Strongholds

June 28, 2017

Mark 3:23-27

So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.

Strongholds

There are strongholds that each one of us deals with in our lives.  Some may be stronger than others, but all of us have dealt with areas of our flesh where we are weak and more prone to failure and sin.  Most all of us tend to want to keep these in the secret places of our closets so others won’t see, but often very ugly things reside behind the closed doors of our home and our hearts.  These strongholds have fettered us and kept us in a state of bondage even as Christians for far too long.  It is most often a love-hate relationship.  We hate our sin and yet we love it too much to let go of it.  As a result we struggle with our hypocrisy, often justifying it or rationalizing it so we can live with this bondage that is crippling our wholeness in Christ.  Many of us live with much guilt and condemnation because we truly love the Lord and yet in these areas that may differ with each one of us, we are weak and seem unable to break free. 

The enemy knows our areas of weakness and vulnerability.  These are his inroads to our soul to hinder us and cripple us in walking in obedience in these areas.  No amount of rules or laws are going to deliver us from these sensual or fleshly indulgences. 

Paul says this in Colossians 2:19-13, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”  The truth is that Jesus Christ has bound the strong man, disarming his powers and authority.  We now possess in Christ a greater power and authority than that which has bound us.  Verse 10 says ‘you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head over every power and authority.’ 

So why are we still enslaved by these strongholds of sin and flesh?  God has placed the Spirit of Christ in us to overcome the flesh.  It is easy when someone does everything for you, but it doesn’t help you to grow or to find the strength you need to live in victory.  God has called us to overcome in Christ Jesus. 

We plead, “But I have tried and I still fail. I can’t do it.” 

That is exactly right, we can’t do it, but we have a power resident within us by which we can.   Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  The key words here for us are “By the Spirit”.   We have an identity in Christ that we must put on in every area of our lives.  We are no longer identified with the weakness, fearfulness and the lust of our flesh.  We are identified with what we possess which Colossians 2:10 says is the ‘fullness in Christ’.   

Colossians 3:1-11 exhorts us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” We must know who we are and where we now reside in the Spirit.  We are not an earthly people any longer, we are a kingdom people with the King of Kings setting upon the throne our hearts and souls. 

Some of us cry out in our souls and say, “I want to be free, but I can’t.”  Can’t is not a statement of faith, but of fear and unbelief.  “We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.”  Our greatest enemy is the deceptiveness of sin.  We hide our sin in the closet because of our shame.  We don’t want people to think of us less than spiritual; when in truth we are all struggling with the same garbage.  It doesn’t matter how wicked or perverse the thing is that you struggle with, God sees it and He knows.  It is not His will that this stronghold possesses you and rules over you.  The greatest tactic of the enemy is to get you alone with your sin, like you are the only one going through this. You are not alone.  We all struggle in areas of our life.  Our greatest strength and victory is going to come when we bring our sin and struggles into the light and we allow the body of Christ to stand with us, pray with us and offer accountability to us.  James 3:16 tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  The reason we confess our sins to one another is to bring them into the light, which renders the devil powerless.   He can only work in darkness.  In the light we unite with the strength and support of fellow believers who can pray with us, stand with us and help us to be accountable in those areas where we are so prone to temptation. 

It is time for all of us to come out of our dysfunctional state of sin and failure.  Let us help one another in coming into the full freedom and deliverance from these strongholds that have so long crippled and hindered us in our walk and full devotion to Christ.  You are not alone in your struggle.  Surround yourself with other solid believers that you can trust and confide in.  You may find that you are able to help them as much as they can help you.   Let us walk in the light as He is in the light.  No more strongholds!

Blessings,

#kent

I am what it says I am, I can do what it says I can do!
Joshua 1:6-9
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The word and promise that the Lord gave Joshua so many years ago is as applicable today for us as it was for Him. The greatest limitations we have are our failure to see and believe God. “All things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23).” If we can see it, it is possible.
James 4:1-3 says, “1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” What we need is a heart, mind and soul that are in alignment and purpose with Him to whom we belong. In order for us to have good success we have to come out from under the darkness and lies that rob us of the truth and into all of the richness heaven holds for us. We are still conformed to the world in many ways of our thinking and reasoning. Our perspective is not often one of praying from the mind of the Spirit and the Word of God. Aren’t most of us caught up in our agendas rather than the Father’s? We are living this life, so we still need things to work our way; that is often the perspective from which we pray.
God is going to take us through battles, trials and testings to possess our land. We can not do it if our reliance is upon the natural man. That is why we meditate upon the Word day and night, so that we may have the mind of Christ. That is why the Word of God must not depart from our mouth, because it is our authority of truth that dispels the lies and darkness of the enemy. The spoken Word of God in our mouths drives the stakes and establishes the boundaries of our faith. Satan can not dwell in light, so light must flood our souls to dispel the deceitfulness of sin. We have the spiritual armory of God’s Word and its application to defeat our foes. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
God has told us, as He told Joshua, that there are great and mighty things that we are to do. There are enemies to conquer and victories to be won. There is a land to possess and promises that need fulfillment. 2 Peter 1: 2-4 makes this bold proclamation, “3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Our God is calling us to be a people of divine nature. We are after the image of our Father; we are called to be the sons of God, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Yet, we ignorantly and constantly cling to the attributes and thinking of this lower nature. It isn’t because God hasn’t provided the means for us or that Christ didn’t die to make it a reality. It is we ourselves, that fail to grasp the vision, the faith and make the commitment to possess the impossible through the power of God that makes all things possible to him that believes. Everything in my life has to come into alignment with God’s Word so that the higher principles and laws of the Kingdom of God may take affect in this natural realm. Your are what the Word of God says you are and you can do what the Word of God says you can do. Do we really believe that and will we fully act upon it?

Blessings,
#kent

Attitude

September 28, 2015

Philippians 2:5
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus

Attitude

Our attitude, the condition and state of your mind, can be our greatest attribute and strength or our greatest detriment and weakness. Our attitude is one of the most important things that we possess and can have control over. Far too often we allow circumstances and feelings to dictate our attitude. We allow our attitude to be a thermometer, indicating the temperature of our life at any given moment, instead of a thermostat where we set the temperature we want to maintain regardless of the circumstances and feelings in our life. Our attitude, our state of mind, more than perhaps any other thing, determines our success and our failure in life and in relationships. We tend to attract what our attitude is conveying. If we are in a foul mood and our attitude is ugly and cantankerous, then we aren’t going to tend to attract a lot of smiling faces and sweet dispositions toward us. We tend produce strife and negative responses from others. On the other hand if we are bright, cheery, full of a positive and bright outlook on life, that tends to draw that response out of those we are around and it may serve to inspire them to a more positive outlook and attitude.
Our attitude is largely governed by the state of our mind. We all have days and times in our lives when everything coming at us is negative and bad news. If our attitude is a thermometer we will respond to that with a mental attitude that is defeated and depressed. If we are the thermostats we will set the temperature of our heart and attitude by the Word of God.
David was a good example of a man that had learned how to choose his attitude rather than letting his attitude choose him. In Psalms 42:5 David cries out, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and [why] art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him [for] the help of his countenance.” Psalm 35:9-10 says, “And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation. All my bones shall say, LORD, who [is] like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him? Psalms 62:5 says, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation [is] from him.” All through the Psalms David speaks often of those that pursued his life unto death. He struggled with fear, despair, disappointment, failure and rejection. So many times he had to give himself attitude adjustments and remind himself of whom His God was rather than what the circumstances indicated. Right and positive attitudes don’t just always happen. The sun usually isn’t shining upon our life everyday and some of us are going through some pretty dark valleys and deep pits. Isn’t it wonderful that God gave us men like David that could show us how to sit ourselves down and talk to the attitude of our soul from the Spirit man within us. If everything was turning up roses why would we need faith? We need faith to trust God for the things that we cannot see and feel. It is faith that can rectify our negative and wrong attitudes. It is faith that can cause us to hope in our salvation and deliverance that only comes from the Lord.
If there is one thing that determines the direction, the success or failure of a man’s life, attitude is the key factor. While two men may meet with the same defeat or failure, one will give up and say, “It can’t be done, I am just a failure,” and the other will say, “I will not be denied, I will find a way to overcome.” Attitude, more than aptitude or ability determines our success or failure in life. This is why it is so imperative that we seek to put on the mind of Christ. It is that attitude that was in Him that changed the world and the lives of so many. It changed us and we want it to continue changing us as we meet the challenges we face every day of our lives.
It is time for you to rule and set your attitude by the Spirit of Christ within you. Don’t allow your circumstances and feelings to dictate what your attitude will be. It is time for our soul to subject it’s self to our spirit. God’s has called us to overcome and to be more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. We shall be what He has called us to be by the strength and power of His life in us. Have this mind and attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus.
Blessings,
#kent

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

2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Garments of Righteousness

When you came to Christ, you made an exchange. He took your old filthy garments of sin, which He died for on the cross and exchanged, through faith and by His grace, the garment of your sin for the garment of His righteousness. What we could never do or earn to bring us into right standing with God the Father, Christ has done for us through the cross.
There are days when you are going to feel so condemned, so unworthy and so unrighteous. There are days when you feel only failure, defeat and discouragement. Remember it is not about your self-worth, but about your God-worth and what God has called righteous, who are we to call it unrighteous. Our defeat comes when we relinquish to the feelings of self. We are not who the accuser says we are. We are what God says we are “the righteousness of God in Him.” If we want victory, we must get our eyes off of self and on to Him. We must stop living in the cemetery of the old dead man and start living in the sanctuary of the Life-giver. When we set our eyes upon Him, we see what we are and what we are becoming. It is Christ that is now our value and our worth. There is none that can devalue Him. His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness and maintains our right standing in Him.
Here is what the Lord would say to you who are discouraged. Isaiah 61 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. 8 “ForI, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.” 10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”

Blessings,
#kent

Psalms 48:1-3,14
Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Our God Forever and Forever

You know there are times that I look at myself probably like many of you. I see all of my weaknesses, my frailties, failures, sins and faults. If I only had eyes to see myself, I could become very discouraged and depressed. Sometimes it is not only hard for others to live with us, it is hard for us to live with ourselves and still keep our hope. We can become very discouraged with life and want to give up. We can easily reason how the world would be so much better off without us. Maybe we feel all we ever do is screw up, make mistakes and fall so short of what we hoped we would be. There are times in our lives we can feel pretty beat up, battered and condemned. So why do we continue on? Why should we still have hope?
When I read passages like this one in Psalms it helps me realize that I am not an island, but I am part of a much greater plan. That faith I have in God and Jesus Christ rises up to show me that there is a mighty God that is so great and wonderful beyond my comprehension and that this God really loves me, even the way I am. He created me. He knows my heart, my thoughts and my intentions. He has not left me alone, but He has brought me into Himself to be a part of something so magnificent and glorious. He made me a part of His City and His Presence and Being indwells me. ‘This God is my God who is with me for ever and for ever and He will guide me even to the end.’
I realize that maybe He allowed me to have so many weaknesses and flaws for a reason. Maybe it was so that I could never boast in myself, but I could only boast in Him, in His grace and sufficiency for my life. What gives me courage and hope is that I know that my God is for me, that nothing can ever separate me from His love and that the reason that I am a conqueror and an overcomer is because of the Christ that indwells me.
I know that the purpose of the enemy and of satan is to destroy that life which you and I possess. Jesus tells us that in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” While the enemies’ purpose is to destroy us, Christ’s purpose it to build us up and to give us life abundantly. No, we may not feel worthy or deserving of that life, but He has given it to us just the same. Through Christ we can have eyes to see into Him and what we are in Him. We no longer have to focus on the mess that we have been and the inadequacies that we feel. I know that we are still struggling through so many of these issues. Our faith takes us where our present experiences have not yet been. It takes us to what God has to say about us, what His Word declares over us and promises to us. In these things we find hope, we find life and reason for being.
I love the scripture that Paul gives to us in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” Maybe that is why He chose me and that is why He chose you. In our weakness He is made strong and when people observe the marvelous things that can come forth from your life they will recognize that it is not you, but Christ in you. God knows how to take cracked pots and use them for His glory and praise. So before you and I give up and succumb to our discouragement, let us draw courage from the God of strength and life. I thank God for who I am because it makes me keep my eyes upon Him and my praise toward Him. I have to trust Him for every aspect of my life.
Yes, I see my faults, my failures and my weakness, but more importantly I see His life, His promises and His strength. These are what we are going to lay hold of. These are what will pull us out of the pit and set us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. HE IS OUR STRENGTH, OUR LIFE AND OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. HE IS OUR FAITH, OUR FORTRESS AND OUR SALVATION. HE IS THE ONE THAT GIVES ME HOPE IN THE NIGHT AND JOY IN THE MORNING. HE IS OUR GOD FOREVER AND FOREVER, HALLELUJAH AND AMEN.

Blessings,
#kent

Ephesians 3:10-13
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

The Confidence of the Believer

“Faith builds confidence and where confidence falters failure ensues.” These are the words that came up in my spirit this morning. Hebrews 10:35 says, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.” Your confidence is synonymous with your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 3:14 tells us, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” Our faith in Christ builds our confidence to believe Him and His Word in all of the areas of our life. 1 John 5:14 informs us, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” Our confidence is in Creator Father God and His Son, Jesus Christ. He is a covenant God and a promise keeper. ‘God is not a man that He should lie.’
The one thing I have observed as I have grown in years is that we live in the age of microwave mentality. We expect everything instantly, with no fuss and no muss. I see a lot of young people getting married and their expectations are that they should have everything their parents have worked years for, right now. This mindset is often reflected in the realm of our faith. When we pray, we expect that within three minutes the timer will ding and our prayers will be answered. When we find that God isn’t instant oatmeal we start to wane in our faith and our confidence begins to fall. What I have experienced personally is that God may act immediately, but more times than not, it is the prayer of faith and the confident hope in that prayer that sets events in motion to accomplish that for which we have prayed and believed God for. There are prayers that I have prayed that I didn’t see answers to, till years down the road. God works all things after the council of His will, not mine. Many prayers fall short of their answer because of the very principle that the Lord gave me this morning. We hold fast the faith for so long and after awhile we get discouraged and give up instead of rejoicing and continuing to praise Him. Remember Hebrew 3:14, ““For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” The promises of God are not obtained by the weak and the fainthearted, they are obtained by the violent and passionate people of faith who refuse to be denied, that take the kingdom by force. They get a revelation of the promise of God in their heart and they no longer look at the things which are seen, but they behold that which is unseen and yet more real than fact. They have laid hold of truth and they refuse to let it go, no matter what the facts may dictate.
2 Corinthians 1:18-22 says, “But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. God’s promises are yes, but we are the ones that give the amen. Our amen is the agreement and the confidence in the yes of God.
If you count yourself in Christ today then be confident in what He has spoken to you through His Word. Quit listening to the enemy. Quit looking at your circumstances. You are a child of God. You are a joint-heir with the King of Kings. Take hold of who you are and what you have in Christ Jesus and with tenacity and perseverance let nothing take it from you. Let nothing in this world shake the confidence of who you are in Christ. You are always more than a conqueror. Again I bring to your remembrance Romans 8:28-39, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
1 John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

Blessings,
#kent

Despair

February 13, 2015

Despair

2 Corinthians 4:8
[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;

There may be one today that is in a place of despair. You are so low and you feel so worthless that you despair of life itself. Desperation is overtaking you and maybe you are even contemplating that the world would be better off without you. Beloved, despair is the work of the enemy. Never is it God’s intent to bring you here. God is not the author of discouragement. He values you even more than you can value yourself.
“You may say, “even God can’t love me the way I am.” God has never stopped loving you in spite of what you are. Though the world would despise you, God has not forsaken you. Even in the bondage of deepest and ugliest sin God’s heart beats for us. Even when men can’t forgive you, God can. He loves even the lowest and vilest of sinners, the greatest failures, the nobodies, the forgotten and the rejected. God didn’t come in Christ Jesus just to call out and save the golden boys and girls. He came for all and especially those rejected of the world. 1 Corinthian 1:27-31 says, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
God is calling out to you in your despair today. Despair is the tool of devil for self-condemnation in order to destroy the precious gift of life and hope that God has given you. God is there for us when we turn to Him. It isn’t by the evidence of our feeling that we determine His presence it is according to the promise and faithfulness of His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us if we call out and believe on Him. The Lord wants to instill hope in your life today. He wants to instill in you confidence that in His eyes you are of great value and worth. No matter what your life has been or where it has taken you God can take it and use it for good if you surrender your all to Him. He is reaching out to you the hand of hope and life today. He is your lifeline that will keep you from drowning in the miry sea. Reach out and lay hold of Him. Lay hold of Christ and the precious promises for life and blessing in His Word. Jesus died for you as much as anyone else, reach out by faith and receive life from Him today.

Blessings,
#kent

Our Father, Guardian and Instructor

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

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

Blessings,
#kent

Come unto Me

October 29, 2014

Matthew 11:27-30
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28″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.”

Come unto Me

We have a gift and an inheritance that so relatively few have. The Lord has made Himself known unto us and has drawn us to the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit which has quickened the reality and truth of Him to our spirits. What the Father has given us is life and just as we came into this natural life and drew our first breath we have come into the spiritual life of God and have drawn our first spiritual breath. Now we live and move and have our being in Him. We didn’t labor to enter in, but someone else labored over us. They travailed that we might be brought forth in Christ. It was not us that chose Him; it was Him that chose us from the foundations of the world. He has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His harvest.
We hear Him as He speaks to us, “Come unto Me.” What He is asking from us is not a labor; it is not our works or our goodness. We are called to take upon us the mantle of His spiritual life. That calling is not about works, but about rest. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Some of us have been so stressed. We have struggled to try and please God. We have wrestled with our sin and our unworthiness. We have come to the point where we have felt failure, defeat and condemnation. The arms of the Lord are extended toward you today and He is speaking to you, “Come unto me. Come and rest in my arms, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Religion often becomes our taskmaster rather than our revelation of Christ. It so often demands of us, uses us and often it manipulates us to its own ends and purpose. We often feel that if we fail at religion we fail God. The Lord has come to lead us into His Sabbath rest. It is a ceasing of us and even our good efforts and it is a release of ourselves into His rest.
Do we do spiritual work in this rest? Yes, but it is not our work, it His work through us as we learn His voice and move in obedience to His Spirit. We want to struggle to redeem this old man, but this old man is dead. Let go of him and embrace the new creation you are in Christ. This new man is birthed in the likeness of Christ and every expression of our being; it is this spiritual man that we want to now express. We see this new creation man represented and exemplified through Jesus. Did Jesus struggle to do the work of God or did He just come into His presence and fellowship? It was there that He found the will and purpose of God for each day of His earthly travels.
If you are tired and you want to find that rest, then take His yoke upon. His burden is light, because He is your strength and wisdom to carry out His will and purpose for your life. What He has called you to do, He will enable and provide for you to do. Don’t be anxious, just rest.

Blessings,
#kent

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