Faith That Separates Us unto God

Hebrews 11:24-29

24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

               There is something in most of us that causes us to shrink back from the rejected, the unacceptable or unpopular ones of our society.  We may even have a compassion for them, but we don’t want to be identified with them because by association we fear the same rejection, ridicule and reproach they are suffering.  Our inclination is to be among the acceptable, the popular and well regarded of people.  We have seen this type of social behavior from the time we were little children all the way through into adulthood.  Think how Jesus’ life might have been different had He not chose to associate with sinners and tax collectors, if he would have just hob-knobbed and got in good with the upper religious class of His day.  Perhaps life would have not turned out so harsh for Him and perhaps we would still be perishing in our sins because we would have had no Redeemer of all of mankind.  If our Lord had been a respecter of persons, where would that have left many of us?

               In this passage in Hebrews 11 we view an example of an individual whose whole life was a diadem of faith.  Often, we associate Moses with the law and legalism, but his life was an Old Testament parallel of Christ.  Moses, even like Christ, had it all, authority, power, riches, might and dominion concerning earthly kingdoms.   Even like Christ he chose to be identified with the slaves and downcast people of God rather ‘than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.’  It says, “accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.”  Egypt was a representation of the world and all that it has to offer us.  Many of us spend our whole lives trying to gain what Moses already had and gave up. 

               Moses was a man of vision.  If we have no vision then we will only pursue that which is directly in front of us.  Faith gives us vision to see with the mind and heart of God in order that we may pursue that which is eternal, but which is often ludicrous to natural minded men.  When by faith we begin to gain a God perspective of our world, our values and our goals change.  We begin losing our fear of what men think, what is popular or what will get us into the right social circles.  All of that becomes shallow, empty and hollow in the light of God’s vision.  By faith, we too, can begin accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.  The world is caught up in the lie that life is all about our personal success and us, when nothing could be further from the real truth.  Moses truly discovered life when he discovered a relationship with All Mighty God.  The world could have never given him, what he gained and experienced in God, but it personally cost him everything.  He bore the reproach of men, even the people of God, but the favor of the hand of God rested upon him.  He knew a relationship and friendship with God, that most men can only dream of, but Christ has made it possible for each of us through the Cross. 

               Today God’s call upon our lives is not to pursue the world or the things of the world, but to pursue Him and seek first the kingdom of God with all of our heart.  Jesus tells us in John 15:18-25, “18“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

That badge of rejection and shame in the world is a badge of honor in the kingdom of God, for it declares that we love and care more of the praise and approval of God than we do of men. 

               Faith has the vision to bear the reproach and separation with the world that it might be identified with Christ and His eternal kingdom.  Our faith must not be one duplicity, but singleness of heart and purpose.  He bought us with the price of His blood.  We are no longer our own, but His.  Draw near in full assurance of faith, despising the shame and looking unto the ‘recompense of reward’ even as Moses.

Blessings,

#kent

Life and Death

August 23, 2022

Life and Death

Deuteronomy 30:19

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

               In the midst of the Garden of Eden were two trees that stood out from all the other trees in the Garden.  In the fruit of these two trees were contained the two great laws and principles of heaven and earth which are life and death.  Genesis 2:9 says, “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”  Later, as God creates and sets man in the Garden, He gives only one simple instruction and rule to the man.  “Genesis 2:15-17 says, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”  This is the first introduction of the concept of death.  How could Adam even grasp what the principle of death was when he had never seen what it looked like?  Now there were no restrictions on the tree of life, Adam and Eve had full access to partake of that tree and its fruit.   While abiding in the Garden in obedience to God and partaking of the fruit of the tree of life, Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect bliss and communion with God.  There was no shame or evil; because of yet it had not found its way into God’s creation. As long as Adam and Eve were willing to choose only life they lived out of the life, abundance and supply that God gave them.  Death was not a part of this realm. 

               This tree of the knowledge of good and evil, why was it in the Garden if it would produce death?  The tree alone didn’t produce the death, it was the partaking of it’s fruit that caused them to surely die.  Why?  Because it was a Pandora’s box that once opened could never be shut except by the hand and the will of God.  It opened the door to man making choices outside of the will and purpose of God.  But free choice is a gift that God gave to man and all of man’s choices really boiled down to these two basic principles, life and death.   

