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.

Things are not as they Appear

All around me it grieves my heart to see so many people even the family of God struggling financially, out or work or underemployed. Especially when I see that they are faithful men and women of God. They are not lazy or looking for a free ride, they are just struggling in their finances and often in other areas as well. While this is a difficult time for many it is causing us as a people of God to get our eyes back upon Him as our supply. It is bringing us into a greater inner reliance upon the body of Christ to come together to meet one another’s needs. I believe this is a God thing. It is often in our poverty that we obtain the greatest wisdom to handle wealth. I believe a breakthrough is coming and wealth is coming upon the body of Christ, but we are in a training period. This is where we learn that wealth and blessing aren’t just about our needs and wants, it is about learning stewardship to administrate what God gives us for the benefit of others.
Quite frankly, there may be many out there that feels, as Paul, like they also are wasting away. That outward wasting is to bring an inward renewing of your faith and trust in the limitless supply of all that our God is.
“So if God loves me why isn’t He sharing the wealth?”
He is imparting a greater wealth of learning to operate and lay hold of His life and substance in present sufferings and trials. Remember the children in Daniel that were thrown into fire heated seven times hotter. Because they knew who they were in their God and entrusted themselves to His faithfulness rather than bow the knee to idolatry they had to go through this fire. While the fire consumed the strong men that threw them in and burned off only the ropes that bound them, the flames did not harm them or even leave the smell of its presence upon them. The furnace of affliction is for our purification that God may bring us forth as fine gold in the likeness of His image and nature. Don’t allow yourselves to fear the fiery afflictions that you face, ‘for these light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.’ See in the fire the One who stands among them, like unto the Son of Man. Your life is hid in Christ and the only things the fire can touch are the corruptible things that perish with the using.
God is replacing our natural eyes with spiritual eyes and our fears with faith, as we look not at things, which are seen after the natural man, but the unseen things, which are eternal. With this kind of faith vision it is like night vision goggles that allow us to see in the darkness what the natural eyes cannot see. Faith vision is the same way; it sees the Word of God as the reality in the darkness. Take heart and know that God is training you up for greater things. Right now He is causing you to know your heart and where your affections are. Are they upon the things of this world or are they upon Him. God can’t entrust His glory and power to a people that are not of His heart. Even now He is separating out unto Himself those who are His. Faint not in the day of trial, but see beyond to the glory that He is bringing you into and to the victory and blessing that are yours in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

Advertisements

For My Own Sake

July 8, 2015

Isaiah 48:8-11
You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ear has not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth. 9 For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off. 10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.
For My Own Sake

We are not so unlike Israel of old to whom the prophet speaks these words from the Spirit of the Lord in verses2-4, “you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city and rely on the God of Israel— the LORD Almighty is his name: 3 I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. 4 For I knew how stubborn you were;
the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze.” You know we can be very self-willed at times and determined to go ahead and do what we are going to do. We are the Lord’s people and yet we often don’t really listen and obey what God is telling us in this hour. We are complacent. We are caught up in our personal lives and agendas that aren’t about our God. They are about us, what we idolize, esteem and deem important. Thus it often takes God’s strong hand to align us with His word and purpose for us.
Many of us know that as parents our children can bring us praise or they can bring us reproach by their behavior. They may have been instructed and taught better, but if they ignore their instruction and upbringing, doing what negative things is in their heart to do, then don’t you bear the reproach of their actions as a parent? What we don’t realize is that we are the Lord’s glory, but we can also be His reproach when the world observes us living in unrighteousness and contrary to what we teach and believe. How does God get the glory from that? God is still dealing with the rebellious nature that still wants to manifest in many of us and He will take us through the furnace of affliction, not for our destruction, but for our transformation.
The Lord says in verse 11, “For my own sake, my own sake I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield My glory to another.” If we have been created and purposed for the glory of God, then God must do whatever is necessary to bring us into that purpose that He may be glorified. God is not glorified in our selfishness. Selfishness seeks God’s glory for its own and God says, “I will not give my glory to another.” If you are the Lord’s glory then you must be wholly His. How can you see the glory of the Lord fully expressed from you until you are wholly His?
In this hour God is giving us the word to return with all of our hearts unto Him. Again, He is speaking great and wondrous things to our generation through His word and through the prophets. The trumpet is sounding, but if you are too caught up in the noisiness of your own life you may fail to hear it and even if you do hear it, it is easy to ignore and become distracted. It will be as the Lord says in verse 3, “I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.” Are you ready when the Lord acts upon what He said? We must not allow our stubborn and rebellious ways to cause us to miss what God is doing. It is for this purpose that you were created. We must not foolishly miss the train that is headed for our destiny. Our destiny is to be the expression of His glory, unto His glory and for His glory alone. Hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying, “Prepare you hearts and pursue His presence. Let all else become secondary to your relationship with Him. In Him you must live and move and have your being.”

