Colossians 3:18-19
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

The Road back to Love and Intimacy

Remember when your romance was as sweet as honey and the love of your life could do no wrong. You adored them, idolized them and wanted to spend every moment together. Many of us, looking back at those younger years, ask ourselves, “what happened to that first love?” We still may love each other, but many couples struggle with the “feelings of love” that are missing. The romance has died way down and now you may find that instead of really loving and cherishing that wonderful man or woman you are struggling to get along with them. The man may feel like the wife is always nagging him, he can never do enough or anything right, she doesn’t respect and honor him. The woman may feel like the husband has become an insensitive jerk that never communicates or works through the problems, he doesn’t meet her needs. Over the years and the cycles of good and bad times, we can accumulate a lot of baggage. If I ask you if you love your husband or your wife, you would quite likely reply, “will of course I do,” but neither one of you may be experiencing the love from one another that you feel and know should be there. We may say we hold no unforgiveness toward one another, but in reality both parties bear scars, wounds, unresolved conflicts and issues that linger in the subconscious ready to rear their ugly heads at the right moment, opportunity or provocation. We find that we fail to often treat each other with the love, dignity and respect that both parties are due in a marriage.
Fifty percent of our marriages fail due to these kind of issues, but how many more are struggling and hurting? We need to return to that place of intimacy and closeness that we once shared, but we can’t until we are able let down the walls we’ve built up and are willing to let go of all the offenses, hurts and bitterness that we carry.
When the Word says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord,” that submission might be just creating a safe place where your husband can share with you. It needs to be a place where you aren’t venting your anger, frustration, criticism and unhappiness, no matter how justified you may feel with those feelings. If you want your husband to communicate and be sensitive to your needs, you have to create an atmosphere of submission where you really want to see, feel and understand his heart. That can be a hard place for a man. He may not be in touch with his feelings the way you are, so be gentle and be patient and above all, be kind.
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” Husbands can be very confrontational, critical and harsh, but many repress their feelings and emotions. They retreat into that shell of seeming insensitivity and non-communication. Many times it is a response of self-preservation. Often the harder the wife tries to break through that seeming insensitivity with harsh or critical words the more the husband withdrawals. If you want the turtle to stick his head out of the shell you have to stop beating on the shell and make him feel that when he sticks his head out it won’t get bit off. Husbands can hold a lot of things in their hearts that they may not even be fully aware of. Their means of retaliation may be more passive or subtle, but it may be coming from a bitterness that has built up in their hearts against their wives. They, on the other hand, need to really listen to the heart of their wives and make those needs their goals to fulfill. They need to make them feel secure in your love for them and remember them often in the little gifts, the things you do and say. Marriage is a teaching ground for unconditional love and service. It is where we should both be learning to lay down our lives for the other. Love is not always about feeling, but about commitment, covenant and a decision to love your spouse unconditionally even when they don’t derserve it.
Maybe we need to come together as a couple where we can agree that the love of Christ is going to rule and dictate our behavior and response to one another. We need to hold one another, not sexually, but intimately, while we confess our sins, our hurts and failures to one another. We need to truly commit to a willingness to really forgive and hear the other person’s heart. We need an uninterrupted time of reconciliation where we can write down and commit to one another some realistic goals where we will begin to address some of our deepest issues. Keep it simple and not more than we can realistically deal with at one time. Start with just three things each. Then let’s make a date for our next intimate time we can meet with the same right heart and attitude, in the love of Christ to see how we are doing. Again, we need to keep it safe and non-confrontational. This is a team project and we can’t succeed if we only have our own agenda and interest at heart. We can’t expect to mend and restore a broken down barn in a day or even a week, it will take time to restore, just as it took time to deteriorate. We can change the cycle and the direction of our marriages if we will both commit to it and stay with it. We will begin to see our true intimacy and love begin to come alive in our feelings and the way we treat one another. God wants to see our marriages strong and alive with His love. There is a lot of truth to the addage that ‘the family that prays together, stays together’. It is hard to be right with each other when we are not right with God. If we are committed to Christ, then we must also be committed to one another, for we are one flesh. Together let’s build the road back to true love and intimacy like we had in our first love.