               When this Pandora’s box of the knowledge of good and evil was opened through the tempters temptation and the choice of Adam and Eve to partake of it; man fell that day from his heavenly state of life and peace in perfect harmony and communion with God.  Sin was conceived and mankind would never be the same until the time of the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21).  While Adam and Eve didn’t die an immediate death, the spirit of death was put into motion through sin and began its work of death and corruption.  Within that fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the greatest enemy of mankind was given place, the spirit of death.  Once the spirit of death was unleashed through man’s disobedience, it was the power of the devil to destroy life with death.  We have only to look around us, starting with our own bodies to see the effects of death at work still.  Sin and corruption is all around us touching and tainting everything it touches. 

               God, in His great love, gave man a choice to choose life or death.  Because we all have made choices that were contrary to life and the righteousness of God, we have all sinned and fell short of His glory and His highest for us.  Then man wants to blame God for all the wickedness, sin and suffering in the world and call Him unloving because of the mess we have made.  The state of our world is the fruit of our choices, not God’s.  God has never encouraged us to do anything else but to choose life.

               Christ Jesus is God’s gift of life back to us.  Christ is the tree of life to us again.  He has come to reconcile His creation back to Himself.  Hebrew 2:14 says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” That reconciliation and restoration to life can never come through our self-effort to obtain it.  We find that it is only found in the grace and mercy of God revealed through Jesus Christ His Son.  He alone stands as the door that leads us back to paradise and right standing with God.  Only as we enter through that door by faith in Christ does His righteous blood sacrificed as Calvary make atonement for our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness in the sight of God.  Romans 8:1-4 declares to us, “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  The knowledge of what is good is a noble thing, but it is not in the ability of man to live up to God’s righteous standards by his own strength.  It is only in our union with Christ and the Spirit of His Life, that we again return to the principles of life.  Only as we submit our hearts in obedience to walk in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, He has imparted to us who believe, do we have the ability to lay hold of the paradise lost and our communion again with Father God.  Christ has conquered death, but He is raising up a body that will follow in His example, for He has set down at the right hand of God, “From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool (Hebrews 10:13).”  “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

Blessings,

#kent

Healing

February 24, 2022

Healing

Jeremiah 17:14

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou [art] my praise.

               There is a time and season for all things under heaven.  Ecclessiastes 3:1,3 tells us, “To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up.”  Our lives are a series of seasons, some of those seasons bring perceived goodness and blessing to our lives, while others we don’t relish or necessarily enjoy and yet all of it is a part of this life, even the dying. We know that we don’t always have a lot of control over the seasons that affect our lives, anymore than we have control over winter, summer, fall or spring.  Through the cycle of life and seasons God has worked all things to bring balance and we see that even winter isn’t the absence of life, it is simply life in hibernation, in waiting for its season and time to bring forth.  Through each season, our circumstances can bring to pass inner workings in our lives that couldn’t be brought forth or worked in us in other ways.  It brings us to the perspective that whether in life or death, He lives and we who are in Christ live in Him.  That is where we live and move and have our being.  When our hearts and spiritual eyes are fixed on Him then what we see, or what man tells us or what natural circumstances dictate to us, does not move us.  Our God is the Lord of the seasons of our lives and just like there is a time for every purpose under heaven there is a time when God alone is God.  He moves as God in our circumstances and trials.  It may be in a moment and it may be in the course of years, but God is the Lord of our seasons. 

               We have the sovereignty of God’s Word concerning healing.  Deuteronomy 32:9 says, “See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand.”  God is the Lord of our seasons, but He also promises provision.  Jeremiah 30:17 says, “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, [saying], This [is] Zion, whom no man seeketh after.”  Sometimes there is affliction that moves us to right relationship with God.  God is not sadistic, simply wishing to see us suffer.  Suffering has spiritual medicinal powers to move us often to where we need to be in relationship with Him and His purpose.  Even Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered.   He had to willingly come to that place where He was totally surrendered to the Father’s will and not His own.  Ultimately God is moving us in the direction of restoration and wholeness, but the path to getting there may be with suffering.  At the waters of Marah (bitterness) Exodus 15:25-26 says of Moses, “And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, [which] when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I [am] the LORD that healeth thee.”  God has showed us a tree in this day and we know it is the cross of Calvary.  Because that tree knew the bitterness of suffering and death, when it is cast into the bitter waters of our life’s circumstances it brings sweetness, healing and restoration, but we must guard our hearts that we fall not into the snare of murmuring and complaint while we await our deliverance.

