The Good Shepherd

July 17, 2015

Psalms 23:1
The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Good Shepherd

The Lord is sufficient for every need that we have. One of the hardest things for us to do at times is to lie down in green pastures when in our perception all there is dead grass. One of the most important things that the Lord wants to teach all of us is to rest in Him. That is hard to process when the natural world around us is falling apart, bills need to be paid, physical afflictions are besetting us. It is hard for us to rest when our children are in rebellion, our spouse is leaving us or that special someone is in critical condition.
God is not in our fears, He is in our faith and faith causes us to rest when everyone else is franticly trying to do something to solve the problem. Some problems are out of our control. They are bigger than we are and there is nothing else we can do except believe and trust in the Lord. We can never put God in a box and say if I just do this, then He will do that. Sometimes He doesn’t rescue us out of our disasters, but He will always be there with us as we go through them. Sometimes God works through miracles and sometimes it is through our hard life experiences. The important place for us to be is in the Shepherds arms. The Psalmist David rested in the profound truth that the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He knew from the experience of being a shepherd that a good shepherd would always act in the best interest of His sheep. Sometimes that meant rescuing them out of trouble and sometimes it might mean breaking their leg, so that they would learn not to stray. Whatever was necessary the shepherd would act out of his love for the sheep. They were an extension of him and his purpose, just as we are an extension of Christ and His purpose.
Today, the good Shepherd is watching over you. If you truly believe and rest in Him, then you shall not want. ‘He is able to meet all of your needs according to His riches in glory.’ “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6

Blessings,
#kent

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Beware of the one who seeks to take your Life Luke 2:1-15 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the eastand have come to worship him.” 3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5″In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6″ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'” 7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” We have often read and seen the nativity of Jesus most generally around Christmas time. It is easy to see by this account that the Magi or wise men were not at the stable where Jesus was born in Bethlehem like many of our plays would lead us to believe. That was when the Lord’s star appeared in the heavens signifying His birth and arrival in the earth. It was the beginning of a two year pilgrimage for the wise men of the East that brought them first to Herod to inquire and actually enlighten him to this future King’s presence. It was the star that continued to lead them to the house where Jesus was living with His parents. They had come such a long way to worship this “King of the Jews”, but more than that, the King of all Kings. They had a revelation of what most of the Jew’s didn’t even know. Now Herod knew, but he saw it in the natural as a threat to his earthly throne. Herod serves as type of satan, the god of this world. He is threatened still not just by the Jesus Christ of this day, but by the Christ that is birthed into a people of faith and who are starting to mature in authority and power. The objective is to destroy the life before it can come into maturity and then into the power and dominion of its authority and life. Satan fears what has been birthed in us. We are not ignorant of his devices to rob, kill and destroy the life of the spirit. He uses temptation, manipulation, intimidation, deceit, trials and tribulation and even physical death. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus says, “And fear not them which kill the body (satan and his agents), but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him (God) which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” We see this scenario played out again in Revelations 12:1-7, “1A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. 7And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” The point I believe the Lord wants to make to us in the simplest of terms is this. There is a divine life that has been maturing in the womb of the church and is seeking to come to birth. There is an evil one who knows this will be his final demise for it is the union of Christ coming forth in fullness within His body. This union of Christ manifest in His body is the start of the final nail in satan’s coffin. The great red dragon is desperate to destroy it before that life can really manifest. God wants us to recognize, not only what it is that He is doing in this time and place in history, but what is taking place is being birthed out of eternity. He is speaking to us that if we will walk in obedience and faithfulness to the calling that is within us and the life that He has birthed, He will preserve that life. Our hiding place and protection is in Him. Satan can’t touch what is God’s without God’s permission and if we are allowed to be touched then it is for a reason that God is working. Our umbrella of protection is in living in the center of God’s will. Outside of that umbrella we open ourselves up to the attack of the enemy in our lives. It is the time that the Lord is gathering His own unto Himself and they that are His own will hear His voice and will not listen to the voice of another. There is one who seeks to devour and destroy the precious life that has been birthed within you. If you and I will return to the Lord with all of our hearts and with repentance He will be our fortress and protection in an hour of the great outpouring of satan’s wrath. As the Redeemed of the Lord we must walk as Jesus walked receiving our instruction from the Father and hearing Him for ourselves. It is no longer about us listening to everyone else and all of the voices of Christendom, it is about a personal relationship between you and God where you come to hear and obey Him as your Shepherd. Beware of those that seek your life and lure you into complacency and worldliness. They are as the harlot in Proverbs 7 that would lure your soul to hell. Be wise and seek the Lord’s instruction. Press into to know Him now like you never have before. Our time grows near.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Self Struggle

April 7, 2014

Romans 7:24-25
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Self Struggle

From my night I look out into the light.
I am drawn by its warmth and love.
There is a love that draws me out of my night.
But then the voices rush in that changes my gears.
They remind me of past hurts, disappointments and fears.
They remind me of all that I enjoy and would need to give up.
So I am drawn back from the light and from drinking His cup.
Back into the security of my unchanging heart.
Back into my dysfunctional darkness of which I’ve so been a part.

I hear the voice speaking into my spirit,
“Would you be made whole?”
“Would you be healed?”
“Would you be delivered and set free?”
Suddenly there is such a strong sense of duality.
Two men warring within me for dominion and victory.
One struggles to keep me in the darkness and need;
Bringing before me fears of change, and shame of my past,
Condemnation of sin and a half empty glass.
And what it will cost me to make the change?
The other man stands in His peace and light of His gain,
Arms extended and the truth of His love inviting me in.
I love the warmth and the peace of His presence,
But then the darkness crowds in, causing me to withdrawal again.

Inwardly I am grieved at my fallen state.
Only fleeting joy, broken promises and empty estate.
I look back over the wastelands of my life.
All I see is heartache, brokenness and strife.
What is my purpose if this life is all there is;
If I continue to choose this self-life instead of His?
His love is faithfully pursuing my wretched soul.
What can He possibly see in this lump of coal?
This time when He invites me, I run with a new reply.
I cast my wretched self upon His grace and cry,
“Change me and fill me with yourself and your love.”
“I would be made whole.”
“I would be healed.”
“I would be delivered and set free.”
Please Lord, take and fill all of me.

The magnitude of His love and peace floods my heart.
I sense His blood cleansing every filthy part.
Hope and joy are now abounding through my soul.
I finally relinquished my will and gave Him full control.
A new day has dawned in this heart and soul of mine.
Transforming power and new direction do I find.
“What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Blessings,
#kent

Three Dimensions of Jacob

September 20, 2013

Three Dimensions of Jacob

Genesis 32:22-32
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Many of us will remember this story of Jacob. We often say that Jacob wrestled with an angel. As I was meditating upon Jacob this morning I felt like the Lord gave a little insight into this man Jacob. Jacob’s life is like our spiritual journey. Consider with me some of the analogies I felt like the Lord was showing me and I know there is so much more to this than what we will share here today.
When Jacob came into this world, he came in with his first-born twin named Esau. Now Esau was hairy, red and ruddy. He was a man of the earth and field. You might say he was the Adamic nature. The scripture that gives us great insight into these three dimensions of Jacob, which is type of us, is found in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” While Esau is a type of the body, which is pretty much self-centered and driven by its needs and wants, Jacob is a little more subtle. Jacob is a type of the soul. The soul is where our identity lies. It is our mind, will and emotion. It is expressive of who we are as a person. Like Jacob, most of us have our spiritual side and then we have our fleshly side, for our soul is a mixture of flesh and spirit. Even the name Jacob means “heel holder or supplanter”. The truth was he was an artful manipulator. Even so, Jacob had a spiritual side that hungered for the things of God and the desire for the inheritance or birthright that would normally go to the firstborn. The trouble with the firstborn is that he had little or no appreciation for the birthright. Yes, he wanted the blessing that came through the birthright, but he didn’t have a heart or desire for the legacy and the responsibility that it carried with it. Jacob on the other hand did, but he sought to gain it through unscrupulous means, even though prophetically it had been spoken that the older would serve the younger. Jacob is like us in so many ways. He was always cunning and devising in the flesh how he might obtain the things of the spirit. Whether it was his life, livelihood, his wives or his children, Jacob set about with natural wisdom and understanding to obtain them. That is not to say that Jacob did not have his spiritual side. He encountered God at Bethel in the dream of the stairway or ladder with ascending and descending angels. He experienced God’s blessing, protection and wisdom in his life, but like us, we often seem to struggle and work so hard only to come up so short of our dreams and strongest desires. We have that Labon in our lives, Jacob’s father-in-law, that is always promising so much and delivering so little. No wonder, like Jacob, so many of us are frustrated physically and spiritually.
Even though Jacob knew God and had a relationship with Him, he had his shortcomings, his fears and demons to face. His biggest fear was his brother Esau, the one he had taken the birthright and the blessing from. It is like even though we possess the promises and blessings of God we face our own mortality. Faced with who we are in the natural we fear. In the natural we perceive our weaknesses, our failures, the ungodly part of our nature. That is what Jacob faced in Esau.
In Genesis 32 we see Jacob escaping Labon and his stronghold to return to the promise land, but there he must face his Esau. In this place of fear for himself and his family, he is crying out for answers and favor from God. Try and scheme as he will, he fears the strength of the flesh that is represented in Esau and his ability to take all that he has labored to build. While he possesses the promises and the birthright they are of little value to him in his own identity. He sends his family and the others on ahead and takes them over the ford of Jabbok, which means emptying. He sent away his family and all that he had and now, empty, he is left alone. There he encounters this third man. The scripture doesn’t say it is an angel, but it is definitely an agent of God. There, Jacob wrestles with this man till daybreak. Could this be the spirit of Christ in us? The spiritual man that we need to change our nature? The first thing that had to happen in Jacob was an emptying and laying down of all that he loved and possessed. Then there was a battle, the struggle and wrestling with that old nature of Jacob, the heel-holder, supplanter and deceiver. These two men seemed pretty equally matched for strength for they wrestled through the night till daybreak. Is this our place of prayer and intercession where we are in a spiritual battle. Have we come to the place that we are going to lay hold of God and let go of everything else unto He blesses us? Are we the overcomers that will prevail with God and man?
What is our greatest blessing? Isn’t it to be delivered of our former nature?
That morning, at daybreak, the man said, “let me go, it is daybreak.” Jacob said, “I won’t let you go till you bless me.” In Genesis 32:27-31 it goes on to tell us,” The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.” It is there that Jacob prevailed with God and received a new name and a new nature. The new name is Israel, “God Prevails”. The man touched Jacob in the hollow of his hip, so that the sinew shrank and he crossed over Peniel, which means, “facing God”. Jacob would always walk with a limp, no longer dependent upon his own strength and ability.
We have a similar word to us in 2 Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” There is a day for our transformation and new nature to come forth in its fullness, but we wrestle on through the night till we, like Jacob, prevail with God and lay hold of the promises of our inheritance. Then, no more do we need fear our strongholds like Labon or our mortality and flesh, like Esau. No longer are we afraid to loose the things we possess and love. The losses and the wounds we suffer are a small price to pay for what we lay hold of. God’s nature and character will prevail in us if we faint not. We will see the face of God, our Lord, and live; no longer after the flesh, but after the spirit. These are the three dimensions of Jacob, body, soul and spirit.

Blessings,
kent

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