Responding to a Calling

March 2, 2016

 

Roman 9:15-18

15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 

Responding to a Calling

The Lord has called His own from the foundations of time.  He knows His own long before they ever know Him.  Why He has chosen some and not others only He knows.  Many of us have testimonies where we have seen the grace and calling of God upon our lives.  We have seen Him, in many cases, miraculously save us and draw us to Himself.  There are a people on the earth that have a calling and election upon their lives.  If God has given you a calling, having given you spiritual ears to hear and a heart to receive, how are you responding to your calling?  Do we believe because we have a calling that there is no responsibility on our part?  

2 Timothy 1:8-10 exhorts us, “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”  That holy calling upon our lives solicits a response on our part to not be ashamed of the gospel, but to join in the suffering it often brings with it.  Why would we want to suffer? If we are willing to suffer with Him we will also share His glory as Romans 8 tells us.  It is because we have seen that Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  We, His people, His called ones, echo that calling we have in Christ Jesus throughout the world so that as many as are called, the Lord might show forth His mercy and compassion upon them in the face of Jesus Christ.  

Hebrews 3:1 says, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”  We, who are in Christ, share this common calling, because He placed a faith in us to respond to it, because we are the Lord’s house.  Verse 6 goes on to say, “But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”  “If” always brings a condition with it. In this case it is in our faithfulness and courage to continue in the hope in which we boast.  2 Peter 1:10-11 reinforces this by saying, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

 We will never understand in this life why God in His sovereignty decided to have mercy upon us, but He did.  May we never take that for granted because it was not something that we earned, but a grace that He gave.  He has placed within us a calling to conform us unto His glory and likeness.  We have a tremendous challenge before us.  Let us respond as Paul did in Philippians 3:12-15 when he says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”  It is our time to come into maturity by pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us.  We have received the mercy of God, now let us respond to that mercy in an obedient and faithful commitment to press into Him with all that He has placed within us.  Responding to His calling will bring you into your purpose for being.  To God be the glory for ever and ever.  Amen 

Blessings,

#kent

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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

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

People for a Purpose

September 2, 2014

Hebrews 12:18-28
18You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our “God is a consuming fire.”

People for a Purpose

In these last days God has not related to us in a covenant of written laws and commandments which brought us to condemnation. He has not dealt with us in a way that we were afraid of His Almighty presence and power. We are a people of faith and promise. A covenant people that have entered a new and better covenant that is sealed with the blood of the Lamb and our mighty Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Through Christ He has called His people into a city of destiny and promise. There, in that glorious city we find thousand upon thousands of heavenly host who minister and worship in His presence. There we find the joyful assembly of all saints and angelic host who rejoice with everlasting joy. There we find our God, the judge of all men and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect. There righteousness was accounted unto them through faith in the righteous One who justifies us and sanctifies us by His blood. His atonement is our righteousness. Our faith embraces that righteousness, no longer embracing our weakness and failure, but His purity and holiness whereby He is perfecting us into Himself. His life and blood is not just forgiveness, it is the power of transformation and change. ‘Old things have passed away and behold all things are becoming new.’
We are the church of the Firstborn, the redeemed of the Lamb and the children of God’s purpose, destiny and calling. His trumpet should be resounding in our spirits as He is calling us and drawing us to Himself. For we are the first fruits of the harvest and the ones that He holds up as His standard for all of creation. We, like our Lord, are learning obedience through the things that we suffer. Hebrews 5:7-10 says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Even in the strong tears, prayers and petitions Jesus still had to walk in the destiny of His purpose and in obedience to the will of the Father. Father doesn’t always deliver us out of the fire; He often delivers us through the fire that we might come forth in the purity of His nature. There He refines us as we submit ourselves in obedience to Him. Often it is hard for us in that place to see His purpose, but His purpose is to qualify you for His priesthood. For we are a kingdom of kings and priest. Revelations 5:10 says, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 tells us, “9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
We, His people are being conformed to the prototype and the pattern of Him who has gone before us. We, like Him, are being prepared unto priesthood and rulership. We must get such a revelation and vision of this so that all-else in this world and this life becomes secondary to our calling and purpose. We are speaking of our destiny for eternity. Remember what the Lord speaks to us here in Hebrews 12:25-20, “25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our “God is a consuming fire.” Allow Him and submit to Him to consume everything that is not of Him out of your life. You a child of destiny and purpose, do not miss the great calling that is before you. Run into it with all of your heart.

Blessings,
#kent

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