We believe in healing, because the Word of God has promised it to us.  Psalm 103:2-4 encourages us, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.”  1 Peter 2:24 speaks to us that life giving promise, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”  Christ provided it, we must possess it and God must manifest it, but the promise is ours.  James 5:16 exhorts us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Sometimes there can be things in our lives that hinder us from receiving the manifestation of the promise such as sin or unforgiveness.  We must search our hearts to be sure there are no such unconfessed and unresolved encumbrances.   “By His stripes we are healed” for He is the Lord our God “who healeth all our diseases.”  He has healing in His wings for you today.  Make His Word your standard, the continual confession of your lips and the faith that fills your heart.

Blessings,

#kent

From Fear to Faith

January 10, 2022

From Fear to Faith

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.

            After being away a good part of the day, that night we brought a couple of our grandkids home with us to spend the night.  Before I had finished getting everything out of the car, the wife was telling me the back door was unlocked and open.  She said she was sure that she had locked it.  On the way into the house I grabbed a trusty little aluminum bat and went into to secure the perimeter.  As the grandkids followed we walked all through the house and did a search to make sure no one was there.  Everything was in tact and nothing was disturbed so it appeared to be just an oversight on our part that the door was open.  As the grandkids followed me talking. I could hear the apprehension and a degree of fearfulness in their voices as they wanted us to set the alarm.  Now these grandkids are about six and nine years old.  As we got them ready to put to bed I began to talk with them about fear and the author of fear.  I explained about the One who is our life and security, the One who has His hand upon our lives and all that touches us can only be by His permission.  We talked about “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world”; how we are “more than conquerors through Christ that loved us” and how God has “not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  As I began to speak these things to them, faith began to rise in their hearts as they began to remember and realize that even though they were just children, Someone, much greater, resided in them and watched over them.  I began to recount Bible stories of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, of Hezekiah when great armies came up against Jerusalem and the Lord told Him to send the praise team and worshippers out first.  I asked them how they would like to go out in the frontlines of battle with just a tambourine or a horn or just their voice.  We talked about how that praise and worship of faith and obedience released God to discomfit and utterly destroy those great armies so that by the time they reached them all there was to do was gather the spoil they left behind.  We talked about the story of Paul and Silas, beaten for their faith and thrown into dark dirty jail, their hands in chains as they began to sing hymns and songs unto the Lord.  Through that praise and worship, in the midst of such discouraging circumstances, God sent an earthquake that opened the cells and freed everybody, but nobody escaped.  As the distraught jailer thought everyone had fled he drew his sword to kill himself, Paul stopped him and assured him all of them were there.  We saw how what had seemed to be a day of utter defeat and failure had been turned by God to result in the salvation of this jailer and his household. 

            The kids wanted to hear more and more stories, but finally I said it is time for us to go to bed.  Now there was no more fear or apprehension as we turned in.  It was as the scripture says in Romans 10:17, So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Are you fearful today about some circumstance in your life?  Don’t look at how great the problem or the circumstances are, rather look to the Word of God and see how great your God is.  Look at all the times He delivered His people, because they put their faith and trust in Him.  Don’t look to how great the name is of the disease or burden that you bear, look to the Name above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord to the glory of God ( Philippians 2:9-11).  Our God can take us from fear to faith as we read and meditate upon His Word; remembering how great and mighty our God is, how He loved us and gave himself for us and how if we fear anything let us fear the Lord and trust Him.