Blessings,
#kent

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Isaiah 66:2
For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

God Works Best in Broken Vessels

Has life, experiences and people brought you to a place of brokenness? Has all that you sought to build and do came to nothing? Have you fully come to the end of yourself and your efforts? If you have that is a good place to be. It doesn’t always feel good or appear good, but it is at the end of ourselves that we finally find God’s will and purpose. It is there that we come to the full revelation that we are nothing outside of Him who is everything. It is there that we can confront God in naked honesty and abandonment of self. It is there that we fully realize that He alone is God; He establishes and He tears down, but what ever remains has to be of Him. It is the poor, humble and contrite man that comes in total honesty and brokenness before His God. There are no pretenses, no self-righteousness and no illusions that He is anything outside of God’s will and purpose for His life.
Often the inroads to this state and place are very hard and painful. Often we come there through the loss of all that we held dear in this world. Yet, in that place there is such honesty in our brokenness. We have finally come to a place where now God can fill the emptiness with Himself. We have come through our Gethsemane place of temptation and we have experienced a Calvary through the work of the cross in our lives. We have died to self, but in that death we are now about to experience our resurrection in the greater place of His life. It is on the other side of the cross that we touch God’s glory and we find a restoration beyond that which we have experienced in the world or through any efforts of our own.
No wonder God is looking for this person of a broken, poor and contrite spirit. One who now trembles at God’s Word and lives in the awesome fear of Him. This man is now ready for God’s use and His power to be demonstrated through Him, because in this place none will receive the glory other than God who gives the increase. This person is an emptied vessel that God can fill with the richness of Himself and His Spirit.
“God, as painful as it may be, bring us to this place. This is the place of true godly men and women that are ripe for Your increase and Your outpouring. Bring us to that state of spirit because you work best in broken vessels.”

Blessings,
#kent

Cistern or Septic

June 10, 2015

Cistern or Septic

James 3:7-12
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Jesus makes this statement Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” The tongue and the speech of a person are the reflection of the aquifer of a man’s soul. Many things touch us as we go through life and how we process and the attitude with which we handle them can make all the difference in the world in how they affect our life and who and what we are. Most of us, at one time or another, will experience hurts, disappointments and offenses at the hands of another individual. It can be someone who might have been a friend or it may be from our closest and most trusted loved one or relative. Offenses, hurts, wounding can come from many directions, but no matter where they come from, it is how we deal with them that becomes important.
When water falls upon the earth it percolates down through the ground into voids, pockets and underground reservoirs. Many of us have had or at least drank from wells supplied by underground water. What is it that makes that water either pure to drink or in some cases septic and contaminated? Usually it is the process of filtration as it goes through the ground and works its way down into the reservoir. We have a filtration process that we have to take the events of our lives through. What we find in the Word is that if we process our lives with an attitude of the world or if we allow offenses or hurts that may be very real, to be processed the wrong way it can allow our inward cistern of life to become polluted and defiled. It will not only defile us, but it will make our speech and attitudes septic, which can, in turn, defile others.
The bait of satan is to get us to take offense, after all we are justified in doing so, we are the ones that were wronged. In Mark 11:25-26 Jesus makes the statement, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” You see our soul and our heart can be a cistern of life giving water or it can become a septic tank of bitterness and unforgiveness. What would have happened if the Lord had taken the offense of our sins, disobedience and rejection into His heart and held unforgiveness? If we still had life at all there would be no hope and there would be no avenue of relationship. If the Lord had only dwelled on our offenses and had not offered forgiveness could we have known anything but misery and death? As the Son of God was hanging on the cross, grossly beaten, abused, tortured and now crucified of men, His words were “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He didn’t hold the offense. He released it and the destructive power it could have contained with unforgiveness.
Maybe some of us today are sensing that our cistern has been polluted and made septic by offenses we have been unwilling to forgive and release. That unforgiveness hinders the forgiveness of our offenses to the Lord. It must be as the Lord’s prayer says,’ forgive us our sins, our debts, our offenses, as we forgive those who have sinned against us, have unpaid debts toward us and who have offended us.’ This process can be a painful one and in a sense it is like turning the other cheek to forgive when everything within us wants to return pain for pain, an eye for eye and a tooth for tooth. We want the offender to hurt and suffer every bit as much, if not more, than we have. We have a mighty God who is our avenger and just judge before which all of us will stand and give account. Allow your heart to be freed of the offenses that you have held so that you may have a clean heart and know God’s wonderful love and forgiveness for you that we could never deserve, yet He freely gives.
Filter out the offenses and the hurts that want to go into your heart and mortally wound your soul. You must filter them with the love and the forgiveness that the Lord has given you. You must extend the grace that He has given at the expense of his mortal life. It is the only way to purify the living waters of your heart so that you might issue forth life and not death.

