and tribulations. It is proved genuine and refined by the fires it has passed through. Instead of discouragement and defeat we continue to stand, abounding in the joy of the Lord. Because we believe and because we can experience the power of the inner relationship we have, we are comforted and find our assurance.
Circumstances do not dictate our relationship with God. God is still the Lord of our circumstances, no matter how grim they may be. We don’t look at the doom and gloom of the world around us and get caught up in its terror, because we know the One who has written history and the future. He is the same One that is the author and the finisher of our faith. So today we will be encouraged! We will be exceedingly joyful, because our God reigns in the heavens, in the earth and most importantly to us, in our hearts!
If we are enduring trials and tribulations today, may those pains and pressures only drive us to worship and praise God more intensely. May they drive us deeper and more intimately into Him, who is that hiding place of our safety and our victory. The trials and tribulation of this life should only embed us deeper into our Papa. There, that shield of faith and confidence in Him shields us from the enemies’ darts and arrows. Papa covers us with the shadow of His wing, for He is our refuge and our fortress.
Let not doubt and fear overtake you. Remember your God, all of His mighty works and all of His unspeakable benefits. We are His children. What can man do to us, but drive us deeper into His presence? Let us remember and praise Him with unspeakable and resounding joy. Our God is the salvation of our souls and the Redeemer of all who call upon His name. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!!
Blessings,
#kent

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Liberty

July 23, 2015

Liberty

2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.

Liberty is the liberation of the soul from the law of sin and death. It is emancipation from the bondage of the flesh. Liberty in Christ is the freedom to live in the calling and destiny our God has prepared for us, to realize His highest and His best for us. Oppressive forces are continually at work to rob our freedom, to undermine our liberty and to pervert the law of life in Christ Jesus to which we have been called. Our liberty in Christ is not found in the freedom to live to our flesh, or in self gain and promotion; it is realized in our dying to all that the world holds dear. Those former affections are no longer the object of our love and desire. When we really see Jesus, when the Spirit of God really possesses our soul, then all that is earthly, sensual and devilish will be as dung in comparison. We will catch the vision that Paul caught and we will run for the prize of the high calling that is in Christ Jesus. We are living in a day of purification and revelation. We are being called by the Spirit to come out of our former complacency, our ruts of religious thinking and form, and come into the anointing and calling that Christ has for each of us who are His. If you are reading these words, it is because you desire something more; you desire more of Him. God wants to impart more of Himself to us, but in order to impart the new, the old has to pass away or it is only a hindrance and a pollution of the new. Hebrews 9:8 says, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.” We can not realize the fullness of God’s calling and the holiest of all as long as we are bent on carrying all of our old religious baggage with us. Do not depart from the Word of God, but put on new ears to hear not the same religious rhetoric that you have heard all of your days, but the sound of a new trumpet in the land. It is calling us up higher, but it is not going to often be all that we thought we understood. The Lord says in Isaiah 65:16-17, “That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” The Lord is doing a new thing in the earth. He is calling us out and up in ways we have not known before. Know this, that in the way of the cross there is suffering and in the suffering there is loss, but in the loss there is purification and resurrection from the dead. Don’t fear to let the former things go, for what the Lord is calling you into is so much higher and so much greater, but it is not the way of the flesh, nor of the will of man. Like Peter in John 21:18, the Lord would say to us, “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”” The calling of God is great upon our lives, but it is not without a price. Again we know and believe Romans 8:16-18, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” Can you hear the call of God personally upon your life today? Will you respond by releasing the former things and come to know Him in Spirit and in Truth. Learn His voice and obediently follow Him, for you are the sheep of His pasture. He is calling you into the liberty. When we truly find our liberty in Christ, then we will begin to become the liberators of others. 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.” Search out and know your liberty in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,

#kent

His Provision

January 12, 2015

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

His Provision

As I spent time with the Lord this morning I talked with Him about provision and blessings, not just for our needs, but for the needs of the body of Christ. So many are struggling in these times. You can imagine my delight as I came this morning to write and the Lord spoke into my spirit Philippians 4:19. I had no idea that this was the content of the scripture when He spoke it to me.
For over a year now I have been hearing he Lord speak about divine provision through the things that I’ve heard Him speaking, but honestly I haven’t seen those expectations manifest yet, but just as honestly I continue to have the faith and confidence that the Lord is our provision. There are areas that He is dealing with in our lives and with the body in general.
One of those areas is in the unity and the function of the body. We are like a husband and wife with separate checking accounts and finances. We are possessive of our own things. We haven’t yet begun to move in the area of unity that Christ has called us too. We are fearful of being taken advantage of or we are jealous that someone else appears to be blessed more than we are. There are dynamics within the body of Christ that we need to move past, because truly most of us aren’t operating out of kingdom principles. If we don’t have the kingdom principles down then we are never going to see the kingdom power manifest. Just as there are rules of aerodynamics there are rules of kingdom dynamics. If we ever want to see our lift out of this earthly and into the heavenly then we all need to begin to apply these kingdom principles. The body doesn’t work where one member supplies every other member’s need; it works as we jointly supply one another’s needs.
One of the areas so many of us need to release to God is in the areas of our finances. We have become so fearful that we tend to horde what we have and dole it our quite sparingly. We not only rob the body, we rob God and even more, we rob ourselves. A seed planted will always produce more than a seed eaten. There is a need for the body of Christ to begin moving back to the book of Acts principles of having all things in common. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have things that are personal, but that we are all more willing to share of the resources and the talents that we all possess. We are family. If we are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone then the same holds true for those who are our brothers and our sisters in Christ. We are each other’s responsibility. Maybe you don’t have finances, but you are skillful in building, or sowing or accounting. I am reminded again of Haggai 1:3-6, “Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.”
God is telling us why there is such lack in our lives and in the body of Christ in general. We are still dwelling in the houses of our making, our agenda, our own prosperity, while God’s house lies in ruin. God’s promise to us is that if we build His house first we will see blessing in our own lives. This is that promise that He gave me a year ago. He concludes it in Haggai 2:15-19 by saying, “” ‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on —consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.
” ‘From this day on I will bless you.’ ”
It isn’t God that is withholding our blessing, it is us. His desire is to bless us, but we have to get things in order in our personal lives as well as our spiritual lives for the Lord to be able to release to us our divine provision. We are moving into times where it is more and more important that we learn the value of corporate unity and oneness in the sharing of our resources. It is no longer about us as individuals living the American dream, filling our pockets and others be damned. We are about putting each other’s needs before our own, reaching out in the love of Christ and often personal sacrifice to meet the needs in one another. This is building the house of the Lord. This is the restoration of the unity that Christ longs to see in His body.
We are the stewards of the Lord. In order for a Stewart to be entrusted with much, he must prove himself first faithful in little. Do not despise the days of small beginnings for they are the foundation stones to the days of greatness and blessing. Let us be faithful where we are at and with what we have. Be willing to give of yourself to the body in all of the areas that you are blessed and gifted. Isn’t this what God is looking for in His people? God is able to meet all of our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus, but there are hindrances that we must deal with first. We are all looking to God for our needs to be met and He is looking to us to start meeting the needs in one another and to faithfully give to Him what is His. If we will follow kingdom principles we will see kingdom results.

Blessings,
#kent

Troubles that Confront Us

November 12, 2014

Philippians 1:19-24
…for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.d 20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Troubles that Confront Us

Throughout life, those near us or ourselves personally, are touched by tragedy, disappointments, hardship, setbacks, hurts, sickness and trials of various kinds. If we don’t have a revelation of what our life purpose is we can become discouraged, bitter, unforgiving and even blame God for what touches our life or the lives of those around us. Paul gives us a perspective here of a life that is lived and dedicated to Christ. No matter what adversity befalls him, Paul has one goal and purpose. His life, he does not consider his own, but Christ’s and the life he now lives, he lives by faith, not for himself, but for Christ who died and gave Himself for Paul. Whether in life or death, Paul’s life is about living for Christ and fulfilling his purpose in Him. We all need to get a greater revelation of how Paul lived his life. Most of us still see our lives as being mostly about us. In that place of giving life to self there will always be things that we are struggling with that will touch us through our emotions, feelings, mind and will. Things that we struggle with because we are rationalizing them with the natural mind and understanding. For the person that is truly dead in Christ all that really matters is that Christ is fully living through them. Rather good or bad, it His will and destiny that directs their lives and gives them the purpose for living and being. The body and earthly life are but a tool in the hand of God to work His greater work and will through. We are the callused hands of His working in the earth to make a difference in the lives of those He touches through us. We are also the gentle touch of compassion and grace that leads others to repentance. We are His precious hands and feet to bring the kingdom of God into the earth and we do that as He lives and has expression through us. The more of self that is in the way, the more of that purpose is hindered and His true nature is polluted.
Bad things do happen to good people, Bad things happened to Jesus, the Son of God and bad things can happen to us. It is not the bad things that happen that define our life, but rather the goodness of the God that lives within us. We don’t always see the ultimate and long-term purposes of God. The disciples couldn’t see the purpose and goodness of God when Jesus was crucified. When, we, like Jesus are willing to pour out our lives for others then we can have assurance that God will take the seed of sacrifice that we planted and bring forth a harvest. Let us not be so concerned about this current life, but rather living out of the eternal life that inhabits us. Fear God and not the things you may suffer, for as Paul says in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” All of this is the preparation for the revelation of the sons of God who will set creation free. Our rest is in our death and His life, so when this life is spent it only gives place to a greater place of glory. It is not the physical death that we must fear, it is the spiritual life or death with which we must be concerned. The purpose of our life is to perpetuate that spiritual life. No matter what confronts us we live out of His life and not our physical strength and being or natural understanding.

Blessings,
#kent

Romans 9:10-13
10Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger. “13Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

“Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:42-50, “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. 50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Within us we house two nations, two beings and one calling. Just as Rebekah carried twins within her womb, Esau and Jacob, the Lord spoke that “the older will serve the younger. Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” We see here that the calling and election of God was upon the younger even before they were born.
2 Corinthians 15 sheds some further insight on one dimension of this truth. Here, Paul speaks to the two aspects of our person. We, much like Rebekah’s womb are comprised of these two entities. They are flesh and spirit. We are comprised of both natural, corruptible, perishable and spiritual, imperishable and incorruptible. There are two Adams from which we have been comprised the first Adam (Esau, flesh, natural) which became a living being and the last Adam (Jacob, spirit, Christ), a life-giving spirit. The first man is of the dust of the earth and the second man from heaven. The first Adam of the flesh despised the birthright of God, but the last Adam has obtained the birthright and that birthright is to be the sons of God with all the rights and privileges that are inherent in that birthright.
The calling and election of God in us is for Jacob, for that incorruptible man of spirit, which is now indwelled and inhabited by the Spirit of Christ through faith in Christ Jesus. We who are in Christ have forsaken and died to the firstborn Adam and Esau and we have embraced the new man (Jacob, Christ) in the man of the spirit. It is in this identity with Jacob, who is later named Israel, that we growing up into Christ in all things. Genesis 32:28 says, “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” This is now our legacy in Christ Jesus. In Him we have prevailed and overcome and as a prince we have power with God. We are Jacob in the process of becoming Israel. The calling and election for those who believe and receive is sure in Christ Jesus. While we have born the image of the Esau and while we have struggled and contrived to obtain the birthright in that Jacob mentality, it was always ours, not through works or efforts, but through His grace. How do we know that we are of Jacob and have received this election, calling and birthright? 1 John 2:5 says, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”
It is that same principle that Christ spoke of in Luke 17:34-36, “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” 1 Corinthians 15:49-50 says, “49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. 50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” The one shall be taken and the other left. Old things have passed away, behold all things become new.
Esau is passing away and Jacob is coming forth as the Israel of God.

Blessings,
#kent

Three Dimensions of Jacob

September 20, 2013

Three Dimensions of Jacob

Genesis 32:22-32
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Many of us will remember this story of Jacob. We often say that Jacob wrestled with an angel. As I was meditating upon Jacob this morning I felt like the Lord gave a little insight into this man Jacob. Jacob’s life is like our spiritual journey. Consider with me some of the analogies I felt like the Lord was showing me and I know there is so much more to this than what we will share here today.
When Jacob came into this world, he came in with his first-born twin named Esau. Now Esau was hairy, red and ruddy. He was a man of the earth and field. You might say he was the Adamic nature. The scripture that gives us great insight into these three dimensions of Jacob, which is type of us, is found in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” While Esau is a type of the body, which is pretty much self-centered and driven by its needs and wants, Jacob is a little more subtle. Jacob is a type of the soul. The soul is where our identity lies. It is our mind, will and emotion. It is expressive of who we are as a person. Like Jacob, most of us have our spiritual side and then we have our fleshly side, for our soul is a mixture of flesh and spirit. Even the name Jacob means “heel holder or supplanter”. The truth was he was an artful manipulator. Even so, Jacob had a spiritual side that hungered for the things of God and the desire for the inheritance or birthright that would normally go to the firstborn. The trouble with the firstborn is that he had little or no appreciation for the birthright. Yes, he wanted the blessing that came through the birthright, but he didn’t have a heart or desire for the legacy and the responsibility that it carried with it. Jacob on the other hand did, but he sought to gain it through unscrupulous means, even though prophetically it had been spoken that the older would serve the younger. Jacob is like us in so many ways. He was always cunning and devising in the flesh how he might obtain the things of the spirit. Whether it was his life, livelihood, his wives or his children, Jacob set about with natural wisdom and understanding to obtain them. That is not to say that Jacob did not have his spiritual side. He encountered God at Bethel in the dream of the stairway or ladder with ascending and descending angels. He experienced God’s blessing, protection and wisdom in his life, but like us, we often seem to struggle and work so hard only to come up so short of our dreams and strongest desires. We have that Labon in our lives, Jacob’s father-in-law, that is always promising so much and delivering so little. No wonder, like Jacob, so many of us are frustrated physically and spiritually.
Even though Jacob knew God and had a relationship with Him, he had his shortcomings, his fears and demons to face. His biggest fear was his brother Esau, the one he had taken the birthright and the blessing from. It is like even though we possess the promises and blessings of God we face our own mortality. Faced with who we are in the natural we fear. In the natural we perceive our weaknesses, our failures, the ungodly part of our nature. That is what Jacob faced in Esau.
In Genesis 32 we see Jacob escaping Labon and his stronghold to return to the promise land, but there he must face his Esau. In this place of fear for himself and his family, he is crying out for answers and favor from God. Try and scheme as he will, he fears the strength of the flesh that is represented in Esau and his ability to take all that he has labored to build. While he possesses the promises and the birthright they are of little value to him in his own identity. He sends his family and the others on ahead and takes them over the ford of Jabbok, which means emptying. He sent away his family and all that he had and now, empty, he is left alone. There he encounters this third man. The scripture doesn’t say it is an angel, but it is definitely an agent of God. There, Jacob wrestles with this man till daybreak. Could this be the spirit of Christ in us? The spiritual man that we need to change our nature? The first thing that had to happen in Jacob was an emptying and laying down of all that he loved and possessed. Then there was a battle, the struggle and wrestling with that old nature of Jacob, the heel-holder, supplanter and deceiver. These two men seemed pretty equally matched for strength for they wrestled through the night till daybreak. Is this our place of prayer and intercession where we are in a spiritual battle. Have we come to the place that we are going to lay hold of God and let go of everything else unto He blesses us? Are we the overcomers that will prevail with God and man?
What is our greatest blessing? Isn’t it to be delivered of our former nature?
That morning, at daybreak, the man said, “let me go, it is daybreak.” Jacob said, “I won’t let you go till you bless me.” In Genesis 32:27-31 it goes on to tell us,” The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.” It is there that Jacob prevailed with God and received a new name and a new nature. The new name is Israel, “God Prevails”. The man touched Jacob in the hollow of his hip, so that the sinew shrank and he crossed over Peniel, which means, “facing God”. Jacob would always walk with a limp, no longer dependent upon his own strength and ability.
We have a similar word to us in 2 Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” There is a day for our transformation and new nature to come forth in its fullness, but we wrestle on through the night till we, like Jacob, prevail with God and lay hold of the promises of our inheritance. Then, no more do we need fear our strongholds like Labon or our mortality and flesh, like Esau. No longer are we afraid to loose the things we possess and love. The losses and the wounds we suffer are a small price to pay for what we lay hold of. God’s nature and character will prevail in us if we faint not. We will see the face of God, our Lord, and live; no longer after the flesh, but after the spirit. These are the three dimensions of Jacob, body, soul and spirit.

Blessings,
kent

Acceptable Sacrifice

January 16, 2013

Genesis 4:1-7
Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Acceptable Sacrifice

Your external efforts to please God will never do,
He has already given the sacrifice that is acceptable for you.
Christ has paid the price and is the acceptable sacrifice.
Faith in Him alone can save you and give you eternal life.
Christ in you, now lives through you, to do the works above.
Not outwardly, but inwardly are you transformed into His love.
Kent Stuck

Have you ever meditated on why God favored Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s? Here are just a few insights.
First of all man was created on the 6th day, the same day as the beast of the field. What separated man and beast?
Genesis 1:26-27 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” In Genesis 2:7 it says, “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
We see that man, not animals, was made in the image of God and in His likeness for the purpose of having dominion over the earth and His creation. We also see that, unlike the beast and other animals, God breathed His own breath, the breath of life, into man. Because in John 4, Jesus tells us that God is Spirit, we can conclude that it wasn’t just an outward appearance that made Adam in the image of God, it was the spirit formed within him that gave him the capacity and ability to be in the image and likeness of God and through that spirit, being conformed to the likeness of God, he would have dominion over the earth.
Man was created then in a place between God and beast, heaven and earth. In that place he was given a choice, a free will to choose which nature he would live out of; that which was formed from the earth or that which was breathed in Him by the breath of God, the Spirit. In the original state of Adam we have a picture of what it was like to live out of the Spirit and in communion and right relationship with God. After the fall we see the genealogy of fallen man, beginning with Cain and Abel. In those two brothers we see the beginning of these two natures beginning to manifest.
We posed the question earlier, “Why did God favor Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s?” There are types and shadow here that that give us those answers. Cain’s sacrifice came from the earth and were the efforts of his own works and hands. How many people try to please God with their works and efforts to do good only to find that this is not what is acceptable to God.
Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Cain’s sacrifice was not a redemptive sacrifice offered in faith. There was no shedding of blood and so it was unacceptable to the Father.
Abel, took the first fruits of his flock. He followed godly principles for an acceptable offering. He shed their blood by sacrificing them in faith. He brought God his first and his best, not his common and ordinary. He offered the fat of these upon the altar, which speaks to those non-essential indulgences of our flesh and that which is in excess to our need, along with the abundance and excess that we can offer back to God. His heart and his pursuit was to please God in faith and obedience.
Cain’s offering was not accepted of God and Cain’s reaction revealed the true nature of his heart. God gives us a choice to choose what is good and acceptable, because our other choice leaves sin crouching at our door and if we open the door to it as Cain did, it can only lead to sin and death.
Life confronts us with two natures and two paths. One leads to life and peace and the other to sin and death. One is lived out of own efforts and choices and the other is lived out of righteousness, obedience and faith through the power of the Spirit of God which we invite, through choice, to live in us and through us. Even if we have made the wrong choice and headed down the wrong path, God would still tells us, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” We are given the opportunity to repent and turn from our wicked ways, but if not, sin is crouching at the door.
We know the outcome, that Cain slew Abel. The flesh will always persecute the Spirit and even as they crucified Jesus, His blood cries out with forgiveness and not vengeance, with mercy that is greater than justice. His desire is to redeem us all back to Him. He beseeches us to choose the life of the Spirit that He originally breathed into us and in that choice we will know Life.

Blessings,
kent

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