The Psalmist David says it so well in Psalms 56:11, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”

Blessings,

#kent

Though He Slay Me

January 3, 2022

Though He Slay Me

Job 13:15

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

            This is for those who are walking through the dark places of the shadow of death, of testing and trials.  Many have good intentions of encouraging us or helping us understand that place, but how can they unless they are where you are and face the fears and the terrors that you face.  The two things that you have, that you are holding on too with all your strength, are your physical life and your faith in the eternal life.  When death, hell and the grave rise up to daily confront us, then all the foundations of faith in God are shaken as it attacks in its pain and fears to separate us, condemn us and crush that hope within.  It can bring us to even despair of this physical life, until all we want to do is give up, let go of it and sleep. 

            Know this; you are not in this place to fail and be defeated, but to triumph through the Resurrection Life within you.  “For the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you! Romans 8:11 declares to us, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”  Wrap your arms of faith and hope around the promises of God and refuse to let go.  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day.”  The outward man isn’t our strength, it isn’t our hope and it is but the container of the Life out of which we live.  Our life is so much more than even physical life.  Job had a revelation of this.  He knew that as long as he maintained his integrity and hope in God, then even the grave itself could not defeat or rob him.  It was only if he gave up on God and turned his back on the faith that the enemy could triumph.  This is the hope resident in you that is greater than life itself, because it lives beyond this present physical life.  Fear and death may try and wrest it from your hand, but whatever else happens let us all go to the grave with our faith and hope in God intact.  Meanwhile fight the good fight.  Don’t allow condemnation to come in through thoughts or other individuals, for God isn’t here to condemn you.  If you have been washed in the blood of the Lamb then no accuser has grounds to tell you that you are worthless or deserving of what you are enduring.  Your life is hid with Christ in God.  The devil and hell itself will have to come through God to get to you.  You are His.  He redeemed you with the precious price of His blood and you are forever precious in His sight, for you are His possession. 

            Rest in Him.  You are weary in the battle.  Your strength is gone.  So, rest in Him who is your strength; rest in Him who is your life.  Enter into the Christ within; make your abiding and fellowship there.  The Lord wants to lift you above your circumstances today and invite you into the garden of His presence and life.  There you will find rest and refreshment; hope and faith.  There you will rise up to be more than a conquer through Christ who has loved you, for there is nothing that can separate you from His love.  He is your refuge, your high tower, your shield and buckler.  It is the Lion of Judah that has come forth in His holy raiment to fight your battles and triumph through you.  Though the outward man is frail and weak, let the inward  man wax stronger and stronger through faith, having your eyes fixed on Him who is your life and the reason you live and move and have your being.  Everything else is a name whether it is cancer, disease, poverty, afflictions, sickness, infirmities, trial, persecutions or tribulations, but there is a name above every name and HIS NAME IS JESUS!  He is your hope! Your hope is not in man, medicines, finances, or in the technological abilities and provisions of this world; it is still only and forever in Jesus. 

            Rest your life upon His breast. Let go of all your fears and concerns.  Christ is your rest.  He is your life and your victory remains your hope in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

Matthew  14:22-32

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28″Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29″Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Faith Beyond the Normal

               Most of us are probably familiar with this passage of scripture where Jesus comes to His disciples walking on the water.  For them this is a pretty paranormal event that brings them into a state of fear, because they assume they are seeing a ghost.  Jesus reassures them and calls to them, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  There are times in our lives when Jesus may come to us or make His presence known in ways that are unfamiliar to us.  This can be disconcerting for our natural man until we come into the peace that it is He and not another spirit. 

               We see Peter responding to this event in a rather unusual way.  We don’t hear of any of the other eleven disciples calling to Jesus to allow them to come to Him on the stormy waters.  But Peter represents a company of people that know Jesus well enough that they are willing to trust Him.  They are willing to step out and go where no man has gone before, because their eyes are upon the Savior.  Their faith and confidence are complete in Him. 

               We see Peter calling out to the master, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  Just a note here, Peter was not so presumptuous that He bailed out of the boat without the Lord’s permission and assurance that he could.  Jesus replies back to him, “Come.”  We see a demonstration of great faith working in Peter as he crawls over the side of the boat and onto the water.  He is doing great.  He is actually walking on the water as he comes with his eyes upon Jesus.  Then he makes the error that so many of us make; he takes his eyes and attention off of Jesus and starts to look at the wind and the storm.  At this point he has just made a paradigm shift from walking in the Spirit to walking in the natural.  When he comes out of that place of faith he immediately begins sinking into the water.  Then he cries out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!”  None of us should fault Peter for what just happened, because most all of us have done the same thing.  We have a word of the Lord or a promise that He has given us.  We step out and start walking in that word and promise, but then when the storm kicks up and adversity comes we take our eyes off of Jesus and start looking at the surrounding circumstances.  Doubt and fear again find entrance.   Like Peter, the Lord asks, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”  You were walking in the miracle power of the promise by faith, but then you let doubt come in.  It gives us an insight into how destructive doubt, fear and unbelief can be to our faith and our ability to walk in the fullness of what He wants to do through us. 

               It is imperative that we are being trained in this hour to hear and respond only to the voice of the Master.  There are many voices and some of them sound quite reasonable and good, but are they the Master’s voice.  We must learn in this hour to live, move and have our being in Him.  Seek that place where you know when you hear His voice.  Be obedient and do not waiver from that, which He has spoken to you, but set your eyes upon Him and be not moved by the storm all around you.  Dare to step out beyond the boundaries of the faith you have known, but do it at the permission and instruction of the Lord.  If He has spoken, He will not fail you and yes, He will even be there to raise you up if you fail.  Be like Peter, dare to step out in your faith and go where no man has gone before, just  remember, don’t take your eyes off of Jesus. 

Blessings,

#kent 

The Lord’s Presence

May 17, 2021

The Lord’s Presence

Jude 1:20-25

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

                There is no more awesome place than the Presence of the Lord.  It is a place of great glory and majesty where the power and presence of the Almighty emanates.   There are times in our worship and God experiences that we enter may enter into the Presence of the Lord where our actual body and soul experiences, at least a measure, of that Presence.  For those who have tasted of His Presence you know that there is nothing in earth that can imitate or match it.  When God’s Presence truly comes into a place, we become prostrate, for we can’t even look upon Him in our natural state.  He is as a consuming fire and cleaners soap.  There is no pretense, excuses or falsehoods that can abide in that presence, for they are totally exposed for what they are.  We know that as His children we have access into His Presence through the Son, for we are in Christ.  We are accepted in His Presence in Christ, our High Priest.  Hebrew 9:24 says, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”  It is His righteousness that clothes us and we wear those garments in faith.  The Apostle Paul gives us a revelation of what it is to press into the Presence of the Lord in this life in Philippians 3:8-11, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”  When we catch a revelation of the place of God’s Presence then everything else will loses its meaning and value in comparison.  That place of God’s Presence, it is the place of the richest treasure we can experience.  That is what makes heaven so wonderful.  It is filled with His presence. 

                We have a portal of access, a door of faith by which we may enter in.  For those in Christ the Presence of the Lord is our fullness of joy, but to the sinner that seeks to come in some other way or with other garments than those washed in the blood of Lamb, there is a terror and dread.  For outside of Christ we would be cast out of the Presence of the Almighty.  This is why we want to put off the garments spotted with sin and flesh.  Put on Christ and pursue His Presence.   Pursue His Presence with intimacy, worship and fidelity to your faith.  Make the Lord what your eye and heart covets and let your contentment be with nothing less.

Blessings, 

#kent

The Loss of a Birthright

April 29, 2021

6/2/08

1 Chronicles 5:1-2

The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father’s marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright, 2 and though Judah was the strongest of his brothers and a ruler came from him, the rights of the firstborn belonged to Joseph)-

The Loss of a Birthright

                There are several examples in the Word of those who lost their birthright.  We see Esau selling His birthright to Jacob for a bowl of pottage, which took him out of the lineage of God’s divine line through which the Christ would come.  We see those who forsook their higher calling and purpose because they failed in their faith and obedience to lay hold of the promise.  We first saw that birthright forsaken when Adam disobeyed God and brought all of humanity into sin and darkness.  He fell from the high place that His birthright had afforded him.  Authority and dominion were lost to him. 

Through Abram God brought forth the father of many nations and through his loins he began a seed line of faith and promise.  We see there were cases that this seed line did not follow through the firstborn if they proved themselves unfit or unfaithful.  What this all led to was the promised inheritance, restoration, dominion and authority restored through God’s firstborn son Jesus Christ.