Blessings,
#kent

He Must Increase, I must decrease

John 3:30
He must increase, but I [must] decrease

These were the words of John the Baptist as his disciples questioned him about this other man Jesus and why everyone was going over to Him. John understood his life’s purpose and that all that God had given him and all that he had become was to point the way to Christ. He was a forerunner sent before to prepare men’s hearts to receive Christ and the salvation only He could bring. Our purpose is very much the same today. Our lives are not about us being glorified and put upon a pedestal, it is about bringing Jesus before men that they may see all that He is and all that He has provided. Sometimes Christians miss this. They get caught up in what the Lord can do through them and instead of really building His Kingdom, they end up building their own. We must guard against the glory men may want to bestow on us when they see Christ working through us especially in love and the demonstration of miraculous works. There are signs that Jesus said would follow His disciples, but in whatever the Lord chooses to bring forth through our lives, we must be careful to give the praise and the glory back to Him. Isaiah 48: 9-12 tells this about what He thinks of His glory, “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, [even] for mine own sake, will I do [it]: for how should [my name] be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another. Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I [am] he; I [am] the first, I also [am] the last.” When we deserved God’s anger and judgement He did not cast us off, but He is refining us through the furnace of affliction. If we aren’t trained up in humility and brokenness, understanding the true grace and goodness of God, we will pollute His name. In fact we are seeing the Lord’s name being polluted in Christendom today. Much of why the world rejects Christ and Christianity is not because of who Christ is, but because of who we are. We proclaim His name, but we don’t proclaim His nature. Because we do not truly live to His glory we rob from Him the glory and praise due to His name by our selfishness, greed, and worldliness. Is the world really seeing anything in us different than what they see in themselves? I believe Christianity spread like wildfire in the early years of Christianity, even in the midst of great persecution, because people saw the glory of God. It was not because these Christians glorified themselves, but it was because they allowed Christ to be glorified through them. They truly learned what it meant that He must increase and they must decrease. Aren’t most of still caught up in our increase, in our success, our name and our fame? Who is really being glorified in and through our lives, Christ or ourselves? Galatians 5:26 warns us, “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” God has called us out to be a people for His possession and for the praise of His name. Where is our focus in life; is it on us or on Him?
The greatest honor the Lord could bestow on us is the privilege of allowing Him to be glorified through us. When He is glorified through us then men no longer see us they Christ in His glory and splendor. They just see a vessel that is the facilitator of His majestic glory and wonder. This is the desire and purpose of God, to be glorified in His saints. 2 Thessalonians 1:10 tells us that with the Lord’s coming He will be glorified in us, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” The Lord may well grace our lives with some miraculous things, but we must never presumptuously take the glory from that to ourselves. There is only one who is worthy of all the glory and all the honor and all the praise and we aren’t Him. We are privileged to be the instruments of His praise and His glory. We must decrease and He must increase, so that in all things we point the way to Jesus and defer all praise and glory to His worthy Name. As we decrease in this life and the things of this world He will increase within us and His kingdom will come in us. His will, will be done in us as it is in heaven. We are privileged to be the lamps through which His glorious light shines. Let us not pollute or diminish that light by allowing ourselves to have the preeminence that belongs only to Him.

Blessings,
#kent

In the Midst of the Fiery Furnace

Daniel 3:21-25
Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their [other] garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnaceTherefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O kingHe answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Our account today is out of the book of Daniel. Again, this is a familiar story to many of us, but for those not familiar I will give a brief summation of the story to bring us up to the point we want to address today. I would encourage you to read this account out of Daniel 3 in Bible if you are not familiar with it.
The setting takes place in Babylon. The children of Israel have been taken captive and some of the choice young men of Israel have been brought into King Nebuchadnezzar’s court and trained up to serve the King. The chief and most prominent of these men is Daniel who doesn’t happen to be a part of this particular account. However, three other men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, godly men that Daniel has appointed with the King’s authority to rule over the affairs of Babylon, are the key players of this true drama. The King erects a huge golden image, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide (roughly ninety feet tall by nine feet wide). One might note the usage of six as the number of man used in the dimensions of this image. The King then has a dedication in which he invites all of the officials of his kingdom to come to. At the sound of the instruments all of these officials are ordered to bow down and worship this image with the consequences being that if anyone doesn’t comply they will be cast into the fiery furnace. Now, after this dedication, certain Chaldeans, officials of that country, came the King and brought to his attention that these Hebrews didn’t bow down as he instructed. I’m sure there was no, jealousy, covetousness or malice on their part toward the Hebrews. They were no doubt just doing their civic duty. At any rate this enraged the King who had the three Hebrews brought before him. He asked them if this account was true and then he offered them a second chance to fall down and worship the image with the consequences being the fiery furnace if they refused. It is a great testimony and example to us in how the three Hebrews replied,” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we [are] not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be [so], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver [us] out of thine hand, O king But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Hebrews 3:16-18). They knew God could deliver them, although they did not have a sure word that He would, they never the less had already resolved their stand in this matter, they would not bow down to false gods even at the cost of death. Well, this sent the king into a full-blown temper tantrum. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal and his strongest men to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, into the furnace. Note that seven is a divine number of God throughout scripture and well may indicate a divine judgement and purification in this case. The furnace is so hot that the heat consumes the mightiest of the men as they throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound in all of their garments and hats, into the furnace. As the king is able to look into the furnace, his account is as follows: ” Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Christ?).” The account of the story finishes by saying he called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to come out of the furnace. ” Then] Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed [be] the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon. ”
We have laid this foundation to say this, Hebrews 12:28-29, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God [is] a consuming fire.” As we look and see what God did for these Hebrew men, we can see what He wants to do for all of His faithful servants and children. The only thing that the fire can really touch is the bonds of the flesh that have bound us. If we are walking with Christ in us, the judgements and trials that befall us are doing but one thing, they are burning up the areas in our life that bring us into the bondage of the flesh. 1 Corinthians 3:11-16 tells us this, ” For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? ” One day our lives will stand in the fiery furnace of God judgement and our works will be tested by His fire. The exhortation is that God is not trying to destroy us, but He does want to burn up all the areas in our lives that hold us in bondage. He wants to set us free to truly walk with Christ even through the trials of life. So if you are going through the fire today let that be your encouragement, that all that is really being touched are the areas of our flesh while our spirit is being purified and refined. All of us are building on the foundation of Christ, but how we build and what we produce through our lives will have to stand the test of God’s fire. Revelations 3:18 gives us this exhortation, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” That gold, spoken of here, is the pure things of the Spirit that have been worked in us through our trials and testings. ‘ We learn obedience through the things we suffer.’ So hold fast in the place of the fire for in it is where we purchase the gold of His divine nature and Spirit within us. Let us build our lives with the things of the Spirit so they may stand in the day when they are revealed by the fire.