Blessings,
#kent

Hebrews 10:35-36
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

Hold Fast to Your Relationship

Have you ever exercised, ran a race or just lived life and you came to the place where you thought you couldn’t or didn’t want to go any further. You were tired, exhausted, maybe even discouraged and felt defeated. There are times as we walk through life trying to hold fast the faith that we get tired. We just want to let ourselves drift back into the flesh and quit the daily effort of living a life of faith and righteousness. Perhaps we have a friend or loved one who is always pressuring us to go out and have fun with them or do the things we know would be displeasing to the Lord. There are times we get weak, we get discouraged and we want to give up trying and fighting the good fight of our faith. “After all, God still loves me and maybe He is not all that interested in what I do and don’t do.”
I can tell you from experience that when we step through that door, we step out of our place of fellowship and relationship with the Lord that we have cultivated through our walk and prayer time with Him. Often we don’t even realize what we do have and what His fellowship means to us until we lose it. When we walk away from it, that ground is so much harder to gain back the second time. The Lord knows our heart and our feelings, but we must be careful not to allow the enemy to come in and rob us of that confidence and relationship we have in Him. It is often so subtle and many times perpetrated through the ones we like and love.
The Lord says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The pressures and the trials of life often weigh heavy upon us and we sometimes want to give up, but the Word says, “don’t throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Stay the course, don’t give up and don’t give in. Find your rest and your strength day by day in the Good Shepherds arms. “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

Blessings,
#kent

BATTLE CRY!

March 9, 2015

Revelation 12:10-11
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

BATTLE CRY!

What I am hearing in my spirit is NOW is the kingdom come. The battle is upon us and the day of preparation is at hand. Ready yourself for battle! Put on your spiritual armor and sharpen your sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Make strong your shield of faith. Place well your breastplate of righteousness. Gird your loins and your reproductive powers with truth. Put on that helmet of salvation wherein your mind is renewed in Christ and you operate out of the covering and paradigm of His kingdom life and power. Protect your mind from powers of doubt, fear and unbelief. Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, for you are about to carry it and demonstrate it in the earth. All these things are as Ephesians 6 teaches us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Get it out of your head that you are just trying to survive and make it through. We are a violent people and a spiritual force to be reckoned with. God is empowering, training and preparing you for the hour we are coming into. We are going to do things that we have never done and experience things that we have never experienced because the manifestation of God Spirit is going to be so mighty through us.
We know that Jesus is the prototype of what we are becoming. We know that as 1 John 4:17 says, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” We are standing in the day of judgement. This is our hour and the day has come. Either be prepared in your spirit to face it or be judged by it. These are sobering times, not just in the realm of economy, but in the realm of the spirit. We can readily see wickedness waxing worse and worse before us. There is no more time for spiritual sleep and slumber for this is a day and time for action. Hear this, people of God, as a trumpet from heaven calling you to prepare for battle, for it is coming whether you are ready or not.
In Matthew 11:12 it says, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Ask yourself what happened from the time of John the Baptist? Jesus came manifesting the kingdom. Principalities and powers of darkness had overrun this kingdom of heaven, but now the King of Kings has showed up. He is the violent One that is taking it by force. The sick are being healed, the blind see, the lame walk, evil spirits are cast out and the even the dead are raised up. How about it people of God? Are your ready for some spiritual violence? The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you (Romans 8). These are powerful times in the spirit realm. If you are being shaken in your life it so everything that can be shaken will be and everything that is not of God will be burned up so that you may come forth in purity, righteousness and in the power of God. The gospel will no longer be in word only, but with the demonstration of the Spirit and power. God has to change our old way of thinking because He is moving us into a new age and time. His kingdom is coming and we had better learn how to operate out of it.
You are a new generation. You are called to be spiritual warriors and overcomers. This is a day for radical faith and uncompromising confidence in the One we serve and love. It starts in you by stepping out right where God has you and with what He has placed in your life. What is in your hand? Like Moses, throw it down and see what the Lord will do. Be faithful to declare and speak His kingdom right where you are at and into the peoples lives He has placed you with. This seed of faith will grow into a mighty tree.
What that violent Jesus started He is going to finish through His people for He has set down at the right hand of the Father until His enemies be made His footstool. That means they are put under His feet and who are the feet of Jesus but you and I? These are dynamic and exciting times! Get up and get dressed. Put on your whole armor, for the battle rages before us!

Blessings,
#kent

The Oil that Sustains Us

February 10, 2015

Matthew 25:1-13
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6″At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7″Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9” ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10″But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11″Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
12″But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
13″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

The Oil that Sustains Us

Virgins are symbolic of those who have been made pure before the Lord. They all have obviously had an experience with the Lord and are aware of His imminent coming. The lamps are the illuminated lights of God’s Spirit within us. What keeps that light burning is the oil. The oil is the Holy Spirit, but it is more than that. It is the Holy Spirit worked out through our lives in experience.
In Leviticus 24:2 the Lord tells Moses, “Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.” This oil was created through a process of beating or pressing. This is the in working of the cross of Jesus Christ in our lives. We are beaten and pressed as we press into Christ. Through our walk we experience tribulations, trials, persecutions and difficulties. It is as we walk through these hard places in the faith of Jesus Christ that the precious oil of the Holy Spirit is formed and stored up in us. The wise virgins know that if the relationship with the Bridegroom isn’t there, then the oil will not be there either. The oil has flowed out of that relationship of walking in faith and obedience.
The foolish have received the fundamentals of the faith, but they have not pressed into the relationship to really know the One to whom they professed to give their hearts. They have gone about life eating, drinking, giving and taking in marriage. It is life as usual. In other words their relationship is shallow and without substance and depth. They have chosen to remain babes when they should have grown into maturity. The things of the world and the cares of life have occupied their time and their hearts. As a result they have not bought the oil with the price of experience and relationship in walking with the Lord. Now that the time of the midnight hour has come they have been found wanting. Now it is too late to go out and buy the oil, for the Lord has opened the door to the ones who have come to truly know Him in an intimate way, not just from a distance through the teaching of others. The hour has come and they can’t ride in on the coattails of those who have stored up the oil and prepared for this hour. By the time they get what they need the door is shut and it is too late to enter into the Bridegroom. His reply is, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
Religion is the oil of the foolish virgins. It is merely man’s search for God. It is merely head knowledge and outward works to appease God. God doesn’t want our sacrifices, He wants our obedience and He wants our hearts. Relationship with Christ is what will bring forth the oil of His Spirit as we walk through the hard and difficult places and come to know Him as our Redeemer and Deliverer in every situation.
Hear the word of the Lord. This is the hour for you to be storing up the oil. The midnight hour is soon approaching and you better have the oil of His Spirit and Life worked and stored up in you if you want to enter in. If we have been half-heartedly serving the Lord, it is the time to repent and give Him our whole heart, mind and soul. We must walk in the truth of His life if we are to have the oil to see us through and keep our lamps lit in the greatest hour of darkness. We need this oil if we are going to go the distance and hold fast the course. We must make Him the priority of our lives, for His kingdom is come and it must be established in us. Let us come to Him and give our utmost for His highest.

Blessings,
#kent

The Art of Storytelling

January 14, 2015

Psalms 34:11
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

The Art of Storytelling

Many of us experience the difficulty of relating with our children and grandchildren. They live in a high tech world of video games and fast paced television. To them we may seem pretty boring and out of touch. Even so, I think children still have the same need to be able to be taught and nurtured by us. Often we are perceived as just the yellers and disciplinarians. Yet part of the role of an adult parent or grandparent is the role of a teacher. God has given us a good number more years to experience life first hand through both success and failures. We tend to forget the wealth of experience that we possess. Used in the right way, this can be one of the greatest avenues for us to relate and teach our children the positive lessons of life. It is our way to make real to them the reality of God and how He personally works in our lives.
God exhorted the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” It is a parent’s responsibility to pass on the laws, principles and precepts of God’s Word to their children. Many of us have been very guilty of ignoring this responsibility or feel like we have met our obligation by giving our kids religious videos and taking them to Sunday school. That is all well and good, but God has given us the responsibility to instruct our children. Maybe we don’t feel qualified or we think that just entails us sitting them down while we read scripture to them. No, the Word of God has to become alive to them through us. We have to convey to them spiritual reality.
Our grandchildren love all the things that other kids love, but I find that they are fascinated to sit and listen as we tell them the stories of how God has worked in our lives. We can share with them our victories and our failures. When they understand how God has worked for us and in us then they can mentally handle God in the flesh. It becomes reality to them and it makes the stories of God’s Word more of a reality to them as well. It is amazing to see the hunger in our grandchildren as they ask to hear story after story. The neat thing is that as you are telling them the stories you can teach God’s Word to them in a meaningful and interesting way.
We may not think we have much to share, but maybe we need to take some time to really meditate back through our lives and think about all of the times God has been there for us. As we think about it, most all of us have experiences where we have seen God’s hand in our lives, His blessing, His protection and His provision. We may find that encourages and stirs up our faith as we remember and reflect on all of God’s goodness in our lives. Be faithful to teach your children and instruct them in the ways of the Lord. They need it because it is what gives them a sense of identity and purpose for their own lives. There is perhaps no more effective way than through the art of storytelling. It is the way that cultures have passed their values and their heritage on to the younger generations throughout history. We don’t want to lose this art in our high tech world. Take the time to share your stories and do it often. It is the way that we instill godly character, values and knowledge about who God is, what He is and what He wants to be to them.

Blessings,
#kent

Not the Outward, but the Inward

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The church is not so unlike the Jewish nation before us. We have taken the principles of the kingdom of heaven and have fashioned them into laws and burdens that are placed on the backs of men. So many of our denominations have taken a revelation and a truth, dug their foundations and built their denominations and that is where they have staid. God is not stagnant. He is an ever-moving river of truth. He is continually unfolding and unveiling His plan before us. His truth is all there in His Word, but the revelation of that truth has not been fully manifested. It is a progressive thing. One of the chief kingdom principles is never think that you have it all and never be content to build your faith and religion on present day truth. That is not to say it isn’t truth, but it may be only a facet and part of the whole.
From the early days of Christianity men have done what the religious leaders of old did with Judaism. They try and make our faith a mandate of rules and regulations. Men still try and dictate and control by taste not, touch not and eat not. If Christ taught us anything He taught us to change the outward there must be a change inwardly. Jesus once told the Pharisees, “ It is not what goes into a man’s belly that defiles him, it is what comes out.” Jesus knew that unless the condition of the heart is changed no amount of rules and regulations will really change men. They may try to act correctly outwardly, but inwardly they are still the same. The kingdom of heaven in us begins with a heart change. It must change from the desire for earthly enrichment and expression to the desire for the Spirit of God to have expression through us. No longer my will, but Your will be done. What we find is that when we really get in step and in sync with God’s heart and the Holy Spirit, we have set out on a God adventure and there is no telling where it may take us. It is exciting and it is ever fresh and new. The neat thing is we are not struggling to control it, but we have relinquished control to the Holy Spirit. Now our chief desire and ambition is to flow in harmony and obedience to Him. It is no longer about religion telling us we have to do this and we can’t do that. The law that governs us lives within our hearts and we know that our obedience to Him leads to heightened relationship and fellowship. We have found that our faith is not of the ceremonial outward protocol, it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Instead of ceremony we celebrate who and what we are in Christ and all that He is becoming in us. Perhaps that would explain why there is such a large movement away from traditional religion and more of a move toward non-denominationalism. The kingdom of heaven is not about the organization it is about the organism in which the Holy Spirit is released and free to move in and through His body according to His will and purpose and not the dictates of men and their programs. Where the Holy Spirit is free to move is where you will find that it will be as the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God [is] not in word, but in power.” Isn’t that what we desire and seek today? We have heard countless words, but God we want to behold your power. We want to see the kingdom manifested in the lives and affairs of men. This is what we press into as we seek the deeper experience of the kingdom of heaven. We want to find the lover of our soul, our King. We want to find the place of intimacy and relationship with Him where we have true communion and dialog with His presence.
May our hearts become inflamed with an everlasting passion for our Christ and His coming as well as His manifest kingdom. When we are consumed in our love for Him, the things of this world become strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Righteousness then becomes a state of who we are by association and relationship with Him who is righteous rather than something we seek to achieve through outward efforts and works. The kingdom of heaven in you is allowing and giving place to Christ being all that He desires to be in you. Allow the kingdom to flood into every part and fiber of your being and your life. As He is in you, so will you be in this world.

Blessings,
#kent

The Spirit of Fear

May 7, 2014

The Spirit of Fear

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind

There is a fear that is a phobia and a dread; beyond that, it can produce heart-pounding terror. Fear can be so strong that it can totally incapacitate us. It can grip us so strong that it will cause us to tremble and shake. Sometimes we can’t even move or think or we flee in terror. There is a spirit of fear that can grip our hearts in a way that makes us terribly afraid. There are varying degrees that this spirit can come upon us, but when it does, it robs us of faith and confidence in God if we only focus on the fear. Often fear plays upon the imaginations and perceptions of our mind. When we have experienced nightmares, they weren’t real, but they created such fear and panic in us because they seemed so real. We can experience waking nightmares, as well, that seem just as real. Fear, itself can’t harm you, but it can create such feeling within your mind and emotion that you often fear for your life and safety. We can sometimes enter into a tremendous battle with this spirit of fear and just speaking words doesn’t always bring the results of victory we would like.
Sharon, my wife will share with you a story of fear that affected her for about year. We hope in sharing this it may help some of you that have had experiences with attacks of fear, panic and terror. For my wife it was a process of the Lord teaching her how to obtain the victory and sometimes there are areas that we open up in our lives for these attacks to come in that we need to shut.
For Sharon, it came after a time when we had attempted to trust the Lord for a home birth. Our son was just too large for my wife and after a long period of transitional labor we had to go to the hospital. There we felt contempt and reproach from the doctor and medical staff for not having checked in earlier and done things the traditional way. It was a difficult time, but the good news is that we had a healthy baby.
It was shortly after this that my wife began to have a visitation of a spirit that would bring great fear upon her. This spirit came usually when she was alone and was resting. It was generally in this state of semi-consciousness, between waking and sleeping that this spirit of fear came.

“At this point, Kent has asked me to step in and tell my own story. It was a time in my life I thought I was strong in the Lord. The Lord had just healed me of breast cancer seven months or so before our son was born. For whatever reason, the Lord allowed me to go through this experience to teach me many things about my life, where I was with Him spiritually and how I had to change from the bondage my childhood held over me.
I remember the first encounter; it was in the early morning after Kent had gone to work. To this day, I don’t know if I was awake or in that semi –conscious state. It was so real; it felt like I was awake. I heard a noise downstairs and I remember thinking Kent had gone to work already. I heard what sounded like someone coming up the stairs, but it was more familiar than that. Whoever it was, came up skipping a stair, just like my Father used to do when one of us kids were in trouble. When this presence entered my bedroom, I could feel it, but I couldn’t see it. A fear entered with it that paralyzed me. This spirit sat on the edge of my bed and I felt strong hands grab me by my throat and it began choking me. I laid there in unbelief. I felt like I was going to die. When it couldn’t kill me, it left and went back downstairs. I laid there trembling, trying to understand what just happened to me. I could hear my heart pounding; it was beating so loud. Fear gripped me again, as I heard it coming back up the stairs for the second time. At this point, I was searching my thoughts wondering what was happening to me? Its presence entered my bedroom again and this time, it sat down and began beating me about my face. I felt the blows…and they hurt! When it couldn’t kill me by its blows, it left again. I heard the familiar sound coming back up the stairs for the third time and I wondered if I would survive this time. This time, it sat down and began touching me in a sexual way. It was then that I sat straight up in bed and rebuked it in the Name of Jesus! It left immediately.
This presence came and left over the next year. It came in other forms, taking on the form of my husband once. It seemed so real. This wasn’t an experience I wanted to share with people. Can you imagine going through this sort of thing as a Christian? There were many times, I would rebuke it in the Name of Jesus and it would laugh at me. How could I share this with others?
I will tell you briefly what I learned. The Lord taught me that it was only a spirit of fear and that it really couldn’t do anything to me, or it would have already done it. When I understood that, it helped me to enter into the Lord whenever it would make an appearance. Through this experience, it taught me how to climb up on the lap of my Heavenly Father and allow Him to put His big arms around me to protect me from this wicked thing. I learned to enter into the presence of the Lord.
There were areas of my life the Lord was dealing with at that time. I was repeating what I had been taught as a child from a stepfather who didn’t know the love of God himself. God was trying to free me from my earthly father’s example in order to follow my heavenly Father’s example instead. I was caught up in soap operas at that time and the Lord taught me what we put into our minds and take in through our eyes does affect how we live and think. I was also taught that we could control even our dreams when we allow the Lord to be the Lord of our lives. You see, I used to think we could do in our dreams what we couldn’t do in real life if it was sin, but if it were done in our dreams, it was okay. The Lord taught me, ”as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
The last significant time it came, I was lying on a couch in our family room. I heard what seemed to be a herd of these spirits. By this time in my life, I was so angry at this thing called fear, I grabbed for them and they went screaming. I remember getting a hold of one of their arms and it took hold of this spirit with both of my hands to break its bone. I heard it snap! I also heard great pain coming from the one I grabbed, while it was trying to get away from me. That evening, a young man came to our house for a Bible study and he prophesied, “Today, has the enemies arm been broken.” He had no idea what had gone on, but I knew exactly what it meant…and from that time on, this spirit of fear has never had the same grip it had, the first time it manifested itself in my bedroom.
While this was a hard trial to go through, I wouldn’t by pass going through it, when I stop and consider how much I learned from this experience.
When I got complete victory over it, it was because I learned to turn that fear into trusting my heavenly Father by climbing up on His lap whenever this thing would manifest itself. Through the years, it has come and left a few times. I have made comments like, “You again?” When it realized fear had no grip on me anymore, it came around less and less until I can’t remember when it manifested itself last.

Fear is not a physical enemy even though it may use physical means or even people to manifest its self. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “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.” This includes that spirit of fear that can grip our hearts. 1 John 4:18 says, “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.” The place where we find that perfect love is in the heart of the Father. If fear is your tormentor, then the heart of the Father is your deliverance. That is the place spoken of in Psalms 91:1-7, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, [and] from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth [shall be thy] shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; [nor] for the arrow [that] flieth by day; [Nor] for the pestilence [that] walketh in darkness; [nor] for the destruction [that] wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee.” Your faith, your abiding and your authority in Christ are your victory over the spirit of fear.

Blessings,
#kent

The Brokenhearted

April 15, 2014

The Brokenhearted
Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;

Luke 4 says that Jesus read this passage in the synagogue one day and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Jesus came to fix, heal and bind up the broken man and woman, spiritually, emotionally and physically. He cares as much about our state of being today as He did then and His ministry is still the same. The difference is that now He uses His many-membered body, gifted and anointed of the Holy Spirit to administer these graces. Now what Jesus came to fulfill in this passage is being fulfilled in us. We can only minister these gifts because we have been the recipients of them. We have experienced God’s love and grace shed abroad in our hearts. We have experienced His comfort and His help in our time of need or brokenness. We have experienced His deliverance in our lives from the sin and strongholds that have bound us. Paul says in Romans 15:8, “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed.” Paul didn’t just minister words; He ministered from His life experiences.
There are times in each of our lives when we are brokenhearted. It could be through the loss of a loved one or because a loved one betrayed us or disappointed us. It could be because of any number of disappointments or hurts we experience in life. When these times come upon us we are crushed emotionally; our insides literally hurt and agonize in the emotional pain we feel. It is not unlike a severe physical injury in that, initially it is an open wound and sore that causes us great pain. Just as we are very protective of an area of body that has been wounded we are often very protective of the emotional areas of our lives where we have been wounded and hurt as well. This is where time is often our friend, because wounds, emotional or physical, take time to heal. Unless God does something out of the ordinary, our healing is usually a process of time that restores us to health. The important thing to remember is that in that process the Lord is at work binding up and ministering to our need. It can often be in so many unseen ways, little signs that He gives us, special blessings, words of love and encouragement from others, the special memories we cherish and cling too. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. Sometimes it is our broken heart that leads us to repentance in areas and causes us to return to the Lord. The Lord is in the business of healing and fixing broken people. As His people that should be our purpose as well. As this prophecy in Isaiah was fulfilled in Jesus, so it must be fulfilled in us who are His expression and members in this earth. We are the vessels through whom He often flows in His ministry to humanity. More times than not the reason we are able to minister is because we have had to walk that road ourselves. We have had to personally experience the Lord’s presence in our own situations. As we have experienced the Lord’s grace to us we are then able to empathize and share that grace with others. Many times what we experience even in our pain and suffering is not so much for us as it is for others. Jesus suffered much to bring us so great a salvation. We in turn well may share in those sufferings if we are to be the instruments of His grace and mercy. The Lord makes us walk the walk, before we can talk the talk. But our ministry is so much more powerful when we are ministering out of personal experience and not just theological ideas.
If you are experiencing brokenness in your life this day be encouraged that God can take your pain and use it for someone else’s healing. The precious part is that it heals us as well, it makes us stronger and better equipped in our spiritual lives because of what we have had to walk through. Be encouraged, the Lord is there in your pain working a deeper work of His grace and mercy.

Blessings,
#kent

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