Romans 5: 12-17 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”  Christ was the restoration of that which was lost through Adam’s failure.  Therefore, we have been called in faith to rise up in the birthright afforded to us in Christ Jesus and to produce seed worthy of acceptance through faith.  We have a birthright in Christ that we don’t want to take lightly or take for granted.  It is a high calling in Christ Jesus to come up into Him and to rule and reign in Him through the authority that He has once again afforded us.  Paul speaks of the calling of this birthright when he speaks in Philippians 3:12-16, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

                God has given us back a birthright in Christ Jesus full of faith and promise.  Let us not neglect so high a calling or be unfaithful to that which Christ has called us to inherit.  Secure the birthright afforded to you through your steadfast faithfulness and obedience to Him. 

Blessings,

#kent 

Why have You Forsaken Me, Oh Lord?

Isaiah 49:14

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

                How many of us have had experiences in our lives that have caused us to speak these words or ones like them, “why have You forsaken me, oh Lord?”  There are more than just a few believers that have been cruising down life’s road just enjoying getting to know God and His goodness.  They are growing in their faith and were so confident in God when it happened.  They hit that bump in the road that upset the apple cart of faith and blessing, their world was turned upside down and now it seems as though God has failed.  We prayed, but God didn’t meet our expectations or answer those prayers the way we thought He should.  He allowed something in our life that we thought never should have happened.  All the pieces of the puzzle we had put together in our understanding of God and His faithfulness are suddenly scattered from the devastation, trauma or disappointment that has touched our lives. 

                Many times we go from asking, “why God”, to being angry and then walking away from Him.  We feel like whatever it is that has happened to us or someone we love is God’s fault because He didn’t intervene when we prayed and believed Him for it.  We feel like God has let us down, disappointed us or has even forsaken us.  How many of us have gone through our rebellious times when we were angry or disappointed with God?  Maybe some of you still are.  If you still are, why do you think that you are reading these words right now?  Could it be because God has not really forsaken and turned His back on you?  He keeps drawing you back, but like pouting and angry children we keep pulling away.       

                Allow me to share with you God’s response to Isaiah 49:14, following verse 14, “15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. 17 Your sons hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you. 18 Lift up your eyes and look around; all your sons gather and come to you. As surely as I live,” declares the LORD, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride. 19 “Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste, now you will be too small for your people, and those who devoured you will be far away. 20 The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, ‘This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.’ 21 Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these—where have they come from?’ ““

You see a faith unproven and without being tempered in the fire is not a faith that will stand, but a faith proven in fire will bear children that we aren’t even aware of.  Our faith has to be able to stand even when our understanding doesn’t.  We have to so know that the heart of the Father is love and grace towards us; even when He doesn’t meet our expectations it is not because He loves us any less or doesn’t care what we are going through.  Our faith must be proven to bring us to the next level in our walk with God.  You might say it is the passing from puberty to manhood in the spirit. 

Maybe now you are feeling like, “ I failed the test, so God probably can’t or won’t use me anymore.”  When Peter failed the test and denied Christ three times, did Jesus cast Him off and tell him he was disqualified?  It was that test that was needed to bring him into the higher ministry that God had for him.  Through that test he realized He could trust in no one, but Christ alone, even if it would lead him down a road and into places that he would not choose to go.  God has not disqualified you, He is telling you to get back up on that horse.  Don’t be afraid that it will throw you again.  Have faith that God is there no matter what.  Just because He doesn’t fit in the box of your understanding doesn’t make Him any less faithful, loving and true.

King David went through those times when he felt forsaken.  Where was God when Saul was seeking his life?  Why was God allowing this to happen to him, after all he had been anointed of God to be king?  David says in Psalms 71:10-15, “For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together. 11 They say, “God has forsaken him; pursue him and seize him, for no one will rescue him.” 12 Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O my God, to help me. 13 May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace. 14 But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. 15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure.”  David’s faith was being proven and tested before he could rule and reign. 