Blessings,
kent

In the Midst of the Fiery Furnace

Daniel 3:21-25
Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their [other] garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnaceTherefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O kingHe answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Our account today is out of the book of Daniel. Again, this is a familiar story to many of us, but for those not familiar I will give a brief summation of the story to bring us up to the point we want to address today. I would encourage you to read this account out of Daniel 3 in Bible if you are not familiar with it.
The setting takes place in Babylon. The children of Israel have been taken captive and some of the choice young men of Israel have been brought into King Nebuchadnezzar’s court and trained up to serve the King. The chief and most prominent of these men is Daniel who doesn’t happen to be a part of this particular account. However, three other men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, godly men that Daniel has appointed with the King’s authority to rule over the affairs of Babylon, are the key players of this true drama. The King erects a huge golden image, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide (roughly ninety feet tall by nine feet wide). One might note the usage of six as the number of man used in the dimensions of this image. The King then has a dedication in which he invites all of the officials of his kingdom to come to. At the sound of the instruments all of these officials are ordered to bow down and worship this image with the consequences being that if anyone doesn’t comply they will be cast into the fiery furnace. Now, after this dedication, certain Chaldeans, officials of that country, came the King and brought to his attention that these Hebrews didn’t bow down as he instructed. I’m sure there was no, jealousy, covetousness or malice on their part toward the Hebrews. They were no doubt just doing their civic duty. At any rate this enraged the King who had the three Hebrews brought before him. He asked them if this account was true and then he offered them a second chance to fall down and worship the image with the consequences being the fiery furnace if they refused. It is a great testimony and example to us in how the three Hebrews replied,” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we [are] not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be [so], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver [us] out of thine hand, O king But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Hebrew 3:16-18). They knew God could deliver them, although they did not have a sure word that He would, they never the less had already resolved their stand in this matter, they would not bow down to false gods even at the cost of death. Well, this sent the king into a full-blown temper tantrum. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal and his strongest men to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, into the furnace. Note that seven is a divine number of God throughout scripture and well may indicate a divine judgement and purification in this case. The furnace is so hot that the heat consumes the mightiest of the men as they throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound in all of their garments and hats, into the furnace. As the king is able to look into the furnace, his account is as follows: ” Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Christ?).” The account of the story finishes by saying he called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to come out of the furnace. ” Then] Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed [be] the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon. ”
We have laid this foundation to say this, Hebrew 12:28-29, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God [is] a consuming fire.” As we look and see what God did for these Hebrew men, we can see what He wants to do for all of His faithful servants. The only thing that the fire can really touch is the bonds of the flesh that have bound us. If we are walking with Christ in us, the judgements and trials that befall us are doing but one thing, they are burning up the areas in our life that bring us into the bondage of the flesh. 1 Corinthians 3:11-16 tells us this, ” For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? ” One day our lives will stand in the fiery furnace of God judgement and our works will be tested by His fire. The exhortation is that God is not trying to destroy us, but He does want to burn up all the areas in our lives that hold us in bondage. He wants to set us free to truly walk with Christ even through the trials of life. So if you are going through the fire today let that be your encouragement, that all that is really being touched are the areas of our flesh while our spirit is being purified and refined. All of us are building on the foundation of Christ, but how we build and what we produce through our lives will have to stand the test of God’s fire. Revelations 3:18 gives us this exhortation, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” That gold is the pure things of the Spirit that have been worked in us through our trials and testings. ‘ We learn obedience through the things we suffer.’ So hold fast in the place of the fire for in it is where we purchase the gold of His divine nature and Spirit within us. Let us build our lives with the things of the Spirit so they may stand in the day when they are revealed by the fire.

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: