Gifted to Give

October 13, 2015

Ephesians 4:7-10 (Amplified)
Yet grace (God’s unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and bounteous] gift.
8Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.
9[But He ascended?] Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from [the heights of] heaven into [the depths], the lower parts of the earth?
10He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).

Gifted to Give

Our God is such a giving God. What He has given us in the riches of His grace through Christ Jesus I don’t think any of us have fully assimilated and processed what we have in Him. It is implied here that as Christ ascended back into heaven all of the those gifts, attributes and the anointing that rested upon Him from the Father was distributed throughout His body. No one person was given the whole, but we were all given the parts that by coming together and operating as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, we the many, might become one in Him.
Jesus says in John 14:10-14, “10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Jesus Himself has commissioned through His body a greater works ministry operating out of the power of His name and led by the Holy Spirit. Even as the Father expressed Himself through His Son, He is in turn the expression of the Father through His body that truly believe and dare to step out into this place of faith, having confidence in His promise. We are like children who are learning to swim. At first we are fearful. We thrash at the water. We spit and sputter and often get into a panic. What we have to learn to do is to work with the water and not against it. Slowly we come to find that if we can truly rest then the water will actually support our bodies and we can float. We learn that with minimal effort we can maintain our buoyancy. Eventually we learn to move quickly through the water and the water becomes our friend instead of this body of fluid that we once might have been dreadfully fearful of. This is the way the Holy Spirit is in our lives. The more familiar we become with Him the more at home we feel in His presence and operating out of His directive.
Jesus not only imparted unto us gifts, but also He took those strong men, those oppressive spirits that once held us captive and He led them into captivity. The door of your prison is unlocked. All you have to do is have the faith to open it and walk out. There is nothing that can hold you or separate you from the love of God. You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. Christ gave us the richest gift that any man could ask for. He gave us Himself. He literally imparted Himself to us. What we see in a foretaste and measure is to become the whole and likeness of Him. Right now it is all of us working in the unity of the faith and operating by faith in the giftings that He has imparted into each one of us. If you don’t know what your calling and giftings are, begin to operate within a body that has body ministry and you will most likely find your gifts coming to the surface. In so many assemblies the body has been dumbed down to think and believe that it is only the missionaries, teachers, ministers or pastors that are ordained to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. This is contrary to what this passage in Ephesians speaks about. Their responsibility is to bring the rest of the body into their purpose and calling in Christ Jesus and to allow the giftings of Christ to abound to the edification and the building up of the body. Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
This brings us to the “why” of what Christ has imparted the gifts and the riches of His grace toward us for. He gives to us so that we in turn might give to others. This is the law and economy of His kingdom. He doesn’t give to us to hold on to what He gives us, but to in turn impart it into others. His giftings are so that we might be givers, blessings and the increase of the Lord upon the lives of those around us, both Christian and non-Christian alike. We are the pipeline, the conduits and the sprinkler heads of God’s grace and goodness that we wants to dispense to mankind through so many avenues and in so many ways. We have been blessed to be the blessing of Abraham and through us all of the nations will be blessed in the knowledge and the goodness of God.
You have a gift and a talent. You may not see in yourself any good thing, but God sees it, because He put it there. Learn to work with the water of His Holy Spirit so that by the Spirit it may become manifest and minister the blessing He has imparted into you. You have been gifted to give.

Blessings,
#kent

Matthew25:14-28
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19″After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
21″His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22″The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
23″His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24″Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26″His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Faithfulness in What you Have

Most of us are probably familiar with this parable that Jesus gave in Matthew 25. What the Lord was showing me in this parable this morning is that it is not how much talent or resources you have to work with, it is your faithfulness in what you do have. Father is speaking that integrity and faithfulness starts with the little and small things. If we don’t have the heart and the nature of Christ in those we won’t have it in the bigger things.
The servants that had the two talents and the five talents were faithful about utilizing what the master had given them, even in His absence. Their focus was first on their service and faithfulness to the master. The servant that had the one talent wasn’t even faithful in the little that he did have and it was really his own selfishness, fear, doubt and unbelief that caused him to bury it and not work it. Obviously if he buried his talent, he wasn’t about the master’s business, he was about his own.
Many of us may not see ourselves as having much talent or ability, especially in spiritual matters, but in God’s eyes it is not how much we have, but how faithful we are with what we have. It is not in your ability that He calls you, but in His calling to you He provides the ability to do what He has called you to do. Don’t look to your abilities, look to His ability within you and be faithful to what He has called you to do no matter how small or great. Therein lies your reward.