                Then there is always the faithful story of Job.  Job didn’t just get his apple cart upset, satan hit him square between the eyes with a 4×4.  He lost everything but his life and that was so miserable he would have been happier dead. Yet, what was the testimony of Job?  Even when Job’s wife is telling him to just curse God and die.  His response in Job 2:10 is “But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”  When Job had withstood the test and came out the other side we see God placing him in the position of a priest, praying and making intercession for his accusing friends, standing in the gap for his accusers.  It was an example not so unlike the Priest that stands in the gap and makes intercession for us.  Even Jesus didn’t get to take the easy way out.  Why do we think that we should?  God is not trying to destroy your faith, but to take it to the next level.  Let go of your anger, disappointment and your rebellion.  Turn again into His outstretched arms of love and acceptance.  God is not through with you yet, but He is training you for a higher order and deeper walk with Him.

                “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee (Psalms 9:10).”

Blessings,

#kent

Through Tribulation

March 10, 2021

Through Tribulation

Revelation 1:9

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

                Our walk in the faith of Jesus Christ is not always an easy one.  If we really are walking in a full commitment to Christ we, like John, may well come to know that beside the blessings that are ours in Christ, there is often a price to be paid to walk this way.  The Kingdom of God is not about God raising up spoiled children, pampered with every desire of their flesh.  He is raising an army of sons trained up in Kingdom principles and equipped for spiritual warfare.  When the Lord trains us up in His ways we may not feel very blessed because He leads us through hard places.   Places of trial and tribulation.  Often, just as in military training, there is a process of tearing down of the old ways in order to build us back up in the new ways. 1 Peter 1:7 says, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” Our faith is only a head and knowledge thing until the fire of tribulations and trials come to us.  It is there we either press into and lay hold of what we say we believe or we forsake what we may have confessed with our mouth, but has never been worked in our hearts.  Our faith is much like a marriage; it is a covenant commitment of our hearts and lives to our God.   Not unlike many marriages today, when the honeymoon is over and the rubber meets the road with trials and conflicts, our resolve and commitment of love quickly wanes.  We find ourselves in a place of tribulation and rather than overcoming through trust, obedience, patience and steadfastness, we want an easier, less painful way.  Jesus could have chosen an easier way, but He endured the beatings and the shame and the pain of the cross for us.  Father God could have chosen an easier way than giving His only begotten son to die for us, but He didn’t.  He gave the most precious gift He could give us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  When we accepted and were baptized into Christ we accepted and became identified with His cross.  Our flesh, with its sin and selfish desires were nailed there with Him.  We accepted a death sentence to our past life and in exchange we were given a new life in the Spirit.  While we are new creatures in Christ, born of the Spirit, there is a process and working out of our salvation wherein we are possessing our spiritual inheritance through faith and daily overcoming of those former passions and desires that still want to work in our earthly members.  As we yield to the Spirit there is being worked in us a greater and greater death to the old man as we come up from glory to glory in our spiritual man.  That process is most often worked through testings, trials and tribulations. 

                Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” For God to bring us into sonship He must work the nature of the Son in us.  Concerning Jesus it is said in Hebrews 5:8-10, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.”   When it says “and being made perfect” it is saying that perfection lies in running the race and staying the course.  The only way for Jesus to do this was to suffer on our behalf.  Just as were saved when we accepted Christ into our hearts, our salvation is being worked out day by day as we are being made perfect by our identification with Christ, which includes His sufferings.  When the children of Israel were told to eat the Passover lamb before Moses led them out of Egypt, they were told to eat the whole lamb, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Exodus 12:7-10).  We know that the Passover lamb, in type, represented Christ.  We must partake of Him today in the same way.  There is bitter with the sweet. 

                Jesus said in John 16:33, “in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  Again, in Acts 14:33 it speaks, “Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

                So what is this tribulation is working in us? “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:1-5).”  As our faith is tested and exercised through tribulations, we learn not to look at our circumstances and adversities not as negative things, but as stepping stones upon which our faith and trust in Christ is built up and spiritually we are being built up unto that perfect man.  Though outwardly not pleasant God is using these negative experiences to work the positive treasures of His grace and glory in us as we run the race and the stay the course in our walk of faith. 

“Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him (James 1:12).”

Blessings,

#kent

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