Blessings,
#kent

God’s Toolbox

May 27, 2015

God’s Toolbox

Romans 12:4-8
4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

We have often heard the analogies of how we are members of one another in the body of Christ and how as such we serve one another. Perhaps another way of looking at the body of Christ and its members in particular is that we are God’s toolbox. He has a world of broken people down here, and many Christians are among them. They are broken, hurting and in need of attention and fixing. We know that God is a Master Craftsman concerning His creation, but He has chosen to work with and through His tools. Think today that you are a unique and special tool of God. God has given you characteristics, gifts and abilities He didn’t give to everyone else. There are ways and areas you can operate in that others can’t. Those gifts and abilities He has placed in you, some naturally and some divinely, are so that He can use you as His tool to do a work that perhaps no other tool can do quite as effectively. What’s more, He will put you in circumstances and with people that need the ministry of those gifts and abilities. Obviously, you are most effective as your life is yielded to the Holy Spirit so that He can direct and use you to fix, mend and encourage the broken, damaged and discouraged. Sometimes we often take for granted what our lives can mean to the well being and spiritual health of others if we are truly yielded and available to the Holy Spirit to use. How often we miss it because of our self-will. We take ourselves out of God’s hand to pursue our agenda and our priorities. We often rob others of God’s ministering, healing touch through us. We rob God from doing a divine work of grace in some broken person’s life and last but not least, we rob ourselves of being that tool in God’s hand that could have made the difference, that could have brought the healing and the restoration. We didn’t have the time, or the energy or our own agenda was more important. Haven’t we all been guilty of that?
God wants each of us to realize how important and vital each one of us are to His Kingdom coming forth in the earth. Isn’t that what we pray? “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done; in earth as it is in heaven.” If God’s kingdom isn’t fully come in us, possessing us and living through us, then how can it come in the earth? Jesus says the “Kingdom of God is within you.” We are the vessels and the conduits through which His kingdom flows out to the earth and waters the dry ground. The kingdom must first come and be revealed in us. Christ must have expression and license through us and through our will to perform His. That means to be effective tools, we must be yielded to the Master’s hand. As readily as He will use someone else to work grace in your life, He wants to use you to work the work of grace in another’s. We are created for a purpose and that purpose is to fulfill what God has fashioned us for. Everyone is different, but everyone is just as important to the whole.
Take time to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Be careful that we don’t blow past those divine appointments we have in life and the opportunities to minister the love, grace and gospel of Christ. A tool that is not used eventually becomes rusty, stiff and of no use. Be that tool at the top of God’s toolbox that He can lay hold of and use often in His work of grace in the lives of others. Be that yielded vessel that God can perform the will and do of His good pleasure in and through. We are God’s toolbox and He deserves only the best tools.

Blessings,
#kent

His Provision

January 12, 2015

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

His Provision

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

Blessings,
#kent

If I have to live this way, just shoot me!
1 Kings 19:4
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I [am] not better than my fathers.

Have you ever felt that way? You came to a point in life, maybe more than once, where life was just too painful, too hopeless and a dark cloud of depression and despondency covered your soul. Maybe it was from physical pain, emotional heartbreak or pressures around you that were just too much to bear. Thoughts of suicide were contemplated and maybe even attempted. Voices were in your head telling you, “just to end it, get it over with. Once you’re dead your pain is over. Besides, who really cares? Everybody will probably be better off without you.” Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? If they do then you have wrestled the enemy of depression and despair. If you have been in this place, don’t feel condemned or weak, even the most spiritual of men have had there bouts with these demons. Our scripture today is speaking of Elijah, the mighty prophet of God and it came just after one of the greatest spiritual victories of that time. He should have felt invincible, but here we find him weak, frightened, fearful, despondent and despairing of his own life. Isn’t it wonderful how God shows us the great spiritual men of the Bible in their weakness as well as there strength? That in itself gives us hope. If they are so spiritual and yet they went through these things, then maybe there is hope for me and you.
Beloved, some of you have endured great pain, suffering, persecution and affliction, beyond what one should have to bear. Even if you have tried to fight the good fight and be faithful, you can grow weary in the battle. Mental, physical and spiritual exhaustion can overcome you until thoughts and reasonings can come in that have no place being in your head. These are like the testing experiences of Christ in the wilderness when He was at His weakest point. The enemy tries to come in for the kill. He would tell us, “God is a lie, that He is not faithful, He has forsaken you, He doesn’t care about you, and there probably isn’t even a God.”
His strategy is to disconnect us from our unity, oneness and identification in Christ, who is our strength and our life, because that is our power. If He can rob Christ from us then what do we have? What strength can we stand in?
Some of you are thinking, “yeah, but if God loves me so much, why would He allow me to have to go through so much pain?” Sometimes it is the deep inner working of pain and suffering in our lives that brings us to terms with areas that we would just as soon keep buried forever. There may be root causes for these pains and afflictions in our lives that can’t be healed and delivered until they are brought into the light and dealt with. If Christ learned obedience through the things He suffered as it tells us in Hebrews 5:8, are we then greater than He?
It is not God’s will that we are in continual suffering and pain, but these are often the tools brought to bear upon us by the enemy, but God turns and uses them to do an inner surgery upon our character and our heart. One thing we have to come to terms with is, “God is faithful all the time”, but you won’t always outwardly see that faithfulness. Quite the contrary, everything in the natural can be speaking and demonstrating against the faithfulness of God. 2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us a secret, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.” What does Hebrews 11:1 tell us about faith? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” As hard as it is, our trust can not be placed in the outward circumstances that surround us.
God loves you and is with you even in your weakest, darkest moments. He has not abandoned or forsaken you. What you are living with or going through may be the valley of the shadow of death, but David says, “I will not fear, for thou art with me. Thy rod (authority of the Word) and thy staff (salvation) they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” While the enemy is doing everything in its power to defeat and destroy you God is setting the table of blessing and mercy right in the face of the enemy. You are the anointed of God. He is pouring the anointing of His Spirit and power over you that you may be more than a conqueror through Christ who has loved you and gave Himself for you. See with your spiritual eyes, embrace with all the faith of your spiritual man the love and goodness God has for you, even in the midst of such darkness and despair. Don’t give up, keeping on trusting Him. The race isn’t to the swift and strong, but to the faithful.

Blessings,
#kent

Fearful and Unbelieving

April 25, 2014

Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Fearful and Unbelieving

I am reminded of a word our pastor spoke recently about how we tend to measure sins by the degree of their sinfulness. We don’t think of telling a little white lie as being the same as murder or stealing. We tend to categorize our sins and even our righteousness. Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” At this point we might ask ourselves do I live my life out of faith or fear? While we may tend to judge the ungodly for their sin look who leads the list of those who are bound for the lake of fire. It doesn’t fall in our neat little prioritized list of sins from greatest to least. Sin is sin, but the greatest failure we can have is not to believe God’s Word and to fear the things of this world more than we fear Him.
Jesus says in Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” God is the one who can destroy both soul and body. Satan or man can kill the body with God’s permission, but the only way that he can destroy the soul is by bringing us into that place of fear, doubt and unbelief. When we are drawn out of our place of faith in Christ then sin has place to work. Fear and doubt creep in and they rob our confidence and assurance of who we are in Christ.
The conditions of this world can lead many of us to a place of fear and doubt as we see our economy dissolving before us and our way of life, as we’ve known it, quickly disappearing. If our eyes are on the outward things we will begin to be swayed by fear, doubt and unbelief, but this is an hour our eyes must be fixed upon the Lord as never before. This world is not the believer’s economy and kingdom. We have come into a heavenly kingdom and a kingdom economy. Ephesians 2:4-10 tells us about what God has delivered us out of and what He is bringing us into. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It tells us here that we are not redeemed by our righteousness, but by His grace and ‘God raised us up with Christ and seated us in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus’. Many of us have grown up with the concept that we can’t go to heaven until we die, but right here it tells us that those who are in Christ are already seated there in Him. It is our faith in Christ that maintains and secures this position that we have with Him. Fear and doubt bring us out of the realm of godly thinking and trust in Christ and bring us back down into the corruptibility and fear of this world. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The spirit of fear does not come from the Lord. Our courage, our optimism, our faith in the midst of a fearful world is centered in our faith in Christ. In Him we overcome the world, because the divine Overcomer resides in us. ‘We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.’ In this hour do not let fearfulness, doubt and unbelief grip your heart. You may have been weak in that former man, but that man is dead and you are a new creature in Christ; one that is filled with the Holy Spirit and with power. Unbind the strong man, Christ in you. The way you unbind Him is by your faith and confidence in Him. Fear, doubt and unbelief are what bind up the grace of God from abounding in our lives. Rise up and be loosed from fear, doubt and unbelief by declaring the Word of God over you life and circumstances and then praise Him as if you already have the manifestation of it, because you do, but it may not yet be revealed in this realm.
This is what the Lord was speaking into my spirit this morning and I pass on this exhortation to you oh mighty people of God. “Contend manfully oh mighty men of valor. Stand your grand. Hold fast your faith. Be not moved by fear or the trepidation of men. YOU are the testimony to the Almighty of His life made flesh.”

Blessings,
#kent

2 Kings 18:28-35

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and spoke, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you from his hand; 30 nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, “The LORD will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”’ 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive groves and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” 33 Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivah? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 35 Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’” 


When Fear comes Knocking


As we read this passage of scripture today that took place during the reign of Hezekiah, we see him faced with the greatest challenge and threat to his kingdom that he had ever known.  The king of Assyria, which typifies satan, sent his messenger of fear, Rabshakeh, to attack the faith and trust the people of Judah and Hezekiah had in the Lord and replace it with fear of the natural. They were facing the greatest force and enemy of their day. Assyria was undefeated and it had taken every nation that it entered into, including Israel.  Now Hezekiah is faced with the decision to either give in or trust the Lord.  Everything in the natural is saying give it up, you don’t stand a chance.  You don’t hold a candle to this giant that now stands before you.  What Rabshakeh said was true, no other nation or gods had been able withstand them.  Where Rabshakeh and the king of Assyria failed was in counting the Lord God as like unto the gods of wood and stone.  

There are times when we are faced with similar circumstances in our lives.  We face giants and situations that are far greater than we are in the natural.  They blaspheme or mock our God and expect that we should bow to them.  Our very lives or livelihood may be at stake.  What will we do?  Will we bow in fear to the enemies’ demands or will we throw ourselves before the Lord and plead our case before Him as Hezekiah did?  

It is often in our weakness that God’s strength and power are manifest.  If fear is able to undermine and rob our faith then we will not see the salvation of our God.  If we dare to stand firm in Him then we will see His salvation work, even though it may not be immediate.  There are areas in life that we have to walk by faith, humbly and fearfully before the Lord, so that we are not reliant upon our strength or ability, but we wholly lean on Jesus name.  The enemy will kick up dust, he’ll rant and rave and do all that he can to strike fear and unbelief in our hearts, but it is our faith in the All Powerful One that prevails.  Through prayer and faith we hide ourselves under the shadow of the great Jehovah.  We know that when He goes out to battle on our behalf then we cannot fail or be defeated.  We are more than conquerors through Christ who has loved us.  

In 2 Kings 19:5 we hear what the Lord says through Isaiah, His prophet concerning these blasphemous threats. “So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah.  And Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.  Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”’””  God is still saying to us, “ Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard.” We must know our Lord today as Hezekiah and the people came to know Him then.  He is a mighty Fortress and Deliverer.  He will take up the cause of the righteous and in His time and His way that enemy will be defeated.  When fear comes knocking, don’t be afraid, only trust and obey. 

 
Blessings,
kent

Alert and Watching

February 27, 2014

 

Alert and Watching


Judges 7:5-7

So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. 

7 The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.” 8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. 


As I watched a sparrow feeding out of the bird-feeder this morning I was impressed at how it did not just casually eat with no other thought or worry in the world.  It was continually eating and watching, turning its head from side to side and aware of what was going on around it.  It didn’t take its safety and well being for granted, but was ready to fly at a moment’s notice.  I was reminded of the story of Gideon and how that out of thirty-two thousand whom volunteered to fight for Israel, God brought it down to three hundred.  The first thing God did to disqualify the excess numbers was to let all that were fearful or afraid go home.   God is raising up a people for His glory and one of the first things they must have is faith and confidence to believe and trust in their God.  A lack of faith and trust is the first thing to disqualify us.  Out of the thirty-two thousand that started twenty-two thousand went home.  Ten thousand were still too many people.  A battle won with that many men could be construed as man’s ability, rather than God’s.  God must receive the glory for the deliverance and if we think we have any strength or ability then we tend to dismiss God and take the glory for ourselves.  The second thing God did was to narrow the field  by having them drink water.  If they were down on their knees drinking with their head down and unaware of their surroundings they were disqualified.  Only three hundred lapped the water from their hands like dogs, because that way they were alert and ready, their physical needs were not turning their attention from their first duty as soldiers in readiness.  

Where are most of us as the body of Christ?  Where would we fit in among these thirty-two thousand that came to fight in the Lord’s army?  Have we become fearful and afraid? Has our faith and confidence in the Lord become weak?  Has our attention has been diverted by our blessings, by our affections for life and by all the other distractions that take our eyes off of the Lord. Have we ceased to really watch and be concerned about the things of God and the timing of God?  I don’t believe the Lord is looking for us to be fearful or paranoid, but He is looking for those like the three hundred that fought with Gideon, who are alert and watching in their spirit.  They are attuned to when the enemy is around, where he is at and what he is doing.  They are not allowing themselves to become vulnerable by becoming lethargic and complacent.  They are sensitive to the hour and the timing of the Lord, watching to move at His command and His coming.

This aspect of watchfulness is addressed a number of times and especially in the New Testament, but in Psalm 130:6 David says, “My soul [waiteth] for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: [I say, more than] they that watch for the morning.”  

Jesus teaches us this throughout the gospels such as in Matthew 24, 4“Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many…13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come…” 42″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 

45″Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In Matthew 25 Jesus gives us the parable of the ten virgins, the five wise and the five foolish.  When the Lord did come the foolish missed out, because they were unprepared and not watching.  When they came back it was too late and the door was shut to them.  Verse 13 says, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”  Mark 13:37 says, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”  1 Corinthians 16:13 exhorts us, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”  1 Thessalonians 5:6 tells us, “Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober.”  Paul exhorts Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:5, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

The Lord is speaking to all of us today to rise up off of our haunches of complacency and spiritual dullness.  Now is the day to really get our ears in tune with the Spirit of God and our hearts ready to meet Him.  He is exhorting us not to neglect the day of His visitation, but as good soldiers, to prepare ourselves and be watching for Him.  When the Lord comes will He find most of us at the water hole, drinking our fill and oblivious to the spiritual time, hour and condition of our hearts?  

When the Spirit addresses the churches in Revelation 3, the first concern that He addresses is one of watchfulness.  Revelations 3:3-6 says, “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 4Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. 6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Isn’t this what He is speaking to our hearts today?

 
Blessings,
kent

A Heavenly Perspective

May 16, 2013

Colossians 3:15-17
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

A Heavenly Perspective

Today is a day to be glad, rejoice in life and embrace your life with hope. We are a blessed people. Some would say, “if you saw my condition you wouldn’t think I was very blessed.” I can certainly appreciate all that life throws at us sometimes. Outward circumstances can get incredibly harsh, cruel and difficult to bear. The apostle Paul says this, in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” For most of us, our biggest stumbling block is that we are always focusing on what is seen, rather than what is not seen. We tend to base our life, our success, our happiness and our worth on what we see as reality in the natural world around us. What the Word is teaching us is, if that is the case, you are living out of a wrong perspective and viewpoint. Colossians 3 gives us some perspective in where our mindset and viewpoint of life must now come from. “1Since, 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.” If we are living in discouragement and defeat it most likely has to do with the perspective of our minds and our hearts. This present life can offer some crushing blows and some real discouragement, but when we begin to understand that if we are in Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father, then nothing can really touch our life without first going through the Father. If these things are allowed to touch our lives then it is our opportunity and privilege to know that as we keep our eyes upon Him, He is giving us the grace to walk through whatever it is. Often times, we come to the point where there is really nothing more that we can do outwardly. The Words tells, “Having done all, stand.” Stand in the faith that the Lord is God and He is upon the throne of our lives working all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Perhaps the Lord allows us to go through some of these things so that we can begin to practice living out of the mind of Christ, rather than the mind of our flesh. The mind of Christ will look with the eyes of faith, resting in the Lord to work all things out according to His will and purpose. It will rejoice in hope and confidence in the God of its salvation. The mind of the flesh will be agitated, fearful, and full of worry, anger, frustration and doubt.
Many of the saints of old went through great times of trials and testing. It was their faith and confidence in the Almighty that sustained them and brought them through. Most of us would rather avoid and run away from our problems, but that is not where growth is or that which builds our faith. Like the song by Andre Crouch goes, “if I never had a problem, I would never know that God could solve them. I’d never know what faith in His Word can do.”
Don’t allow your countenance to fall today. Look up and make the decision to have joy in your life in spite of any circumstances that may be pressing on you. God will see you through.

Blessings,
kent

The Antidote for Fear

November 30, 2012

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

The Antidote for Fear

We live and walk in a world consumed by doubt and fears. Unfortunately it touches many who are believers as well as the world. It is important that if fear and doubt are a struggle that you have that you will be encouraged and exhorted by this word.
The only one that God wants us to fear is Him. When we truly reverence and stand in total awe of who He is then we realize He ultimately has the say and judgement over our life and spirit. Others may be able to afflict and kill the body, but God determines our eternal destiny.
When I find myself in fear and doubt, I find that I am not standing and walking fully in faith. Faith in God’s Word assures me that God is Love. His love is able to keep me, not matter what circumstances surround me or those I love. In Romans 8:28 I am given the assurance that, “all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Even when I am faced with tribulation, persecution, afflictions and death, I need not fear.
Why?
Because God’s perfect love drives out all fear. In Psalms 118:6, the Psalmist declares, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” We have the assurance that as we have received by faith, Christ as our Savior and Lord, He lives in us and we live in Him. He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. All else, spirit or flesh, is under His dominion. If we are in Him then anything that touches us must come through Him.
Our fears come when we lose sight of the identity that we have in Jesus Christ. When we fully grasp and lay hold of the promises and truth of God’s Word, fear has no grip upon us.
Why?
Because we are God’s children who abide in the Love of God. His perfect love casts out fear. Our lives are His. Is there any so great as to pluck us out of the hand of God?
“But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” If we fear judgement and punishment then we lack the assurance that we have been fully washed and cleansed in the blood of Jesus. We don’t fully understand that we are fully justified in Christ, meaning it is just as if we never sinned. When we abide in the Righteous One, then we abide in the full assurance of His salvation. In that salvation is the revelation of God holy and insurmountable love for us. For us to live in fear, means that we have taken our eyes off of who He is in us and put them upon the circumstances that surround us.
When Stephen was about to be stoned by the frenzied mob of the religious, he didn’t fear what they could do to him. He only saw Jesus and had set his eyes on things above. When we, like him, see Jesus setting a the right hand of the Father, then there is no room for fear because Ephesians 2:6-10 assures us, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
When we know who we are, where our position is and what our purpose is then what can man do to us. Our life is hid in Him and He is sovereign over all of the affairs of men. When we get a revelation of this we will better understand the perfect love of God and that God has designed that we should be made perfect in that love. “Perfect love drives out fear.”

Blessings,
kent

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